The life of a military significant other

The life of a military significant other

Let me start by saying I have never had a relationship where adult decisions were so important. You have to think ahead while still staying realistic because you never know what could happen if your significant other is deployed. You do not get much warning when things happen. Neither of you do.

He could be told that he has to leave next week or at any moment of any day. You have to roll with the punches as they come. Sometimes it can be difficult to find times to see each other because your significant other has a work schedule and you have a student schedule.

If you ever date a military member, you will be told that it is not worth the stress and anxiety. You will be told that the person you love will come back from overseas as a completely different person who you will not be able to recognize anymore. People will never hesitate to tell you that you really should not date them.

When this happens, I understand and respectfully acknowledge these opinions, but disagree completely.

Everyone assumes that my boyfriend and I are married, even though we are really young. Everywhere we go, we are given courtesy titles like “Mr.” and “Mrs.” While it is extremely awkward for the both of us, it is also quite entertaining.

We never get tired of hearing it. I will get called “Mrs.” and we both look at each other and quickly stumble to find the right thing to say. It seems that it is expected by others to get married “before it is too late.”

One of the things about being in a relationship with someone in the military is having dreams about the future but keeping reality checks because no matter what you plan or want to do, anything could happen to change that completely. Although unknown variables are likely in any relationship, they occur more often with members of the military, especially if they are on active duty.

It was not too soon after my boyfriend and I started dating that I got to drive to where he is stationed and see him. I quickly learned that anything military-related requires your identification. You have to learn to always have your I.D. on you to get on and off base.

The first time I had to drive home from his base, I drove in circles for an hour until I found my way out, as everything looks the same, the streets, buildings and highways. Then I had to navigate the town outside of the base and everything there looked the same. The streets, buildings and highways were similar and somehow or another, I ended back on the base again.

I find it extremely difficult to navigate there even with GPS, which has all of the roads labeled as “unknown” or “unnamed.” Have you ever seen those movies where the character walks through a hall or a door and somehow ends up in the same place it started, like the place is enchanted? It took three or four round trips to the base for me to figure it out.

Despite all of the unknowns that come with being in a military relationship, I feel that it is well worth it. I have not only learned more about myself, but as a person who always needs to know what is happening now and in the future, I have also learned to become better at going with the flow because I have no other option. Having a significant other in the military has taught me to enjoy every moment and not get too caught up in what the future could bring.