As the significant other, you will not get more details than necessary on anything unless you poke and prod. Related: The unconventional relationship is the norm in the military. However, in the civilian world, or in a relationship, it may be a little hard to deal with. Especially if he is coming from a higher rank, it may be increasingly difficult for him to “fall in line” with civilian life. Not every soldier comes home with post-traumatic stress.
Perpetual overthinker, good-doer, book nerd, wine connoisseur and amateur world traveler.“I will never date a soldier” is the phrase I used to tell myself religiously.Expect sleepless nights, and bouts of being on the receiving end of awkward silences. You need to try your hardest to understand, get him to eventually talk about it (preferably to a professional) and pretty much avoid all triggers — like war movies. You will be inundated with more random facts about places like the Middle East or the South than you care to cram into your brain. I won a round of trivia just because I knew the currency in Bahrain. I am a sucker for someone who is passionate about his work. They are modern day heroes; if that’s not something to be proud of, I’m not quite sure what is! Basically, dating a Generation Y military man is no different than dating anyone else. His may be unimaginable to you, but that does not make him any better or worse.Fun facts are everywhere, and it doesn’t hurt for you to sound more worldly too! Dating a service member is not all fun and games; it takes a lot of work and patience, but if you are interested in the person and not just the uniform, then he is definitely worth the pursuit.This is based solely on the experiences of my veteran friends, as well as my own with a past paramour. The military teaches service members to trust their unit, and few others. If he comes to you with a problem, chances are he’ll talk about it until he no longer wants to and then go into lockdown. That is not a good thing or a bad thing, that is just a matter of fact and something you need to understand. Military men are used to their band of brothers, and are bred to be loyal and protective. Some branches of the military (I’m looking at you, Marines) have a feeling of superiority over others.
This list is not simply a composition of pros or cons, but rather an overview of what dating a service member active duty or veteran — is like. They are meant to be extremely close with this group of people and everyone else is simply on a need-to-know basis. It is not a competition between his military friends and you; they are people who shared a very intimate part of his life, and you should want to be close with them, too. He will love you fiercely and be the most faithful companion, if you can promise the same. Granted, that is earned due to the nature of their work and how much they put on the line.Just keep in mind that the chances of him wanting to open up and talk about it — let alone seek help — are slim to none, at least at first.This will be trying for you, but imagine how he feels. Military men have likely traveled to parts of the world you have not, and can tell you facts about different cultures/countries/states. Military men are used to being thrown into countries and situations with which they are unfamiliar, so when traveling, always expect to have a great navigator around.If you are in a long- term committed relationship, there will be a time that you will be apart from your soldier whether it’s weeks, months, or even years at a time.Caitlin Bryant, 20, student at Johnson and Wales University, says it all depends on how you handle not being in constant contact and not being able to see them everyday.Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Cellar Door, the personal blog of Gabrielle Puglia. You need to understand that the military is a brotherhood.