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A crisis when my husband returned from deployment in Afghanistan

by Confused

The question

My husband of over 16 years recently arrived back from his first deployment to Afghanistan. We had a wonderful marriage for 16 years where we were the best of friends, we did everything together and he was very loving and caring. We have 3 children, 2 teens and 1 pre-teen. He used to constantly tell me how much he loved me and how he was so happy that we were the couple that would never divorce.

Since just prior to his return, he began telling me that I wouldn't like the new him. Since he came home he has been distant and unemotional. He is hyper-sensitive to every issue and feels like every argument we have is just a continuation of the same argument and he has walked out.

He says he can't do it anymore, that for his mental health he needs to leave us, that we are better off without him. The kids and I have told him that we love him and want him to stay. He says he can't that I don't accept him as who he is now, that he has changed and I'm trying to control him and make him into something he's not anymore.

All I ask is for him to be more affectionate, and I only bring it up once a month, but it is too much for him. He left 4 days ago, called his family and told them that we are splitting and has contacted my family and told them the same. Yet daily he texts our children and asks how they are and if I am eating. He had our son make me something and texted me when he found out I didn't eat. He keeps checking on me daily yet he says he can never come home.

He left his ring on my nightstand when he left and 2 days after he walked out he emailed me the reasons he wasn't coming back. He began seeing a counsellor the same day. He also stated that he can't bear for me to walk out and leave him so he is doing it first, that way it is on his terms at a time of his choosing.

Is there any hope that he may turn around and come home? Is this a MLC? And if he is determined to leave us would he still check on us everyday and ask how I am doing? He isn't doing well either, he went 3 days without eating himself after leaving...

Noel's response

I do not know whether it is a mild life crisis, as serving in places such as Afghanistan can be devastating.

I think his seeing a counsellor is the wisest choice for him right now. As to whether he will be back, I do not know.

In the meantime, I suggest you and the children live your lives as best you can, and be prepared to do so for a significant period of time.

Comments for A crisis when my husband returned from deployment in Afghanistan

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Nov 07, 2016
Never Was the Man I Thought I knew
by: Anonymous2016

I have been married to my husband for over eight years and we have two children together and we have built and accomplished so much together. He left for Afghanistan May 2016 and he seemed normal and reacted the normal way a husband would if he knew he wouldn’t see his family for a while. He would communicate with us each day but then all of a sudden the communication ceased completely. I asked him why. He began to tell me he has been in a really dark place and he was thinking about a lot of things. He also told me that he was going to counseling which I thought was great because he refused to do so for many years.

October 2016 the door bell rung and it was him. I let him in and I embraced him. I tried to give him a kiss and he pulled away from me because he didn’t want me to kiss him. Later that night we were sitting around talking and he had a stack of papers on the bathroom counter he picked up the papers and handed them to me. I read it and when I saw the word divorce I asked him, "what is this." He, said divorce-papers. I told him I wasn’t signing the divorce papers. So I left the papers there. The next morning, he had the divorce papers on the kitchen table and he had begun filling the papers out. I was upset because this seemed like it was really what he wanted. We tried to talk things out but it lead to more arguments and more of blaming me and him telling me I am his abuser because of altercations we had in the past.

At the end of the day no one is perfect and he has done things to me that have hurt me deeply and I am not giving up on him and handing him divorce papers. I would have never approached the situation this way. Only God knows the true ending of this story, will the marriage work after counseling or not, but one thing I know for sure is that I would have never thought the only man I truly loved was never openly-honest with me about his feelings and emotions at the times I needed him to be the most so that I could understand his past fears and pains.

I guess as my punishment from him is revenge and for me to possibly hurt the way he said I hurt him. I feel like in this marriage it was so unfair from the beginning for him to hold in and hold back his true feelings and emotions for over eight years when I was always open with him, and how he was willing to quickly discuss things with divorce papers when I was already missing him. This means he was untrue to me since the first day I married him and we said I do. I am the one who is being shut out as usual, treated like I meant nothing to him and handed me divorce papers like it was so easy to do. The day I took him to the airport I checked our bank account and there was a charge for "The center of Divorce" I questioned him about it and he said he started filling it out but he didn’t finish. That was also hurtful because he did this without telling me and I found out by viewing the checking account example of similar scenarios).

I would have never done him this way nor would I have denied him the opportunity to openly express himself as soon as things were happening or better yet give him a chance to rectify the situation. He has zero faith in me but I have 100% faith in him even in the midst of what he is putting me through now. I will continue to hold my head up high I was raised by a single Mother and I know what it takes to survive as a single woman raising her children. As a child I had a rough life and I know what it takes to survive with the bare minimum and a broken heart. Deep down I am not surprised that my marriage could end I have always prepared myself for disappointments.

I am a strong beautiful, woman internally and externally. I strive so hard in life because I have always had a fear of failure. I have tried so hard at everything even when it may not seem that way. In closing I am proud to say I have nothing to be ashamed of if my husband feels he will be happier without being married to me, Jesus Christ please, set him free.

Never become discouraged there is always hope even if it isn't the hope you intended it to be! Sometimes it is best to let someone go who isn't willing to receive love because you will be left standing outside forever.

Please listen to one of my favorite songs by Dustin Craig titled "Her Heart Is A Rodeo."

Sep 15, 2012
Scared to talk
by: NWF

You do not say how old your H is or how old you are.

First off, you can talk to his commanding officer about having no groceries for the children and other concerns--the bills and cars for his entitlement issues. The base minister will also help with food for you and the kids and help you get home to your family if that is what you need to do. I have seen this happen within the military.

Secondly, if you have control of the money when he is gone, you can always make yourself a stash and hide it from him for yourslef in case he splits or you can get yourself a checking account that he can't touch. You can also talk to an attorney and get yourself child support and monthly money, a separation agreement for now to protect yourself.

I know this is hard but you do have choices--especially if you are affraid of him. There are boundaries in life. He is responsibile for his children more than his car payments. Give him space and let him come to you, detach emotionally from him if you have to. If you hang on him, it will only get worse.

You may also check out a web site about midlife crisis and join the Community discussion for help in dealing with him. The web site is: It has helped me learn about this midlife crisis BS greatly and helped to detech from him--FOR YOURSELF!!

hugs for you, NWF

Sep 15, 2012
Scared to talk
by: Anonymous

When my husband returned from Iraq he bought a brand new truck with the whole luxury packet. Which he still is paying for. That truck is just for show.He blew 35 thousand dollars. Which there is nothing to show for. He bought another used suv to drive in. After a year past by he thought he would be redeployed so he then bought a house and again another car. All credit cards are maxed out. When I say something he tells me that he made the money not me and that it's all in his name so I should not be worried. Well we got orders to pcs instead of a deployment . That house is empty. He pays a man to cut the grass. He doesnt want to rent it out. Now he went to Afghanistan for 4 months . He said that he wanted another car since he only has one car here. I begged him not to because we have 3 small children I just had the third one. We do not have enough money for grocery. My kids are under weight. My husband only gives me access to his money when he is deployed. I always save his money. Now he bought another car behind my back. I see the bank account is dry again. And again no grocery in our home. He goes out to lunch with his buddies daily while kids and I sit at home hungry.. I Can not afford child care so I can't work. If I say something he will divorce me I know and I know he would beat me. I wish that the military would force counseling on all their families,because some of us just aren't allowed to talk.

Aug 26, 2012
Been there done that...
by: Ms. D

My ex-husband was in the armed forces. He filed for a divorce even though he hasn't been to afghan before...he just told me that he quit and that he was sick with all the bullshit in the military...I wanted to know what made him quit but he just sounded like he has decided to end all things military...but one of his officers told me that he was fucked up (no idea what he meant by that) and that couldn't tell me the reason behind because of the privacy act... It has been 4 years since then...and I am seeing someone (fortunately in the military again)I am kinda worried about our future due to my baggage issues...but after reading all of your stories here I noticed that we adults are selfish...we all have our needs that for sure but have we ever thought about our responsibilities to our children? They suffer as much as we do... They didn't ask for this kind of life having to deal with divorced need to grow up if you don't wanna be in the war to earn money then you should have thought twice before signing up from Day1...women think more than twice before falling into the trap of what we call "LOVE" good luck to us all and keep praying, that's the greatest weapon of all!

Aug 21, 2012
Wow, same thing
by: An Ex Gf

Hi everyone

My ex was not in his mid-life, more like mid 20s.

However the parallels are staggering.

He returned from Afghanistan in Dec of 2010. He volunteered to go. Upon return he seemed fine, except for yelling in his sleep. He wouldn't talk about it, but he made fun of PTSD.

Next he spent a few months figuring out what to do, getting his papers in for applying to police. I think a lot of the time he spent playing video games. I was afraid he'd get discouraged, I remember trying to tell him to be more constructive with his time...he got really upset. I was in school so it was very strange for me b/c I was insanely busy and he would be doing almost nothing.

Anyway, at one point in the spring time he had kissed another girl and confessed to me, but he blamed it on me, saying that it was because I was not supportive.
The other thing is that later on in June or so, I had found out he had a flirty thing going on with one of his friends who was back here. She was sending him pics of herself, I don't really know what else went on. When I found them on his laptop at first he denied it...then he admitted. But again, his reaction was to blame me for snooping around his computer and that he is entitled to have pics of women.

Somehow we pulled through all of that, I tried to be as understanding and loving as I could. I forgave that. We were talking about marriage and moving in together, he kept saying things like that. Next, he broke up with me. I did not invite him to a family gathering which really pissed him off, and he said we are not as close as we should be and he just kept blaming me for everything. Said I would not support him when he is a police officer.

I spent months trying to reach out to him and show him I do care, etc. He ended up sleeping with me a few times, never calling me back, I got completely trampled on. We did get back together for a few weeks in February of this year, but by that time he already was doing his thing with a girl he met at police college. When he broke up with me via text, he said he needed to be alone, but I later found out he was dating her (after he cheated on her with me too - without my knowing).

Basically I don't know what the heck is going on with him. I thought he was a great guy, a part of me still thinks so. There is not much I can do. I wish him all the best and I hope he's happy and finds peace. He did not treat me well, and I will not be going back for more. I deserve better.

Aug 18, 2012
ex fiance lost it?
by: Anonymous

its the other way around for me and my kids my ex seems to be going through a midlife crisis or something along them lines he is 23 and 5 month before being deployed to afgan he turns into his younger self (always acted older than he is since he hit 19) leaving all his family, friends and myself whilst i am pregnant with his first son (which was planned and something he always wanted) for new friends going out with other women and drinking all the time and before he left this week he broke it off with the other girl and wanted me again (jst for hoo-haa) and cuddles because through all of this i have stuck by him and helped him out alot .. has anyone else had anything like this ?? did he relize what he had done whilst he was there ??? would love some kind of answer any help would be much appreciated :).

Jul 15, 2012
No show no call
by: Anonymous

I am so glad I found this site. I am going thru the same thing, it was like a lite switch was turned off. My husband returned from Dubai called when they landed in RI said he was going to get some sleep as the trip was helacious and would call the next day before leaving for home in Ballston Lake NY.. Next day no husband no call. I called the command center who went to his room and told him to call me. He did and screamed " I DONT LOVE YOU ANYMORE AND I WANT A DIVORCE". after waiting 10 months to hold him in my arms again you can imagine the pain. He is still on medical hold in Norfolk, will be there till sept. having left a little over a yr. His dad died in Dec so he was sent home and I saw him, then he was told he was being forced to reitre, he is 48, then he had an accident on the water which is why he is on med hold. We chat, but he wants a new life, sell our home, boat which he loves. My God why does this happen. This man adored me and told me he loved me 50 times a day. He did come home for 3 hrs on his 96 leave but only because I told him I was driving to RI if he didn't. I hugged and kissed him. Got some response but he said "I told myself I wouldn't let this happen" like he was trying to keep from giving in. I pray every nite to St Therese the patron saint of may all want to do the same. My thoughts & prayers go out to you all. We don't deserve this. It hurts so bad. Says he is coming home to get some stuff but its 11 hrs away, he needs permission from his case worker. I want to see him but I don't.

Jul 10, 2012
Not as the same
by: ALB

Me nmy hubz has an18 month old he has been home a yr this past june right befor deployment while i was pregnant he wanted me to have sex with other men so he could watch n said he didnt know y. He had me do it n lied about who these men was about -3months after i had our daughter and that was when he was still deployed and now he is asking n having me do it again and same thing he says he doesnt know y. How common is this and could it be some sort of mental illness from being deployed or something? Im so confused and dont know what to do and to add i may be pregnant i find out in a few weeks to a month due to a surgery i just had any advice we r already in marriage couseling n theapist does split us and knows about this and nothing has broke my hubby about y

Mar 14, 2012
Update part 2
by: Anonymous

You see, for me it felt like we were never going to make it. My husband made sure to tell me at every turn that I was to blame for our arguing, even though he was the one that was defensive over everything. He didn't see it, how could he? He was dealing with demons of his own and needed an outlet for them. I was his outlet because I made him do the one thing he didn't want. I made him feel something at a time when he wanted nothing more than to be numb.  Things are good with us now, are they perfect? No, but I'm okay with good.  I love my husband and I know that he saw things that have affected him. He isn't the man that left, but he is a good man and a great father. I can handle that he isn't as affectionate as he once was and that he has difficulty discussing his feelings. These are the choices I have made to still have him in our lives. Am I always happy about it? No. Do I still miss the old him? Of course. But once I believed that it truly wasn't about me, that he wasn't acting this way to hurt me, that it was about the changes his deployment brought about in him I was finally able to be happy myself. I still get depressed some days and wish for the days of old, but it's all worth it when he looks at me and is able to tell me he loves me and you can see in his eyes that he means it. I wish you all the best of luck and by my update I am just letting you know what worked for us. Thanks again!

Mar 14, 2012
Update part 1
by: Anonymous

For those of you that are dealing with similar issues, my heart goes out to you.  The only advice I can give you from my experience is to hang in there. This isn't your fight, no matter how much you want to help this something that your spouse must go through on their own. They have to make the choices because they feel completely out of control. My husband and I went through numerous counseling sessions and the common sentence uttered is that "you have to want to make it better" that means both of you. No matter how much you want to fix it, you only have control over your actions. You have to fix yourself and allow your spouse to do the same. My advice would be to reach down and gather up every ounce of patience you have because you are going to need it. Give them the space and time to try to heal themselves. Suggest counseling, if they won't go, tell them that's their choice and let them know that you will be going and they are welcome to join you if they change their mind. All military medical groups and the Airman and Family Readiness centers have counselors you can talk to. You are not alone, there are people to help you get through this time. When I decided to tell him he could leave and that I would be strong for our kids just like I was the entire time he was gone but if he left he didn't get me back, things changed on some new level. I wasn't begging him to stay, I decided that I was strong enough to do it while he was deployed and I was strong enough to carry on if he left. You see he didn't really want to go, but he didn't know how to handle staying. We had a few more counseling sessions and things have continued to grow. I have given him the space he needed emotionally and decided I was going to be happy no matter the outcome. It's amazing the change it can make in your relationship.

Mar 12, 2012
Being Alone
by: Anonymous

I returned from Afghan 2010, stayed home 2.5 months and left to take a job 2000 miles away from my wife, friends and life of 12 years. I needed to be alone. Still do. but, I'm back home. I still need a lot of space which I did't have before deployment. My wife likes control and I've always given in to that. Our relationship was strong, loving and respectful. Her day to day control over our lives was acceptable and not looked at in a negative way. Actually, it was "the inside joke" of being married. Now, I can't stand it. I don't have loving feelings for my wife. I may never again. I do respect her and care for her. I don't have feelings for any thing, really. I'm not sure what changed me but I have changed. Being alone helps me decompress from all of life's daily insults. Being alone is a protection barrier. It's who I am now and I may never want to love or be apart of a loving relationship again. I get along great with friends, bud's (male and female) but not emotionally. I can't surrender myself to love. War and the trauma of War of those who serve change a person and it takes a strong man/woman left behind to understand the changes, and not question the changes. I saw so many divorces between men and women. I never understood it until I was part of it. So, if you question us, our answer will be, " I just need to be alone."

Feb 10, 2012
This sounds so much like my situation
by: Anonymous

My husband returned home a while ago and he was completely different towards me. He blamed me for the way he felt and wanted a divorce within a few weeks. It took him several months to file because I couldn't bring myself to do it and since then, I have heard nothing in return. He wanted a divorce so badly and now he's just sitting around not taking any action. I don't understand. I am still heartbroken but I would never let him know that. It's been nearly a year now since he wanted the divorce and he doesn't call to check on his kids. I just wanted to vent in a place where people could understand. I only wish that I didn't love him anymore so I could move on with my life.

Nov 05, 2011
by: Anonymous

Hi I used to work in the services supporting service personnel and their families . Deployment is often a very difficult time and returning home can be worse. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is more common than we think.
After being in a war torn country and seeing so many graphic images it can make a person feel really bad, a lot of service personnel cannot talk about this with their families as they want to protect them, but something has to happen to these emotions and re-occurring images that they suffer. It would be useful for service personnel to be debriefed before going home. I don't know if this happens but many of these accounts sounds just like Post Traumatic Stress to me.

Oct 17, 2011
by: Carmen

My husband came home from Afghanistan April 10th, 2011 and told me the day after he got back that he wanted a divorce. I was devastated to hear that after he'd send me emails of how much he loved me and would do anything for his family. But he got back and wanted out after a simple dispute over a motorcycle and he started to tell me that he wanted to do what he wants to do and that he didn't want responsibilities and he resented me for not letting him be him, and that he was distant from me and felt he wasn't in love with me.

My immediate thought was that there was another women, but that isn't the case. He lives here at home still and he comes home, lives here, sleeps here ect and not talking to any girls or anything, but he just doesn't want to be married anymore. He's not affectionate with me at all anymore, we dont' really talk either. It's been now 6 months and he still wants a divorce even though as of yet he has not filed the paperwork, something that I decided to do myself because it's very hard to deal with that everyday and feel unwanted and unloved. We've been married 16 years and been through 4 deployments. I don't understand what he is thinking of what he is going through except that my husband says he wants to live and be alone. I too, like you, am dealing with this and I don't know what to do. Prayers for you and your family because I know it's hard, it's hard to let go of someone you've been with for so many years. Carmen

Jun 09, 2011
My Story
by: Anonymous

My husband came home from deployment from Afghanistan in 8/2011 and in 9/2011 he walked in one day and said "I cant take this shit anymore"and walked out. He would not talk to me at all. Did not answer my texts, my phone calls nothing.Two weeks later he calls me and tells me we need to talk. He walks into our house and tells me he wants a divorce and I still have no clue why.

He came back a different person that is all I can say. He filed for divorce, has been mean and nasty to me. Told me I had 3 days to put the bills in my name or he would have everything turned off and he did. He is deployed again now and me and my kids have not heard one word from him since he left months ago. I sent him 2 emails and no response. I still have no clue what happened to the man I fell in love with, but I am afraid he is gone forever.

May 24, 2011
by: Anonymous

you said that he couldn't take you leaving him, so he left on his own terms... Did you tell him you were leaving? I'm curious because I don't know your history, but it seems like he feels he isn't in control of his life. My brother returned from overseas and had gotten used to a very structured lifestyle, so having more control was a bit overwhelming for him at first. Does your H still leave or withdrawal when he isn't in control?

May 13, 2011
other trouble?
by: Anonymous

I am experiencing something very similar to what you are going through as a military spouse. I was wondering if anything led up to him leaving or if it came out of the blue. We fight constantly now it seems and I don't know if its all him, all me, or a combination of us both. Are things better now for you?

Mar 02, 2011
by: A very old boot neck

Hey when I got back from my tour I couldn't stand to be around the people I knew... friends and family. I felt like they didn't understand me, or they could never understand what I had been through and seen. When I looked at my 12 year old son all I could see was the faces of children I had seen on the side of the road. I just couldn't take it.

So I left and moved out, only seeing the people who did the tour with me because they knew what was happening.

I later went to a special ward which sorted me out. So what I'm saying is every one who comes back from a tour of duty changes. Some change a lot, some not so much, but in the end you have to wait it out till he recovers from the things that happened out there.

Feb 06, 2011
Re: Afghanistan
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the update. All the best and take care of yourself.

Jan 31, 2011
by: Anonymous

My husband decided to come home on Saturday, even though the evening before he thought the prospect of us being able to salvage our relationship was impossible. We are both seeing a counselor and I believe it is very helpful and will continue.

When asked he said he just knew that he was where he was supposed to be. Everyone has told him that he was making a mistake by leaving, his family, my family, me, our kids, his friends and mine... I am praying that he just needed space to deal with some of the issues he has been dealing with since his return. At this point I am cautiously optimistic.

I am willing to give him the emotional space he needs and pray that in the end it works out. We have had a wonderful life together and if he is willing to try then so am I.

If this is an Afghanistan/MLC issue, I am more than willing to give him the time to deal with the issues he is wrestling with. He has never wavered about loving me, he said the entire time that he will always love me no matter what happens between us.

Please keep us in your prayers and pray that he realizes that the best thing for everyone is for us to work this out.

Jan 30, 2011
Husband back from Afganistan
by: NWF


I hear your pain and feel it also. My husband of 16 years, now 52 years old, did the same thing the same way yours did, 7 months ago. They both are having a MLC. Mine gave me four days notice after saying he would leave for 3 months. He yelled at me the day he told me he was leaving that Saturday. He is full of his own anger and turmoil inside but thinks it is due to me. This is very common and it is called projecting his anger onto you. It is not you, please believe me.

You are lucky in a way, my H cannot talk to my son (15) except for when he is in the driveway coming to pick him up and never asks about me. I lost 30 lbs. over this disaster he has caused 5 months ago. He can hardly talk to me without blowing up over anything, we email back and forth. He cannot take anything emotional from me but talks to his new girlfriend or sees her most of the time for his emotional medicine.

She is his ex-high school girlfriend that dumped him when he went into the Army just after school ended. She has made this so easy for him to do. She moved here from Florida 5 months ago but they do live together. His family can't believe this either but now he has told them so many half-truths that they enable his behavior.

They feed him and our son on Wed. night and Sun. mornings--every other Sunday when H has our son for the weekend, which he tries to end on Sun. at noon time. Hold your line and protect yourself with boundaries for you and do not let him cross the line or he will keep doing it. He may not even listen to your boundaries because he doesn't see you as his wife anymore.

Now my H lies to all of us most of the time so he can do whatever he wants. They are full of entitlement issues and can only think of themselves. They do not even realize the damage they are causing because they can't feel anything but the excitement of the new relationship, called infatuation.

Protect your money in a new account for you because he will eventually spend it all. My H talked our lawyers into making me sell our house-it is on the market now and has been since September, one buyer just backed out and caused much trouble for us 2 weeks ago. I hope this does not happen to you and your family.

It has been 7 months now and we are finally broke, savings gone and living paycheck to paycheck. My H is the spender-not me. He filed for divorce before he even left home after talking with the OW for only 4 weeks over the phone and he thinks this is OK to do. He will not listen to any reasoning from anyone either. The only thing that makes any sense to them is their own lost mind.

Keep a close friend nearby-you will need her or him for many hugs.

Feel for you greatly, NWF.

Jan 30, 2011
Re: Your husband.
by: Anonymous

Sounds like he could be going through some trauma from serving in Afghanistan. I am so sorry to hear that. I can feel your pain.

It sounds like you are supporting his decision for the time being. I am sure he loves and cares about you and your children but the best thing to do right now is let him be. Hopefully with time his thinking will be more clear.

Keep listening to him and not feel personal about what he says. I know it is tough. You may need to see a counselor and surround yourself with friends and family . All the best and take care.

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