June 04, 2007

GETTING OUT

I just found a great post from a Marine's girlfriend over at Loquita's Blog. At this point, he is talking about getting out because he doesn't want to put her through a deployment. This bothers her.

I don't want LT to make a decision about staying in the Marine Corps based on not wanting to put me through the lack of work-life balance inherent in the military lifestyle - intense training schedules, never-ending and always inconvenient or last-minute (or both) changes to those schedules, and of course deployments.
...
Maybe I've just become too invested in my mil-spouse persona, and I don't want to give up the feeling of having a shared bond with others... And as ashamed as I am to admit it, I'd go so far as to say I don't want to give up on this new kind of clique that I'm eligible to be a member of.

And who would LT be if he wasn't a Marine? How will my view of him change, and what will our life be like post-USMC? I don't even know for sure what career or profession he would end up in. He talks about becoming a firefighter or a police officer. But how would he or I know if those jobs are any more conducive to maintaining a good work-life balance? At this point, I've adjusted to the military thing, I've found support through reading blogs online, and I'm not anxious to go through any more big changes...

I can completely relate to this feeling. When my husband applied for Civil Affairs the first time and didn't get in, he decided he would get out of the Army. And I cried. Oh how I cried. And tried to pretend I wasn't crying, because it's his job and his choice to make, and I didn't want him to stay in just so his wife would stop crying.

Often we hear about wives who urge their husbands to get out of the military. But it's something entirely different to urge your husband to stay in. You can emotionally blackmail someone to stop doing what he loves, but how do you make him keep doing something you want him to do...without the blackmail?

I was so scared, lying there in the dark that night, talking about getting out. What would we do? Where would we go? All we've ever known together has been the Army, and I was terrified about getting out. Terrified about finding another job, devastated about letting go of retiring at 42, and scared to death that he'd get another job only to find he hated the civilian world even more than he hated Army Finance.

But how could I make him stay? I wasn't the one doing an unsatisfying job. I wasn't the one who felt betrayed by the Army because I'd offered to make myself more useful only to have them brush me off. I wasn't the one who ultimately had to choose.

Luckily, he wasn't at the point where he could get out quickly. Luckily he still owed the Army another three years after that fateful night, and he managed to find his way into Civil Affairs a year later. And he's happy again.

But could I have really let him get out? I don't really like to think about that. If the situation came up again, we'd discuss again.

And I'd cry. Oh how I'd cry.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:57 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Since we started this crazy pre-deployment, mobilization, now deployment thing 17+ months ago, I have been encouraging my husband (Army Reserves) to get MORE into Army. He has been accepted into AGR. I understand the inclusion and exclusiveness of military life. I feel like I am only on the edge of the pool, but I like how the water feels on my feet. I'd like to dive on in.

Posted by: Butterfly Wife at June 04, 2007 09:05 AM (+2qii)

2 My Hubby got out after 6 years active Navy and did on year of "loafing" then went into the Guard. We were still young and I did not really know how to open my mouth yetto say I wanted him to stay active duty. I grew up AF and became a Navy wife turned Army National Guard wife. Oh how I wish I had know how much Hubby wanted to stay in. I miss the active duty and being around others in the same boat all the time. Now he feels to old to go active duty and these last two deployments have taken alot out of him and me too. I can't blame him. Our oldest has already started talking to recuters and trying to decide which service is best for him. Wow to think I thought I was the only wife out there who wanted their husband to stay in the military.

Posted by: Reasa at June 04, 2007 02:34 PM (JfF5d)

3 Thanks for checking out my blog Sarah - it was really interesting to read your own thoughts on this since you've been in this boat a lot longer than me. "Often we hear about wives who urge their husbands to get out of the military. But it's something entirely different to urge your husband to stay in." Sometimes when I talk to my boyfriend's family, I feel like they almost resent the fact that I don't try to push him to get out. They talk about his upcoming EAS as if he's getting out for sure, and there's not even a decision to make. Reasa, you described the same thing I'm worried about: "Oh how I wish I had know how much Hubby wanted to stay in." I'm terrified that he won't accept my acceptance (bad wording, I know) of the military lifestyle, and he'll sacrifice something he wants to do because he thinks he has to do it to keep me. I wish his family hadn't always been so critical of his decision to be in the military - I feel like he's so conditioned to their attitude that he can't even comprehend mine... It definitely makes me feel better that there are other out there like me!

Posted by: loquita at June 04, 2007 05:45 PM (nEjmo)

4 We have been "loafing" around in the civilan world for the past seven months. And honestly, we both hate it. I hope his paperwork goes through fast.

Posted by: Jennifer at June 08, 2007 11:05 AM (TMBJh)

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