Abandonment by a significant other:
I have heard many stories of veterans returning home from service and experiencing abandonment from their significant other. Returning home and transitioning into civilian life is a very difficult process. My experience with reintegration was difficult and I struggled to adapt to our society and the norms expected of me.
Imagine coming home after serving the country and finding that the one you love the most and trust the most no longer wants to be with you or has betrayed you in some way. When you come back you expect that your significant other will appreciate you and be thankful for your returning home but many veterans do not receive such a happy homecoming.
I relate this to the Vietnam Veterans who received a less then pleasant homecoming when returning from war. It is a stressful situation to have a family member in active duty as war effects an entire family. A person returning from service is not the same individual they were before active duty because of all they have seen and experienced. I can understand how difficult this must be for a significant other to accept.
I knew someone in the military who served in Iraq with me and experienced spousal abandonment. From what I knew of him he was a decent person dedicated to our country. When he returned home his wife had left him and took everything from him. She took all of his assets and moved on with her life without him.
A similar experience happened to me when I returned home from Iraq. When I first returned home my relationship with my husband was ok and we were adjusting to me being home as a civilian. I was unsure where we stood as a married couple because he was clearly acting different. I became pregnant and had a child but he was very sick when he was born and did not live. This was a devastating loss that was difficult for me to handle. My relationship with my husband did not last and so I experienced double the loss and feelings of abandonment.
Feeling abandonment was one of the most difficult things for me to go through and was extremely traumatizing. My husband had shared with me his experience of having to flee his town to start over with a new life. After our split I spoke to a girlfriend of mine about the situation and she brought up that he fled our relationship the same way he had fled his hometown and that it wasn’t right that I was treated that way. I never expected that he would leave me or treat me the way he did. The feeling of being abandon by my ex-husband made me lose all trust or faith in him so much so that if I ever was in a time of need I would not reach out for his help because I could not trust that he would be there.
Moving forward was something I could not to on my own and so I turned to counseling services. I became extremely isolated and did not want to socialize even with fellow veterans because I found it extremely difficult to trust people after being abandon by someone I loved and trusted so much. Now, looking back on this experience I realize going through this most difficult time could make or break a person. Luckily for me I was able to fight through this situation and have supports available to me that allowed me to survive.
Donna Zephrine is a writer and poet who served two tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army. More writings by Donna Zephrine can be found at http://www.warwriterscampaign.org