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So your boyfriend wants to join the military? What will that mean for your relationship?
You two have been dating for a few months, and everything seems good. You are falling for one another hard. But you have plans. You are going to graduate college and then try to find a job in your field. You hope that things keep going well for you and your boyfriend but you waiting to see how it goes. But then, one day, he says he needs to talk to you about something important.
He sits you down and says, “Babe, I think I want to join the military.”
You have been single for a while; then your friend introduces the two of you. You hit it off, and before you know it, you are on date number three. But then, he lets you know that next year he will be joining the Army.
You and your boyfriend just started your senior year; you have been together since you were 15 years old. You want to marry him. As you are figuring out what you will do after high school, he tells you he wants to sign up for the Air Force.
Any of these situations sound familiar? While there are many different ways to become a military spouse, hearing your boyfriend talk about enlisting in the military is the first step to one of them. If this is you, you might be a bit confused, a bit terrified, and a bit unsure of what you should do.
You want to support the man you love, but what does this mean for your future together?
The first thing you want to do when your boyfriend tells you he wants to join the military is to take a deep breath. This doesn’t have to mean the end of you two. In fact, joining the military could be a very good thing.
Try not to jump to conclusions quite yet. You need to figure out his plan first. You need some time to think about if this is what you want for your future too.
Find out what his plan is
Talk to your boyfriend about what their plan is. How long do they want to serve for? Do they just want to do so for a few years? Is this going to be a 20-year commitment? When will they leave? Do they know that yet?
Knowing what your boyfriend wants will help you understand what his decision will mean for you. You will be able to plan your future. You will be able to start picturing yourself in his life after he joins. And you need to try to do that to decide if this life is right for you too.
Are you committed?
This is a difficult question. You might love this man, but you might not want to commit to this life. This happens sometimes, and it isn’t even unique to military relationships. Sometimes a couple can’t make things work because life takes you in different directions.
As his girlfriend, you should take things slow. Are you committed to being in a long-distance relationship with him? Can you be supportive of his decision or will you give him grief about it along the way? If this is what he wants to do for the next 20 years, would you be able to handle life as a military spouse if your relationship later led to marriage?
Take the long road or not
Make sure you two talk about what the decision to join the military means for your relationship. Find out what your boyfriend wants and what he is expecting. Talk about how important it is for you two to stay together through this.
For some, the decision to join the military will be too much, for others joining the military will mean new adventures that they will be able to navigate. If you talk to any military spouse, you will find that almost every single one of them has worried about how they will handle this life. But in the end, they do, because they love and support the person they are married to.
As a girlfriend, you have more choices before you head down the military life road. If you truly don’t think you can commit to this person, don’t. Because really, that is what it comes down to. Can you commit to a deeper relationship with the person you are currently dating? Some people can; some people can’t.
With any relationship, there will be times when you have to compromise. Being with a service member means you will have to do that often. Can you handle that?
What advice would you give to someone whose boyfriend wants to join the military?
Don’t forget to check out The Newbie’s Guide to Military Life: Surviving a PCS and More by Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life and Mrs Navy Mama. Your guide for learning about military life.