Dating a Military Man

Whether you’re new to a military relationship or a seasoned vet, here’s some advice on handling it (status: complicated).

Military girlfriends and spouses certainly know a thing or two about long distance relationships. They’ll be the first to tell you all about the pros and cons of dating a military man. From bootcamp to underways to deployments, sometimes you’ll spend more time apart than together.

The military itself is an unpredictable entity. Add a relationship to the mix and it can be all out chaos – but it doesn’t have to be. Here, we’ve gathered a few tips to help navigate dating a military man long distance and how to feel close even when you’re thousands of miles apart.

1. Understand the Demands of the Military

If you’re dating a service member, you’re probably aware that your partner’s job is incredibly demanding. He often won’t be in control of his schedule and things can change at the last minute. It’s important not to take these things personally.

When weighing the pros and cons of dating a military man, accepting the reality of military life might be the biggest downside. It’s hard to feel like his job takes precedence over everything else, but in general the military will decide where you’ll eventually live and often your career plans will be put on hold. In a nutshell, it’s something you’ll have to come to terms with sooner or later.

2. Make a Plan, But Expect the Unexpected

For anything to go well, it’s best to have a plan of action. Before your loved one goes away, plan how you’ll communicate and have a few contingency plans, too.

If your first choice would be to Skype every night, know that you may have to be happy with your second choice of nightly text conversations if the internet connection is faulty. Have expectations and aim to meet them, but be understanding when things change.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

These conditions will only be intensified during a deployment when you’re dating a military man long distance. Being away from each other means it’ll be especially important to focus on the things you can control, like enjoying the time you do get to talk or planning for the future when the military isn’t completely running the show.

In a Huffington Post article, military spouse Heather Aliano explains how she and her Air Force husband talk about trips they’ll likely never take. “Planning it is a way for us to imagine ourselves ‘out’ of the current situation and look forward to being together again. It gives us something to talk about. It’s fun,” she says.

If you’re preparing to be separated, or even in the midst of a separation, you might find our top 10 tips on dealing with deployment particularly useful.

4. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

When dating a military man, the best way to be there for your boyfriend or spouse is to take care of yourself. This holds true in any relationship, but especially under such stressful conditions, it’s important to be at your best for your partner.

One of the pros of dating a military man long distance is that you’ll have more time to work on you.

Get monthly massages and check out the new yoga studio you’ve been meaning to try. Start that blog or run that marathon. Nurture your close friendships that seem to take the back burner to other obligations. Learn to cook, take up a painting class. The point is, it’s a great time to work on yourself and you’ll be more confident for it.

5. Make Each Other Feel Extra Special

Yes, taking care of yourself is essential, but with that being said, while dating a military man it’ll also prove worthwhile to show him some extra affection while he’s gone.

Whether you send care packages full of his favorite snacks or you write a love note for him to find in his luggage, there are easy ways you can show him that he’s in your thoughts.

Pros and Cons of Dating a Military Man

There are definitely some highlights of dating a service member.

They’re known to be loyal, hardworking, and strong-willed partners. Even though you may have a rough time in the beginning while dating a military man long distance, many couples come out the other side much stronger than before.

When you have to hold down the fort on your own, you’ll gain a greater sense of independence, more confidence knowing that you survived hard times, and you’ll likely have gained a better support system than you ever could’ve imagined. All of these combined will only enrich your connection with your partner, hopefully leading to a long-lasting relationship.

On the other hand, the fact of the matter is, unless you’re married, you essentially have no rights to any information about your partner while they’re in the military.

You may not be privy to deployment dates or locations and it’s possible that you may not even be able to speak to your boyfriend at times because you’re not yet his wife. That’s why things often move quickly when dating a military man.

This can be seen as either a pro or a con, but most of the time, it adds pressure to your relationship. If you want to be together, there’s really no in-between and that’s certainly something to think about when getting involved with a service member.

In games of the heart, you can’t always choose who you love. Sure, dating a military man might mean difficult times being far apart from one another, but it’s not impossible to make it work.

By understanding the military, making a plan, focusing on what you can control, and taking care of yourself as well as each other, it’s possible to find success in your long-distance relationship with a service member.

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