Noone cares about military spouses

As some of you may know I live on an air force base in japan with my husband and his two young kids, I’m pretty young and very new to marriage, the military, and child raising. (the being in japan part isn’t that bad in comparison.) Well you know, life often gets stressful, and me and my husband fight all the time. I’ve tried to find an outlet here, but it’s led me to the discovery that noone cares about military spouses.

Observe: they have chaplains who you’re supposed to go talk to for confidential advice. I’m not religious but hey, its someone to talk to. Well, I’ve talked to 4. Three of these had to leave for meetings five minutes after I came in, all on seperate occasions, and today i saw a 4th whose great advice was “why don’t you just get a divorce?” !!! Can you imagine, this is his way of working out the kinks in a marriage, just give up on it?

So besides the chaplains there’s also the hospital for like, psychiatric consultation. However that’s not confidential and if they assume that there’s abuse or neglect involved they get the family advocacy people over to your house quicker than you can say “family advocacy.” And if I were to tell them what’s on my mind believe me they’d investigate, which would make my home life worse. But, I tried. I went there. And who did they want me to talk to? A guy who happens to be the head of family advocacy!!! So I couldn’t go.

And you can’t band together with other wives in this place cause they all rat on eachother “ooh you said that the kids do what?? I think they’re neglected even though I have no evidence! Let me go call your husband’s supervisors so they can come over and try to take the kids away based on what I think!” I’ve had this happen before. I can’t trust anyone for even the slightest friendship here. Most nights I end up wandering the empty streets of the base alone and noone notices or cares, even if I’m crying or have self-inflicted cuts on my arms. There’s a million programs at this base to “help” new military spouses, they’re only held twice a year and each one takes only 25 people, and there’s no advertising to let you know when to sign up. The military claims to care about the families, but I don’t see it, not when I have no outlet for my pain and grow more isolated and scarred up by the day. if they’re not actually going to help spouses through the difficult transitions that living with the military may cause, then I think families shouldnt be allowed to live on base. Thoughts? Opinions? I know some of you have lived with the military, did you have similar experiences?

I wasn’t a military spouse, but I was in the Navy for a number of years. I know our base and specifically my squadron had very active ombudsman programs that were designed for just the sort of things you’re talking about here. I’m afraid I can’t offer specific examples since I didn’t use the services, but I’d look for such an organization if I was you.

I wish I had more or better advice to offer you. If it’d help, feel free to send me an email. I have no magical answers, but you can rant to me all you want and I won’t rat you out.

I came from a military family and I am really amazed at the job my mom did raising the kids in a different state or country each year with dad on TDY about half the time.

Really until my dad retired and we bought a house the family spent Christmas in a different house every year.

What do you and your husband fight about? (if that’s not too personal)


It sounds like you need some sort of couples thearpy. So what if it is reported.

Zebra, that might be logical if her husband wasn’t in the military.

But from what I have heard, there is still some prejudice against people who seek counselling or therapy. Like it could keep the husband from getting his next rank. Nothing overt, of course, but for whatever reason, it would be delayed or otherwise messed up.

I have no advice for you, I wish I did. Hopefully someone else will give you (and us) some good information.


Hi, acrossthesea. Welcome to the Air Force family. I’m really sorry to hear you feel so abandoned. What base are you on? We spent three years at Misawa, up on the northern tip on Honshu.

One of the things I did to keep busy when we were overseas (both Misawa and other places) was take college classess. Spouse tuition assistance pays half of one course per semester, and there are other scholarship programs available. You can really make headway on a degree (or even get one, depending on where you are) while you are overseas.

As for being lonely, I think you may be overgeneralizing a bit when you refer to other AF spouses. It it true, there can be an element of petty cliqueishness among military spouses, but not all of us are like that.

Look for clubs that might be populated by people that are a bit off the beaten path. In Okinawa, I met some very cool people in the theatre group. There are often D&D groups that meet in the rec center, if that’s your thing. Look in your base bulletin, and go to the rec/community center and get one of their flyers.

Now, as for wandering the streets at night with self-inflicted cuts…that is really something you should see mental health for. I know you that you are concerned about confidentiality, but that is the sort of thing you really need a professional consultation for. It is true that they are required to report any suspected child abuse or neglect, but that is no more than any other health provider in the US is required to do. There are people there that really do want to help people. While we were at Misawa, I had a very good friend that suffered from some fairly serious depression issues, and she found the mental health staff very helpful.

I really hope things get better for you, acrossthesea.

If her husband is in the AF, then seeking counseling would most certianly not affect his promotion chances. The AF encourages members and spouses to seek help if it is needed, and it is official as well as unofficial policy that there will be no detrimental effect on the members career. In fact, if there is a clear need for help and it is not sought, then that is what will negatively affect a career.

Hey there across the sea. I am the president of the Family support group for my spouse’s Army National Guard Unit. There should be someone to help you, just to listen. If the Chaplains are skipping out on appointments, you need to complain. If you have an appointment with them, they need to be there for you. There are several great Family Support websites linked on the Department of Defense website, I believe that thislink should help you maybe find some resources.

They are by law required to offer assistance. Find out who is coordinating the “help” classes for the new military spouses and have them notify you or tell you how to find out when the next classes are. It’s really important for you to know what is happening, how you can be involved and how to access information. My husband either doesn’t know, isn’t interested or hasn’t thought about some of the impacts of military life for the spouse and he’s only part time Guard. I can identify on a limited basis with what you are saying. It is very confusing and can be very lonely. We have a strong unit here and the families are pretty close, but that’s unique compared to the other places we’ve lived and the other guard units that he’s been in.

The main thing to remember is that you have to be the one who takes charge of your life, married or not, and that only you can ferret out the information that may save your marriage and/or life. I hope that the link I gave you helps and that you can find some help…Hang in there and hugs from a military spouse in Montana!

I am so sorry to hear that you’re having such a rough time. I was on active duty, then stayed with my husband on base for 18 months until he finished his contract. The difference in the way I was treated (AD vs. Dependant spouse) made me realize how difficult it is for the spouses. You do have legitimate complaints, especially about the chaplains. (When I needed to go see one once, I was told that the appointment would be in a month–Gee, how helpful, by that time I had worked my specific problem out.) Try to talk to them again, or go to your family physician and ask for a referral to the mental health dept.

I think the best advice for you and it’s already been said, is take some classes. I did after I got off active duty, and it really kept my sanity. You meet people there, even though they are mostly military wives as well, but in a different atmosphere than the catty bullshit of the Jerry Springer hopefuls that sit at home and do nothing but talk about the ladies down the street. I’m sure there are many day care options, either the base center or the in-home providers that will help with (I think you said?) your husbands children. Both should charge on a sliding scale, so if your husband is an officer, you will pay more than a man who is an Airman. But, it’s a fair price . If money is still a problem, there is always a volunteer network (on my base it was called LINKS) where you can volunteer your time doing things, and the program paid your daycare fees.

I don’t know you, but I feel for you, being out of the country, having problems with your spouse who is your only anchor. Please get help for cutting yourself. Please. Don’t let this escalate.

accrossthesea, my heart is with you.

I was married to someone who was in the Navy. The ship he was stationed on was going to do a home port shift from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan. I was going to move over there with him and live there for probably a year or two until he was reassigned.

I’m convinced that part of the reason the marriage fell apart was due to my fear of exactly what you’re going through. I’d be so far away from everything I knew and loved. And he’d be out on the ship, leaving me alone in a foreign country. Who to talk to? Who to relate to?

I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I hope that you can find a way to work through your troubles, and that it doesn’t end in divorce for the two of you. Marriage (I found) is hard work, and throwing a military life into the mix makes it even harder.

I don’t have any advice, I just wanted to say that I care too!

I’m sorry things are so rotten for you at the moment. Please just keep in mind that they won’t STAY rotten!!

Like Breezy, I don’t have any additional advice… but I did want to say that I care. E-mail isn’t a substitute for face-to-face support, but if you need another person to talk to, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Hi, I’m not a military spouse or child (IANAMSOC?) but I went to college with a LARGE number of military brats. One thing I noticed is that the kids/moms rarely left the base (one of my BF’s lived in Germany 6 years at various times and spoke not a word of German… didn’t need to, never left the base). It’s just a guess, but if you took some language classes and were able to get “out and about” on your own a bit, you might find things more tolerable. From what I understand the bases can be real fishbowls with everyone in on your business.

Hey there, another AF spouse checking in. I don’t know what to offer in advice besides what’s already been said here, but I agree with Lucretia, not all of us spouses are untrustworthy. Hang in there, and get help for the cutting yourself. I used to be that depressed, and I know how scary the idea of checking yourself into a psych ward is, but a break from some of the problems, where you are encouraged to recieve help, can be a good start for a recovery. And I know I’m not known to the SDMB and you don’t know me, but I’ll give you my email address if you just want someone to talk to.

My heart goes out to you, acrossthesea. Please get some help.

As a soon to be ex Navy wife I know how you feel- one of my husbands superiors told me that if they needed spouses they would issue the members one in boot camp and they did not give a good gosh darn what we did as long as it does not interfere with their service member. All in All, i enjoyed being a navy wife, but i got the vibe that if it comes down to it- they protect their own.

I never really thought about it this way but I guess I would be a military wife as well. Hubby is soon to be promoted to Sargent in the Iowa National Guard.
Until I saw Crickets post I never thought of us as a military family.
But, I guess I should since his is one of the few units left in Iowa.
Calling them up left and right, and you know I would have no clue how to go about things if he gets called.
They do have a family support group and a calling tree, and this year I feel more accepted than years past. The cliques seem to be falling apart and hubby and I are getting more involved with other members.
At one point in time I could have cared less if they accepted me. I am my own person and screw them if they didn’t approve.
But you are in a different situation than I was. I saw these people a few times a year and you are in a small area.
Are there any dopers in your area that might be willing to get you off base for a while?
I’m sure you are not the only scared and lonely feeling wife on the base. Next time there is a function or even walking down the street, look for someone else trying to blend into the background not to be noticed. You might be able to help each other out.

I’m not even going to get on the cutting yourself thing. Been there done that, you need help.
There are other more productive ways to get attention. Please get help.

A few years ago, I was married to an Amry person. Now, being a dependent is one thing, being a male dependent is totally differant. I caught my wife cheating on me with one of her co-workers (a NCO at that). I tried taking the right channels, but no one listened. I was thrown out of my house and when I went back a few days later to get my stuff, she called the cops on me. I left right away and was at my friends apartment when the cops showed up there and told me I was never to go back to her apartment agian (did I mention the apartment lease was in my name). A few days later I was called into the JAG office and told i had to sign my apartment lease over to her and that a divorce petetion had been filed. I signed it over and left. So here I was, nothing at all to my name but my old beat up car and $35 in my pocket. I did not even get my clothes. And I was 5000 miles away from my hometown. The divorce went through about 3 weeks later and that is the last I ever heard of her. Talk about bad times. Anyways, not to hijack, I just want to let acrossthesea
know that I do know how she feels and she is totally right, no one cares. It sucks.

LiquidChaos it sounds to me like you should have gotten an lawyer yourself.

Was the apt on base housing or off base?

LiquidChaos, with all the problems we’re discussing about being military spouses, we forgot about the male ones, a much smaller minority, with probably an even smaller support group to turn too. Thanks for bringing it up, and I’m sorry you had such a bad time with her unit.

It’s total bullshit that you caught her cheating on her and nothing happened. Adultery is supposed to be a big deal, they’ll fry you for that in the military, etc etc. And then you’re the one who gets screwed.

The apt was off base. This was a couple of years ago, I have since gotten over it, but needless to say, I did hold quite a grudge against the military and women for that matter, but that is another post all together. Thank you for your support.

As an Army wife I feel for you. I live on base and have managed to make several friends with other wives. I do steer clear of wives of the men my husband works with, they tend to gossip too much. One thing you have to realize, the system is there for them, not for us. You have to make the best you can out of very little. Take advantage of the internet, you can make some amazing friends through your computer and at least find someone you can talk to. Feel free to e-mail me, my address is in my profile.