Although my family are extremely patriotic, when given always praising and supporting the army however, when you actually meet somebody in the army the realisation is completely different to expectation.
I visualised a lot of travelling, a lot of respect from everybody and a an easy relationship whereby you gained independence as well as a partner, but as I said, realisation is different from expectation.
I met a guy a few years ago, he was out of my league plus because of his age I never saw him as anything more than a friends cousin. (didn’t help with him going through a divorce and being in the army).
When he left the army and had finished with his divorce, I and friends went on a few nights out and mutual friends in common always led us to each other. Some time after, he asked me out on a date and the rest is history. It was not until I saw how unhappy he was being a civi, and hearing passion when he spoke of his old career I urged him to go back. I remember when he left, I cried and cried and cried. Before he left, as he left, and a few days after he left.
But now, things are not that bad. I cannot butter the situation, it is hard at times, not being able to be there through bad days or good days and everything inbetween. I am lucky in the sense that every opportunity there is, he takes it to communicate with me. Him being some years older than me and being from a traditional family which believes in traditional gender roles, as well as his career which adds to my workload. One thing that is worth mentioning is that the army expects his career to come first and at times it does. It can be quite challenging when I have my own work and studies to be focusing on and then unexpectedly he has leave from work. Or, we can be mid dinner on his first night back and he’s told to come back to work. Either way there is good and bad.
As a military girlfriend, you will learn how to create a family space, a space whereby he can come home to. With food in the fridge and a bath running. Due to their extreme fitness regime all they desire is comfort. Which was hard going for me, as a functioning relationship to what I deem as a happy one, i try to do as many nice things as possible. This may sound that i am in fact, reinforcing patriarchy, i want to make clear that i am not, I expect nice things done for me, and do get them. It is respect that i preach, and respect that i try hard to do for him.
As a military girlfriend you will be expected to attend functions, like work do’s where the solders attend as well as their partners. Be aware that you will not be fully accepted into this scene because you are just a girlfriend, with no children and no marriage. Other women tend to look down on you if you have something going for you. Often in the evening when drinks have been well digested, they openly ask me about my self and my relationship and when I am planning on having children or tying the knot. You know that they are judging you and not putting a lot of effort into you because they believe you will not last for long. Part of it makes me think that they are jealous, and the other part of me believes the experience and stereotype of soilders bringing different women each time. But even now that i have attended my fair few share now and the only brilliant relationship I have is with my partners bestfriends wife, who blurted out drunk one time, ‘other women will never accept you until your married’, who now supports me when both of our partners are deployed. I am sure these people will not be my real friends when/if we do decide to tie the knot.
Despite these being negative affirmations of expectations and other women, in fact i believe it is worth it. You value each other more, using each other to lean upon. I have learnt independence, i have time to attend classes and see my friends and family. I am not always limited as some believe.
This should not scare you, just to be aware and not take it personally. These expectations are important to note but may be totally different for you. I would love to allow the comments below as a offering to us military girlfriends to offer what your role entails, and possibly a support network for shared experiences of having a relationship with somebody in the military.
1) realise from the get go, your in second place and it’s not his fault.
2) create a family space or a uniting space together
3) get a hobby- keep yourself busy
4) don’t let military wives, pressure you to marriage and their expectations. You are fine how you are.
5) keep your mutual interests and create new ones
6) plan as much as you can when you are feeling lonely and missing him. Experiences and you time.
7) take each hurdle as it comes. There may be a few your way
All the best of luck, I am still learning myself.