- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am writing to you from Afghanistan about my wife. She refuses to stop going to the clubs. I met her at a club about three years ago and married her shortly after that. Now every weekend she spends the night in D.C. or Maryland so she can do nothing but party and go to clubs with friends she met recently.

My wife is really attractive and it bothers me because I know other guys are hitting on her and they could be doing God knows what. She should be home with our child, but no, she is always leaving him with her friends so she can party.

It’s not fair that I am over here going through hell every day, and the way she shows she cares about me and our marriage is to be a party girl. I know I met her in a club, but now she is married and that life is over. How can I make her stop going to clubs? — Worried in Afghanistan

Dear Worried,

I’m not sure there’s much you can do right now about your wife’s frequent partying. Before you married her she was a party girl, and you’re surprised she is still a party girl? Did you expect her to be a stay-at-home mother and housewife?

Like you, I’m concerned about your young son’s stability. I would encourage you to advocate for his stability and well-being. Do you have a trusted family member — your parents, for example — who could take care of him while you’re deployed?

I’m also concerned for your emotional stability. You should try and focus on your missions and making it home safe. You can’t perform at your best if you’re worried and distressed. Try to find support from a friend, maintain contact with other family members or speak to your chaplain when time permits.

You can’t worry about what you can’t change, and I think the concerns you have about your wife will have to wait until you redeploy. I’m sure she will continue to party all the time, but as I stated earlier, you should make other provisions for your son. He should be in a good, caring environment.

Last, you should take control of your finances. Don’t give your wife full control of your assets. Consider giving her a monthly allowance for support, but use online banking as much as possible to pay your bills, manage your checking and savings accounts, etc. If you can’t, then you must enlist a trusted family member or friend to do so. I’ve heard too many stories about the service member returning home to find his partying wife has spent all of the money and left every account in the red. I don’t want this to happen to you. Take care and stay in touch.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband enlisted three years ago when our son was 5 months old. Since then, we’ve moved several times and my husband is four months into his second deployment. Because of that, my son is incredibly attached to me. We’re working on attending play dates with other kids and I hope to find a baby sitter who will be able to give both of us a break.

I’m getting very bored at home! Is there anywhere on post I could volunteer and have my son with me? He’s a good kid and I’m a smart woman. There has to be something I can do, I just have no idea how to find it! — Bored at Home

Dear Bored,

You are right, there are many things on post for you to do! I am so happy to hear you say you are a smart woman; I often hear from spouses with low self-esteem and low self-worth, so it’s no harm in being confident. Volunteering would be great for you, and play groups could be very good for your son.

Here’s my advice: Instead of simply volunteering someplace to get out of the house, you should give careful consideration to what it is you really like to do, something you are passionate about or that may be a career interest. Then try to volunteer where you may be able to carry out that mission. Start looking on base, in your community or even off base. Start with the family center or the American Red Cross. Good luck to you!

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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