Sometimes when I use my Navy Federal Credit Union visa debit/check card, the employee processing my transaction will thank my husband for his service. I used to keep my mouth shut and not say anything, sort of the way you say, “Fine,” when someone asks you, “How’s your day?” when in actuality your day has been horrible, but either you know it will be a waste to be perfectly honest or you know they really don’t care and are just using it as a greeting. Now though, there is no longer a reason to protect my husband’s cowardliness. As a supportive wife (spouse) you go along with the partner you chose hoping to make it work, ignoring little flaws while subtly attempting to encourage improvements for questionable behavior that, in hindsight, are probably inherent character flaws.
The truth is, I have a Navy Federal Credit Union card because I was in the Navy. Used to, you could only join NFCU when you were overseas. My husband had four years of service ahead of me and he couldn’t bother to join even though it was the first thing recommended to everyone when landing at the overseas duty station (my vents will reveal a common theme of his financial ignorance wrapped in arrogance). When a cashier says to me, “Tell your husband thank you for his service,” I quickly correct them and say, “I am the veteran. This card is mine, due to my service.” There have been some awkward re-directions, but most of the time, the cashier redirects without a problem.
It may seem petty, but taking the backseat is over, even for little things, like who gets patriotism points.
The mindless thanking the veteran got me to thinking about how when it’s given to narcissistic cheaters, I’m sure they suck it up whether they deserve it or not. There is no self-examination of merit. In reality, the narcissistic cheater is one of the biggest cowards. If you cannot face your spouse and tell her (or him) that you are unhappy in your marriage and instead, start an affair knowing that it will not be tolerated, and you will be divorced if/when your affair is discovered, you are a coward.
I’m not saying or suggesting that in a war I would be a super hero or someone who would throw themselves on a grenade to save a platoon. You never know what you would do unless you experience it personally. I do know that in everyday life I tend to face problems for no other reason than to mark that problem off my list of problems. Avoidance does not make the problem go away. You cannot consistently avoid and at the same time maintain a healthy mental health. It’s like procrastinating homework. You think you are having fun each day you are not doing your homework, but it’s always there in the back of your mind, like a stick in the mud. You hear a joke and you laugh and think about how much fun you are having then you remember you haven’t done your homework yet and it’s due Friday. Suddenly, your parade is trenched by heavy rain.
What I did to survive overseas deployments, field exercises, and live fires was to tell myself the worst thing that could happen to me was that I was going to die. I didn’t look forward to death, however I accepted the fact that I committed to my enlistment by my own free will (wasn’t drafted) and I had to deliver what I promised I would deliver.
Looking back, I see now how big of a military coward my husband was. Before 9-11, before personnel were being sent to Iraq/Afghanistan, he was the golden boy. I didn’t see it then because it happened slowly with rational excuses given along the way. First, he hurt his back, so they had to delay his overseas deployment for six months for physical therapy. Then that six months turned into another six months that turned into another year, which turned into another year until it was six years passed the time he should’ve gone. Whenever he was challenged or told he would have to go or be discharged, he pulled out all the righteous indignation and accusations. “They were after him. They were discriminating against him. They weren’t following the rules.” Most of all, it was about principles and getting justice. His justice. Eventually he was processed out of the military, on his terms.
I don’t believe there was ever anything major wrong with his back. Initially it was probably a pulled or strain muscle. It was probably healed in six months. As time went by, he got lazier and lazier. He wouldn’t exercise, stretch, or do any of the physical therapy recommendations. When I would encourage him to do the stretching and exercises, he would end the conversation either by changing the subject or dismissing me. If that didn’t work, he would shut me down by bullying, accusing me of not believing he was hurt or not wanting him to get justice. In hindsight, he wanted the military and veteran benefits without risking his life.
He treated our marriage the same way he treated the military. He joined (married) for the benefits. However, when our marriage got tough (time to go to war), he wanted out like a coward. Instead of confronting the problems in the marriage, he cheated. His cheating dropped the problem in my lap. The same way he dropped his problem (not wanting to go to war) into the military’s lap. He left it up to the military to decide what to do with while demanding, accusing, and expecting. It worked in his favor. Here’s the difference though, I refused to give him time to milk me to death. To change the narrative. The attorneys say there is so much anger in our divorce. Yet, what does he have to be angry about? He cheated and now he is free to be with his whore and he has all the income. He had anger when he accused the military of mistreating him. What was their crime? They didn’t allow him to malinger (after a considerable amount of time). What is my crime? I refuse to allow him to remain married and cheat. I filed for divorce 17 days after my suspicions were confirmed. He is no longer angry at the military because they let him go with benefits. With me though, because I’m not letting him process out on his terms (which is for me to take the children, not expect any money, and leave everything to him), he’s angry.
Cowardly cheaters usually fall back on methods that have worked for them before. The same with bullies. Essentially, bullies and cowards are one and the same.