Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Secret Lives of Military Wives... Shhh Don't Tell!

A few days ago, when I was on the phone with Ben, his Army buddies started yelling stuff to me from behind him. Since his phone has a noise filter, I had him translate. Apparently, I have become a favorite wife among his unit -- mostly because I send yummy treats, fun movies, and magazines. The guys (and I say "the guys" because the women there don't care beans about me) have ironically taken it upon themselves to give me "Army Wife" advice.

This particular day, "the guys" want Ben to tell me about a certain Military Spouse support website. They said all their girlfriends are on there and really like it. Sure, whatever, I thought. I hardly have time to blog let alone check out more sites.

Then the other night I was bored. Not in the mood to blog, or watch a movie, so I decided to check out this site the guys were telling me about.

Let's just say, what I read gave me nightmares that night.

In one hour, I learned more about other military spouses than I ever wanted to know. The forums were like huge cat fights, and people were reviling intimate details of their lives that should stay just that, intimate, not public. I just couldn't take it anymore and turned it off. I just couldn't read anymore about Gays in the Military, or about how we military wives should be expected to be cheated on because our men need to get some over seas. I cried with the wives who lost husbands to other women or to the war, and stressed with the Navy women who are freaking about whether or not they are going to start putting women on the subs. I even fumed at the women who said that spouses should not receive any benefits from the military. Seriously, she said dependents are all lazy and need to get off the couch and get jobs -- how dare we spend the money our husbands earn. Then there was the huge battle of military wives vs. military girlfriends. Absolutely childish! I just couldn't take it in any more. Enough is enough!

The site claims it for all Military Spouses to feel comfortable and find support there. I didn't feel comforted at all. It was nerve racking to hear all the horror stories and all the whining and complaining. It was like the ultimate reality show in writing! I hate to admit this, but as much as I didn't like what I was reading, I just couldn't stop...

Anyway, I finally got away, and most likely won't be going back. I have found a great military support group (military and non-military wives -- and even a few guys!) on my own here through my blog and theirs -- thanks friends!

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it. There are people out there that need something like that. Me, I get enough drama here at home. I don't have the energy to deal with stuff like that. There is just some things a woman, like me, just doesn't need to know. Know what I mean?

I'm thinking, I just want things to be the way they were before my eyes were so rudely opened. I was perfectly happy in my little bubble of peace and naivete.

Needless to say, I was watching the clock the next afternoon, waiting for the time I could call my man. I needed to be reassured that he is a great guy and would never be like all those other husbands... And I was. Ben is the perfect man for me.

I feel really blessed, I do. As much as I ache for those other wives, I want to be a part of something better, more uplifting, and a whole lot more patriotic.


Practically Perfect... said...

I have so much respect for military families/couples. My brother is in the AF and just got back after a year in Iraq, and I know that it was incredibly hard on him and his wife. But there are great people in the military who don't go overseas and cheat on their spouses, and I think that those people find each other and support each other, both those in the military and the spouses at home.

I think that when people are online and they gain anonymity, the gloves come off. People say things that they would normally never, ever say and can become incredibly hurtful. I've been in similar situations with online support groups, and it's terrible how what is meant to be a supportive environment becomes one that causes stress and hurt. I'm glad that you've been able to find support elsewhere!

**PS - I've been following your blog for awhile but haven't had as much time to comment. I really enjoy what you write!**

Anonymous said...

I once asked a friend whose husband goes away for months at a time for his job and if she was worried he might stray while he is gone and how she is so sure he could make it all that time without any "action" and she told me he had gone years without it and so she wasn't worried about months, which did put it all into perspective.

I think all in all that there are probably a lot of men who go and cheat but the point that people find this acceptable is part of the reason, another thing to consider is that usually alcohol is involved, or something like that so they aren't thinking straight anyways. The crazy thing is that most those men who do cheat come home to realize that like other wartime trajedies they can't just forget about their mistake and move on once they get home--which could probably explain all those divorced soldiers I've met. (I am not saying everyone cheats, i am just saying those who do, who want everyone to believe everyone is doing it and it is ok)

In short, Cat, your husband doesn't cheat, he knows better and he even knows what something like that can do to a relationship so it doesn't even come to his mind, I am sure, because you are most definitely all the woman he needs, so don't worry too much about it(I only say too much because I once read parts of a church book on marriage that said that if you know a danger is lurking you are going to safeguard it from happening where as if you think there is no danger you somtimes can let it sneak up on you by not protecting yourself from it, so don't say it could never happen, more that it won't happen--does that make sense?

Ben and you are such strong individuals, who love each other so much, our prayers are with you.

by the way, when does it get to come home?

Tobi said...

When you finally get to live with Ben full time, try to live in a military ward. It's the best. It's so comforting to know that everyone in your church is in the same boat and they are all trying to live the gospel principles. It's gives the military a bright shiny outlook. Especially compared to the rude awakening you just got.

P.S. I so did not ride ponies. Just my kids.

Mama Nut said...

You are all so RIGHT!

Practically Perfect, you hit it on the mark, everyone needs their own support group. Especially these dear women who have sacrificed so much! I really do ache for them... but I have no idea what to say to them either, know what I mean? I could tell a lot of spouses really needed somewhere to vent, where no one knows them. I think it's great that there is somewhere for that.

And Anonymous, I LOVE what you said about lurking danger! Ben and I talk about it all the time, to look for signs to stay away from certain individuals and such. It isn't that I don't trust him, because I trust him more than anyone, I don't trust some of the shifty people he works with. I just make sure from my side, that I be the kind of wife he is going to think about all the time :)

Oh, he comes home for Christmas for 2 weeks, then goes back until March. Then I get to keep him for a year until summer 2011 when he goes to do ROTC training for 6 weeks (I think). Which is no biggie. As long as he is in the ROTC they won't deploy him, so we will have a good 3 years until that is a possibility -- unless he goes career Army.

Tobi- What?! You didn't get to ride a pony!? Unfair. LOL

If we ever live on Base, we will for sure check out the Military branches -- I am actually kind of excited about something like that!

Anyway, have a great day everyone! And THANK YOU for your encouraging words!

Kristin said...

Sounds like a site for people with nothing better to do with their lives then be miserable!

Im having a blog party to promote my blog and others :) Come check me out!


Jill said...

I'm glad you've found support through the military wives here. I am not a military wife but you always know that you have my support. There's no need to go waste energy on that other site when it doesn't give you strength and buoy you up. We're all here for you Catherine!

Mama Nut said...

Thanks, Jill! That means more than you know!

Lydia said...

Yes there are groups of people out there that live their lives like the ones on the web site. but there are those of us who stay as far away from them as possible and live our lives,with our husbands.

there are great people out there and I am happy to have you in my circle.

Pam said...

I think you are wise to stay far away from that forum. It sounds absolutely toxic. There is no reason to believe that those women's experiences and attitudes are universal. Remember "misery loves company" and that forum seems to have attracted the truly miserable.

Otter Thomas said...

I know it has to be tough for you. Hang in there. Your guy is lucky to have such a supportive wife.

Chief said...

My BFF has a husband in the military and I am so proud of him and her for every sacrifice that they make for our country!

Jill said...

Hey, Catherine, have you watched the movie Taking Chance? It is about a fallen soldier from Iraq. And I'm not telling you about the movie to make you scared. I just think it is such a great film that every American should watch to understand the great sacrifice our soldiers give to protect us. It was very moving and I felt a whole new understanding for military families. I know you already understand that. But just thought you might enjoy the movie.

Catherine said...

You know, I think I know the forum you are talking about. I had joined one, and it seriously stressed me out too. I dont think I am going back, It scared me. I think I will stick to the Military girls on the blogs. :]

Ana said...

The thing you might want to remember, though, is that many people have no outlets beyond things like message boards. When you are constantly moving around and so are your friends, it can be hard to make friends, especially at first.After having moved overseas where I can no longer attend church, I appreciate even more just how valuable that is to acclimate yourself to an area. A lot of people don't have that. So, they turn to message boards and often say more than they should. Obviously, it isn't the place for you right now, but at times, it's helpful to find a decent one. This is especially true when you are moving. No where have I found better information on the places we were going than on a military message board. It does have its uses, as long as you can sort through (and avoid!) the stuff that doesn't help you.

And, without getting into the submarine issue, let's just say, that IS NOT about whether or not everyone's marriage is shaky. It's so much more than that, but not an easy thing to talk about with people who don't know the life. So, message boards have been hopping with it because it's the best way to actually talk to people that both understand and will be affected by it.

Nicole said...
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