Being a military girlfriend is a difficult role for many young women in today’s military community. And I do mean, girlfriends. This short series of posts is written directly for my readers, who email me each and every week, sharing their struggles. This amazing group of young women always refer to themselves as a military girlfriend.
Time and time again, I hear their struggles and it causes me reflect on my years as a military girlfriend. Even though it was only a few short years ago, it feels like forever. Our lives are different now: We live in Japan, we have a toddler and a baby on the way, and I work from home running my own business. It’s a far cry from my days on the East Coast as a military girlfriend when I struggled to find my place in the military life world.
So if you find yourself filling the role of military girlfriend, you are not alone. You are among friends who understand these exact problems…
Your relationship endures separations well before it’s ready.
Separations are a part of life, but they are heavily prevalent in military life. Many pre-marital military relationships experience long-term separations over a long geographical distances. This creates a difficult scenario for young relationships to even have the chance to survive.
Getting on base is sort of an ordeal.
Sometimes it even feels a little embarrassing if you need to get a base pass. Standing in line with your significant other each time you need to get a vehicle pass starts to feel a bit unwelcoming. Thankfully, you only need this on rare occasions when you need to drive on base alone to meet him somewhere.
You need your hand held to purchase anything at the Commissary or PX.
One of my most embarrassing moments was shopping at the PX and realizing I wasn’t allowed to actually make the purchase. I do understand now why only service members, retirees and family members are allowed to make a purchase. At the time however, it never dawned on me that I wouldn’t be allowed to buy something at a store simply because I wasn’t married.
People look down on you if your significant other gives you any sort of legal rights.
A Power of Attorney is a powerful thing and should not be granted unless absolutely necessary, but there is a time and place when a Power of Attorney is necessary in a non-marital relationship. I cannot think of another profession or community where legal marriage and legal rights are such a prominent part of everyday life.
You grapple with when is truly the right time for marriage.
Because legal rights are at the forefront of the military community, you often consider just getting married already. Things like deployments and PCS moves weigh heavily on your decision to marry. In any other profession, this is typically not the case.
You struggle to know if you should stay or go during a PCS.
If you are a military girlfriend and your service member receives orders to PCS, you are forced to decide stay or go. If you go, you are uprooting your life and picking up the tab for it. It’s not easy to leave behind school, a career, friends and family for a relationship that may or may not be destined for marriage.
If you stay, you create a challenging long distance relationship scenario OR you end the relationship, which is challenging and sad as well.
You are seen as transient.
Many military girlfriends come and go in the military community. This is one of the reasons why the title of military girlfriend seems to carry the transient label. It feels discouraging some days. Many of those in military relationships choose to marry young, some only months into their relationship. I can only imagine feeling transient plays a huge role in couples marrying quickly.
Whether you are a military girlfriend years or months into military life, I applaud you. It is challenging, and I know you are filled with immense strength, heart and determination to carry the weight.
The road of military life is rewarding, yet filled with ups and downs, and your time as a military girlfriend will prepare you for all that is yet to come. Don’t rush leaving behind the challenging role of military girlfriend for the wrong reasons. Years down the road, you’ll feel grateful for this time of immeasurable growth.
Want more on military life?
- The One Thing You Miss Most During Deployment
- Military Girlfriend to Military Life: One Important Lesson You’ll Never Forget
- The Best Advice for the Military Girlfriend
- Are Military Spouses Unknowingly Violating OPSEC?
- 7 Bootcamp Graduation Gifts That Will Make Your Service Member Smile
What’s your biggest struggle as a military girlfriend? Let’s chat in the comments!