Dating Someone in the Military: What We Don’t Always Tell You

If you’re just joining us here at Powered by Sass, make sure you don’t miss out on Part One of this post “Dating Someone in the Military: What I Didn’t Know, But Now I Do.

Remember in my first post about dating someone who’s in the military when I said that it’s not always glamorous evenings wearing a ball gown and a pearl necklace crafted by the mom of one of your Airman friends? P.S. Thanks Mrs. Merzel!

jasoc dinner
Felix and me – JASOC graduation dinner – Maxwell AFB

Well, that’s because it’s not.

As much as I want to believe this life I’m living is 100% fairytale, I do have to remember that it’s life, and sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned.

Sometimes you make plans to spend Christmas with your family, but your boyfriend gets his orders and will PCS a week before December 25th.

Sometimes you want to have a lazy Sunday with homemade waffles and pajamas, but he’s called into the office.

Sometimes he has to work late to prepare for court, so you go to bed alone that night.

And sometimes they go away for awhile, whether on TDY or deployment.

And I’d be lying if I said it was all fun, because it’s not.

Here’s a list of some aspects of military life that are not so ideal, but you make do:

  1. Moving every 2-3 years is hard.
    Unless you’re just a gypsy at heart who has zero interest in putting down roots of any kind (which more power to you), moving every two to three years is difficult. It makes it hard to form friendships, find meaningful work (if you’re a significant other), and really feel like you have a place to call home. The plus side is that you get to experience multiple cultures and new places all of the time, so life never really gets boring.
  2. It’s difficult to make friends.
    Did you ever move as a child? I did. Once. I was in 4th grade, and I moved from New Orleans to a small town across the lake. I still remember my first day of 5th grade. I didn’t know a soul. I had my new backpack, Sketcher’s, and my hair was brushed and braided. Everything was set, but I didn’t have friends. Imagine feeling that every time you move. When you’re younger, you often think that everything will get easier once you grow up. The truth is that everything gets more difficult. It’s hard to wake up early for Saturday morning spin class when you’ve been waking up early all week. It’s hard to choose the grilled chicken salad over the BBQ ribs with macaroni and cheese. It’s hard to fit into the same pair of pants you’ve had since college. It’s hard. And making friends isn’t any easier. It isn’t impossible, however. You can join a group in your new city, a sports league, a knitting club if you’re twenty-four to the world but secretly sixty-eight (me), form friendships in a fitness class, or if you’re a spouse of someone in the military, there are spouse groups you can join. I am not a spouse. I am a measly peasant girlfriend, and as far as I know, there aren’t any groups for people like me. Also, please note my sarcasm. Girlfriends are not measly peasants, but if companions were a Thanksgiving meal, we might be the cranberry sauce. Appealing to some, but mostly left alone on the table next to Aunt Margie’s jello mold.
  3. Routine can be difficult to establish. 
    So let’s say you’re in your mid-30’s and you live in Suburbia, America with your two kids, Border Collie named Spot, and husband. You both work 9-5 jobs and you own the house you live in and just bought a new mini van because Little Johnny is on a soccer league and we all know what that means. You develop a routine. Someone brings the kids to school, someone else picks them up. I drive Johnny here while you bring Elise here and when we both get home, dinner will be ready thanks to our Crockpot. Routine. You have it. When you’re dating someone in the military, that goes out the window like a stale piece of chewed bubble gum. #byefelicia #byeroutine-a. For example, yesterday (Sunday), Felix knew he had to go to work, but he wasn’t sure what time or for how long. Because we’re psychos, we were awake and walking the dog by 6:30am. Eight o’clock rolls around. We have breakfast and finish watching The Fugitive. Nine o’clock rolls around. Finally, at 9:20am, he gets a text saying to be at work for 10:00am. He left at 9:40am and got back around 4:30pm. I don’t know how you live your life, but that is not a typical Sunday for me. Where I’m from, typical Sundays include biscuits for breakfast, cleaning the house while watching horrible Hallmark movies, and spending time outside while I swim and someone else BBQs. There’s little routine with military life. Instead of becoming routine-oriented, you become adaptable. I’m still only a year into this (six months if you want to get technical), but the sporadicity can become a little frustrating. Manageable, but different.
  4. You get comfortable being alone.
    This one isn’t awful, because I sincerely like alone time. I’m alone right now, aside from being flanked by a dog and cat, and I’m in heaven. Some perks of being alone include: getting to pump out a blog post before 8am, walking around without pants, eating all of the snacks in the house and blaming it on the dog, etc. Being alone isn’t awful. I can see how this can become tiring, though. I can see how one could become lonely, especially if you’re the significant other. The cranberry sauce. Felix is my boyfriend. He is also my friend. But I, like most women, need other women in order to thrive. I have a hefty list of female powerhouses that I get to call my friends, but none of them live around me, which makes me sad. Sometimes I wish I had a neighbor down the hall who was my age, had a potty mouth, and just wanted to watch The Bachelor in the presence of another potty mouthed gal. But I don’t. At least not right now. And that’s okay. I’ve made my own routine. I wake up, workout, go to work, come home and work on my blog. Some days I catch up with friends, and some days I don’t say much and just read my Kindle by the pool instead. It works. For now, it works. But loneliness is a thing that can creep up on you and strike when you least expect it. That’s why it’s so important to try to make friends and to establish your own routine. This is also why I believe the military should have groups for the boyfriends and girlfriends of the military members! If they do, please let me know!

Military life is a beautiful life. It’s a life of service from both member and partner, a life of travel, a life of adapting and change, but it’s also a life of sacrifice, and that’s the part that can become challenging.

As much as I want to believe this life I’m living is 100% fairytale, I do have to remember that it’s life, and sometimes life doesn’t always go as planned. But one thing that I have learned over the past few months is that it’s important to enjoy each moment as it happens and embrace it for what it is.

After all, I chose this life.

I chose to move away from home and tackle the unknown.

I chose to start over in a new city with new places and new people with a man that I can’t imagine my life without.

I chose this life.

And even though it’s hard sometimes, I’m pretty damn happy that I did.

Question of the Day!

Are you in the military or dating/married to someone who is? Can you relate? Share your story + some advice in the comments section of this post!

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2 thoughts on “Dating Someone in the Military: What We Don’t Always Tell You

  1. So true! It gets easier and harder as time goes on. You plan your life around the military, want to get married? have to squeeze it in between training and the next move, that’s only 6 weeks away? better go pick out a dress. Want to have a baby? better start trying before you move again, 2 years goes by pretty fast if you don’t want to be moving while you’re pregnant or with a newborn. Love where you live? great! why don’t we move you to someplace you’ll hate so you appreciate where you lived last even more… Moving is hard, the logistics and the emotions and all of it. Why does my couch look terrible in this house? My bed doesn’t even fit in this bedroom! How many washers and dryers have we owned now? If I have to buy one more microwave or plunger I’m going to puke… I need a savings account just for buying curtains.

    Have I been some pretty neat places? heck yes, Have I made some incredible life long friends? yes! Do they now live all over the globe where I don’t get to see them much? yes 😦 It’s all a balance, and it has it’s own unique challenges. ❤

    1. Yes. Absolutely. 100%. I’m still very much a newbie, but I can already recognize the challenges and frustrations, as well as the joys and celebrations of living a life in the military. It definitely helps to have people in my life who understand and can offer words of encouragement and insight (like you!). So thank you. 🙂

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