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7 Things MilSpouses and MilSOs Need to Get Over

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Guys, I’m tired. In the paraphrased words of someone on Facebook, “Military spouses eat their own.” And when you look across the internet, it’s pretty clear to see why that statement rings so true.

So this is a call to all of us– to get over ourselves. And then maybe, if we can do that, we can get back to being awesome.

Trying to win the Who’s Got it Worse Award.

We’ve all experienced deployments, TADs/TDYs, and other kinds of separations of varying degrees. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done that. We all get it. So, collectively, let’s stop playing the martyr card. Instead, let’s hold each other up when we’re going through the suck rather than compete with each other to prove that we’re the one who’s got it the worst. (Spoiler alert: It’s not you.)

Being strong. All. The. Time.

It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be angry. We don’t have to buck up all the time. We don’t have to be the independent Wonder Women (or Men) that we think we should be. That the media portrays us to be. That we tell each other we should be. And if you know someone’s having a hard go of it, offer a shoulder to cry on and some brownies. (Especially the brownies.)

Trolling and cyberbullying (or real-life bullying) each other.

We’re grown adults, people. Let’s act like it– even on the internet where no one sees your face or has to be in the same room with you. Because Jo, My Gosh! readers are amazingly kind and gentle with each other and with me, I never realized how quickly we jump on each other until I published an article about care packages on another site. Within minutes, the trolling began. (Seriously, there’s nothing remotely controversial with care packages!) And if you see it happening, step in. We’ve got to police ourselves lest we continue to perpetuate the stereotype that we’re petty and ugly to each other.

Assuming we’ve all got the same politics, ideas, or goals.

Uncle Sam didn’t issue any of us the same outlook on life. (Tweet this!) Whether it’s military policies, family planning, who or what you vote for, or… well, you get the idea,  be kind and respectful of our community’s differences of opinion. That’s what makes the US so beautiful (and that’s what our significant others are working to help preserve, right?). No one person can speak for the entire milso, milspouse, or milfam experience– and we should embrace those differences rather than shouting them down or dismissing them.

Rank.

Don’t limit yourself to great friendships and opportunities because of the rank your significant other does (or doesn’t) wear.(Tweet this!) And don’t believe the stereotypes about officer’s wives or enlisted wives or any of the other craziness in between. You’ll just miss out on some really awesome people.

The crazy divide between milsos and milspouses.

While, yes, there is definitely a difference between being married, being engaged, and dating, there is no difference in the love we feel for our significant others– no matter what ring we are (or aren’t) wearing. We feel the same pain at being separated from each other and the same kind of joy at being reunited. If we’re a little more “seasoned’ at military life, we should be offering a helping hand to the newbies.

Expecting perfection from ourselves.

Even though you’re trying to hold down the homefront, run your own business, take care of the pets, make sure your kids aren’t drawing on the walls, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, cook healthy meals, get a degree, and send care packages across the world (oh yeah, and brush your hair and teeth every so often), you probably feel inadequate. (Sounds insane, right? I mean, you’re doing the work of approximately a bajillion people.) I get it. I constantly feel inadequate, behind, and all of those negative things. But we’ve got to let it go. None of us are perfect and pretending like we are– and expecting it from ourselves– is just unhealthy. (Note to myself: read this paragraph every so often when you get down on yourself, Jo.)

Which branch is “better.”

Friendly rivalry is friendly and that’s cool. But sometimes it gets a little less than friendly. Every branch plays an important role in our nation’s safety, and we should both be proud and protective of that. At no time should we look down on anyone’s service. Oh yeah, the whole active duty-versus-National Guard-versus-Reserves divide is stupid, too. They all serve. They all sacrifice. (Tweet this!)

What do you need to get over to be a better version of you?

photo credit: M. Pratter via photopin cc


37 Responses

  1. Yes, yes! A while back I wrote about how the military spouse community is hurting and I think we still are. It’s evidenced by all these silly games (like you mentioned above) still running rampant. Whether you are apart from your spouse for 7 weeks or 7 months it still hurts and aches as much. Whether you are married or not, it still hurts. A few years ago, my now husband was deployed, and I was ‘only’ his girlfriend, yet we had been together for quite some time. It hurt being excluded from military spouse events simply because we weren’t married, yet we had been together for years. I wasn’t just ‘some girl.’ So now that we are married, I really empathize with the spouse whose girlfriend or boyfriend is deployed. Sharing now.

    Lauren

    1. I experienced something similar when John and I were engaged and he deployed. It stinks to be treated like that. Thanks for sharing your story and the post! :-)

  2. Did I ever tell you that I love you? I do. Want to be friends? Am I moving too fast? It’s just that I agree with all of this a lot.

  3. Great post. My ex was in the Coast Guard, & I got so frustrated at the thing people said about how he wasn’t in a “real” branch of the military. Like, oh, is it not real for us when he deploys every two months FOR two months? Is is not real when he boards drug boats in Columbia? Is it not real that I moved my whole life to two states I didn’t want to live in, because of his career? Milsos & milspouses all face challenges – many of them very, very similar, albeit with different details. There’s no need to break one another down or compete for who has it worse!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Kate. When I meet new milspouses, they assume that we’re a Marine family (there is a majority of Marines here). Once, when someone found out that my husband isn’t a Marine, the person said, “Oh, just the Navy.” I don’t think there’s any “just” when it comes to this lifestyle. Everyone sacrifices something, and like you said, we all face challenges.

    2. Very true. (I think you mean Colombia, though. In South America. It has no U).

  4. I agree that the “difference” between people who are dating/engaged/married is pretty silly! I do my best to help out girlfriends because I was in that position not too long ago, but I know some people who are really against that. Luckily we’re such a small group on the sub that the “divide” between the both the guys (because they’re all guys!) and significant others isn’t so bad.

    1. I’m glad you’re not seeing it with your command, Natasha. We don’t have it here either, but I think that’s because there aren’t any significant others that aren’t married. I do see it all over the internet. Enough is enough.

  5. I really do love this! I wish everybody understood this. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my thoughts!!!!!

  6. Wow! Thank you, I needed to read this today. We live pretty far from other military families, so online is where I get my sisterly support! Rock on!♡

  7. I think it’s all relative. I think if as wives if we lived each other up instead of tearing each other down we could do so much more. Baseball wives are similar in the fact that as wives we think we have more invested than girlfriends or fiances. I know in the past I was part of it, but now I know it’s hard to be away from our guys.

    1. Hi Jessa– I know nothing about baseball culture, so that’s really unique, great insight for me. I appreciate it! :-)

  8. Aw, sorry about the Trolls. They aren’t worth the reading. Jumping in and defending a person sometimes causes more strife, but I have to admit I LOVE it when someone else shuts down the trolls. LOVE IT.

    1. Thanks, Lori. They don’t bug me personally, but it’s just so tiring to see it all. The. Time. And yes, when someone shuts them down, that’s awesome!

  9. Wow do I agree with this article. I am very new to the military community and have seen a lot. I constantly hear “Oh you’re just his girlfriend.” In fact when he returned from a very long deployment I went to the info meeting. Two women asked me what I was doing there since we weren’t married. Sheesh. Even though we lived in separate places I still took care of all his finances, his apartment, and sending him everything he needed, including taking care of his older parents. I so admire the wives who have tons of knowledge to share and that have been through these things. I hope I can meet one that wants to share her wisdom instead of belittling me.

    1. When I was John’s fiance, I had trouble with the FRG, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that but rest assured, there are way more awesome military spouses than mean ones! I promise! :-)

  10. I love this and so much resonated. Sharing, sharing, sharing!!!

  11. It really all comes down to handing out a little kindness and grace. Our lives are challenging enough, it shouldn’t be the people who can most empathize who make it tougher!

  12. Yes! There’s so much truth here. The Rank thing is the biggest reason I love my current military “family”; I interact personally and through volunteer work with all ranks, and I’ve learned so much from those soldiers and their families.

    1. I totally agree! I think online anonymity is also helpful. I never know the rank of the milspouses I’ve met and am friends with online. For all I know, they could be the spouses of generals and admirals. But because I don’t know about it (and they don’t know about my husband’s), it keeps that whole topic away from what we talk about and how we interact. That’s pretty cool. :-)

  13. When I was married to a Marine (active 1999-2005), it was pre-facebook. I loved it. I didn’t see as many of the problems then, as my sister in law (also married to a Marine) experiences now. The cyber-bullying is the worst. Whatever happened to rallying around each other?

  14. Thank you for this! My husband is Air National Guard and I see a lot of the “which branch/type of service is better” junk out there. It’s like I’m looked at as less of a Milspouse because of it. But seriously? He still serves. He just enlisted last year after 9 years of a fully civilian relationship. I knew what to expect because my dad was DoD, but it didn’t make the 8 months he was gone for basic and tech any easier. He’s going to be deploying. We struggle with that just as hard as active families. We all need to pull together and support one another through the tough times. Big hugs to you!

  15. Pingback: 8 Confessions of a Military Spouse - Bible, Beer and Babies
  16. Awesome! Thank you for all that you said. I am not a spouse or so but a military mom of three . All of this makes sense. We need to support one another.

  17. Right now, I’m just a girlfriend, I’m not even in the States and I’m actually from a country where we have none of this military culture (Brazil). I dont know any other milsos so. Thanks for this text that I’m reading just now too! Lol

  18. Thank you SO much for this. My husband is just enlisting in the National Guard (today, actually), so your posts have been incredibly helpful and frank. Thanks again, and I look forward to reading many more posts. ❤

  19. I think this holds true even for moms, wives, dads, etc. My son is in the Navy I would love to be a support for his wife. But, I’ve been told it’s “their” life and have been told stories of how other mom’s intrude at homecoming and such. so, his dad and I, though divorced, commiserate about our worries, collaborate our care packages, and try to keep each other calm. I wish someone would clarify it isn’t a competition. There’s enough love and support to go around. And, that’s what these military boys and girls need. .. we’re all on the same team.

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