There is rarely a week that passes where I don’t hear from a military girlfriend. She is seeking support, friendship and acceptance into the military community. Researching this post, I found much of the advice for military girlfriends discouraging.
She needs to know “her place.”
She is “just a girlfriend.”
She is “not entitled to anything.”
Geeze! It made me think back to my days as a military girlfriend and how small the military community made me feel at times. It hurt most at the time because my service member and I had been together for years. I wasn’t a fling. And I definitely wasn’t a floozy. I was a young professional with a career and my own money. In the civilian community, people wouldn’t dream of constantly reminding you of “your place.”.
Of course, there are a few military girlfriends who give the title a bad name. They lack character and morals. They take advantage of service members and make poor choices.
As a military community, we have so much encouragement and sound advice to offer the military girlfriend.
One day I hope I am lucky enough to sit down and have a cup of coffee with one of those military girlfriends, who email me each week genuinely seeking help.
And when I do. I will tell her this…
Having a life in addition to the one with your service member will help you remember who you are as a person. Military life tends to take over a bit from time to time, but remember your individuality. Remember what you love to do for fun. Doing this will help your survive long deployments and separations so much better.
Connect with others in your community through Facebook groups, blogs and community events. This could be military community members or civilians. Establishing friendships and good relationships with others will offer you the support you need to overcome the ups and downs of military life.
Grow your relationship.
Learn beneficial ways to improve communication in your relationship. Be open and honest with each other. Learn to grow and establish trust with your significant other. Honesty and trust are the foundation for every strong military relationship.
Use this as a time to weigh the positives and negatives of this life. Take time to really consider what it looks like long term, consider the possibility of moves (and not just the exotic possibilities but the very real not ideal possibilities), deployments, training, absences… talk to other spouses your your boyfriend’s trade honestly about what it’s looked like for them. Make an informed decision now, because that’s what dating is about. It’s okay if it’s not what you’re willing to accept in life, it’s not going to be what everyone wants (nor should it be). But make that decision now.
Take an open mind to making friends within the military community. There’s so much to be gained through positive friendships with other military spouses! — Kim
Seek out the positive.
Try to see the good in every situation, even when it’s not easy. Keeping a positive attitude through everything makes a HUGE difference. I often think of the Danes, who are touted as the happiest people on the planet, and how they seem to find the positive in every situation imaginable. They are what many like to call realistic optimists. They don’t sugar coat challenging circumstances, but they often look at things through the perspective of others, realizing that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
Discover ways to become more understanding and patient. The military will dictate many parts of your life and allowing yourself to remit control will prepare you for the unexpected.
Give the relationship at least a year before making plans for your future. Don’t rush it. Take your time to know whether this is the life that is right for both of you. The military introduces a unique set of challenges to every marriage–separations, frequent moves, and a demanding job just to name a few. Think rationally, logically and wisely about marrying into military life.
Embrace it as much as possible.
Embrace your time as a military girlfriend. This season of life will help you learn if military life is where you want to be. It isn’t for everyone, and that is okay.
Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who see military life in a good light. There will be challenges and day to day frustrations and at times it can be overwhelming, but with a group of people that truly support one another in a healthy empowering way it can be an incredible experience. — Judy
Being a military girlfriend feels hard sometimes. It’s normal to feel that way.
Hang in there.
You are welcome here in this community.
Want more on military life?
- Military Girlfriend to Military Wife: One Important Lesson You’ll Never Forget
- 43 Awesome Tips for the New Military Wife
- 31 Encouraging Quotes for the Military Spouse
- The Biggest Mistake a Military Spouse Can Make
What’s your perspective on being a military girlfriend? Let’s chat in the comments!