i have been married for about four years now and my husband and i got married at 18 we have 3kids all under the age of four and it gets stressful sometimes for both of us... he is in the army hes been a soldier for almost 3 years now he was deployed in Iraq last year and ever since he came back he came back a different person i sometimes don't know who he is anymore... i try to do everything that he asks for but yet nothing makes him happy we don't argue a lot but when we do they are really bad arguments... to be honest the only reason why we don't argue as much is because i choose to ignore the things he does to me.. my husband can hurt my feelings and not apologize unless i ask for an apology.. he has never and i mean never in four years that we have been married ever made me feel better or ever done anything to make up for his mistake i always let it go... since he came back from Iraq he has sleeping problems like he kicks his leg every six or ten seconds i have stayed up countless nights taking notes and counting he wakes up just about every night like at 2 or 3 in the morning and he will eat but he cant control it he sleep walks and when i tell him babe go back to bed your not hungry he gets upset and i can understand having a little snack but he eats 3 bowls of cereal a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies ding dongs then in the morning when he wakes up he feels unhappy with himself he calls himself fat and ugly disgusting but hes not fat he doesn't have a belly hes 159 he also tells me that hes getting old hes only 22 he tells me that what has his life come to -- getting up in the morning and going to work every day the same over and over again and he hates what he does he sometimes hates coming home he wonders what is he doing with me if he loves me still if he even loved me to begin with and it hurts me because i care about him he tells me that hes not attracted to me in anyway and it crushes me it feel bad we stopped having sex now he only lasts 3 minutes and I'm not exaggerating i really mean counted 3 minutes and its only once a week if I'm lucky and he never gets in the mood any more and its never when i want to its always when he does most of the time i just lay there and it doesn't feel nice i feel useless when ever he is happy he tells me how much he loves me how he can live without me that when hes mad he talks a lot of BS that he doesn't mean that I'm beautiful that I'm sexy so its like a roller coaster one day hes fine and happy and an other day hes miserable and unhappy and it drives me nuts its like what do i believe what he tells me when hes mad or when hes happy but regardless it hurts me it puts me down when we argue he cant stick to the subject instead of admitting his fault he will try to justify it by bringing something form the past or saying something that would hurt me instead of ok i understand what i did I'm sorry it wont happen again i can never get that and when he does say I'm sorry id because i had to say can i get an I'm sorry please but i don't get it an honest one... i wont see him for a week now because hes out in the field doing training but he left mad not wanting to talk to me the last words he said to me where i want a divorce i hate you i don't love you anymore and i know that when he comes from the field hes stressed and i can only think that him knowing hes coming home to me and the way we left each other is only not going to make him any happier so please i need some type of advice i need some type of reassurance to keep me here from your experience does it sound like he loves me I'm only 21 i have 3 kids but I'm still young i don't want to get used to a routine that makes me so unhappy i have accepted that i have responsibilities and that life cant be all games and fun I'm willing to give up a couple years until my kids are old enough I'm willing to sacrifice myself for my kids and my husband...i think I'm a very good mom and good wife i cook and i clean my house is hardly ever a mess i believe that children aren't an excuse to have your house dirty or to forget about your self.. please just help me out here please....
Dr. Romance responds:This is becoming a familiar problem. Your husband is showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is quite common in Iraq war veterans. It's dangerous for him, for you and for your children. You need to contact a counselor who is expert in this issue. Is there a Veteran's hospital nearby? Are you on or near a base? Seek counseling there, or at http://www.iraqwarveterans.org/ptsd.htm you'll find the following:
Military Chaplain Associated Services - Readjustment Resource for the 21st Century Global War
on Terror Veterans
Veterans Affair's suicide hotline at 800.273.TALK (8255) [you can call even though no one is suicidal]
Brothers Bound By Honor - site was developed to bring hope, help, and support to Combat
Veterans and their families; however, this site will prove to be a great asset to those Veterans and
their families presently on active duty, others who live daily with the symptoms of Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, and any one who has an interest in Veterans' issues.
IWVO - PTSD - Iraq - Discussion forum about PTSD. Talk with Military personnel now
deployed in Iraq, active duty personnel worldwide and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.
Living With PTSD - Online support group for those of us who love someone with PTSD
Sisters Bound by Honor - a group to support each other and gain strength in coping with the
lasting effect of war and the wounds we carry with us.
The Aftermath of War - Safe Haven of Support for those whose battles live on in the aftermath of
VetGuide - Office of Personnel Management
Women of War Veterans Overcoming PTSD - Wives and Partners of War Veterans diagnosed
with combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Please contact some of these resources and get yourself and your husband the help you both need.
This will only get worse until you do. My new book, The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You're Far Apart was written for couples separated by work and war, and it also has a lot of helpful information for you.
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The Carter Center