Thursday, March 30, 2017

Twenty Things Military Girlfriends Need to Know



     When I first started dating my husband, I had ZERO idea what military life was like. I grew up three hours away from the closest military base and didn't know anyone in the military other than my Grandparents and one family friend. I have learned a LOT over the years that I wish I had known sooner but I narrowed it down to my top twenty! This will save your sanity, make your relationship stronger and help you avoid making silly mistakes.

1. Communication Can Be Difficult
   Many jobs in this world are high stress and the military is no exception. I say this because I see many people in newer relationships worry about the lack of communication they might have. Keep in mind, most service members do not look at their phones often if they are at work. If they are deployed or training they might not look at their phone all day.  

2. Educate Yourself
    This is the one thing I did not do until I was married that I regret. Learning things like rank, etiquette for military functions, etc. will help immensely when you visit your significant other or meet their work friends and higher ups. 

3. Deployments are NOT the End of the World
    My husband and I were dating when he deployed to Afghanistan and I was in my senior year of college. I was definitely scared but as time went on I adjusted. It is okay to feel sad but make sure you don't cut yourself off from the rest of the world just because they are gone. Get a job, go to school, write letters, make care packages, etc. etc. etc.....Just stay busy. Our relationship grew so much more than I ever thought in the ten months we were apart.

4. OPSEC
    In my post "Internet Safety for Military Spouses" I outline the importance of something called Operational Security. While I recommend that post to get into the nitty gritty, it means keep important info about your spouses job and deployments offline. Deployments dates have been changed because of significant others have posted online. You definitely do NOT want to be that person that delays people seeing their spouses.

Photo Credit: Military Avenue
5. Connect
    Most military girlfriends are in long distance relationships. This also makes your chances of meeting other milspouses smaller. There is a huge online presence of military spouse groups online. These groups can be found on facebook, instagram, tumblr, etc. Keep in mind, these are still strangers you have met on the internet so tread lightly. I have found that the groups that are the most information and support are on facebook. 

6. ASK What You Can and Cannot Put in Care Packages
    There are certain things you can and cannot add to a care package. If your significant other is in a hot climate, it might not be best to send chocolate. If your spouse is in an Muslim country, I don't recommend sending pork products. The military has essentially banned "periodicals" that could be deemed offensive or explicit. Check out my blog post Deployment Care Packages 101 for details like customs forms, packing tips, etc.

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7. Cry If You Must

8. Wine instead of whining.
     If you're 21+ or liquor if its been a tough week

9. Keep Busy!
     The worst thing you can do is sit around and think of nothing but how much you miss your so. The best thing to make they time go by before you see each other again is to get busy. I was in college and then almost immediately began working while my husband (bf at the time) was gone. I would've been bored to tears and an emotional wreck if I didn't find something to do. Volunteer, work out, go to church, travel....the ideas are endless! 

10. Don't Forget Your Identity
    In many relationships, people lose themselves and put their own goals aside to solely focus on their so. I have noticed this much more in military relationships. No one can tell you what is best for you relationship but make sure that you still take care of yourself and your future. Graduate from school, take your dream job, travel, and do what you love. You support your spouse's military career and they can support you as well.

11. "Army Wives" is only about 50% accurate
    I personally cannot stand the show. If you love the show like my friends, just take the drama with a grain of salt.

This picture was taken back in 2013 when my husband and I were dating
12. A Little Love Goes a Long Way
     Since long distance relationships can make it difficult to communicate. Even a simple text that they may not receive until hours later can go a long way. Love doesn't always have to be some grand gesture.

Free Shipping Worldwide - All Orders at Zaful.com! Bach to School and Bach to Savings. Ends: Agu.21, 2017 13. Supportive Clothing
    Some people LOVE them and some people HATE them. At the end of the day, it is your money being spent on the clothes and they are going on your body. As long as it is tasteful, wear whatever you want.
Photo Credit: Look Human
14. The Silent Ranks do not exist. Period.

15. Travel!
    Saving money to go visit your SO is 1000% worth it if you can make it work. I didn't think I would visit half of the places I would visit in the last few years. It almost makes the distance worthwhile.....almost.

Taken during a road trip to Dallas in 2013
16. The Art of Letter Writing 
    In this day in age, fewer and fewer people are writing letters. Whether your spouse is at basic, BOLC, deployed, etc. writing just a short note can warm any heart. It is also a ton of fun to look back at the letters you wrote each other years later. Walking around hallmark looking for new cards to send always made me excited.

17. Don't Dispair
     At times it feels like deployments and distance never end. THEY DO. There are times I just wanted to hide in my bed all day but I knew it would not do me any good! I will repeat the phrase "Stay busy," until I'm blue in the face. Time will pass quickly and you will be back with your guy or gal in no time!

18. Take advantage of skype, facebook chat, whats app, etc.
      If your spouse is OCONUS or deployed, they may not have a ton of cell phone access. Most areas have some form of an internet connection. I found that facebook chat and facebook call worked great during deployments.

19. Do Not Expect Everyone to Understand
     None of my friends had ever been in a relationship with someone in the military. That didn't mean that I stopped being friends with them! I see a lot of people say that their friends "Don't understand what I'm going through!" You would be right, but that doesn't mean that they still cannot be an amazing support system. My friends may have had to drag me out of my house to go out but I am so happy they did!


20.  If you and your SO can get through the craziness of the military....you can get through anything! 



   







3 comments:

  1. Being in a relationship with a military man is not easy. Long distance relationship and communication is not as easy as what you think. Thanks for sharing this list many women should know the things they need to know is having a relationship with a military. In the end, it is all worth it.


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  2. My boyfriend is currently finished with basic and heading into AIT! I'm so in love with him and its nice to know that I'm not the only one going through the pain of not seeing my SO everyday! I relate SOOO much to searching for letters to send to him! He's told me that all his friends wish they had someone as creative as I am in their lives. HAHA, i ended up sending them some letters too! I felt so bad. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story!!

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