Ex Military Spouse and Veteran’s Day

The other day, I came across a post from another ex military spouse. She talked about how she used to post about her veteran and was so proud on Veteran’s Day, but this year she didn’t post anything on social media.

I’d never actually thought about it, until after I read her post. I realized I did the same thing!

My intentions were to think about it and post my thoughts the next day, which would have been last Monday. Well, that was the day ex asked girlfriend to marry him. I have put this post on hold for almost a week, because I did not want my anger to cloud my logic. I did not want to be angry at ex and write about being proud of our soldiers.

I was with my ex for a total of fifteen years. He was in the military almost that entire time. He joined the military right out of high school. Then 9/11 happened. I remember being pregnant and a newly-wed and him being deployed. I watched the news every day. Stressing if he would come back home.

I support our soldiers. I could not do it – don’t have it in my personality. I have several friends and family members that are members of the military. I hate that so many scammers give military soldiers such a bad name. Or, even worse, that divorce is so common with military members.

It is challenging being married to a military guy. Long distance. Deployments. The unknown. Must be flexible. It takes work.

Now, the rest will be only related to mine and ex’s personal experiences.

Deployments were ex’s vacation. He would volunteer to go. He would not have to parent. He would get to travel. He would chill by the pool or at the mall. He would cheat. His first deployment, I was pregnant – about five months pregnant at that time – and we were on the phone and he was rambling on, and he said that he wished there were more women deployed with his unit for him to look at. He brought back pictures of the trip. One picture was of a woman sunbathing. Every deployment was another chance for him to cheat. The deployment before I filed for divorce he tried to sleep with the woman. She did not sleep with him. Only because she had a boyfriend – not because he was married. They bought each other gifts. She even sent gifts to him to the house.

I have thought about sending her a message. Thanking her. Thanking her for not sleeping with a married man. Thanking her for being another nail in the coffin of my marriage. I never have spoken to her. Hell, thank her for shedding a little more light on my ex’s behavior.

I’m kind of surprised ex was interested in her. I know I’m not “gorgeous” but I am so much prettier than that woman. She had no curves. Tom boy. No makeup. But, then after the divorce, ex went in the complete opposite direction with women. High maintenance. Tons of makeup. Both of the girlfriends I have seen were the same – both fit that description.

Okay, so I’m rambling….

When I was married, I posted about how proud I was of ex for being in the military and for serving. After I finished with him, three years ago, I stopped posting. I still support our troops. But I think a part of me felt like if I continued posting my support then maybe I was still wanting him. Maybe I was trying to “play a part” and lie to myself. Would others see the posts and think I was still hung up on my ex?

Honestly, I’m not sure. Ex blames me for the amount of time he has been on deployments.

I never expected ex to still be in the military. I had figured after his first contract was up he would get out. And each time he would reenlist without talking to me – we were married each time. He even reenlisted early one time, and never talked to me about it.

I’m glad he stayed in the military – for selfish reasons – for our daughter. She gets great insurance and benefits being a child of a military member. I am proud of our troops. But am I “proud” of my ex? No.

I think when I was married, I forced myself to be proud because what a horrible person I would be not being supportive of my military spouse. Even though I knew what was going on during deployments, others didn’t.

I really believe that is why I used to post on Veterans Day – to keep this illusion that I had this wonderful marriage. To fool myself and others. To play the role I was supposed to.

I think I stopped positing my “pride” for my ex as a veteran, because I just remember all the cheating, lying, and fights because of the military and ex. I remember the fear of him threatening to divorce me and take full-custody of our daughter. We had only been married for two years when he first threatened divorce. I seriously believed him. I thought that since he was military the judge would rule in favor of him. He would get everything. I would lose my daughter forever.

 

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I took Saturday off this past weekend. I had planned on sleeping – THE ENTIRE DAY – I need sleep! Well, ex brought my daughter home at 8:15am on Saturday. Okay, I got a few extra hours of sleep. I spent the day helping her with homework, watching her cheer, playing board games with her, and watching movies with her. It was a fun day.

Well, ex picked her up about 8:30pm Saturday night. I figured he would keep her until late on Sunday. SOOOO… new plan: work Sunday morning and then sleep all day Sunday afternoon.

Sounded like an awesome plan!

Well, Sunday morning: I go to work. Earn some money. Get home at 11am. Grab me something to eat. Crawl into bed around 11:30am. YAY, SLEEP!

12:45pm – My phone starts ringing. It is my daughter. I of course answer it – not sure why she is calling me.

her: Hi Mom, are you home?

me: Yes.

her: Okay, we’re coming over.

me: What?!? Why??

her: Dad wants to bring some stuff over.

We hang up…

&%*@!!!!! Seriously!

Ex comes over. I mean he has already brought a lot of my belongings over. WHAT MORE COULD BE IN HIS HOUSE THAT BELONGS TO ME?!?!

Okay… He brings a shelf, art supplies, and books.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! This could not wait until he brought my daughter home later in the day. He has to be this stuff to me right then?

So, I must have looked as rough as I felt. I greeted ex and my daughter outside. Both of them almost at the same time asked: Are you sick?

Nope. Just trying to sleep…

Well, ex makes a comment about there might be more of my stuff at his house. He said I could have a couple of items, but I would have to go to his house to get them. Fine, fine.

So, I drive over there. We have to walk around the entire house – he was trying to get rid of anything and everything he could. His house is a two-story house – it’s roomy. I live in a single wide trailer. I can’t fit much into my house. So, yes, I would love to hold onto all of my memories of my daughter’s old toys or clothes. It’s not possible.

He tried giving me his Christmas tree – I have a Christmas tree.

It’s like why are you getting rid of everything?

He said because there is no room at girlfriend’s house.

Then why move in there?

Because she asked me to.

Just keep our daughter in mind.

I am. She’s excited.

**I call bullshit**

Later, apparently he tells our daughter that he is not getting rid of things like the Christmas tree. Seriously?!? What game is he trying to play? I’m not stupid. Neither is my kid. We both talk to each other. We know when he is lying and trying to play us.

Apparently, he told my daughter to ask me if I would let him have her sometime during this week so they could continue to clean and pack – he took this week off for vacation. Uhh… he is a grown ass man. He can ask me himself. I’m not a bad ex wife – he is actually very lucky. I could make his life hell if I wanted to.

But, he is not worth that drama or energy.

Really, what would I achieve out of making his life hell?

Being bitter. Being a horrible role model for my daughter.

Besides, it’s not in my personality.

***

This morning, I seen a post asking if any other women had gave up on dating men and decided to start to date women.

So many of the comments were “EWW” “Hell no!”

Talk about closed-minded and hurtful reactions. I’m pretty sure the person that posted was meaning for it to be a joke – not a funny joke. Besides, can’t just switch sides because you want to.

I am attracted to women. I remember being attracted to girls before I was attracted to guys – talk about being in a state of confusion. I’m trying to raise my daughter to be open minded. I think I’m doing a good job. She’ll see a same sex couple kiss or hold hands and she’ll say “aww.”

***

Another post was about starting online dating, but having fears. She talked about being a mom and having a body to prove it. She talked about being afraid no one would like her or she would go on a date with a serial killer.

That is why I put a lot of my personal experiences up here. I want people to see: 1. they are not alone in how they feel; 2. hopefully learn from my mistakes; 3. I heal and move on.

Of course, the healing aspect is slowly happening. But let’s face it, I could – and would – heal even if my blog was private. The learning from my mistakes – I post some personal things on here – personal and sometimes embarrassing. So, hopefully others will take words of advice. For example, the red flags while online dating.

I know we all think we will not make those mistakes, but it happens. For example, I know to have safe sex. I know this! BUT… I have had unprotected sex with a stranger – someone I met online and knew for less than two weeks. DO NOT DO THAT. ha-ha.

I know what red flags to watch for when chatting, yet I ignored them and fell in love with a serial cheater.

So, my words of advice for online dating:

Make a profile. Put recent pictures of yourself. Do not post pictures of your children. List some interests you have. List what you are looking for – fwb, relationship, dating.

Do not give anyone your number. Use texting apps instead. kik is my favorite. You can text, send pictures, and video chat. It is easy to block. I realize there is a dating site for kik – this includes a lot of married individuals. I have never visited the site, but I do find the app very useful.

If you have a bad feeling about someone then block them. Trust your gut.

Watch for red flags!! Seen one woman post screenshots for advice – a guy after only one day of chatting together was calling her “babe” and was wanting to cuddle. THAT IS A RED FLAG — RUN!

Realize online dating is a brutal game. If you are chatting with someone, they are probably chatting with others. Hence, just because you are chatting or even causally dating, does not mean you are in a relationship. I’ve seen women freak out because the guy would not message them on a Friday night after they had been chatting for a week – he was probably on a date. It happens.

Another red flag, if they tell you that you are not allowed to chat with other men while you are chatting with them – RUN! I had one tell me that I was not allowed to chat with any men nor have any male friends. EXCUSE ME? Boy, please. **block**

When you get on the dating sites, there are going to be so many messages. It is natural. You can search for new users and they all smell fresh meat. Just block and keep going.

I do not care if you are depressed or the most out going, ray of sunshine on the planet do not let them see your weakness – they will take that opportunity and run with it. They will find someone who is depressed, lower self-esteem call them beautiful and take advantage of them.

If they only want pictures or talk about your body – block them.

I know, most of this as you are reading through may think: of course, I know this stuff.

It’s different living it. Especially if you’re coming out of a hard divorce/breakup. The attention from someone feels great. You let common sense slip. You let your emotions cloud your mind and your logic.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Being on Your Own

Someone asked how comfortable people are being on their own post divorce and how comfortable they were during their marriage. The responses were about half and half. Yes, I’m comfortable with living on my own. /No, I’m not comfortable.

Yes, I was comfortable being independent during my marriage./ No, I was not very independent during my marriage.

No matter how long your were married, it is probably going to take some adjusting to your new life.

When I was married, my ex worked nights and slept during the day. If I had to go to the store, majority of the time I went with my daughter while ex slept. I did not drive out of town. If I did, I knew the exact path and did not venture any from it. It took years for me to be comfortable to drive on the interstate without my anxiety paralyzing me. Being in town alone was the same story, if there were too many people I started having a panic attack.

That is why I stayed with him for so long. I could not function – or so I thought – on my own.

It takes a lot of adjusting living alone.

Silence.

The silence when my daughter was with ex drove me insane. I found myself either listening to the TV shows that she watched or sitting in the dark staring at the wall for hours.

Become comfortable with the silence. Give yourself a chance to reflect, relax, and even enjoy moments of silence. More than likely you are always going, always trying to survive. Take a moment. Breath. Relax.

Money.

One positive thing I will say about my ex is he was a workaholic. He always volunteered for overtime. He was always working. He also allowed me to be a stay at home mom for five years. Granted we didn’t have as much money as he is making now, but we survived. We were young. We were comfortable.

This is one area I cannot give any advice. I live paycheck to paycheck. I have entertained the idea of having a sugar daddy just to save money in case something breaks.

I see this being an issue for several divorced individuals.

Do what you have to. You start making choices and changes in your life. Things you thought you needed, you realize you can not afford. You start deciding what you actually need compared to what you just want. My daughter is cared for. I am still wearing the same clothes that I have for almost a decade. They are worn. I cannot justify buying new ones.

Social life.

This is another area where I struggle. I did not have friends while I was married. I never had a girls’ night or a mommy and me group to hang out with. I took care of my daughter, the house, and my husband during my marriage. I sat at home while he would go to drill each month. After he finished on base, he would go out drinking. I remember seeing one receipt where he spent six dollars for a beer and left the waitress a fifteen dollar tip. I was so crushed. I could only imagine what flirting took place.

I see several people make a comment about how they lost friends after the divorce. Remember it is quality not quantity. But definitely make time to stay in contact with your true friends.

Relationships.

Third area that I struggle with… relationships. I have been divorced for five years. I have been done with my ex for about three years. I seriously did not think I would still be single by this time! I decided to do online dating. I thought I could easily find a man. Well… little did I know online dating is full of married men and creeps.

I do want a relationship. I do want to get married again. I don’t know if either will ever happen.

I took about a two week break from online dating. I decided to get back on there yesterday. Immediately, a couple of twenty-one year olds message me – ha!! A married man messages me – NO!! And a gamer messages me – nothing in common.

I guess I am going to continue to give online dating a try. I mean, I want a relationship so I have to make an effort, right? Really doubt Mr. Right is going to knock on my door. I have to go out and try to find him.

Or maybe decide I really just want fwb. Ugh… Sounds fun. But, can I do that? My anxiety, depression, and trust issues – is fwb a good choice for me?

I do miss having a relationship. I miss having an adult to talk to and share with. I miss being married to my best friend.

Identity.

Final thought. After your divorce, it is hard to find your identity. I was always known as ex’s wife, or my daughter’s mom. Never known by my name. Never known for me.

Figure out who you are. Figure out your likes and dislikes. Find yourself.

Taking your life.

**Trigger warning**

I don’t get offended often – I mean, seriously, I deal with creeps during online dating; so, I’m used to a lot. However, there are some key issues that do offend me. I was scrolling through social media, and I came across a meme that actually made me want to cry, scream, and apparently blog.

Here is the meme I came across:

Image result for ex talks about suicide meme

Now, granted I have seen this episode and they do make it light-hearted.

So, why did it bother me so much when I seen the meme?

Because the page I saw it on was a support group. This is a group that is supposed to support each other. Hundreds of people laughed or liked this meme. They joked about their ex completing suicide (granted, they didn’t use the phrase “completing”). I couldn’t. I didn’t. Why? Because if it hadn’t been for my ex, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

Before I go into my story, I will clarify why I use “completing” instead of “committing.” I use completed because they finished their suicide. Most people think of “being committed” as either a long-term relationship or a mental institution.

**Triggering**

A few years ago I attempted suicide. I don’t remember much from that day. It’s more like I remember a few minutes here or there. I remember going to my ex’s house – it was my day to pick up my daughter. They had just got back from a few days trip out of state. He had bought her a brand new game, so she wanted to stay there and play her new game. I remember thinking to myself “I have to leave.” I was so hurt that my daughter did not want to come with me. I was hurt that ex had girlfriend. I was still so in love with him. I do not remember the drive to my house, at all. I remember grabbing a couple of bottle of pills and writing a note. I don’t remember what I wrote though. I started downing handfuls of pills. I remember my phone ringing. I answered it. It was my daughter calling. I do not remember the conversation. I remember it was that moment that I actually realized what I was attempting to do. I was going to do something so horrible that it was going to affect my daughter for the rest of her life. I started to force myself to get sick. My ex called this time. Again, I do not really remember the conversation. I remember him asking if I was alright. I said “I will be.” Ex came to my house. I had to go outside. I could not let my daughter see me like that. I was a mess. I remember him staying outside with me. I remember the feeling of the overdose.

*******

That’s why I don’t take that meme lightly. Seriously, if my ex hadn’t intervened then I really doubt I would be here. (I know it was my daughter that called, but she did use his phone.)

After seeing that meme, I turned my energy into positive energy. I started painting. I painted three rocks – all supported a semicolon.

For those that are not familiar with the semicolon’s meaning: in writing, the semicolon is used when the author can stop a sentence, but they choose to continue the sentence. Same is true with the semicolon when talking about suicide and life. People choose to continue living.

Related image

I do have a semicolon tattoo. It is my reminder that no matter how horrible life might be at that moment, I have to continue.

After I painted the three semicolon rocks, I posted online. I actually expected backlash from my paintings. Instead, I received love and support. Of course, I did not share MY story, but multiple people shared their stories. Loved ones had completed suicide and when they saw my rocks they felt positive emotions. They encouraged me to continue “rocking” the semicolon; to continue bringing awareness to mental illness.

Thank you for reading and following this blog. I know today’s post was sensitive. So, if you are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies, please seek help. Mental illness is tough. You have to battle what is in your own head every single moment of the day. Therefore, remember even on your “bad” days, you are a badass! Also, if you know someone that might be suicidal, please talk to him/her. Find help for them. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Even if you are not sure of what to say, be there for them! Listen. Actually listen to them. Don’t judge.

***triggering***

And please be mindful of what you say!

I chatted with a guy a few years ago online. We never met in person due to distance. But we chatted daily for several months. He’d had someone close to him complete suicide. He was actually the person that his friend had called before he completed his suicide.

The guy – we’ll call him “Chris” – received a call from his friend. Chris told me that his friend was upset and crying. He talked about suicide. Chris tried talking his friend out of it, but the friend continued to say it was the only way. Chris said he was on the phone with his friend for over an hour. Chris was starting to lose his temper and get annoyed by the situation. Out of anger, frustration, and annoyance, Chris said something that continued to haunt him: If you are going to kill yourself, then just do it already.

Chris told me they hung up the phone and it was right after that his friend shot himself. Chris could not handle the guilt of that situation, so he attempted suicide himself. Somehow, Chris survived.

*****

As we chatted, we shared our stories. It was nice to chat with someone that understood. I know he told me he really appreciated having someone to talk to about this. (When we’d started chatting it’d only been a year since his friend’s death. Chris was feeling extra depressed because another loved one had just died also.)

I lost touch with Chris about two years ago. We’d tried talking to each other again. It was just like as if nothing had changed, but still the distance was not ever going to change. We disappeared out of each other’s lives.

As you read the story about Chris, what could he have done differently? Call the police to do a wellness check. I know if you are not familiar with mental illness then it can be frustration and make you feel powerless. My ex told me about my “stupid” and “crazy” behavior during my attempt.

Take care and best wishes.