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Dear Wendy: Deployments Rock Relationships

I am a soldier currently serving a tour of duty in Iraq as an Army Reservist. I have also been with my girlfriend for about 16 months. We had it planned that when I got home we would most likely get engaged, move in together, and get married down the road. This all came at the preconception that I would come home and go active duty, taking her with me.

Well, during this deployment I have found that, utilizing the many programs offered to veterans, it is incredibly easy for me to stay close to home, go to college, earn a degree, and get paid to do so. I made this decision to take advantage of the opportunity, but my girlfriend seems to think that I made this decision without her and our relationship in mind. She got very upset and freaked out, saying I changed the dynamics of our relationship and she wasn’t sure whether I wanted to still get engaged or even continue our relationship and that she was “confused” about everything. She even brought up the subject of “ending it.”

In truth, I hadn’t considered all of this because, frankly, I thought she would be thrilled about not moving and having me closer to home. However, now that she brought it up, I’m not sure if she over-reacted or if I missed something important. I can’t help thinking that life would be easier if I got home, went to school, and didn’t have a relationship to worry about. I don’t want to hurt her because I do love her very much and I don’t want to lose her. I also can’t help thinking that continuing a relationship with somebody with whom I, apparently, am not communicating properly isn’t fair for me. I don’t know what to do with this and she expects an answer about continuing or ending. Please help me. — Iraq and a Hard Place

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