Life Advice



Military spouse details home front struggles

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am entering my 14th year as a military spouse. Four years ago, I created a "home base" in my hometown area because I could no longer handle military life. This happened after several intense episodes of depression and anxiety, exacerbated by the death of one of my best military spouse friends. She was a fine woman with a secret substance abuse habit that killed her. There are many other fine military spouses coping in non-constructive manners.

I love my husband, but he does not care to leave the military due to job security, regardless of the impact on our family.

I am worn thin coaching their sports teams and homeschooling them and being lonely. He is lonely, too. I want to move on, but feel like I've failed.

I stopped talking about this years ago after my mother told me, "You knew what you signed up for." I didn't, but maybe I was stupid.

I'm trying to stick it out, but I feel paralyzed. Any thoughts?

-- Stuck


Dear Stuck: Let's start with this: We all thought we knew what we signed up for, but life unfolds in unforeseen ways, and we all respond to challenges differently.

Because of your position as a military spouse, I assume you've been raising your children without much help from your husband for most -- if not all -- of their lives.

Yes. It is exhausting, depleting, and lonely. This is the reality of being a single parent. When you were surrounded by other military families, you likely all banded together, commiserated in each other's kitchens, and formed de-facto families together while your spouses were working or away. You did what you could to cope with your various challenges.

And now you need to find ways to take care of yourself. Yes, you must talk about it. Owning your challenges and admitting to yourself -- and others -- how hard this is on you will open you up. There are many online forums and resources dedicated to military spouses, and you should look locally for in-person professional counseling.


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