My Husband’s Mistress


The other day, I was complaining to a friend about how much I hate the Army.  (Disclaimer: I don’t hate it every day, just some days.  And I know you do, too.)  All my life, I’ve always been a “family first” kind of girl.  So sometimes it’s very, very hard for me to accept the fact that my family doesn’t come first anymore.  The Army does.  It has to.  It’s not by choice or by preference, it’s just the nature of the beast.  I know that.  I knew it when I said “I do” to my soldier.  So I can’t complain, right?  Ohhh, but I complain nonetheless.  Because knowing ahead of time what you’re “signing up for” and actually living it are two very different things.

My friend, thinking she was being clever, said, “Well…the Army is your husband’s mistress.”  I had to laugh.

“No, it’s not,” I argued.

“Isn’t that what they say?” she asked.  “I swear I’ve heard that somewhere.”

“Well…. ‘they’ are wrong.  The Army definitely isn’t my husband’s mistress,” I told her.  “I am.”  And it’s true.

The Hubs is currently stationed at Fort Hood, which is over a thousand miles away from our home in Michigan.  So “coming home” is less like actually coming home and more like a vacation for him, as he only gets to do it for a week or two at a time every couple of months.  I’m not the one my husband spends his everyday life with, the Army is.  I don’t make sure he gets up for work on time every morning, or make his lunch, or schedule his doctor appointments, or hound him about keeping his apartment clean, or cook him dinner, or tell him where he can and can’t go or what he can and can’t do.  The Army does all of that.

I’m the girl he calls late at night when he needs someone to talk to, just to hear my voice.  I’m the girl he texts discreetly during the middle of a meeting, simply to tell me he’s thinking about me and that he misses me.  I’m the girl he sends flowers to when he misses out on important events in my life, the girl he keeps pictures of in his phone so he doesn’t forget what I look like, and the girl most of his friends hear him talk about all the time, but have never actually met.  I’m the girl he hops on a plane every few months to visit, the one he shuts the entire world out for just so we can spend time together.

I’m his escape, his safe place, his not-so-secret little secret.  I am my husband’s mistress.  The Army is his wife.  And my gosh, does she know how to crack that whip….

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Michelle Hodges - September 12, 2012 - 9:02 am

I know exactly how that feels….my husband was stationed in Fort Benning and leaves on the 28th to go to Fort Gordon… We stay in Austin Tx

Kacellia Patrick - September 12, 2012 - 10:19 am

I absolutely love this article and I think you have hit the head on the nail with being his Mistress.

kacellia Patrick - September 12, 2012 - 10:23 am

I meant the nail on the head……………lol….. I understand this all to well. I have felt like his Mistress for 13 years and I have come to accept that the Army is his wife…. Even being on Base with him I felt like his side chic. Especially being an NCO’s wife…..

Melissa Nelson - September 12, 2012 - 10:39 am

I love this post! I, too, live apart from my husband right now. He is currently at AIT & between Basic Training, AIT, and airborne school, he was supposed to be gone a total of 7 months. He recently injured his elbow, however, and will now be held over a few months longer. It will probably be a full year by the time we actually get to live together again. It sucks because I can’t live with him, and even if I moved out to Arizona to be closer to him, the Army doesn’t pay for that & he wasn’t supposed to be there that long anyway so moving there for a couple months just to be bored all day because I can only see him at night & on the weekends just didn’t make as much sense as moving home to my family in Seattle until he is done with his training. Just because we “chose” this life does not automatically make it easy & forfeit our right to complain! I had no idea it would be this hard coming into it.

Kelly - September 12, 2012 - 12:21 pm

Emily you should find something better to do with your time. You’re negativity towards others, their relationships and this blog make you seem as though you are an ugly person inside and out. You sound very resentful and jealous of the authors accomplishments and for what!?! Because she defended herself against you temper tantrum. You’re right this is a public site and people are free to comment, enjoy!

Deanna Buck - September 12, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Just curious as to why you don’t live with your husband at Fort Hood?

Creneza Mendoza Bui - September 12, 2012 - 12:49 pm

I know the feeling too well. My husband is stationed in fort Benning and I’m here in California.

Jenn Carpenter - September 12, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Because we both share joint custody of our kids with our exes, so we can’t move them out of Michigan. Our entire life is in Michigan; our kids, our family, our house, my job with the state…everything except him. =( But that will be changing soon!

Emily Patenaude Harrison - September 12, 2012 - 1:04 pm

WTH? Where do they find the people who write for these articles? You chose not to accompany your Soldier to his duty station, so you forfeit any and all rights to complain about squat.

Corey Conner - September 12, 2012 - 1:06 pm

Even though my hubs and I are both at Ft Rucker, I still have the same feelings! I’ve often referred to it as the SuperMan. By that I mean one minute he’s here as Clark Kent and then he’s gone (Superman.

Kristina Hellums - September 12, 2012 - 1:07 pm

Unfortunately, some soldiers really do have a mistress & break up family because of it. Hope that never happens to any of you :-(

Sarah Noyes - September 12, 2012 - 1:10 pm

I jokingly call the army the other wife.

Melissa Manry-Wilson - September 12, 2012 - 1:11 pm

95% of the time these situations are caused by custodial issues, I don’t think I could choose between my kids and spouse.

Jenn Carpenter - September 12, 2012 - 1:19 pm

Emily, please don’t make assumptions about my, or anyone else’s, situation. It is a very difficult thing to live apart from my husband, and I know many other wonderful, dedicated military spouses who are forced to make the same choice for a plethora of different reasons (a lot of the time having to do with child custody, as is the situation in our case.) At the same time, I know many spouses who do follow their soldiers to their duty stations and then do nothing but cause trouble and start drama. Don’t judge others, it’s not a good look, sweetie.

Phyllis Fox - September 12, 2012 - 1:31 pm

I love this, clever and true. I have so many skill sets that I really never wanted, ie: plumbing, through this long Army career Handsome Husband has had. I just know we are closer for all the times apart, and from being cogniscent of the the danger in this world. It is a good life and a great country, but never a picnic to carry on alone.

Stacey Perkins - September 12, 2012 - 1:49 pm

Although I am with accompanying my soldier to his duty and with the early morning and late nights I often feel the same.

Lisa Atkinson - September 12, 2012 - 2:28 pm

A few more years and u will be army free and u will most likely miss it

Howard Gwin - September 12, 2012 - 2:44 pm

So do civilians husbands and wife’s cheat. Trust, good communication,and a healthy sex life within the marriage are key, regardless of occupation. This was just a article to make light of the role we military wives take on

Emily Patenaude Harrison - September 12, 2012 - 2:45 pm

Not really concerned about my look, sweetie. I’m quite familiar with the numbers and don’t need to assume anything, as I have spent my entire career cleaning up the issues and the messes of these particular spouses who can’t deal with the “choice” they make and then expect the Army to take care of them and their Families, whining and crying for entitlements they aren’t entitled to. I encounter a fair amount of these and other Spouses who say that they “Hate” the Army. It’s an ignorant statement and is infuriating to those Spouses who LOVE the Army lifestyle daily. The Army is providing you a roof over your head and food on the table. Does it suck a lot of the time? Yes, of course, but as you stated yourself it is a choice that you knowingly made…and with all choices come consequences that you have to suck up and live with. The silly articles on this site drive me insane…the ones that serve nothing more than to provide fodder for those over-sensitive Spouses who love to whine and complain about everything the Army lifestyle provides without any thanks to all of the benefits it allows. We are fostering a generation of Army Spouses who can’t deal with anything and blame the Army for all their problems. Just wondering where all the intelligent articles are for those of us who don’t sit around all day in a shame spiral?

Kristina Hellums - September 12, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Oh, I know & I have respect & praise for all the strong families. I just wanted to point out that sometimes the faithful, innocent wives waiting @ home are betrayed even tho there was trust, good communication & healthy sex life. It’s not the fault of occupation, but the person who was weak

Jenn Carpenter - September 12, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Once again….judging and assuming does nothing but make you look foolish. The Army does not provide the roof over my head or the food on my table or even my health insurance, I provide those things for myself and my children….always have, always will. My husband’s career in the Army is completely separate, logistically and financially, from the life our family has at home. And my marriage is solid and will remain that way. Thanks for asking. I’m not looking for anyone to “clean up my messes” or even saying that I “can’t deal.” If you don’t want to read the “silly articles on this site,” don’t. Just like the Army life is what you make of it, so is this site. If you’re solely looking for “intelligent” articles, why did you feel the need to read and comment on one titled “My Husband’s Mistress?” Just wondering. Some people come to AWN looking for information, some people come looking to commiserate and find a kindred spirit, and sometimes we all just need a little comic relief. If something you come across is not your cup of tea, move on and find something that is. No need to put others down or be so negative and hateful. I don’t know anyone who “sits around all day in a shame spiral,” I know I certainly don’t. I work full time, am raising two children, recently published a book, and write for multiple sites and publications, including this one. That being said, I’m not going to waste anymore of my time or energy arguing with you. Best of luck to you, I hope that you can use your great love of Army life to focus on the positive instead of feeling compelled to judge situations you know nothing about and put others down.

Emily Patenaude Harrison - September 12, 2012 - 3:46 pm

Don’t take my response as an attempt to start dialogue with you, in fact I wouldn’t have even re-commented if you hadn’t taken the opportunity lecture me…and you called me sweetie, so you were asking for it :-)
I don’t take pleasure in tearing apart other Military Spouses nor do a make a habit of it, but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. Despite all your accomplishments, the books and the like you’re still an idiot. I base this conclusion on your actions not because I know you personally. You can’t really put your business out on an extremely public forum like this that allows commenting and then get your panties in a twist and tear apart anyone who doesn’t want to join the pity party with you. If you don’t want people to possibly assume things or, god-forbid, judge you…you probably don’t need to be writing on here. I glad that you read into all my statements as talking at you directly though. It’s fabulous that you made the insinuation that I saw the title of your article and just had to read it because I must be some sort of stupid whore. Don’t confuse intrigue with ignorance. I’m sure you didn’t use that little delightful play on words as a title just to get people to read your sorry excuse for an article in the first place…surely not. Yup, you’re a real gem.

Jessica Donnelly Burmeister - September 12, 2012 - 4:24 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Emily on this one and I resent the statement by Jenn that says “At the same time, I know many spouses who do follow their soldiers to their duty stations and then do nothing but cause trouble and start drama.” Not all Army spouses are drama queens. Many are hardworking, intelligent, independent woman who happen to love an American Soldier. Most are patriotic Americans who volunteer and contribute to their community as a whole. I think Emily was trying to point out that if you chose to live apart, then you do not have the right to complain about the consequences of that choice. I also agree that it is articles like this that feed the “poor is me” attitude that commonplace throughout our Military Families. When I think back to times not that long ago when all that a wife heard from her Soldier was a letter that was months old, I cringe when I hear spouses complain about a short 5 min phone call or 24hr black out period. Our Soldier’s spend their entire Military career juggling the needs of the Army and the needs of the Family. Making statements that suggest that your Soldier is choosing the Army over Family fuels the guilt they feel every time they miss a meal or dance recital. They are doing the best they can and as a spouse I choose to support my Soldier near or far and thank god everyday he comes home (wherever that may be) at all.

Roxanne Williams - September 12, 2012 - 4:48 pm

This whole discussion is unbelievable to me. Sometimes living apart is not an option, there are kids to consider, is jenn just suppose to leave her children? I don’t think any of us would even consider that. In no way shape or form did jenn criticize her husband or imply he wasn’t doing enough to support his family, in fact all she does is uplift and praise him. It is because she loves him and considers him to be such a great husband that she desires to be closer to him. Saying you miss her husband and wish he was home does not make you unsupportive and to imply that is just ridiculous ignorance. Life is not always easy, especially not an Army life and the point of boards like this is to find people that can relate to how you’re feeling. Tearing people down because you think you’re above feeling a little sad about it sometimes is just insanity.

Lori Fox - September 12, 2012 - 5:23 pm

Emily, I don’t understand why you are so quick to judge and seem to be filled with anger. Life is so different for so many people, your opinion in one thing, your attacks and judging others is totally different. Take a deep breath and be thankful for the people in your life. Have a great day.

Emily Patenaude Harrison - September 12, 2012 - 7:47 pm

Lori, I have a major problem with Army Spouses who openly proclaim that they hate the Army, but reap the benefits of being a Army Spouse and want to complain about every part of the lifestyle…not enough time with Soldier, not enough pay, not enough this, not enough that. As far as being positive, that was my complaint about this article. She says she hates the Army, which hate is pretty negative, and there are a distinct lack of articles floating around the internet that talk about the positive things that come about due to marrying a Soldier. However, I don’t hear anyone harping on Jenn to be more positive…

Jenn Carpenter - September 12, 2012 - 8:20 pm

Wow. Well….it’s obvious that my article struck quite a raw nerve with some, which wasn’t my intention at all. Rather than stoop to the level of name calling, arguing, and defending myself against baseless accusations on this site, I’ll simply say this to everyone: In no way was this article meant to be viewed as an Army bashing, “poor me” story. If you took it that way, I’m sorry. Maybe read it again when you’re in a better mood? I don’t know. I thought it was pretty clear that this was a fun, lighthearted piece, which is the way most of my readers viewed it. It was meant to make light of a sentiment that many military spouses share, whether they live on post with their soldiers or 1,000 miles away, that a lot of times it feels like the Army is the other spouse, or the soldier’s mistress. And I don’t hate the Army. But I don’t know a single Army wife, or soldier, for that matter, that doesn’t have an “I hate the Army” day now and then. If you’re that person, more power to you. That’s awesome. While this is a public site, open for public opinion/debate/comments, it should never be used to try to tear others down. To imply that my opinions don’t count because I don’t live on post with my husband, to make assumptions about my life that you know nothing about (which…really…if you’re that curious, do a little research….every detail of our family’s Army journey has been documented online), and to resort to childish namecalling? Absolutely uncalled for. There is a difference between disagreeing with someone’s opinion and being downright hateful and mean-spirited. I love my soldier, very much. I love my Army wife friends, and think that they are some of the most amazing, resilient women I know. And I have nothing but the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform. Thank you so much to all of you who took up the fight for me in this completely unnecessary war of words, but let’s let it go now, shall we? As a very wise man once said (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, to be exact): “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In that case……I love you all. =)

Amber Weeks - September 12, 2012 - 8:29 pm

Actually, I found this to be an amusing take on the role of the army wife vs the army. There was one comment about hating the military, but anyone who can actually read should be able to see the disclaimer that immediately follows.

Amber Weeks - September 12, 2012 - 8:32 pm

And btw, if you try to tell me that you have never had a moment where you hated a certain aspect of army life I will call you a bald faced liar. Yes the positives may outweigh the negatives, but not everyone is perfect enough to NEVER have a moment of wishing things were going differently.

Ally Peppey - September 12, 2012 - 8:36 pm

I’m curious as to how many of these negative comments ts are actually coming from military spouses. Everyone’s situation is different from someone else’s and they are allowed to feel however they damn well please about that situation. For those of you criticizing Jenn for this article, you don’t know her circumstance. You don’t know the extra struggles she’s been through having to be a spouse away from her husband. And please don’t even try to justify the fact that she can’t be “negative” about something if it was her choice not to live with him. Again, you have no idea what her reasons are and regardless you shouldn’t be passing judgement anyways. If you don’t like what the article has to say, dont read it. Its as simple as that. I give her props for not glorifying everything the way most people want to view the military. It has some perks but it has a whole lot of downsides too. So for those of you saying she’s so “negative,” take your own negative comments elsewhere.

Kristen Smith - September 12, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Emily- if you have a concern with this, or any other article on this site, you are more than welcome to email me at I am AWN’s blog coordinator and of the people who selects our bloggers. While we encourage discussion and debate on our posts, name calling is uncalled for and won’t be allowed. Our bloggers put themselves and their opinions and experiences out there in the hopes that at least one other spouse will read the post and know that someone else is feeling the same way they do. Do you have to agree with it? Absolutely not. We all travel a unique and different road through Army life. But we do expect our readers and commentors to treat our bloggers with respect- something you have not done here. If you feel that there is a perspective not represented here on Loving A Soldier, you are more than welcome to contact me about blogging opportunities or simply not read it. But calling someone who is simply sharing her experience an “idiot” because it doesn’t jibe with *your* experience is not constructive in any way. If this discussion continues with the name calling and vitriol, the comments will be deleted.

Daisy Lee Klundt - September 12, 2012 - 8:57 pm

you tell em’… JERKS!!!

Jessica Ogburn - September 12, 2012 - 9:00 pm

I agree I didn’t see anything wrong with her article. I liked it and thought it was kinda true!!!

Jessica Maddin - September 12, 2012 - 9:07 pm

Love that quote. Just read the article and found nothing wrong with it. Some people just like to cause drama and I am sorry that you are caught in the middle. Btw I am still reading the book and love it. Will post a review when I finish. Things have just been busy this month!

Army Wife Network - September 12, 2012 - 10:37 pm

Emily Patenaude Harrison apparently you are not familiar with our site. Please do your research before saying that anyone is “always negative” or “does not provide intelligent content”. As for this blog entry, it is a personal blog and feelings of Jenn’s. She is not causing any issues, it is her opinion and how she feels. Just as you are entitled to how you feel. Her opinion is quite a universal feeling, I might add. In all of MY sixteen years in the military it rings pretty true to all of the interviews I’ve done with spouses as well as how I feel myself. Before you pass judgement on that statement – I am a coauthor of “1001 Things To LOVE About Military Life.” So, I DO LOVE THIS LIFE. I believe Jenn does too, she was simply stating sometimes she feels like she is on the back burner. Fact of the matter, she is. We all are. That doesn’t mean we don’t love the Army, it means we are recognizing our husband’s/spouse’s commitment. We at AWN do not mind opinions. We love it when passion is evoked by an article or a blog. But we do take offense to unfounded statements – like the one about our website referenced above. As well as we will not stand by and watch people call each other names. If that is what you continue to do, you’ll be asked to leave and your comments removed. (Tara – AWN Co Founder)

Army Wife Network - September 12, 2012 - 10:38 pm

Amber Weeks ain’t that the truth!

Jeremy Deming - September 12, 2012 - 11:24 pm

As an author, you should know that you can’t please everyone.

Sarah Sawyer - September 13, 2012 - 1:22 am

What a refreshing sense of humor! I remember hearing this expression in the ’60’s, but I was a 20 something and am not sure how I reacted to it. Today– a wiser woman, I just chuckle. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Shannon Koernke Laing - September 13, 2012 - 1:34 am

You keep doin’ you Jenn. Those of us who know you, and the depth of your heart and the ferocity of your devotion to everyone and everything in your life, know what you are doing with this poignant post, and we would never question your beliefs and your dedication to your family, your soldier or your country. Muah!

Yonna Nelson - September 13, 2012 - 3:40 am

Love this…Love your honesty…This is you and your life, not theirs.Haters will always be haters..We who have been there truly understand!!;)

Kenneth Davidson - September 13, 2012 - 6:44 am

Army? Army? MARINE CORPS!!!!!!! Semper Fi, do or Die, Gung Ho Gung Ho. Devil Dog till I Die! Wait I’m a MARINE I’m not allowed to DIE!!!!! OOH RAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Moore - September 13, 2012 - 10:32 am

I have always thought this! Humorous take on what our Army life is actually like! Thanks!

Yonna Nelson - September 14, 2012 - 1:40 am

kenny you were a Marine like 20 year’s ago…lmao

Danielle Luna - September 16, 2012 - 2:26 pm

I am Rheanon’s niece. I also knew Dax from a long time ago. My husband is stationed at fort bragg and has been here since Oct 2008. Im in your same situation. Please give me a call i might be of some assistance with the custody situation. Im doing the change of domicile situation from michigan for the second time. I know all about the army and the life that follows. After being with out the father to my two girls, husband of five years and partner of seven, i’m finally with him. He just got back from Afghanistan last week. Sometimes talking to someone from MI, who can fathom the life u speak of is helpful. Message me if u ever wanna talk!:)
-Danielle Luna

Cari - October 7, 2012 - 11:25 am

I absolutely loved the article. But there was a harsh truth that came out of reading it that I had to face. I don’t even rate as the mistress. My Husband is currently deployed and while on premobe 2 weeks before he was scheduled to fly out of the country I discovered that he had a real mistress. She was the one he was chating with, texting with and calling. I was the one receiving messages that read can’t call tonight very busy but yet he could always find time to talk to her. Now he says that she was a big mistake and he doesn’t want that mistake to cost him everything and that he wants to work it out. This is extremely hard to do while he is away, as you all know phone calls in the first few weeks are limited and the only communication that we have is instant messaging. My feelings are so random at the moment. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him and we have a child together so I don’t want to wreck his life either. Life is a daily struggle just to get through all the emotions, happy embarrassed, angry, lonely and not sure how we will ever be able to get the trust between us back. I am uncertain about my future right now and really don’t know what I need to do or how to face tomorrow. So if you are fortunate enough to have a soldier that steals all those moments to try and talk to you, and truly misses you while he is away you should be very grateful. I know that I would be.

Shanita Perry-White - October 29, 2012 - 5:42 pm

I think its great. I feel the same Theonly way to stay sane with the numerous deployments its to find the humor in it. To those who have to be too serious just remember life is to short not to smile at the little things

Shanita Perry-White - October 29, 2012 - 5:46 pm

Sn he is in Korea were in benning. 4 deployments later were still doing the same dance ;)

Elisa Valenzuela - July 15, 2013 - 8:29 pm

Oh, this is SO my soldier and me. LOL. He’s stationed at Ft. Lewis while I live in Sacramento, CA (our hometown). And it will be this way even after we marry. This is because Sacramento is where we want to buy a house; it’s where all of our family is, and also because my soldier recognizes and values my successful career (I work in information systems security for the state of CA). Sure, it’s not a conventional relationship, but we’re both very happy and very much in love, and it works for us.
I found this article to be very cleverly written, wonderfully humorous, and just plain true (at least in my case). We have extended weekend rendevous. Send text messages to each other throughout the day (yes, discreetly because we’re both at work and often times we’re in meetings). We talk to each other late at night, and keep pictures of each other in our phones. Our friends hear about our “other half” but most have yet to meet this enigmatic person.
But you know what? I’m happy to be my soldier’s “mistress”. I’m incredibly proud of him, as he is of me and I wouldn’t trade our life and what we have for anything else.

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