Dating is tough in the digital age for the average person. Throw the stress and responsibility of the military into the mix, and things can get extra challenging.
Dating someone in the military can be both difficult and rewarding, both in the early days and as the relationship develops. Here are five tips for dating someone in the military that will help guide the path ahead.
Respect the Position
When you meet military singles, you need to understand that their job is more than a job. The role they play often trumps all other aspects of their life. They’ve taken an oath and committed to prioritizing their career. What does that mean for you? It doesn’t mean that you don’t matter but rather that sometimes your relationship will take second place in the grand scheme of things.
Accepting in the early days that the position, the pomp and fanfare, the interconnectivity between your partner and their coworkers is all extremely important to the individual and plays a defining role in their identity is necessary for your relationship to develop and work.
Prepare for Breaks
If you’re dating someone in the military, you can expect periods of distance and radio silence. This can be difficult throughout the course of a relationship, especially in the early days when your friends are telling you that you’re being ghosted. You must enter this relationship with the knowledge that you could go months without seeing your significant other and weeks between communication if they’re on a mission.
Starting your relationship with open communication will help you manage expectations for both sides. Say what you want or expect in a relationship and discuss if that’s feasible. Your partner may not be able to tell you where they’re going or talk while away, but they should be able to tell you what to expect.
If you are an impatient person, having a relationship with someone in the military may not be for you. It can take time for someone in the military to open up, especially if they have experienced trauma in their role. It can also take some time (and some self-advocacy) to make them understand that yes, the job comes first, but you are worthy of their time and attention as well.
There are times when you’ll be made to wait or things don’t profess the way you would like. It’s up to you to decide if you can handle that or if you need something else from a relationship.
Find a Supportive Community
The military has a very supportive family community that offers resources to military families. When you first start dating, these resources may not apply to you. However, if the relationship starts to progress, and you foresee it getting serious, start looking into some of the support options available.
In the meantime, you can find online communities for those dating people in the military to help answer your questions and offer advice and comfort.
Don’t Make Sweeping Generalizations
Just because someone is in the military, that doesn’t mean that they’ll meet the stereotypes that you have in mind when you start dating them. Rather than being a closed book, the person you date may be open and communicative. They may start making you feel like you’re at the top of their priority list from day one. They may have a personality that completely contradicts what you expected from someone in the services.
In other words, go into your relationship with an open mind. You can prepare for what you expect to happen, but it’s unfair to make sweeping generalizations and assume something about someone before you really get to know them.
Dating someone in the military can be uniquely challenging. However, there are challenges with relationships, no matter who you are or what you do. Remember to respect their role and work together to create a relationship that’s ideal for both of you.