So this was originally posted to TIFU. It was left up for approximately 14 hours, made the reddit front page then was deleted by TIFU mods. They provided no reason.
Tried to re-post at relationships and they deleted it instantly. No reason provided.
Apparently, the fact that my story resonated with so many people is threatening in some way. Threatening to whom, I'll leave you to decide.
So I'm reposting here. Enjoy.
I was in the US Army. I was stationed in South Korea and I met a girl while I was back home on leave visiting friends. She was really cute and I liked her a lot. We clicked instantly. She opened up to me about how her dad had raped her when she was 9. My heart went out to her and we kept in touch for several months even after I left to go back to Korea. A relationship blossomed and we eventually ended up married. A year later, she was pregnant. I was overjoyed. We both were. 9 months later, my son was born. Within a couple months of his birth, the new-baby joyous haze had faded and postpartum depression set in with my wife. I did what I could to help lift her spirits but I was also working 12-hour days and sometimes weekends because, ya know... it's the Army. When my son was 6 months old, I got the news that my unit was going to deploy to Iraq. We were sent to the Fort Irwin National Training Center in the Mojave desert to train. While I was there, I got a call from a friend back at my unit. He had seen my wife in a Military Police vehicle with my son.
I was shattered. I was thousands of miles away and powerless to do anything and didn't know what was wrong or what might have happened to her and my son. I knew she had been in a fragile state. What could be wrong?!? I was absolutely frantic for days. She wasn't answering her phone. Worse yet, we were doing training exercises and I had lost my phone charger at some point and my phone had died. I called again from a friend's phone and left a voicemail with his phone number in the hopes that she would call back. Finally, on day 3 after hearing this news, she calls his phone. He runs over to me and brings me his cell. The wind is blasting sand into my face and it's 110 degrees outside. I ask her what's wrong and what the hell happened?!?
She tells me she wants a divorce... I'm dumbfounded. This is out of nowhere and I'm in total shock. Turns out she wasn't in a Military Police vehicle because there she was in trouble... She was fucking the MP. Of course, she couldn't very well leave my months-old son by himself so she was carting him along with her while she was doing it. It had been going on for months, even before I left. There's pictures of her and him and baby son with a tent in the background. They'd gone camping. Asked her where my son had slept and she matter-of-factly stated that he'd been in the tent with them. Nevertheless, I try to work things out for the sake of our son, but she's adamant and wants the divorce. Divorces are never quick so some tense months went by... but finally the divorce is granted. The next morning, I wake up and she is gone. She left our son with me, got on a plane, she's gone.
So there I was, a 22-year-old soldier who is suddenly a single dad of a now 10-month-old baby and I'm supposed to get on a plane to Iraq the following week. I didn't know what to do. So I grab my son, put him in his car seat, and drive to my unit's headquarters and sit down with my Commander and explain the situation. My son's mother has left and gone back to her parent's house, my own parents both work full-time along with parenting my mentally handicapped sister and can't possibly take on my son as well. So my CO says he'll have to consult with the Battalion Commander about what to do.
I nervously wait a few days. Then, 6 days before we're supposed to deploy to Iraq, my CO comes back and tells me that they're going to put me out of the Army on an honorable discharge. In a way, I was relieved because my son was my first priority. But I also have never felt that guilty in my entire life. I had trained with these guys in my unit for years preparing to go to war. Now I'm not going at all. I was a sergeant so I had soldiers who were underneath me that got transferred to another squad. I felt like they were being abandoned by me and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Then, on the day my unit is leaving, my company is getting on the buses to drive to the airport. My CO hands me a clipboard and asks me to check off each soldier as they get on the bus. So I did. Each one shook my hand and wished me luck as he got on the bus. I watched every face go by and shook every hand. My CO was the last on the bus. He took the clipboard from me, I saluted him, and he shook my hand and got on the bus and they drove away. Suddenly, I was standing in front of the headquarters building with my son napping in his carrier on the pavement beside me and I was totally and utterly alone. I sat down on the pavement and (I have to sit my manhood aside here for a moment) cried harder than I have ever cried in my entire life. I had never felt so painfully guilty and so alone.
Three months later, I was honorably discharged from the Army and on my way home. I got myself a place, got set up with a community college and started pursuing a degree while doing the single dad thing. I was recovering and putting my life together because I had to. For him.
Three months into this new life I'd set up for myself, a sheriff's deputy shows up at my front door. He hands me a manila envelope with court papers in it. I'd been served. My ex-wife was suing for custody.
Now, let's pause for a moment. So far, all of this is a rather unfortunate set of circumstances and you're probably wondering "So where's the FU? This doesn't sound like it's your fault." Up until now, you'd be right. So here it is. Here's where I fucked up: For the first month, I didn't even get a lawyer. I just called her and asked her what in the world she was doing. Couldn't we work this out? Fuck-up number 1. Always get a lawyer if you get a damn court summons. No exceptions. Your lawyer needs time to prepare your case. The longer you take to get one, the more ill-prepared he/she is. So finally I figure this out because things just aren't getting worked out. So I get a lawyer. The lawyer of course tells me to cease communication with her and that all communication will now go through him to her lawyer. But, in my hubris, I did not listen. I called her due to my emotional state being so out of whack. The conversation was somewhat peaceable at first but turned sour. At some point, she asked me if I had firearms in my house. I responded that of course I did to protect our son she abandoned and blah blah blah... This is fuck-up #2. She recorded it. This recording was the central piece of evidence she used in court against me. Of course the gun was locked up but she claimed he was in danger. Never ever disobey your lawyer and never base legal decisions on emotion.
Another six months passed and then a judge awarded sole physical custody of my son to my ex-wife despite the fact that I had been taking care of him alone this entire time since she left us both. This sounds crazy, I know. However, we're talking about a southern bible belt judge who was golf buddies with my ex-father-in-law. So yeah... that was that. While the system is a bit of joke when it comes to father's rights, I ultimately lost my son because I fucked up.
TL;DR - Guy in army gets cheated on by his wife and loses his wife, then his career, and then, due to his own hubris, his son.
Part 2 can be found here: redd(dot)it/4jz1ue