"We Got Married Too Young"
His TurnThe End of a Dream
"Leaving West Point was the end of everything I had worked for from the time I was 8 years old when my parents took me to the West Point Museum," said Matt, 27, 6 feet 4 inches tall and extremely fit. "I was fascinated by military history. I knew I wanted a career in the Army. Everything I did from then on -- studying hard, being in all the right extra-curricular activities, running for student government -- was aimed at my getting into West Point. When I got my acceptance letter, I cried like a baby and so did my mom and dad. I'm their only child, and this meant as much to them as it did to me.
"The first thing I did after I pulled myself together was call Julie. She was ecstatic. I told her I was on the path to the life I had always dreamed of and that I wanted to take her with me. We'd start our careers and raise a family together, in that order.
"That's not how it worked out. Immediately after we had sex that day when I was home for Christmas break, I felt guilty for not using protection. But it was too late. Julie was pregnant. I was thrilled and devastated at the same time. I couldn't help but be excited about having a baby with the woman I loved. But I knew that the life I had always dreamed of was over.
"What I didn't know was that giving it up was going to haunt me. I couldn't get past the disappointment. I hated the idea of going to a normal college. And I hated that I'd be a businessman just bringing home paychecks and not having my heart in my work. Julie had no sympathy for me; she'd just throw her own situation back in my face. And she was on my case all the time about how I should spend more time at home helping her with the baby. The more she pushed, the more I backed off. I'd hang out with my friends until really late to avoid her and our arguments. Deep down I knew Julie deserved more, but I was too miserable myself to feel sorry for her.