Woman Marries Soldier Who Lost Legs Then Divorces Him Because She Wants 'Normal Life'

We like to believe that love can conquer all, but the fact is it can't conquer everything. It can conquer a lot, and that's great. But some problems are too heavy, too complex, too much for love to bear on its own. Love needs other things to help it along -- like patience, understanding, mental health counseling, money, and, well, a buttload of other things. So this story makes me very sad. It is the story of Rick and Leanne Clement. Rick was a soldier in Afghanistan. Leanne was the woman back home who loved him. When Rick stepped on a mine and his legs were blown off, leaving him unable to have sex or children or walk, Leanne wanted to go through with their planned wedding anyway. She still loved him. He was still Rick. Or was he?

After Rick returned from war, the pair had a lavish wedding in 2011, in Lancashire, England, where they live. They had met on Facebook in 2008, and immediately fell in love. Leanne was charmed by Rick's affectionate, caring, easy-going nature.

And then he went to war.

After losing his legs and suffering a serious groin injury, Leanne stood by him through his rehabilitation. At first she thought he'd die. When he didn't, she was so ecstatic that there was no question they would get married. "I could think of no reason to cancel our plans," said Leanne, despite the fact that she was shocked about "how little there was left" physically of Rick.

After the wedding they moved in together. And that's when things began to really change. Although she knew intellectually that she and Rick would never be able to have sex, and had been prepared for that, the reality of it hit harder. She felt like their physical relationship was "one-sided" since he not only lost his lower half and all the parts that went with it, but his desire as well. She said she felt "guilty and selfish" for needing any physical intimacy.

He also refused to allow anyone to treat him as "disabled," and would yell at her whenever she tried to help him. He also cried all of the time but refused to see a counselor. Finally, Leanne went on her own.

After a year, the couple decided to divorce. And Leanne is getting the brunt of blame on that. She wanted a "normal life" and has a new boyfriend. "People think I'm horrible," she says.

Wow. This is soooo tough. I wouldn't judge anyone who chose to end a marriage for any reason, because you can never know what goes on in another's heart and soul. Okay, that's not totally true. Yes, if I see someone who has an affair, especially with someone younger, then I judge. However, this isn't the case here.

One of the single most unrealistic phrases in the world is "To death do us part." It's a nice gesture, but certainly nothing that anyone should be bound to against all reason. If someone is threatening you or your children, it will be your death that will part you unless you get out.

No one is in the wrong here. Leanne isn't terrible. In fact, the pair only knew each other a couple of years before their marriage, and they had long separations during those couple of years, so a divorce is something that could have happened even if Rick came home fine. I feel really bad for both of them.

What would you have done?


Image via Rick McCharles/Flickr



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LostS... LostSoul88

she doesn't want to leave because he can't have sex or walk. She is leaving because the way he is acting! So she should be forced to be depressed and yelled at and stay with a man who refuses to get counseling? I think she has every right to leave him so she can be happy. It's his fault for not trying. 


Agree LostSoul

nonmember avatar Jennifer

I think it is unfair to blame either one. People change, he isn't the man she fell in love with anymore so she's moving on with her life. And he has suffered through a highly traumatic life event so obviously he's a different person. As a veteran of the US Army who has suffered from PTSD and as the wife of a US Marine who also suffered PTSD the effects of war can have lasting effects on who you are. Lost Soul I think you're reading to much into the tone of the article, we don't know his side of the story. Both these people should be left alone to settle the end of their marriage as peacefully as possible. Judgement never helps.

LostS... LostSoul88

^^ He refused to get counseling^^ that is his fault. Maybe if he attempted the marriage wouldn't have failed. He will never know now. His wife had enough and left. 

nonmember avatar mel

Well I dont think your horrible.

Sh*t happens. He wasnt willing to work on issues then he should be allowed to be left alone. Literally obviously.

I dont know many women that would give up a lifetime for that situation. I could also see being so overcome with happiness that he was alive - then jumping into getting married. Sometimes we humans dont see the full picture till we are living it. That s why we are always learning.

nonmember avatar D

I am in a similar (but much less extreme) situation. I married my husband right after he was medically discharged from the Army after suffering an injury in Iraq. He also refuses any help or counseling. He has been angry and abusive, emotionally and physically. He can hardly bring himself to have sex or be the least bit affectionate with me due to PTSD. When someone refuses help, what can you do? How much is too much for someone to take until they can't stick it out anymore?

nonmember avatar Jeanne

I don't know both sides of this story, so I just hope that this couple can find peace and not have to deal with people throwing their opinions about what they should do.

nonmember avatar kaerae

She's leaving because his personality changed, not because his body changed, and the question posed is silly, the truth is, none of us who haven't been in her situation know what we would do. Best of luck to both.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Until death due us part is not realistic and should be adhered to so long as there is no abuse involved. Too many people quit on marriages too easily just because it is easier to be selfish and walk away than it is to work hard to improve things and make it work.

That said - this woman was 100% right  to walk away. Herr husband's behavior was abusive and he would not work to fix things.

Also, Ms Blakeley, you misrepresent this woman - she want the "intimacy" of snuggling and cuddling, which her husband was perfectly capable of but not willing. You turn a sad and difficult situation into a cheap "she wanted sex"  instead of wanting the intimacy of physical contact and emotional sharing  her husband refused her.

RitzC... RitzCrackerz

omg how sad :( I can't blame either party for what has happened.

According to my sister n law and mother in law my husband was different man before he went to Iraq, as of right now he's well a prick haha but I deal with it because I know it's not his fault. War changes a human. sadly this man not only got changed but lost his legs as well and possibly in his mind his future.

It is a stressful for both of them and he is having to get use to having no legs, having his life in his mind taken from him. He can't have kids with the women he loves, he can't even make love to her. It has got to be tough on him to have her stand by him with all that. How he feels does come out and I can understand her not being able to take it but at least she tried. It's a very hard thing to do to stand by a person that has went through a traumatic experience like that. I just hope he can overcome everything and find a lady that will stay with him. I hope she finds a man as well and that both parties live a good life.  I just hope he doesn't do anything that ends his life. I hope he can make it through the difficult time. 

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