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Trying 180 while husband is at war

Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/26/12 02:38 AM

My husband and I separated several months ago after I pursued getting outside help for the problems we were having. He is currently in the military serving in a combat zone, and indicated just before he left that he will divorce me upon his return from war. I was absolutely the pursuer in the relationship, and have backed off from asking him to work things out with me. I have no way of knowing his mindset because he has not emailed or written to me. There has been a positive change in his behavior in that he deposited money into our joint account after months of not doing so.

Since the time he left, I have refrained from telling him I love him. Last night, I caved and sent him an email telling him I am praying for him and that I love and miss him. I have also sent him a couple of care packages, which he won't receive for possibly a few weeks. I am wondering if I should back off again, if this is too much or if it is right to show support while he is in combat. I know the soldiers with him are receiving mail from their wives. I also know those soldiers are making an effort to communicate with their spouses and my husband is not.

How do I successfully do a 180 without seeming like I have emotionally abandoned my husband during this crucial time in his life?
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/26/12 07:47 PM

Welcome to the board

DIVORCE = SPACE

Being that he is away he is getting the ultimate amount of SPACE right now.

Did he explain why he wants a divorce?

I would let him control the contact.

Your 180 should be working on YOU and not worrying about your relationship with your husband.
You are not in control of that right now.
You did not break him and you can not FIX him.

Keep posting, you are on moderation right now but stick to one thread until you get to 100 posts.

You might get more responses in newcomers.
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/26/12 07:50 PM

OOOPs this is newcomers.

My mistake blush blush
Posted By: Breakdown

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/26/12 08:12 PM

Have you gotten and read DB/DR yet? If not, do so immediately.

You certainly don't want to apply pressure...stop the "I love yous", "I miss yous" etc. I'm not sure about the care packages...on one hand I think they'd be nice (if done without the pressure), but on the other, they in themselves may be viewed as pressure. Maybe some of the folks with experience with military families can chime in.

What are the problems you mentioned? What are his complaints?
Posted By: KyJoe

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/26/12 08:22 PM

KMP - Sorry you are here, but thought I would let you know I have been on the other side of this (I deployed in '08). He is probably feeling very far removed from you but has alot of other stuff on his mind. You have a couple of opportunities to show him love without pursuing. Be supportive (but do not go overboard)carepackages are good and be welcoming when he comes home on leave (if he hasn't already) or upon his reurn for good. There is not alot you can do inbetween, but if you withdraw your support completely (going dark)he will feel abandoned by you.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 04:40 AM

To answer your question about why he wants a divorce: He says he feels betrayed and cannot trust me. When he returned from his last deployment he was depressed and angry. He began isolating for days at a time. He said we do not communicate well, yet often when I would attempt to broach important subjects he would leave the house or have an outburst which resulted in broken furniture. I got counseling for myself and was encouraged to push the issue of getting him help for his issues. When I reached out and asked for help for him, it embarrassed him. He never physically harmed the children or me, but he would say ugly things. He threatened divorce whenever he was angry, no matter how slight the trigger.

Sex has been minimal since I found pornography on his computer. He says there is nothing wrong with my looks, but that he is not attracted to me because we don't communicate well. When confronted about his treatment of me by an outsider, he accused me of sexual assault for initiating sex with him while he was still here (I did not assault him. I am a very, very petite person. He is much bigger than me and everyone who has heard that accusation who knows us has laughed hysterically.)

I did read DR and that is what brought me here. smile
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 04:48 AM

KyJoe, Thank you for your input from a military perspective. I have sent a couple of care packages with his favorite snacks. In one I sent funny books (not my humor, but definitely his...he will be surprised I sent them). I have refrained from being my usual mushy self except for one email in which I did say I love him and am praying for him. I wrote it after one of his buddies told me he and his guys are being hit hard.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 05:07 AM

I should mention that my children are not his biological children. They love him, but they are fed up with his behavior. Since I did "slip up" and send him the email telling him I love him, I am planning not to initiate any more emails.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 12:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Cadet
Welcome to the board


Keep posting, you are on moderation right now but stick to one thread until you get to 100 posts.

You might get more responses in newcomers.


Does this mean I need to make 100 posts within this thread or pick another thread and start posting? I'm sorry, I am not sure how this works. Thank you for the welcome and the advice. smile
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: KeepingMyPromise
Originally Posted By: Cadet
Welcome to the board


Keep posting, you are on moderation right now but stick to one thread until you get to 100 posts.


Does this mean I need to make 100 posts within this thread or pick another thread and start posting? I'm sorry, I am not sure how this works. Thank you for the welcome and the advice. smile

This is YOUR thread, stick to this thread concerning your sich until you get to 100 posts.

You can post on other peoples threads to give them support or offer advice, (it is a good idea to meet others on the board) and they may be able to help you too. smile smile smile

When this thread gets to 100 posts then start a new one and you can add links to each one so that later if you are reading it will all make sense.

Keep this like a journal or a record of your time here at DB.

I hope that explains it more clearly.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 04:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Cadet
Originally Posted By: KeepingMyPromise
Originally Posted By: Cadet
Welcome to the board


Keep posting, you are on moderation right now but stick to one thread until you get to 100 posts.


Does this mean I need to make 100 posts within this thread or pick another thread and start posting? I'm sorry, I am not sure how this works. Thank you for the welcome and the advice. smile

This is YOUR thread, stick to this thread concerning your sich until you get to 100 posts.

You can post on other peoples threads to give them support or offer advice, (it is a good idea to meet others on the board) and they may be able to help you too. smile smile smile

When this thread gets to 100 posts then start a new one and you can add links to each one so that later if you are reading it will all make sense.

Keep this like a journal or a record of your time here at DB.

I hope that explains it more clearly.


Yes, that is clear. Thank you!
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 08:44 PM

I am having a hard time deciding what to do about employment and our living situation. When we met, I had a better job than my H did. After marriage, I began staying home bc my H did not want me to work. Since he left I got a part-time job. It is enough if he continues to provide for us financially, but in that he does not, I will need to work full-time.

Should I find full-time employment now, even though he has not wanted me to work?
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/27/12 09:08 PM

Originally Posted By: KeepingMyPromise
Should I find full-time employment now, even though he has not wanted me to work?

Normal advice is to do what is best for you!
The job market is not great right now so my suggestion would be to start looking so that you have some extra time in case you need it.

What would be wrong with having extra money?
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 12:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Cadet
Originally Posted By: KeepingMyPromise
Should I find full-time employment now, even though he has not wanted me to work?

Normal advice is to do what is best for you!
The job market is not great right now so my suggestion would be to start looking so that you have some extra time in case you need it.

What would be wrong with having extra money?


Having the extra money would be very helpful. I am concerned about spreading myself too thin with my family, but if I choose work that that doesn't keep me away from the kids on nights and weekends, we should be fine. Thanks!
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 01:03 PM

I know one of the first things recommended in dealing with a WAS is to GAL. I feel like I am regressing here. When my H was here, I did have a life. I was very involved with volunteering (I still do that), I was in school full-time and getting A's (since he left I have flunked out), and our house was nearly spotless (now I am having trouble keeping up). My H worked ungodly hours and had no social life. He did, however, participate in several solo hobbies in his "man cave".

In the weeks leading up to H leaving, when he would see me doing homework he began making comments about how he wished he could finish his degree. The frustrating part about that is that it was his idea for me to stay home with the kids until I was done with school, and then I would work full-time to support us while he used his GI bill to go back to school.

I have tried a few medications for depression, but they only made things worse. Behavior modification works best for me...does anyone have tips on how they pulled themselves out of the slump? I feel like bettering myself actually pushed him away instead of making him more interested in me, but if he does D me, my kids and I will be living in poverty. I have to get my act together.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 01:30 PM

I mentioned that I volunteer. I should add that most of the volunteering I do is for my husband's work. I have considered backing away from it as a way of truly going dark, but I do not want to drop the commitment I made just because of his bad behavior.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 04:24 PM

I have been reading posts from other LBS, and am having some trouble relating them to my current situation. I see LBS taking responsibility for the breakdown of their M because they were depressed, not taking care of themselves, not physically receptive to their spouses, too busy working, etc... I have actually BTDT and learned the hard way with my first H.

This time around, I have been attentive, supportive...always available and always forgiving. I have been trying very hard to live the "fruits of the spirit". Of course I'm not perfect. :P

In changing my attitude and behavior I think I have forgotten how to stand up for myself or let him know when behavior is unacceptable. As one of my friends put it, I just take the bad behavior and delicately eat it with my fork and spoon.

Because H is away and very busy, I am not even sure if he will notice my attempt at LRT.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 04:33 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I sought outside help when things got really bad. We have had multiple professionals involved in our sit, and it all boils down to the same thing: I keep being told I have done everything I can, that bc of his deep-seated issues, this was inevitable. He is being told that he shouldn't be with anyone because he will just abuse them(or at least that is how he perceives it from the people put in place to help).
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 05:06 PM

Originally Posted By: KeepingMyPromise
I think I have forgotten how to stand up for myself or let him know when behavior is unacceptable. As one of my friends put it, I just take the bad behavior and delicately eat it with my fork and spoon.

This is so typical for most LBS.
We are conflict avoider, pursuing, codependent, enabling, FIXER's.

So yes, we are not perfect and have many things that we can work on while are spouses are orbiting out in space.

LRT is for YOU, to protect YOU.
It is unlikely to FIX your marriage.
But it may help to FIX YOU so that you may be able
to have another relationship in the future.
Hopefully with your spouse.

From what I have learned the LBS gets to choose,
not right now,
but in the end.

So take the focus off of him and put it on YOU.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/28/12 05:18 PM

Thank you, Cadet. I needed to read that.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/30/12 03:27 PM

I just read the book "Two Wars" by Nate Self. Self is an Army Ranger who shares his experience of war abroad and also within himself. It helped me understand what my husband may have experienced in a way I never have, how he may feel about himself, and also that my attempts at helping him possibly drove him further away.

I know this is the time to focus on me. :P I am wondering if I should share with him that I have a better understanding now, or wait until the time comes that he contacts me?
Posted By: Cadet

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/30/12 06:05 PM

Live it through your actions,
do not use words to express it to him.

What does the book tell your to do?
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/31/12 01:42 PM

The author and his wife are strong Christians. They prayed through it. He got professional help, with the encouragement and support of family.

My situation differs in that help for my husband was forced because he was refusing to do it on his own, and now he feels like everyone thinks he is a dirtbag. He claims to not be a Christian anymore, and that he just needs to take care of himself without having to think about anyone else.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/31/12 01:45 PM

I meant to also say that when I would try to pray with my H after he changed, he reacted with hateful comments and would often leave the room.
Posted By: timbits

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 07/31/12 02:07 PM

Wow. Sounds like you are both going through a lot. Is it possible he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? I suffer from complex PTSD from other issues (I did not serve), and it makes things extremely difficult, especially when you are going through the worst of it. I know this is fairly common amongst those who have served overseas.

I don't really have much advice for you as this is a different situation, but GAL is always a good idea. And protect yourself and your family. If that means getting a full-time job despite him wanting you to stay at home, so be it.

It must be so hard for you right now, worrying about his safety and well-being while also going through marriage issues. Hold strong and work on yourself, not for the M, but for YOU.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/01/12 02:41 AM

Originally Posted By: timbits
Wow. Sounds like you are both going through a lot. Is it possible he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


Thank you for the words of support, timbits. I do think H is battling PTSD. He has admitted at times that he believes he has it, too. When confronted about it, he becomes very defensive and ultimately casts blame upon work or me. He is not willing to look inward and work on it or accept the help that is being offered.

That has led me here and I know I have to focus on myself and my children now. It is painful because I am a caretaker and nurturer at heart. I want to fix him, but I realize that my efforts have only made things worse.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/02/12 05:18 PM

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling empowered for the first time in a long time. I have let go of the "need" for my husband to change. My focus is now on the other important people in my life, the ones who want relationships with me. smile
Posted By: timbits

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/02/12 05:45 PM

Unfortunately, when someone has PTSD and refuses help, there isn't a whole lot you can do. There isn't a whole lot you can do any way, because he really needs to see a therapist and possibly doctor to discuss medication. You didn't do anything to cause this, despite the fact that he may blame you for R issues.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I'm learning that DB-ing may not always work to save the M, but it will work to save YOU.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/02/12 05:54 PM

Yes, that is true. I have been reading your threads, timbits, and my heart goes out to you on so many levels. You are a strong and courageous woman.
Posted By: timbits

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/02/12 06:25 PM

Thank you so much, but you are strong and courageous, as well. You've already gotten through (and are still getting through) your husband's tour of duty and supporting your blended family. This is not something for the faint of heart.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/04/12 02:57 PM

I am struggling not to email H. Today I found a prayer journal I kept at another time when we were having problems. I resumed using it today. I have also been spending a lot more time with children and girlfriends,
and much less time isolating.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/09/12 12:03 AM

The prayer journal is helping me immensely. It is helping to restore positive feelings toward my H. Those positive raise my sd, though, which makes it even more difficult not to reach out to H.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 08/26/12 05:13 AM

Still have not heard anything from my husband, but he is providing more financially and I was told by a mutual aquaintance that he speaks highly of me. I am not doing a great job on going dark, but I do make sure communication sent is brief and positive. My angst about the situation has been minimal since I start prayer journaling. It gives me peace.
Posted By: KeepingMyPromise

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 10/02/12 03:57 AM

Husband has returned from combat zone but did not come home. I sent mail while he was gone. Now that he is back and still not receptive, I am going dark.
Posted By: AnotherStander

Re: Trying 180 while husband is at war - 10/02/12 03:05 PM

I really feel for you, this sounds like an extremely difficult situation. Unfortunately it sounds like there may be mental illness involved, and DBing is not really geared towards solving issues like that. And you can't really encourage him to seek help because he will just view it as nagging. If there's a mutual friend or family member that he respects you might talk to them to see if they can encourage him to get help.

That said, DBing can at least help you. The techniques will help you to detach and GAL with or without him and it sounds like you really need to separate yourself from his storm right now.

Best wishes!
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