- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I was in Iraq between February and December 2007. I was friends with a married guy in my unit, and we became real good friends over there. We talked a lot about his wife, who moved in with her mother with their son and his dog while he was gone.

When we came back, he got upset because his wife was emotionally distant from him. He found out she gave his dog away, even though it had been a gift to his son. Then he checked her MySpace account and found she was telling everyone she was single and had no kids.

Now he has discovered she took all his money from his accounts. He has lost everything — his money, furniture, etc. — and she even sent his son back to live with his mother. She refuses to talk to him.

I am doing everything to help him. Now that we are back, we’ve hooked up and I’m trying to help him get back on his feet. He is still considered married. He wants a divorce and his wife refuses to sign the divorce papers. He says the laws in our state say you have to be separated for two years before a divorce can be granted. Is this true? Is there anything that could be done about her taking his money? - In Need of Advice

Dear In Need,

Wow, it appears you have inherited a lot of issues from this guy. I regret that you have become involved with this married man. Believe me, his story will continue to change every day. How do you know he is telling you the truth about this situation? You have really put yourself out on a limb for this guy. I just wish you had waited until after his divorce was settled and then taken the time to build a relationship. Now you are trying to help him sort through all of this and you are in a position that you should not be in, which is “caught in the middle.”

To be honest, he needs a lawyer who can provide good legal advice. I’m not sure if he can recoup any of his money, but then I’m a clinical social worker, not an attorney. I really hope you don’t get burned by all of this. You should guard your finances carefully. I think you should take care of yourself first. Don’t allow yourself to be stretched too thin. Let him figure out this mess. It’s not your responsibility.

Reader comments:

“I am so proud of you. I’m a [military] retiree with a daughter stationed at Reston, Va.

“Ms. Vicki, I don’t like you and most of the time I disagree with the advice you give, but I have to admit you are on to something with your column. It sounds like you are condescending most of the time and speaking out of turn when you don’t know all of the facts. People who write you complain about military life, talk about how depressed they are and who’s sleeping with whom. … It all makes my stomach churn, but this is what talk shows and radio are made of. I think you should consider it.” - Puzzled by Your Success

Vicki Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three, has been counseling service members and their families for 15 years. Her column, Dear Ms. Vicki, runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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