Dear Ms. Vicki,
Nothing prepared me for the shock I have experienced since my husband came home from Iraq. I have been a good and faithful wife for 16 years and stayed faithful throughout my marriage. The long separations and deployments have taken their toll on me and the children. But because I was committed to my husband and to my children, I have tried like everything to suffer through them. Now after a second long deployment, I have found out my husband cheated on me in Iraq. Not just cheated but had a full-fledged affair. This woman continues to send him emails and has called my home. At this point, my husband has admitted to the affair and says he has feelings for this woman. Where does this leave me and my children? I have traveled around for the past 16 years being an Army wife, and that’s probably all I know. Now I am ashamed and angry. My family tells me I should report him and this female Soldier to their commanders and move on. I am hesitant because if my husband loses his salary, I lose too. So what will I be moving on to, poverty? I have nothing. My husband says he is willing to go to a marriage counselor, and I am too because I don’t want to lose my husband. Do you think counseling will help? Can you refer us to someone?
— Breakup after deployment
It takes two to agree to counseling and try to save a marriage. I hate to see marriages end. I generally tend to side with saving the marriage. I usually get nasty emails because of this position. However, the two of you took the vows. As a result, the two of you must be committed to saving the marriage. From your report, it seems like you’ve had a stressful 16 years and have sacrificed a lot. I can’t refer you to a specific person for counseling, but you should check on your local base with the Social Work Services and ask if they provide marital counseling. If not, contact Military OneSource they will connect you with a marital counselor or therapist in your local community. Their number is 800-342-9647.
In my professional opinion, I think couples who want marital counseling should also receive individual counseling too. In your letter you report you want to save your marriage, but you also say you can’t leave because you have no resources of your own. Because of this, I think you should consider establishing something for yourself. Check with the Army Community Service on base. They have many education and employment programs to offer Spouses. The fact that you know you would be destitute financially without your husband sends me a clear message that you should consider continuing your education and perhaps starting a career of your own. Your husband cheated, and it’s not your fault. Hopefully counseling can begin the healing process. At any rate, I think it’s time for you to change your personal situation for your own sake. You deserve the best. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.
— Ms. Vicki
Learn more about the truth of infidelity in the military on SpouseLink.
Hi! My name is Ms. Vicki and I’m a native of Dallas. I’m married to an active-duty Soldier and we have three sons. I’ve always had a gift for giving quick advice and steering people in the right direction. I have a Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville and I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I provide services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping, etc. Find out more at my website.