- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband has been deployed four of the past seven years. I really don’t know how I’ve made it through these tough times. Well, let me be honest. I do know how I’ve made it through; I’ve had multiple affairs.

I read your column and you encourage people to use family, friends, spiritual support and so on. What you don’t realize is those things will only take you so far and for so long. Ms. Vicki, I was lonely, so lonely and sad. I missed my husband tremendously. I got tired of him saying, “I will be home and we can take a vacation, just you and me.” When he came home, though, he was only training for the next deployment.

It felt good to be in the arms of men who wanted me, gave me compliments, wined and dined me, and of course to make passionate love with. Have you become so old that you don’t realize this? I know you are a military spouse, too, and you have a habit of being too harsh on people who’ve had affairs. Didn’t you miss your husband when he was deployed? How did you release your frustration? How are we to know that you didn’t cheat a few times, too?

I’m sorry, Ms. Vicki, because I know your personal life is not the issue. I need your help because my husband has found out about two of my numerous affairs and he wants nothing to do with me. He says he can never trust me again, but I would love to give our marriage another try despite the fact that he wants to stay in the Army and I know there will be more deployments.

If you can share any words of wisdom, please let me know. - Miss Northern Virginia

Miss NOVA,

I’m confused. Are you writing me for advice, or are you writing to put me in my place and tell me a thing or two? Listen, I didn’t create this chaos in your life, you did. You were the promiscuous one.

Yes, I will be the first one to admit that deployments are hard on relationships, and I missed my husband tremendously. I remember feeling empty on the inside and I was lonely, too. Here’s the deal though, I was lonely for my husband, not another man or men.

Sleeping around will only exacerbate the problem, as you are discovering. If you want your marriage to work, you must stop skating around the issue. You didn’t have one affair, you had multiple affairs.

In my professional opinion, the affairs had little to do with your husband’s deployments. You may have had them even if your husband was home every night. However, that’s something you should discover with a counselor.

If your marriage is to heal, you need marital and individual counseling. Check with the social work services department on your base to see if services are available. If not, contact Tricare (877/874-2273) or Military OneSource (800/342-9647) to be referred to a provider in your community. The services are free.

Listen, I appreciate you writing to me and for sharing what’s going on in your life. I’m sure it’s difficult to open up to someone you don’t know. I hope you and your husband can restore your marriage and he can trust you again. Take care and keep in touch.

Reader responses:

• I’ve been reading your column, and I’m amazed at some of the letters you receive. The problem with the U.S. Army is the Americans who serve in the force. My husband is in the Canadian Army and I’m a South African. You Americans are not proud to serve your country at all. You want everything handed to you on a silver platter.

Yes, your country is at war, but many countries have endured the same and do so valiantly. The Americans are tired of war? Why, I don’t understand why you would be tired. You are supposed to have the best fighting force, the best equipment and the best intelligence right?

I’m beginning to realize the U.S. military is nothing special; it’s a full hot-air balloon. - Only Visiting This Country

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 dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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