Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Top 3 Military Fiancé Survival Tips!

I don’t claim to be an expert in Army affairs, but I do have experience in what it’s like to date and be engaged to the military. Two and a half years ago I met my hero and delved into a whole new world: the U.S. Military. At times it feels like limbo: you’ll be official in the foreseeable future, but at the same time, you can’t claim dependency or even get on base without being escorted by your service man or woman. However, “limbo” is the ideal time to become comfortable with the military life, before the craziness of dealing with TRICARE and PCSing starts.

This may sound cliché, but my biggest piece of advice to another military girlfriend or fiance is to be your own advocate. No one is going to do the work for you. I first began learning through stories my now fiancé, Austin, would tell me of his own experiences. Even now, every time he speaks about work, I try to remember what he's saying so that i can learn and be aware of what's going on in the near future.

I’ve also been doing my own research, and I consider myself a self-appointed student of the Army. I’ve checked out online books like Married to the Military: A Survival Guide for Military Wives, Girlfriends, and Women in Uniform or The Military Marriage Manual, among others. I also visit official military websites. What has been most helpful are military wives’ blogs that tell me first-hand what life is like in the military world as the significant other.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to reach out to your soldier’s FRG for support and friendship. You might be surprised at how welcome you feel. If you aren't comfortable doing that join an online support group.

Despite living states away from Austin’s post and not being married yet, I’ve never felt disconnected from the military family. This was especially important when he first left 2 October's ago.

Finally, if you don’t live close to the base, seek out support from others in the community who do have a military affiliation. I have three friends in my area who are retired Army wives and they have been a godsend. They all are much older than me, but having mentors is important. The wisdom and guidance they give are even better than words in a book, and I look forward to carrying on their legacy and positive attitudes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Advice on break-ups?

I get a lot of people asking me for advice about break ups. I will give it a go. Beware that this is how i personally would handle this situation. This is in response to the many questions you lovely readers send me. Hope it helps!

Don’t waste your time on people who don’t treat you well. That seems obvious right? Well I’m pretty sure that I am surrounded by masochists because I get a lot of mail along the lines of “He cheated. How do I get him back?” and “I love him, but he broke up with me and now he’s dating my cousin,” etc. Breaking up hurts, but being with someone who treats you like shit hurts way more in the long run, so nurse your breakup hangover with a pint of ice cream or a few vodka sodas (for my over 21 fans) and be reassured that he or she will probably die miserable and alone someday.

Listen, listen, listen. Yeah, I know. Of course we heard him when he said he didn’t want a girlfriend, but like, we don’t want to be in a relationship either. I can’t tell you how many times I made this mistake. I saw a cute guy I liked and I went deaf. I ignored all the signs that this is not a good fit and continued blindly ahead. If this is too vague for you, I’ve compiled a list of signs that this person will not be a good girlfriend/boyfriend from various friends’ and my pas experiences with “not listening:”

  • Tells you he (or she) just wants to have a good time
  • Is wearing a wedding ring, but is currently in the middle of a divorce
  • Does not bathe, or have a job, or do anything productive really
  • Has a carseat in the backseat but makes no mention of having a child
  • Still lives with his ex, but only because “finding an apartment in this city is hard”
  • Is “polyamorous” (look that one up kiddies… it’s not cheating if it’s an open relationship)

Which brings me to my next point…

Be honest with yourself about what you want. Don’t change to fit his or her wants and needs. This was huge with my friends and I in high school. One of my girlfriends would suddenly take a keen interest in the rules and game strategies of football and before I could say, What the fuck? I’d see her start drooling over some senior walking down the hall in his varsity football jersey.

 When you’re older, it’s even worse.  You meet a man who is just perfect.  Then you realize he wants to have five kids and live on the West Coast by the time he’s 35 and you just got used to the idea of owning a plant and being on an actual lease.  So be realistic and stay true to yourself.  You may feel like you’re losing out on something in that moment, but really you’re just opening yourself up to meeting someone who actually wants and likes the same things as you.

Focus on YOU.  According to me, every person I ever dated has an amazing relationship with someone else now. It’s easy to become jealous after a breakup. People move on and your ex will date other people. But so will you even if he gets there first.  And just try to be satisfied with the fact that deep down he will never find anyone better than you and you’re way hotter than his new girlfriend anyways. It works for me. Just kidding (sort of.)

As for all the other specific questions you guys asked, I will try to answer some of them in this list of Do’s and Dont’s.

  • Don’t get back together with him if he was a shithead the first time. This will likely not change.
  • Don’t date your best friend’s ex without her permission no matter how much you love him because that’s asshole behavior and no one likes an asshole.
  • Do blog. I love hearing other people tell me about their blogs. Writing is super cathartic!
  • Don’t worry about friends who choose him over you. They clearly weren’t good friends in the first place.
  • Don’t worry if you act a bit crazy in the midst of a breakup. We all have our moments. Just don’t get yourself arrested… it sucks.
  • Don’t wait for him if he begins dating someone new, but you know they aren’t meant to be. Life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel.
  • Do let yourself fall in love again. Even with all the shit parts, I still think it’s worth it.
There you go. That’s all I’ve got for now.