Thursday, May 28, 2009
Dear Aunt B,
My story starts off 2 years ago in January, 2007. I met a guy who was enlisted in the Army. We became very serious very quickly. He went away to boot camp, I waited and wrote a letter a day. He granted me the same, a letter usually every day. He went away to war, and I waited. The letters never stopped. I lost my virginity with him when he took leave for 2 weeks.
He is spontaneous and respectable and is an Army veteran. I have never had more fun with another person in my life. In May, 2008, I moved in with him near his post in Louisiana, Fort Polk. We started off strong. We hit a few bumps along the way, like that we weren't used to seeing so much of each other. But we grew so much and learned a lot about each other.
We got a puppy, and things were smooth for about 6 months. He started having nightmares and breakdowns. His experiences in the middle east didn't let him sleep. He started going to therapy, but the unbalances just kept getting worse. I did everything I could to keep his mind and peace stable. One night, he lost it and hurt me pretty bad. He choked me and pulled some hair out. I called the police, of course, and he was taken in solitary confinement. After that, things were never the same.
Never has a man laid his hands on me and been given another chance. But I wasn't working, had no means of leaving, and had not even anywhere else to go. So I stuck it out. In November, 2008, he was discharged on the grounds that he was not mentally fit to serve anymore due to his tour in the middle east. His therapy continued and the medications were never enough. He got worse and worse. I got a job in January and moved out. I have been living on my own ever since.
I met a nice guy, he has money and a good job and a great family and he is very ambitious and has that stereotypical nice guy syndrome. He promised me everything. He wanted to get married and have children. After about 2 months, I realized that there were things about him that I would never be able to live with.
Then just like a word from the heavens, my first called me up again. He told me he was finally stabilized and on the right medications and he was getting about 1600 dollars a month for his disabilities. All of a sudden, I am caught up in this mess... I don't know which guy I am supposed to be with. Guy # 2 is great. He is stable on all levels, he has a great future ahead of him. But his quirks and character just clash with mine.
Guy # 1 was my first love. He and I were like salt and pepper. And aside from the abuse and instability, we were perfect. But according to the world, I can't be with him anymore because of what he did to me. I am attracted to both. Both give me different things. I am one person when I am with Army Guy and another person when I am with Perfect Guy.
What do I do?
Lost and Confused
Dear Lost and Confused,
Okay. I know I am sounding like a broken record here, but you need to figure out your heart not the pros and cons of the guys. Regardless of what these two bring to the table (so to speak) you need to figure out which one you cannot live without, and that is the guy you should be with.
To me, that sounds like guy #1. Now, I don’t know if he is totally *cured* or what have you. But regardless, if you are in love with him then you are doing a grave disservice to yourself and to guy #2 by sticking around. Not only because you are not in love with #2 so you are unhappy, but #2 is not free to find the love he is entitled to as well.
You need to really take a hard look at yourself and be totally honest. Attraction and love are two very separate feelings, and once you figure out which guy belongs where, I am certain you will know what you have to do in order to follow your heart.
Good luck, and brightest blessings.
I always pray before I answer these questions that you readers send. I pray for wisdom to answer you. I pray that my Intuitions will be exact. And because I do take this quite seriously, my hope is to give you some semblance of an answer, chock full of honesty. Yes, because I do see the importance of your question, it is always my wish that I may be given words of wisdom, words that will never be a hindrance but will help you.
First, let me say that I never want to steer you in the wrong direction. Therefore, my first suggestion is for you to carefully consider all this as well as pray for your own administration and execution of your life. You pray that you make the right choices.
Speaking of choices, allow me to remind you that you do not need to be hasty in any way, shape or form and in fact, I urge you to take it nice and slow. In all honesty, it looks to me like you might be lured by all the wrong factors. Ask yourself what those factors are.
For all intent and purpose, most would say that it's a bad combination or so you've been told when it comes to getting back with your military man(MM). Most would say that "once an abuser, always an abuser." So, let's think about all this, okay?
I do urge caution on your part. I also would like you to talk to this fella about the contingency in your lives together. Now, if you can not be brutally honest with him, if you can not speak fluently to him about your fears concerning past abuse, then you don't have a chance in hell of making this work.
See, I was in an abusive relationship, one which was so bad, I ended up shooting him, almost killing him. I tell you this because I want you to know I do, in fact, know what I am talking about. I also loved him more than words can say. He was my everything and it was very passionate. We both have rather volatile tempers, military backgrounds, PTSD, the correlations are endless. So, I understand.
I think the chief ingredient here is whether or not he really understands that it is wrong for him to put his hands on you...EVER!! He has got to know and actually comprehend, picture, how he wouldn't want someone bigger and meaner beating and scaring the piss out of him. You've got to put it into perspective for him because believe it or not, most men do not think this way and can't even fathom what it is like.
More importantly, he has got to reassure you that he has or will do some sort of continued counseling or anger management. I do believe that most men can be rehabilitated if, for one, they choose to look at their behavior and secondly, if they choose to seek counsel, understand the importance of therapy for his issues and so on.
The biggest issue here is for him to understand that there's no shame in this game IF he does something to help himself. And you remind him that "A man is only as good as his tools." Yes, those tools may be taught through therapy, in the form of coping skills and actual anger management.
I sure wish you were here, sitting right in front of me because I have so much to say, so much to tell you and unfortunately, so very much to warn you about. You must proceed with that caution, I mentioned. But it can work if you approach this at the right angle.
You kind of have an upper hand, per say and I would play it to the full extent. If this man, your MM really loves you, you two should be able to talk about anything and everything. Red flags should be noticed right away, if you can not. The reason I say this is two fold;
Foremost, you must, and I am going to reiterate the fact that you both must be able to talk about MM's issues...all of them, any and all. He must be able to allow you into his inner soul if you are both to heal from the past. Additionally, the couples that make it in this topsy turvy world are the ones that rely on each other...just as he relied on his fellow soldiers in battle.
It's all a matter of trust. He must trust you emotionally and vice versa. This comes from a place of understanding that if "you don't have each other, you have nothing."
My Advice; you've got to explain all this to him and set up some boundaries, meaning that he has got to know that if he lays a hand on you, you will be forced to prosecute. This is for your own safety. You must reiterate all of this in terms he can understand. It must be said in a manner that he realizes that you are serious and that "You don't hit the one you love."
Keeping It Real,