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October 14, 2008

Dear John Letter Advice from a Marine Wife

Ymar asks me a question:

Cass, what did you think about the dislike people have for Dear John letters sent to servicemen deployed?
Here is the young woman's letter:
DEAR CHUCK Z: I need your advice on how to break an engagement with my fiance, whose tour of duty in Iraq has been extended four more months. He has been there eight months, and during his absence, I met someone else I would like to start dating.

I didn't want to stress out my fiance, and I wanted to wait until he returned to talk to him, but now I feel too guilty, so I need to address it soon. Please help me.

-- FEELING GUILTY, MEMPHIS, TENN.

Oh dear. Not knowing anything about this young woman or her fiance, their ages, or their relationship, I can only go on what is in her very brief note.

Consequently, my answer will confine itself to what I see there. It will also (unsurprisingly) not please many of you. As I have often remarked, I don't always see life the same way as everyone else.

This young woman's letter seems to have elicited a lot of very angry responses. A brief survey of just the first few comments yields the following rather embarrassing (if you like to think military people are better than this, and I do) invective:

- 'you chose to bang the WalMart cashier' (stay classy, there...)
- you go and spit out those little "Code Pink" babies, my newest neice [sic] will need someone to beat up in Pre-School. (wow)
- Die, Bitch!
- get lost you friggin wh0re - your use of the phrase "someone else" is clearly code that the new person is female. Other wise you would have said "another guy: (*sigh* A deep thinker, here)

This is all quite interesting, because unless some of these learned commenters subscribe to The Psychic Hotline, I'm not really sure where they get off calling this woman a whore. In her short note, she states that during her fiance's 8 month absence:

... I met someone else I would like to start dating

How did we jump the shark from thinking about dating someone to being a whore and churning out Code Pink babies? Was the political orientation of either the woman or the man she is thinking about dating... after she breaks off her engagement to the aforementioned soldier ever specified? And where does Uncle Jimbo get off calling her a "dirty hoor"?

The truth is, no one involved here knows anything about this situation.

To be honest, I find it rather remarkable and refreshing, in this day and age that the young woman in question (if we take her letter at face value, and I see no reason not to) won't so much as go out with a young man she clearly has strong feelings for until she has spoken to her fiance and broken off their engagement.

I find it refreshing that she clearly did not want to simply write him a Dear John letter, but was willing to wait until he arrived home - that she wanted to do this face to face, rather than take the coward's way out and just send him an impersonal note. Notice that it was not until his tour of duty was extended for another 4 months that the problem arose.

And I think the commenters are being completely unreasonable and immature.

From time immemorial, young men going off to war have asked young women to marry them. Often these proposals are ill advised. Emotions are unusually intense in the immediate run-up to a deployment. It's all too easy to be swept away, to confuse the fear of losing someone you care about to death for a more lasting feeling: the kind of love stable marriages are built on. How many guys have leveraged this rush of emotion to get laid - often several times, by several different girls - before shoving off, with no intention of committing themselves? It happens all the time.

Some men also use that feeling - consciously or unconsciously - to cement a weak relationship and win the girl who might not otherwise have settled down with them.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world for this woman to simply brush off her soldier with a brusque letter, yet she didn't.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to just take up with the man she is now interested in, and yet it appears that she wants to wait until she has broken off her engagement. Does this make her a slut and a dirty whore? In my book, this makes her a fallible human being who is honest enough to want to do the right thing.

Most separated people I know begin having sex with other people even though they are not divorced, and they have sworn before God not to do so. This young woman has not even begun dating, and yet she is being called a whore. This is what she gets for being concerned enough about her fiance to turn to the military community for advice? If this is their idea of being ambassadors for our values, they just did a bang up job of showing them we are a narrow minded, classless and judgmental group of people with serious attention deficit disorder.

Here is my advice to her as a Marine wife of nearly three decades:

Dear "Feeling Guilty":

You say you have met someone else and would like to start dating, and that you feel guilty. Let's start there.

I think you are being given a golden opportunity to search your heart. Please take it.

If I am interpreting your letter correctly, 8 months have passed since you have seen your fiance. That is a very long time for a young person - much more so than it is for someone my age. As you get older, time seems to fly by much faster than it does for the young.

I don't know how long your relationship had endured before he left, nor how closely the two of you have kept in touch during his deployment. Obviously these will be important factors in your deliberations. But it strikes me that you have waited to break off your engagement, and also that (again, if I can trust your letter) that you have not started dating this other man. Are you unsure of your feelings for your fiance? Or are you, perhaps, just unsure of your willingness to endure long deployments in the future? These are important questions. Is it really this new man who attracts you, or are you just lonely? Or perhaps bored?

The heady rush of a new relationship never lasts. Those feelings are intoxicating. You will never feel so attractive - so wanted and cherished, so alive - as you do when someone is actively pursuing you. It's hard for an established relationship to compete with that giddy roller coaster ride, isn't it? Especially when your partner is halfway around the world.

And men are often lousy at communicating their love and appreciation once they settle down. Hunters by nature, they value what is within their grasp less than what lies just out of their reach. They think that just the fact that they send a paycheck or come home from work or fix the car communicates their love adequately. Because they speak a different language, they don't understand how deeply we need to hear the words, how much we hunger for tenderness.

We are little better. For all our vaunted sensitivity, we don't see how deeply they need our respect and admiration; how very much they want to be heroes in our eyes. And so they should be, for they would die to protect us. How often do we impatiently brush aside their gifts, not realizing their worth?

What you need to think over carefully is this:

Why did you agree to be this man's wife? What were your reasons? Do they still hold?

Compared to a lifetime, four months is not that much time. I would say, hold off. Unless you are certain you no longer love your fiance, use this time to center yourself. More than anything else, a woman must know what SHE wants out of life first. Only then can she give herself fully to a man. Use the next four months to map out the rest of your life. What do YOU want? Does your future include your fiance? Are his values compatible with yours? Can you see yourself growing old with him?

What about the other man? If your feelings for him are genuine (and his for you are the same) he will wait. A man who truly cares for you as a person will not push for a relationship - especially a sexual one. The important thing is that you need to understand where you are going with your life first, and it sounds as though your romantic relationships are driving the bus rather than the other way around.

Whoever you marry, it is important to realize that your relationship will have its ups and downs. Every marriage is like a dance: you will have moments when you and your partner are close and moments when he (or you) swing away and it seems that you are headed in different directions. The important thing is that somehow, you work to remain connected. Sometimes you may be locked in a tight embrace and sometimes you may only feel the slightest squeeze of his fingers as you pass in the hallway or the back of his thigh in the middle of the night under the sheets.

But always, you should know that he is there; a part of you. I'd like to tell you that you will never feel the pull of attraction to another man, but that is not true.

I'd like to tell you that you will never look into his eyes and feel anger, or frustration, or even regret but those things are not true either. What I can tell you is that marriage is not a feeling.

It is a decision you make anew every morning when you rise up and make the coffee and every night when you decide to either turn your back on your spouse or roll over and make love even though you're tired. It is rolling over into that warm place on the other side of the bed in the instant after he leaves it, just to be closer to him.

It is an act of faith. Either way, I wish you well.

Posted by Cassandra at October 14, 2008 08:33 AM

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Comments

And men are often lousy at communicating their love and appreciation...

We're lousy at communicating other things, too. I got the DJL with one month to go in my tour in RVN -- which had the salutory effect of making me much less concerned about getting killed so close to endgame -- but I'm pretty sure my unwillingness to share my "adventures" had something to do with it.

I didn't write until I could fib reasonably well that everything was hunky-dory -- it's difficult to explain to someone you love that you'd just spent the night sitting in a bomb crater, ducking AK rounds after you'd been shot down, but you're fine as frog fuzz right now. It takes a while to calm down, and if it happens multiple times, it takes that much longer to get your thoughts straight.

I was stupid -- I thought that sparing her the details would keep her from worrying. Not writing had the *opposite* effect.

Long story short, don't be too harsh on the girl and don't rush to judgment, because I promise you that the whole story isn't in those few paragraphs she wrote...

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2008 10:15 AM

I remember when I was dating The Unit during college.

I was at a school where there were 3 guys for every girl. It was axiomatic that 'no one dated Dartmouth girls' (supposedly all the coeds were ugly, fat, and lesbians... yada, yada, yada) and supposedly all the guys left campus on weekends to go to the 7 sisters to find the "real women"...

Yeah. Right. I have never been hit on so much in my life. What is it about a girl repeatedly saying, "Ummm... I have a steady boyfriend back home" that is like waving a red flag in front of a bull? :p

It didn't help that my future husband's idea of a phone conversation consisted of 'mumble...mumble...mumble...[brusque rejoinder]...whatever' :p This from a man I'd had fascinating conversations with in person when we were dating. Sometimes being apart leads to bad thoughts and they aren't exactly conducive to fluid conversations.

It takes a long time to get to know someone, and it doesn't help that we all change over the years. Being deployed throws a whole 'nother bunch of worms into the mix.

I'd be surprised if she didn't have doubts. Best to get them sorted out now - either way. Not sure how calling her a dirty whore is helpful, though.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 10:28 AM

Nicely put, Cassandra. You may be an odd duck, but the world needs more such odd ducks. Points for high-mindedness, too. I spent the other day rewriting a Garrison Keillor column just because I could, and here you are imparting wisdom.

Posted by: Patrick at October 14, 2008 10:28 AM

Any young woman (or even an old broad like me) would be lucky to have you to give her advice, Cassandra. Your daughters-in-law will be fortunate.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 14, 2008 10:35 AM

Very touching and well-written, Cassandra. Much better than I could have put it!

Posted by: Nicki at October 14, 2008 11:12 AM

I think the over-the-top reaction comes from the fact that the readers aren't thinking of a particular young woman who was engaged to a particular young man. They're remembering, in a generalized way, all the soldiers they've seen hurt by such things in the past.

Bill's story reminds me of something new about the current war -- the easy, instant communication that is so common. We talk about blogging a lot, but there are also phones! Some of the FOBs have calling trailers, where you can sit on a US-style payphone and talk to home. Sometimes the sat cuts out and you lose the connection, but mostly it works just fine.

So, one night last winter I was in one such trailer talking to my wife when we started taking heavy machinegun fire. It was coming over the walls and skittering in the rocks outside. (They next day we learned that there was only one injury, though sadly a fatal one.)

I had to get off the phone quickly, and of course my poor wife -- who initially didn't understand my sudden decision to say goodnight, since I was trying to be cool about it and keep her from worrying -- kept going on about this-and-that from home. I finally had to excuse myself firmly and scoot to the bunker.

Now, that's one occasion when letters are an advantage. Even if you choose to convey the hazard, they find out that you were in danger only at the point that you can add the line about being 'fine as frog fuzz.' On this occasion, the poor woman had to worry about it until I could get back in touch with her and let her know I was fine.

I wrote her a lot of letters. Every now and then, though, it was nice to be able to call home -- even with the special difficulties, there's no substitute for hearing a friendly voice.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2008 11:12 AM

Oh, I understand that.

But it's still an emotional reaction vs. a rational one and an uninformed one vs. a well thought out, informed response.

I often think that email and online interaction is too easy. We respond with quick, knee jerk reactions rather than more measured and tempered replies and I don't think this is a good thing.

What is being undermined is any inclination to control yourself or delay your instinct for immediate gratification (the 'venting response'). We dash off a quick comment and never think that our words persist long after the transitory emotion which prompted them.

Something I, too, should remember.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 11:19 AM

By the way: what's up with the blue field enclosing the text on the main page? I like the plain white better. :)

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2008 11:25 AM

I like the plain white better.

Spectrumist!

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2008 11:30 AM

Heh.

It's because of that Obama poll.

It will go away when the poll scrolls off the page. I don't know why it's happening. Annoying. I guess I could delete the poll.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 11:32 AM

Two things Miss Cass, first I think you might be taking "Ask an Infantryman" too literally. This is a spoof of the Onion's . Originally meant to be tongue in cheek, the folks at Blackfive were scanning newspapers and pulling out interesting "Dear Abby" type stuff for the mil community to answer in that idiom. This particular example that you answered was NOT asked of the military community, but her local "Dear Abby" type advice person. So it's certainly not like this woman will see the 'advice' provided.

Second, I really don't think you understand the sheer hatred there is in the military for "Jody". Jody is the name given to the nameless masses of stateside men that steal the girlfriends/wives of deployed or otherwise not-at-home servicemembers. Men, for whatever reason, tend to hold other men more responsible for a cheating SO than the woman. Why, I've never figured out. There's a chance the guy doesn't know she's married/dating/etc, and that the woman is the aggressor. But most men assume (because we know men) that she was pursued.

Let me relate a story. Back when my wife and I were dating, we went to our favorite bar, and met up with some of my buddies (I was still active duty at the time). One of them had brought along an Airman by the name of Zack (yes, I still remember). Zack was TDY to my base, and apparently took a liking to my girlfriend. He bought her a drink. Ok... fine, I didn't really worry about it. Then he bought her another. Again, he knows she's with me, but he's free to spend his money how he likes. The third one he hands to her while looking me in the eye. At that point, I told my buddies to get him out of there or I'd do it more forcefully.

My wife doesn't understand this to this day. But the simple fact is, he was challenging me on a very primal level. He was saying, I know she's yours, but I can and will take her from you. It's not that I didn't trust HER, or was worried that he'd succeed. It was the blatant disrespect inherent with what he was doing. And so it is with Jody. The nameless Jody is seducing your best girl while you are not there to 'protect her'. You are now doubly suffering because you failed as a man to defend her AND you've been cuckolded. Perhaps not literally, but close enough. That's more than most men can bear. Especially if you add in the stress from what they're actually doing away from home.

So in this case, we don't have a letter from Jody (you want to see venom? let some guy write about stealing a servicemember's girl) but we do have a young woman contemplating dumping her servicemember in favor of someone else who's 'there'. They can't berate Jody, but she's knowingly debating dumping her deployed servicemember in favor of Jody. Therefore the venom has to hit her in this case.

Fair? Perhaps not. But there it is.

Posted by: MikeD at October 14, 2008 01:29 PM

This is where I need edit. That link is to the Onion's "Ask a Navy SEAL". Sorry about missing the closing anchor tag.

Posted by: MikeD at October 14, 2008 01:30 PM

No, I didn't know that.

I only skimmed the posts, to be honest. But I am well aware of that phenomenon (the predatory guy who goes after your girl when you're not around) because all my life I've been someone's girlfriend or someone's wife and pretty much all my life I've had to fend off 'Jody's'.

What is really pitiful is that a lot of girls and women are so stupid (naive) that they don't realize what these guys are up to.

I will be the first to tell you that if a guy was subtle about it (IOW, unless he openly came onto me, which few guys did b/c I don't think they ever got the idea I was just going to jump into bed with them - I would like to think my 'price tag' looked a bit higher than that) it never occurred to me that he was just trying to get laid. I have always been inclined to give a person the benefit of the doubt, and have also been extremely reluctant to think ill of someone unless they gave me reason to.

There were times when I got a bad vibe from someone, but even then I almost invariably felt guilty for thinking ill of them.

Anyway, thanks for the heads up :) I guess this is a case of me being a bit naive - the comments and the bit about the radio show confused me.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 01:51 PM

...and don't rush to judgment, because I promise you that the whole story isn't in those few paragraphs she wrote...

This is a spoof of the Onion's.

Geez, can I call these things, or what?

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2008 02:09 PM

Well, as usual I am more interested in the ideas than the actual situation anyway (and it sure didn't seem as though the commenters were reacting to a spoof).

So I think my reaction in the post still applies. This type of thing happens all the time. I'm not sure how anything is changed.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 02:12 PM

Naiveté is not "bad" per se, in many cases it can even be charming. But ultimately it does take two to 'tango' (as it were). At some level, even a naive person knows at some point (whether it takes actually being in bed before realization strikes or not) that they're doing something wrong. But as you are fond of saying (and I believe, generally correct) women trade sex for love and men, love for sex. They might believe that the seducer (in this case Jody) loves them and they now love him back.

Now, in the cold light of logic, if your 'best girl' (and with the number of deployed women out there, the 'best girl' might be a guy back home) can't stay faithful for even a fifteen month deployment, then perhaps she (or he) wasn't really worth the heartache to begin with. Sad to say, such a thing had even happened to me with an ex-girlfriend (no stuffed marmoset for guessing why we broke up). After the fact, it's easy to justify not being with that person, but it still hurts at the time. I can only imagine how much worse it is when it's a spouse instead of a girlfriend, and god forbid there are children involved.

Posted by: MikeD at October 14, 2008 02:14 PM

I agree.

What bothered me about this case (real or fake) is the labelling of someone who hadn't yet 'tangoed' yet as a "whore" :p

That just strikes me as over the top, if not a bit sick. I don't think it's "wrong" to start having feelings for another person. What is wrong is doing something about it.

What the commenters failed to do here is make that distinction.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 02:22 PM

Now, in the cold light of logic, if your 'best girl' (and with the number of deployed women out there, the 'best girl' might be a guy back home) can't stay faithful for even a fifteen month deployment, then perhaps she (or he) wasn't really worth the heartache to begin with.

And I completely agree here.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 02:23 PM

Well, as usual I am more interested in the ideas than the actual situation anyway (and it sure didn't seem as though the commenters were reacting to a spoof).

Well, please don't think less of me for responding to an older "Ask an Infantryman" in that particular idiom. I took it lightheartedly and would never actually counsel someone to actually do this.

Posted by: MikeD at October 14, 2008 02:52 PM

Anyway, thanks for the heads up :) I guess this is a case of me being a bit naive - the comments and the bit about the radio show confused me.

I think what you said in your post is still valid.

After all, regardless of whether the letter is adapted or not, the emotion in the blackfive comments are still real, not imaginary, neh Cass?

But what did you think about my comment I left as a reply to the Dear Abby thing, Cass, at Blackfive? I tried hard to keep within the bounds of what the letter wrote rather than make up fictitious backgrounds for the characters in view. I also pretended we were still living in Feudal Japan under the Shogunate, before WWII, so you, as a Marine wife, may find that entertaining ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2008 02:55 PM

This is what she gets for being concerned enough about her fiance to turn to the military community for advice? If this is their idea of being ambassadors for our values, they just did a bang up job of showing them we are a narrow minded, classless and judgmental group of people with serious attention deficit disorder.

One of the reasons why I was unsettled about the rage in the comment sections and wanted a different kind of opinion: which I suspected you might provide, Cass, which you did.

Since most other people were truly letting it out and wishing the letter writer harm, I decided to write a different response. Similar in some respects but focused more on the actual merit of the question she asked: does she tell him now or later.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2008 03:07 PM

Oh dear. Not knowing anything about this young woman or her fiance, their ages, or their relationship, I can only go on what is in her very brief note.

That's also why I only asked about Dear John letters rather than the specific letter posted up at the link ; ) Obviously, regardless of how much people knew or didn't know, what part was true or not true, in the letter, what really mattered were people's gut and atavistic reactions to it: their actions to the Dear John letter.

This also has some relevance to the things you have said before, Cass, about men being bitter about women and vice a versa. Although a lot of the nastier comments there seemed to have been by women, who were wives of servicemen or who respected servicemen ; )

Jimbo, of course, was being Jimbo. You will have to excuse him on my behalf, gomen. Domo.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2008 03:12 PM

She didn't write like a whore, so why treat her like one? It sounds like she really is searching. The Engineer and I were apart a year before we married. In that time I lost the desire to date because it was boooorrinng. However, the closer it got to the big day, the more I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

Marriage is a committment, fershure, and she sounds like someone who wants some security beyond the emotional.

Posted by: Cricket at October 14, 2008 03:40 PM

If I may Miss Cricket, I postulate that they're not really referring to THIS woman as 'whore' so much as they are referring to the archetype of the cheating SO as such. Obviously, they ARE referring to this woman, but again, only so much as what her letter to Dear Abby represents.

Think of it this way. Of course no (or very few) of us would be so callous and brutal to someone in person, but the anonymity of the internet allows them to be much more cruel than they would in person. But by the same token, the original 'writer' is also anonymous, which also allows people to hate the archetype as well as the individual. Because by being anonymous, the individual IS the archetype. Does that make any sense?

Posted by: MikeD at October 14, 2008 03:57 PM

Ymar, can I answer in a short post? This actually ties in with something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

It may get me laughed at, but it is an interesting idea :p It might make for an interesting discussion if you don't mind.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 04:44 PM

Of course no (or very few) of us would be so callous and brutal to someone in person, but the anonymity of the internet allows them to be much more cruel than they would in person.

It's more like the fact that the "Ask Infantrymen" series has historically been less than kind to those that asked the questions in the first place. It is part of tradition.

For example, one letter said that the writer felt guilty that his father kept threatening to committ suicide because obviously the father is wrong and the son right. The father uses this threat often when they argue.

The responses were generally in the vein of "make sure your father has his life insurance covered so that when he offs himself, and you had better make sure it is sooner rather than later, you'll get the bennies".

Now that would obviously be rather cruel to someone who lived under a father he loved yet kept hearing threats from the father that he would kill himself. But amongst such things, there were less funny but more constructive comments that the author shouldn't let his dad boss him around by issuing bluffs. Call him on his bluff or get him to shut up. Still, that isn't very sentimental, even if it is less cruel than the previous types of replies.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2008 04:47 PM

Ymar, can I answer in a short post? This actually ties in with something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

By the grace of God please do so.

It may get me laughed at, but it is an interesting idea :p It might make for an interesting discussion if you don't mind.

I would never laugh at you, Cass. I don't have a death wish like Bill and some of the other Villains here ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 14, 2008 04:51 PM

"What is being undermined is any inclination to control yourself or delay your instinct for immediate gratification (the 'venting response'). We dash off a quick comment and never think that our words persist long after the transitory emotion which prompted them."

I agree with you here, Cass. And in your original post. The letter actually brought to mind a relationship that my now-husband and I were witness to about two years or so ago. Around the time he and I started dating, one of his roommates ("J"), who he knew from his ROTC program at the university started dating a girl ("S"). During the guys' senior year, B and I got engaged in January, for the right reasons. Both of us are also a little older than the traditional college set; him having been prior enlisted, and myself having finished college a year and a half or so before we started dating. So we knew what we were doing. But shortly before graduation and commissioning, there were several engagements, and even one wedding, within his ROTC class.

J and S were one of the engagements. They had been attached at the hip, and we liked them together, but they were both pretty young, and fairly naive and immature. After he commissioned and left for Benning for his training, she realized that (a) she was NOT READY to be making this big of a commitment to anyone, and (b) she was either not strong enough or not mature enough to handle being away from him for months at a time. She ended up calling off the engagement and breaking up with him. As far as I know, no "other guy" was involved, though as she was still a college student, I would not be surprised if she felt a little "tied down" and wanted to stretch her wings a little before she graduated.

But our reaction to hearing she'd broken it off? Good. At least she realized that she couldn't hack it as early as she did. At least she figured it out before he was deployed, and more important than that, before they were married. Hopefully they will both mature, and in a few years he will find someone who is ready and willing to make that commitment. But better to end it early than after the fact.

Posted by: Emily at October 14, 2008 06:13 PM

I realize that it is very hard to get a Dear John letter in a war zone. It can be heartbreaking.

I also realize (let's be honest here) that most men just do not get as emotionally attached as women do.

Yes, some fall in love. And just as many fall into lust and mistake it for love. A lot of those last minute engagements on the eve of deployments would not have happened "but for" the specter of going to war. So for people to get their Hanes UltraSheers all in a wad when it doesn't survive the deployment?

Sheesh people. Give it a rest :p

As an officer's wife I am saying to myself, "this is one call some CO or XO is not going to get in the middle of the night because so-and-so is not going to be down at the Club getting hit on while this guy is deployed, or HE is not going to be down at the Club while SHE is pregnant b/c he suddenly feels "trapped" or decided for some bizarre reason that pregnant women don't have sex (yep, it happens). Or even better, she gets bored staying home with baby.

Or he starts going to strip bars b/c he thinks she isn't as hot after she has a baby (tough, growing up, isn't it?)

*rolling eyes*

And yes, I have taken all those calls. People are freaks.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2008 06:24 PM

Wow. That was a really good answer, Lady. That does have to be hard for her. I hope they both work it out.

Posted by: lutonmoore at October 14, 2008 08:44 PM

Wise words, "Onion" article or no.

I received one of those "Dear John" type letters when I was in...it hurt, of course, but life goes on. If it's meant to be, it shall be...

Posted by: camojack at October 15, 2008 01:30 AM

I don't have a death wish like Bill

Nah. Dodging trivets helps keep me limber.

I can *still* do a standing high jump 'n' roll over a five-foot blast wall...

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2008 05:05 AM

It's because of that Obama poll.

The color was green to me. It's some kind of run on html color code from the paste job if you ask me.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 15, 2008 07:49 AM

Excellent piece and advice, Cass.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 15, 2008 08:16 AM

Oh, it makes sense, but still, if the wording of her letter was civil...but yes, I know what you mean about the anonymity of the 'net. While I consider the time the Engineer spent in the service one of the most demanding and challenging times of my life, I wouldn't have traded that roller coaster ride for anything, because it prepared me for what we are facing now: Teen drivers.

All kidding aside, being a military family meant that my kids learned how to adapt and overcome challenges. My daughter is going to be singing a duet in church in a few weeks...she would not have had the guts to do it except she doesn't have stage fright. She also has a terrific voice, but that is beside the point. In her mind, if her father could handle being on the front, and being gone, a duet is not a big deal.

The lad she will be singing with wasn't cooperating until he found out she was also a green belt in karate...

heh.

Posted by: Cricket at October 15, 2008 08:53 AM

Not that she would have pounded him. That isn't her style, despite the fact that she is an only girl. He figured if she could do that well in a martial art/sport, he could sing. See how that works?

Posted by: Cricket at October 15, 2008 08:55 AM

this is one call some CO or XO is not going to get in the middle of the night because so-and-so is not going to be down at the Club getting hit on while this guy is deployed, or HE is not going to be down at the Club while SHE is pregnant b/c he suddenly feels "trapped" or decided for some bizarre reason that pregnant women don't have sex (yep, it happens). Or even better, she gets bored staying home with baby.

Umm...

Huh?

I am sorry, you so completely lost me there. You've gotten calls that the CO didn't because the CO was down at the bar? I'm sorry Cass... I am just dense today, but I really can't puzzle this one out. :( I feel like I let you down here (by being this dense).

Posted by: MikeD at October 15, 2008 09:52 AM

Not the CO.

Some kid and/or his wife.

The point being that if a couple who shouldn't be married in the first place, don't get married, there won't be domestic problems later on.

I led a rather sheltered life before the Marine Corps :p

The first time a wife called me when my husband was deployed to complain about how awful her husband was and how he mistreated her, I bought it hook, line and sinker. I was on the line to the chaplain so fast it would have made your head spin.... until I found out the lady in question had some issues with the truth herself.

As Bill said, it takes two to tango and when someone calls you in the middle of the night, it is always best to assume there are two sides of the story.

Because there are. It turned these two deserved each other.

*sigh*

And I was very naive about people. Only 23 and didn't even realize people cheated on each other except in movies. Boy did I have a lot to learn.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2008 10:10 AM

Sorry I wasn't that clear.

I just meant that things aren't always black and white. Social and family services sometimes like to paint it as always the evil man who victimizes the woman, but I've found that women step out on the guy too.

It's not always easy to see who is at fault, nor to sort out people's stories when feelings are involved.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2008 10:14 AM

"It's not always easy to see who is at fault, nor to sort out people's stories when feelings are involved."
Yup. There is a reason that cops are warned about and wary of domestic disputes.

I once received a Dear Jhun letter when I was deployed. After a bit of reflection, I realized that it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Jody got my girl and gone... the sucker took over payments too! =;^}

Posted by: bthun at October 15, 2008 10:34 AM

Only 23 and didn't even realize people cheated on each other except in movies.

There's something funny about that but I can't quite put my finger on why...

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 15, 2008 03:28 PM

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