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Being a Military Spouse is Hard: a post for newbies and outsiders

Okay, first I will address the elephant in the room: Yes, I have not posted on here in FOREVER. Sorry to anyone that might actually have been really interested in this blog…I still love Love, I just spend all my time working on a ridiculous amount of other things. I still think I’ll post more stuff on here…someday… But for now, I was feeling super inspired to write a blog post after thinking about this stuff, and I didn’t have anywhere else to put it. It’s totally about love though, so it fits here. It’s definitely a personal post though. Anyways, now that we’ve addressed that, here goes…

a and p (1 of 1)Real talk: Military life is hard. Being a military spouse (or significant other) is hard. It’s hard for many, many reasons, but a lot of them are pretty obvious, and everyone (even people not even close to it) knows it’s hard. But it’s also hard for more complex reasons that people on the outside wouldn’t even guess, and people brand new to military life wouldn’t know about yet. I wanted to talk about what I just realized, as a semi-newbie (we’re 3 years in), and have been thinking about a lot.

So the obvious, surface-level reason that everyone knows, is of course that you’re separated a lot. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I married my husband because I couldn’t live without him. Ironic, because he had already joined the Navy (and left), so I already knew what I was getting into. But I couldn’t live without him, so I chose to…have to live without him for many long periods of time, and only get to live with him sometimes. Ha. It’s also funny because I always swore I could never have a long-distance relationship, and then I had to go fall in love with a man that I have to be long distance with over and over. So yeah…I’m not the type of person that needs space. Ideally I would see him every single day of my life and absolutely love it.I suppose if I DID get to see him every single day, I would be okay with having a few days apart here and there. But since I don’t get him all the time, when he IS home, I pretty much want to spend every second of every day with him. Being separated is very, very hard.

But here’s the catch. I DO live without him. I have to be strong, I have to go about my life and be okay (and sometimes I’m not okay, but that’s okay), I have to be independent, I have to do all the things and basically be on my own. So I get used to that. I get to do whatever I want, and that’s pretty cool, although I do get tired of doing it alone. I mean, I do have friends, but I’m a go, go, go type of person so I end up doing a lot of things alone because I don’t want to miss out on anything, sometimes it’s super spontaneous, and people aren’t always available. BUT, even though I miss him a ton and really, really, really wish he was around, I’m used to living life without him.

And then he comes home.

And that, newbies and outsiders, is the other hard part. Because he leaves the toilet seat up. I (miraculously) do a bunch of cleaning, and he leaves a bunch of things in all the places I just cleaned. I have my list of fun things I want to go do, and he’s too tired (because he still has to work a bunch when he’s home). He doesn’t want to eat the same things that I want to eat. He wants to spend money on things that I don’t want to spend money on.

Do you see what I’m getting at? We have to learn how to live with each other AGAIN, every time he comes home. Every. Single. Time. And I almost want him to leave again, so I can get back to my way of doing things, do whatever I want, and not have the stress of having to deal with someone else messing up my life. They tell us it’s hard in classes they have for us, they tell us to go to marriage counseling, but you don’t really think it’s going to be hard. Or maybe other people get it, but I definitely didn’t. I mean, I’m CRAZY about him. I already told you I married him because I couldn’t live without him, and I would happily spend every single day of my life with him. We think we’re the best couple, we love, love, LOVE spending time together, we’re silly and we have SO MUCH FUN together. We won’t have problems, we’re amazing together. Other couples don’t always seem to like each other as much as we do.

WRONG. It’s hard. It’s really, really, really hard. I miss him like crazy when he’s gone. I would give anything to have him home all the time. Then he gets home, and he drives me crazy and I kiiiinda want him to leave. When I get really frustrated then I definitely want him to leave. But of course if he left, I would miss him like crazy again. Y’all, it is SUPER hard. He’s my favorite person in the world, and I don’t want to be grumpy when he’s home, I just want to enjoy it!

As I got to this point in this post, I realized that I don’t have a solution or a happy ending. I’ve always been good at beginnings, decent at middles, and absolutely terrible at ends. I’m still in the middle part of this myself, though. I’m thinking counseling is probably a great idea, ha. I can’t impart my sage advice to all the young’uns though, because we haven’t actually done any of the smart things that might help. Maybe I should have written this after that, ha. But I guess this is more of a “Hey, I’m right there with you, hit me up if you want to chat about it,” post. I wanted to let others know about this aspect of military life that might not have any clue about it, but I’m sure seasoned military spouses know all about it already. Maybe it’s even all over the internet already. But hey, even if it is, I didn’t know about it, and MAYBE this post might reach SOMEONE that had no clue, and maybe help in some way but-I’m-not-sure-what-way-that-might-be…if that happens, I will deem this a success. 🙂

For real though, if you want to talk about this, I’m at least good at that. 🙂

Military life is hard.

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True Love

I finished a book a couple days ago, The Paris Wife.  I may or may not do a review on it, as I wasn’t intending to read it for this blog, but it was all about love, so I might as well.  I read it because I watched Midnight in Paris and almost died, so now I am obsessed with “the Lost Generation” and want to read MORE!  Every time I fly somewhere, I go to the Powell’s (bookstore) in the airport, and pretty much always buy books.  So I was browsing the sale section and found the book, and it is about Hemingway’s first wife, or rather, her story of their relationship, but as imagined by Paula McLain.  It’s as based upon fact as she could do it, so I guess it’s historically pretty accurate.  I am supposed to be reading a psychology book right now for this blog, but I LOVE fiction or at least an interesting story, fiction or non, so I read The Paris Wife.

So if I do the review, I will tell you a little more about the plot, but if you Google “Hemingway” (or you already know), he did not marry only one woman.  So, Hadley and Hemingway got divorced.  I knew it was coming, so I was always worrying about how it would happen.  Luckily I didn’t know anything about his personal life, so when the character entered the plot that became his second wife, I had no idea, although I suspected her.  BUT…what I am writing this about is that I WAS DEVASTATED.  I sobbed my eyes out for the last half an hour or maybe more of reading it.  Supposedly Hemingway loved Hadley the most, but…he cheated on her and divorced her.  McLain tried to make it sound like they were meant for each other, even after all the years, they were the best, truest pair, and maybe she didn’t embellish anything there, maybe Hemingway did call Hadley and say the things he said in the book.

However, after thinking about it for a while (that night, the next morning, and throughout the day), I decided that I think it is BS.  If you really, truly love someone, you don’t fall for someone else.  You don’t cheat on them and leave them.  Granted, he wanted to just have 2 wives and be one big happy family, but when she made him choose, he chose girl number two.  I realize that I am new at this, and people get divorced all the time, and they say things like they still love the person, they’re just not right for each other, it just didn’t work out,…I don’t even know, whatever else they say.  Sure there are other reasons, and many divorces that end badly (I’m sure a lot, possibly most, divorces end because the people are pretty mad at each other and don’t have any kind thoughts), but I’m referring to the ones where they say that they still love the person, and they ended it on good terms.  I don’t believe this.  I mean, I’m sure they love each other.  But I think that you can love someone and that is not a person that you are truly, deeply in love with, that you would give the whole world just for them, and you would do ANYTHING to be with them and stay with them.  I’m sure there can also be situations where one person feels that way and the other doesn’t, in which case the person that feels that way doesn’t get to choose to be with that person forever.

What I’m trying to say, I think, is that I believe there are levels of love.  I have had lesser levels of love before; I dated before, and it didn’t work out.  I’m sure the vast majority of people do not plan to get divorced when they get married, but I promise I will do everything in my power to stay with my man.  I love him more than I can even begin to express, and there is NOTHING that could make me ever want to give him up.  I mean unless he turned into a monster and did some terrible things, but we’re not going there.  I know that it isn’t always easy, I know sometimes you don’t feel it and you have to work really hard.  But I know that is what I want to do, because I can’t ever lose him.  So this story where their love was supposed to be true love, and she always loved him (I believe her) and he always loved her (BS), as sad as it is, I just can’t believe that he loved her as much as he said he did.  I would probably still sob if I read it again, because they DID love each other, but I just don’t believe it was as true and selfless as a love as I believe it is possible to have.  I think the selfless vs selfish part is probably a main component there, but that’s another post for another day.

I’m calling out the stories where they don’t end up together.  If someone dies, fine, maybe it really was an epic love.  But if they end up with other people, for whatever reason, and they say “oh, but I never forgot this other person,” NO.  If you REALLY loved that person as much as you claim to, you would be with them.  You would have done everything in your power not to hurt them.  You would never have stopped trying, never let go, never let anything get in the way.  Maybe it’s still the hopeless romantic in me, but my love story is going to be one of those happily ever afters.  Not always easy, but amazing for the rest of my life.  I’m disowning the sad endings.  Unless one of the characters died.  But even so, I don’t think that was the only way to have their love remain perfect.  I will still love those movies/books though, and still sob my eyes out.

I’m still really upset for Hadley.

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Reflections upon having found “The One”

I had so many good thoughts in my head before, when I didn’t have a chance to write this, and then after that I had been lacking motivation for a few days (or maybe weeks), and now I have motivation but have lost some of the thoughts.  I am hoping that while writing, it will come to me.

For my second disclaimer, I had originally started this blog with the intention of not including anything personal, but now I am going to.  I got engaged a little over a month ago, and actually chose to be “with” him not too long before that, as (long story, but…) we had been friends for a long time and I knew he wanted to marry me so me choosing to be with him was me agreeing to marry him.  We had basically been dating for a while but I was in denial.

So…my world kinda turned upside down.  Not in a bad way at all whatsoever, but I have a ton of ambition; I had a plan for my life.  And including someone in your future has an effect on that, so I want to share my interpretation of what it is to fall in love with someone and want to share forever with them.  I am not sure if my experience is a universal thing, but I feel that it needs sharing.

I wasn’t the kind of girl that thought I didn’t need men, like in the “ever” sense.  I didn’t NEED men; I am perfectly strong, capable, intelligent, and motivated by myself.  I could have been single and had an awesome life.  I am a hopeless romantic though, and I most definitely wanted my own Prince Charming.  It could have worked fine either way.  Preferred the Prince Charming of course, but I would have survived just fine until I found him.  I wasn’t ever picky, but I didn’t want to just settle for anyone.  I believe marriage is forever and you do what it takes to make it forever, so I was going to be as sure as someone could possibly be.  However, there were these things that I felt were SO important to who I was, that I would NOT give them up for ANY man, and I would not marry a man that would force me to give them up.  My list had things like living in California (I have not made it there yet, still working on it), having a good job, traveling, and as far as relationships go, would NOT be in long distance relationship.

My Prince Charming, as I mentioned before, was my friend for several years first.  He wanted to marry me when he met me (love at first sight is true, eh?), but I took a long time.  So it wasn’t this meeting and evaluating to see if he could be the man for me.  I mean it sorta was, since I knew he wanted to marry me (not from the beginning though), but I thought it wouldn’t work out all along.  So I never thought about how our future would look, because I didn’t think we had a future.  We became closer and closer friends though, and he joined the Navy and left for bootcamp and training, at which point I realized that I really couldn’t live without him.  So the “official” relationship started while he was gone, and he’s still gone, so the entire thing has been nothing but long distance.  Something I swore I would never do, but as I can’t imagine life without him, it is what I am doing.

Other things that have changed are that, since he is in the Navy, I basically have zero control over my future.  I hate not being in control.  I have always needed to be in control.  He wants to live in California, and he is trying to get us down there, but he can’t guarantee it.  We could end up somewhere else.  I also had applied for my dream job that I have wanted for most of my life, and got rejected, which I found out at some point either right before we “officially” got together or soon after.  Despite wanting it most of my life, I am perfectly fine with not getting it, because it would be somewhat impractical for being married and especially with him in the Navy.  I am perfectly content following him and supporting him, and then working my life around where his takes us.  It helps that him being in the Navy actually helps me live out my dream, while not the exact job, similar enough that I can live vicariously through him and be proud of him and support him.

This has all sounded so unromantic so far.  What I’m trying to say, is that I had A Plan for my life, that I was sure was what I wanted, and no man could take that from me, because it was what I Wanted.  But finding someone that I LOVE, that he alone makes me happy, all I need is him.  I can drop everything that I had spent years of my life dreaming about, and saying I would never sacrifice, because the only important thing to me is to be with him.  We did have a discussion about me not being able to sacrifice EVERYTHING for him, there is a limit…not to my love, of course, but some of our life does have to be for me.  But it is amazing to me that things I was 100% set on I was able to drop with minimal resistance, and no regret.

I don’t know what I am trying to say.  I know that you, the readers, will interpret this all sorts of ways, but I am not the type of girl to say that the wife should always follow her man, and his dreams are the most important.  They are for me though.  That is what I want.  But that is not what I thought I wanted.  I am also not saying that you should be willing to sacrifice your dreams for someone.  I think, that if you really love someone, you should be able to, but they also shouldn’t require it of you, and he is definitely not requiring it of me.  No matter what, he wants me to be happy.  He will do everything in his power to make me happy.  So I’m not saying my story is or should be the exact same for everyone, but I am trying to say hey, look what happened in my story.  Love is amazing.

Maybe what I am trying to say is that before I knew TRUE love, I thought I had it all figured out, and I thought I had my life planned out, and I thought that I would refuse to change that.  And then I found Love, and nothing mattered.  I believe I have loved before, but it has never been like this.  The most important thing to each of us is the other person’s happiness.  And I think that is part of how you know that it’s true love.  I’m just a beginner at this, of course.  But it has been so powerful and surprising to me, that I wanted to share my beginner’s view on things.  Love can turn your world upside down.

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Hopeless Romantic

It all started with the Disney movies. Talk of feminism and independence was completely foreign. I wanted Prince Charming to come sweep me off my feet!

It was never as romantic as I imagined. One time Once upon a time, it was exactly as romantic as I imagined; more so. It was perfect! Prince Charming came and swept me off my feet. All I did was sit there, look lovely, and be swept.

After not long, it stopped being perfect. I was extremely hurt. “But it was so perfect!” It then left me scarred and scared to try again. Partially because I was tired of being hurt, and partially because I was afraid it would never be so perfect again.

I don’t know where we go from here. Maybe being a hopeless romantic is bad. Maybe, starting with Disney movies, I was ruined. I’m still not convinced though. I still have a glimmer of hope.

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Flowers

I have also previously touched on this subject in a previous post, but I feel like it needs to be re-addressed, after a discussion with some friends.  I know that there are guys out there that buy flowers for girls.  But in my experiences, only one guy ever has, and he knows how to treat ladies because he was raised by a bunch of them. 🙂  Also, after a conversation with friends the other day, I discovered that my experiences were not unusual.  One of my friends has NEVER been given flowers by a guy.  The guys I know that do get flowers for girls are shocked by this, but from my conversations with girls, it seems they are in the minority.  This needs to change.

Flowers are not difficult to buy.  They are also pretty inexpensive, unless you are trying to buy roses for Valentine’s Day.  You can get a pretty great bunch of flowers for $10.  If you go up to $15, you can get a really nice bouquet.  Not expensive.  Also, there are these people that arrange flowers professionally, called florists, so it’s not like you even have to make it look good yourself.  Also, if you want something specific, you can tell the florist what you want, and then they can make a custom bouquet for you that contains what you want and looks great.  So, it’s easy and cheap.  Most girls like flowers, and some (like me) happen to be completely in love with them.  Some girls don’t like them, but I don’t think it’s very common, and I’m pretty sure even if they don’t like flowers and you don’t know they don’t like flowers, they’re not going to hate you if you get them flowers.  Unless maybe you know them well enough that they think you SHOULD know that they don’t like flowers.  But anyways, my point is that it’s a pretty safe bet, and there’s a far greater chance that you’re going to make the girl incredibly pleased than not.

So this brings me to: Why in the world do guys NOT buy flowers for girls?  We don’t really comprehend what’s so difficult about it.  It’s incredibly easy.  And pretty cheap.  And makes us really happy.  So where in there is a reason not to do it?  It just doesn’t make any sense at all.  I could say something accusatory like “Chivalry is dead”, but then guys just say that they would behave like gentlemen if women would behave like ladies…which is just complete crap, but I’m not going into that.  So I will leave this as a separate issue…but in that case it’s still just completely mind boggling.

So the moral of this story is… BUY FLOWERS!!

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Apologies

I have touched on this subject in a post a while ago, but I am now dedicating an entire post to it.  Now, I’m no professional apologizer; I hate admitting that I’m wrong, but I will do it.  I’m sure I don’t always do it when I should, but from the opposite side, as one that wants to be apologized to, I can give a good perspective. 🙂

I think most people like to be apologized to.  If you do it excessively, for things that you don’t need to apologize for, then it’s probably more like the boy who cried wolf.  However, if your apologies actually mean something, people appreciate them.  It seems that women need apologies more than men; that’s a common stereotype, whether it’s true or not.  However, this probably couldn’t hurt to use with men also.  Heck, it’s probably helpful in any type of relationship, including friends and family.  So here’s my advice:

Apologize.

No, but seriously, just do it.  I know in the case of men upsetting women, a lot of times men don’t think they’ve done anything wrong, and they don’t think the woman should be upset.  However, if you’ve upset anyone and you don’t understand why and you don’t think they should be upset, this is still good advice.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you think they should legitimately be upset.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you did anything wrong.  If you care about them, I’m sure there’s something you’re sorry about.  If the ONLY thing you’re sorry about is that they’re upset, then apologize for that.  It goes something like this, “I’m sorry I upset you, that was not my intention.”  And to go even further, add a “How can I fix it?”  With that in mind, I’m sure you can find SOMETHING that you’re sorry about in any situation.  If you’re not even sorry you upset the person, don’t apologize, because you’re not ready, but of course nothing is going to get better, because you’re a mean-spirited person.  But seriously, think about anything in the situation that you ARE sorry for/about, and apologize for that, but don’t put the emphasis on the other person.  “I’m sorry this makes you angry” isn’t going to go over quite as well.  Take credit for whatever it is you’re apologizing for.  And obviously a sarcastic tone of voice won’t do you any good either.  Or demeaning.  Ok, there are a ton of don’ts.  But they should be pretty obvious for the most part.  Find something you can apologize for, and do it sincerely.  The end.  Pretty easy.

A last note – apologizing doesn’t make you weak.  Not apologizing doesn’t make you strong.  Apologizing makes you a mature adult, and fixes problems.  For reals.  The end.

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Games

I hate “games”.  I can’t stand them, in fact.  I would like to just be myself.  But myself gets super excited about things, and can be pretty intense.  Which of course can be misunderstood and overwhelming to men, hence the need to try to behave calmly, remain more aloof, and “play hard to get.”  Because if I find something good, I want to do everything in my power to keep it, but there are many books and things (I think mainly that other people have read and told me about) and other people’s experiences that say that men should pursue, because they like it, and they get bored if they don’t have to pursue.  But then a lot of men don’t pursue.  I know some men are scared of being rejected, because maybe they have less confidence than other men, and they hate it when women play hard to get.  However, there are also men who don’t pursue because they don’t have to, because women throw themselves at them.  I have also been told by my dad that women should play hard to get a little, and let the guy pursue, but at the same time, give hints that they are into him, because my dad said he was shy when he was younger.  So then how much not pursuing do I do and how much hinting do I do?  It’s so ridiculous.  And men often want to know how much pursuing they should do, and buying flowers writing poems singing songs etc, or maybe just things like telling a girl she’s beautiful (just a note though, buying flowers is always recommended. It’s really not that crazy.  It’s quite simple, can be pretty cheap, and the vast majority of girls like flowers.  Please, men, buy more flowers.  Stop whatever this crazy stubbornness is).  The answer to that, though, depends on if the girl is into him or not.  Which, if he’s asking, he probably doesn’t know if she is.  But most romantic things are only romantic if the girl likes the guy, and if she doesn’t, they’re creepy.  So I don’t have a good suggestion there…

Basically, my analysis is that everyone is different, and everyone has preferences, and there’s no way to know what the person you’re into is into, when you’re in this stage of meeting, figuring out how you feel about each other, etc.  So this is why we try to figure out what is the most safe option, and we end up having to “play games”.  I don’t see a way around it.  As much as I hate it.  So, y’all can decide what you think is most likely to succeed.  But men, I will still say buying flowers is a great option.  Unless she doesn’t like you…(but hey, if you know she likes you, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE).  If anyone has any better ideas…..?