Dating a soldier, no matter which branch of the military he serves in, is unlike dating someone in any other profession. While many First Responders – including firemen, policemen and paramedics – all have dangerous professions, they don’t get shipped off to war. People in the military protect our freedoms but they sacrifice a great deal to do so.
Military spouses and significant others are forced to deal with being away from their partners for long periods of time, ranging from four months to six months to even upwards of a year. Unlike other professions, when you’re stationed around the world it’s not possible to take a weekend trip back home.
If you’re thinking about dating a soldier, it’s important to understand that this is a lifestyle unlike any other. Dating a soldier brings you into her world and that means you have to deal with things like deployment, stress, worry and PTSD. While it’s great when he’s home, there will be long absences and this can put a lot of stress on any relationship.
Things to Know About Dating a Soldier
Given the current state of world relations, military men and women are frequently called up for deployment because of the hostility and volatility seen in many parts of the world. There might not be a war taking place but there is certainly a need for the military to police certain regions.
In addition to keeping the peace, there are military bases located all over the world and there are men and women stationed there. These bases aren’t necessarily located in war zones but the same expectations apply. Military men and women are stationed there for long periods of time with very limited opportunities to return home.
Military families often accompany soldiers on deployment to military bases that aren’t located in war zones. This is something that is reserved for married couples and their families.
Dating someone in the military takes a lot of strength and patience. It can be very rewarding to be with someone who is a true hero, but it’s not for everyone.
Pros of Dating a Soldier
Sense of Community
Being in the military is a badge of honor for the men and women who serve, and for the people who support them there is a community of people who are there to support each other during those long deployments. The military community is a powerful force, and they come together to help other members of the community when they need it.
You’ll need the support of the community when you deal with your first deployment. It’s not easy knowing that your loved one is going to be away for so long and there’s no chance of seeing him or her until their return. Some military husbands and wives have been through multiple deployments and they are always happy to share their secrets for coping with it.
Dedicated to their Career
People in the military are dedicated to their careers, and that’s a good thing because when you sign up it’s not possible to leave whenever you want. Most people serve upwards of ten years before getting out, so it’s important to know what when you enter into a relationship with someone in the military it’s not like other professions. They can’t leave. They go where they’re told.
This might sound like a negative aspect, but it’s a testament to their dedication to the profession. They’re proud of what they’re doing and it shows.
Sense of Pride
There is nothing like the sense of pride that comes with dating someone who is putting his life on the line to defend a nation’s freedoms. Sure, holidays like Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and the Fourth of July are very patriotic, but you will come to feel that sense of patriotism on a daily basis when dating someone in the military. And honestly it’s like a holiday every day when your partner is home from deployment.
You’ll also start to notice how many people will stop you when your partner is in uniform to thank him for his service. While you’re not the one serving, it can make you feel proud to be associated with him.
Cons of Dating a Soldier
Deployment is Rough
Ask any military spouse or significant other what the hardest part of being with someone in the military is, and you’ll hear the same thing: Deployment. Being separated for months and months is awful and it puts stress on any relationship, even for well-established ones.
Thankfully technology allows for Facetime and video chats, but that’s all you get during deployment. There’s no shore leave or weekend getaways when you’re stationed in Iraq.
Not only is the time apart a challenge, but the constant fear for her safety is enough to drive a person crazy. Every news report about a battle or every time the phone rings late at night brings worry that something bad has happened.
Being away so long can be hard, and military couples have high rates of infidelity as a result. It’s not always the one who is deployed, rather the partner at home can also stray from a relationship.
While you deal with the stress of your partner being away, it’s easy to lean on friends for support. That’s healthy, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, sometimes it can lead to people leaning too heavily on other people for support and that’s when cheating happens.
It’s hard to sustain a relationship when one partner is gone half the year or more. It’s not something that you can get used to, and that’s why cheating can happen on both sides.
This one is easy. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t handle stress well, then dating someone in the military isn’t for you. It’s not easy to deal with the thought of losing your significant other during a deployment, and it’s not easy being apart for long periods of time.
Stress will permeate every aspect of your life when dating a soldier. It can tear a relationship apart, so be ready for it.
Dealing with PTSD
Soldiers who have seen action during deployment often return home with haunting memories still vividly etched in their minds. PTSD can cause withdrawal, outbursts or even physical assault while sleeping. It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of PTSD, as well as resources to offer your partner to help deal with it.
PTSD isn’t something you can heal overnight, nor can it be ignored. It’s important to make sure your partner gets help because left untreated it can tear your relationship apart.
Despite the challenges, dating a soldier can be incredibly rewarding. If you can make your relationships last through one deployment you can make it last, but be sure to take time to appreciate the time you have together. Embrace the military community around you so that you have a network of support at all times.
Dating a soldier requires patience, understanding and a lot of communication. Knowing what to expect will help make the transition a smooth one. Speak up when you need help, and be ready for some challenges. At the end of the day you will be your soldier’s rock, so making sure you’re able to handle the stress of the relationship is important in keeping the relationship going strong.