- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband has been home from Iraq for almost eight months, and I feel he is keeping me and the kids on lockdown!

He has them watch me and then he makes them tell him where we’ve been, who I talk to and who comes to our home when he is at work. I’m not talking about minor chitchat; he wants a full conversation with the children about my comings and goings.

Ms. Vicki, my girlfriends and I have been planning an all-girls trip to Jamaica in June to celebrate our husbands’ return from deployment. We are going to have some time with each other, away from the children. After all, when our husbands are deployed, we have no one to give us respite and no way to unwind. This cruise is just a way to have fun with the girls.

My husband, however, says he is not “baby-sitting” while I go on a cruise. How can he say this? They are his children, so he is not baby-sitting, he is taking care of his children. It’s the same thing I’ve been doing while he’s been gone. He has some nerve.

Now he’s saying I absolutely cannot go. I think he is going too far with his controlling behavior. He doesn’t know it, but I saved the money for the trip and I’m going anyway.

Did I tell you he doesn’t want me to have a job either? He tells me my place is to be home with our three children, and ever since he returned from Iraq, he’s been asking me to have another child. There’s no way I’m having another baby. I know I’m still carrying some good eggs, but I will sell them before I have them fertilized in my womb. Besides, he doesn’t want to spend time with the children we have.

Long story short, I feel like this may be the end of our marriage. I cannot continue with his behavior. I know I’ve been a very supportive wife and I know I deserve better than this. He is crazy! Why am I blaming myself, Ms. Vicki? Why do I feel so bad? — Going to Jamaica

Dear Jamaica,

It is your choice to go to Jamaica without the blessing of your husband — just know that he probably won’t be responsible for keeping the children while you are on your trip, so make sure they are in the care of a responsible, loving adult while you are away. If you can’t arrange this, that would be the only reason you should cancel your trip.

I’m not trying to “gas you up,” but the way your husband is acting is immature and possessive. He also is acting like he does not trust you very much. It’s quite inappropriate for him to question your children about your comings and goings. You should talk to him and let him know this has to stop.

If you don’t want more children, then I encourage you not to have any more. You are right; he probably knows another baby would further keep you on lockdown. Conversely, you should know that going to Jamaica is not solving the main problem, which is that your marriage is in trouble. Even you believe it’s the beginning of the end.

I usually recommend seeking the professional help of a licensed therapist or counselor. However, I know you’ve got one thing on your mind right now — Jamaica. For this reason, I say go and have a good time. Just be careful and don’t be tempted to go there and get your groove back. Get in touch after your trip.

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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