journey

‘Weeks before boot camp, he said, ‘What if we get married?!’ I knew the risks. The statistics were against us. But if I said no, I knew every ounce of me would regret it.’ Military spouse candidly recounts ‘navigating the chaos’ of marrying, conceiving young

“When I got pregnant, we had a fairy tale image of what our little life would look like. NO ONE tells you the effect a baby can have on your relationship with your spouse. We went from the comforts of our family homes to navigating life on our own. From regular date nights and weekend outings to sleeping in shifts. We barely spoke. Our connection and intimacy had gone numb.”

‘If I refused his advances, I’d get in trouble. I had to keep my head down, my mouth shut. I couldn’t ‘ruin’ her image of the perfect family. I paid my dues every night for 6 years.’ Sexual assault survivor breaks silence after 2 decades

“I was starved for affection. He used that to introduce adult discussions and behaviors. Beyond the exhaustion, I saw glimpses of silent threats. He’d sit in the dark until I got home, silently staring, so I knew he was watching. He’d threaten to kick me out, send me away to the state. All in the name of control. Instead of exploring who I was as a child, I was trying to be invisible.”

‘People went out of their way to ignore me, as if being fat was contagious. Others used me as a lesson for their kids. ‘Look! This is what happens when you don’t eat right!’ I couldn’t find happiness, so food was my escape.’

“My weight got to the point where standing was painful. My wife got used to my answer being ‘no’ to everything. The panic set in. Was my weight ruining her life? Was I trapping her? Did she resent me for that? Did she still find me attractive or fun to be around?”

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