I Can’t Cope Without My Husband But I Am a Military Spouse So I Have To
I woke up this morning to see the article, I Can’t Cope Without My Husband, And I’m Comfortable Admitting That. Honestly? My first reaction was, “Really? I can’t either, but I do it anyway because I have to because my husband is in the military and how dare you even complain about your husband being away for a weekend.” And then I thought, “If your spouse was in the military too, you would be able to cope just like I have because that is what we military spouses HAVE to do, even if we sometimes feel like we can’t cope without them too.”
I read the comments. I know, you are not supposed to read the comments, but I did. Some were showing compassion for the woman, others not as much. Some were military spouses upset that she couldn’t handle a weekend away, others telling these spouses it isn’t a competition and that we should show the writer compassion.
The truth is, this is all so complicated.
This woman, she suffers from depression, anxiety, and ADHD and she is having a hard time. I totally get that. I can understand too that for the non-military spouse, a weekend away is going to be a lot harder than it is for us milspouses. They are not used to this type of thing. Their spouse didn’t sign up for a job that would take them away. I get all of that. So to the writer of that piece, I do offer you compassion. I am sorry it is so hard when your spouse is away, I truly am. If you were a friend of mine, I would tell you that you can get through this, you can and that you are not alone in your feelings.
At the same time, we also have to recognize that there are military spouses that feel the same way she does. Some military spouses suffer from depression. Some military spouses suffer from anxiety. Some military spouses suffer from ADHD and more. Some spouses feel that coping without their husband is not something they can do.
But then, deployment orders get cut. Training begins. Drill weekends show up, and we spouses have to do it. We have to say goodbye. We have to cope without our husbands. We could be suffering just as much, but we don’t have a choice, we have to keep going.
We spend months, sometimes over a year as a solo parent. Sometimes a two-week training can put us over the age if it comes at a difficult time.
We give birth without our husband, and sometimes they just don’t get to come and be with us on that day. We say goodbye to our spouses with a newborn in our hand and a toddler at our leg. We plan our child’s high school graduation party, inviting our in-laws, knowing our child’s father won’t be in the crowd.
The truth is, whether we feel like this woman or not, we still have to find a way to get through life without our husbands by our side. I know my husband makes my life easier. I am a worry wart, and he balances that out. I love talking about my day with him. If we have trouble with the kids, he can be there. But when he is gone, when he isn’t available, I struggle. Some days are easier than others.
Over the years I have learned how to cope without my husband.
You see, for the first three years of our marriage, he was not in the military. We were not away from each other. When we first started talking about him re-joining the Army, I didn’t think I could do that. We had a child together. How would I be able to handle being a solo parent while he was away? I couldn’t do that. I needed him. We were a team.
But here is the truth. My husband is a soldier. He is. It’s in his blood. No, when I met him he was not active duty. But I could still tell he was a soldier. So when he re-enlisted in 2005, I knew it was the right thing to do. When he came home from drill a few months ago, wanting to re-enlist, I knew it was the right thing to do. Even though, after all these years, I sometimes feel like I can’t cope without him. Even though my anxiety goes through the roof when he is gone, even though being a solo parenting has been so tough over the years.
I think that in life, there is always someone who has it worse than us and always someone that has it easier.
I envy my friends who have never had to spend more than a week or two away from their spouses. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if that had been the case for us? But it wasn’t.
So to anyone, military spouse or not that feels like they can not cope without their spouse, know that you are not alone in feeling this way. Whether you are about to drop your husband of five years off for basic training or your husband of 15 years has to visit their mom for two weeks without you. Whoever you are, whatever you are dealing with, seek out all the help you can get. Rely on your friends. Find your tribe. See a counselor. Don’t be ashamed. Let others know that you need a little more help.
Because at the end of the day, we each have our struggles. We each have things that are hard to deal with that we feel others won’t understand. We each have nights where we cry ourselves to sleep and mornings where we are not sure how we will make it to dinnertime, let alone bedtime.
And while it is way too easy to compare our struggles, way too easy to feel like we have the worst possible situation, we take comfort in knowing that we are not alone, that we can find others who get it and that someday life won’t be as hard.