Photo by Vince LoPresti

If you told me a year ago that my
husband was going to leave me, I would have never believed it. Not with
everything we’d been through…multiple deployments, a long distance
relationship until we were married, his transition out of the USMC, loss of
jobs, tragic loss of family members…no, not us. We were in the 50% that makes
it.
Unfortunately it all became a
reality one hot June night in 2012 when life as I knew it, ended.
He had come back from Iraq years
ago, after losing many lives in his company. He took about 2 weeks to get back
into regular life and things seemed “normal.”  It wasn’t until years later when his temper
worsened, the drinking started, and his priories clearly shifted.
I’d like to say it was a slow
gradual change, and maybe in some aspects it was. But that’s not what it felt
like to me. He came home one night and told me he didn’t know if he wanted to
be married anymore. We started therapy and I was determined to work through it.
That’s what you do right? We vowed to stay together forever, not just when
things were going great.
The drinking continued to get
worse. He occasionally didn’t come home. The fighting got worse. Then all of a sudden,
over dinner one night, everything changed. He said I was his soul mate. He
wanted to work on things. And things got great.  Really great…for about 6 months. Then it all
hit me.
I had changed so much, just to
please him. All the emotional abuse, the lies, the drinking. I needed it to
stop. I turned to our families for support. His family comforted him. He
admitted things were not going well and agreed things needed to change. Two
days later, he came home from work and told me that he wanted a divorce because
I was making him miserable.
People that know me, could not be
more shocked by the news.  I’m a care
free, easy going person.  I give my all
in every situation. How could HE leave me? I’ve been there for him through
everything and this is how he thanks me?
It wasn’t until nine months later
when it all became clear. I had the privilege to attend a Hope For The Warriors®
event and had the opportunity to meet men and women who were suffering from post-traumatic
stress (PTS). To say it was eye opening and life changing would be a vast
understatement. I learned there was nothing I could do to “get him through
it.” I realized that I was actually suffering from PTS as well. I also
learned how complicated the stress disorder is. 
The ironic part is that he always
said he was “fine.”  He
criticized others for blaming their behavior on PTS. I learned that it was so
much easier for him to put all the blame on me and continue to not deal with
everything.
I want people to know that it’s
one thing to support their spouse; but it should not mean that you give up your
entire life and change who you are as a person. I’m sure I am not the only
spouse to go through something like this and I am sorry that I will not be the
last.

Learn more about PTSD.

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