Military Brides

My FI is suddenly missing the Army.

So I think my FI may be having a hard time readjusting to civilian life, or something like it. He was active duty before we started dating for about 9 years, but we met a few months after he got out. Since then, he's been a reservist and is making use of his GI Bill. We started dating almost four years ago and have been engaged since last July. We actually met in school, and when we first met he seemed very excited about being in school even though I guess you could say he wasn't a traditional student. Since then he has changed his major several times and has done everything from sociology to education to audio production to web development and tons of stuff in between. I kind of considered that normal, because really, it is hard to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life, you know? Well, he is getting to the point now that his GI Bill is just about up, and because of his frequent program changes he is at best only about 3/4 of the way through a bachelor's degree. To me, that isn't a huge deal because we can find other ways for him to pay for school.

For about the past month though it seems like he is going through some kind of slump and honestly I am unsure of how to handle it. He keeps saying things like, "I feel like I have no direction/purpose" or "I feel like everything I do is a waste of time," or his latest is, "I wish I was back in Iraq because at least there I had a mission." He has even gone as far as to say he wanted to see if he could VOLUNTEER to be deployed. Okay, whoa. And now he talks about wanting to go active again. That certainly was not in our plans (he planned on not enlisting again after this enlistment was up) and honestly, I would say no if I felt like I could. I don't feel like it is a likely scenario, because it doesn't seem like the Army isn't trying to enlist a bunch of people right now, but this is really out of the ordinary for him. Generally he is all about talking about how he dislikes the Army, regrets ever joining and how it basically goes against his personal ethics so you can see why him suddenly flipping and saying he would reenlist is so strange. We've talked about it and all he can say is that he really is missing the structure right now. I've tried to make our lived a little more structured and organized since then, but it doesn't seem to be helping. As much as him and I have discussed it, I almost feel helpless about it at this point and I don't know what do do for him right now, which is just about the worst feeling in the world. Is this something any of you have been through? Any advice?
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Re: My FI is suddenly missing the Army.

  • I push MH to volunteer for every deployment that passes by him, because it's good for his career, so it's hard for me to understand the incredulity there. 

    MH missed the Marine Corps when he got out, so he got back in, 4 years ago. I was completely on board, because being a Marine is who he is. 

    The difference with all of this is that I was on exactly the same page he was on. If I wasn't, I would expect  a vote, just as he has one in my career moves that affect him. I think you both need to sit down and talk about all of this. If he's set, and you're not, then delay the wedding. He can deploy with the Reserves, see if that settles him down, and if it doesn't, at least you're not legally entangled in a life you don't want to be in. 
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  • I'll agree with all of what Stan said. I know MH would be a mess if he got out of the military because it is so much a part of him. I'm supportive of it but able to give my opinions when appropriate. If I wanted to take up a career field I would expect to at least have a conversation where we both voice our opinions of it and give ideas for compromise. I'll also agree with postponing until you both decide what your respective futures hold, ie. Will he go AD again and are you comfortable with that?
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  • I can relate to your fiance a little bit. I finished my enlistment in the Navy May last year. I'm currently going through that phase where I feel like my life lacks purpose.

    What you need to do is just sit down and talk to him. Discuss the direction you want your lives to go in. You're getting married. Things are no longer going to be "My Life" and "His Life". Structure is nice, but it's not really what he needs. He needs to know that what he's doing matters. It's hard to go from being in the military where you feel like you're changing the world one step at a time to being a regular civilian.

    If his problem really is that he just wants to feel like he's making a difference, try to find some place you guys can volunteer together. You could try something like a soup kitchen or looking up your local Wounded Warrier group. I'm not sure what he did in the Army, but you could also talk to him about maybe volunteering at a local Firehouse. I know that's what a lot of my friends did when they got out.

    Just remind him he is making a difference. You'll get through it.
  • Late to respond but when you guys talk if feeling like his life doesnt have a purpose and isnt helping make a difference in the world like he was in the military you could together explore career options outside the military that he would be making a difference in. You mentioned one of his studies was education that makes a difference in the lives of the children hes teaching, a firefighter saves lives, a nurse or any medical profession helps save lives. My FI joined the marines becaause he felt he had no purpose and now that hes in reserves sometimes needs help remembering the good hes going to do in his civilian career too.
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