But I have a confession … Sometimes, I feel like a total outsider.
Having grown up in a military family, I know what the lifestyle is like. I understand deployments and moving and missing out on holidays and birthdays. But somehow, the lack of a ring on my finger and sharing a last name makes it seem like my relationship isn’t as “real” as others.
A few military spouses I’ve met have welcomed me with open arms, offering to be there whenever I need them, treating me like any other significant other – married or not. But, most of the time, I feel like the nerdy girl wistfully looking through the window at a party, just wishing someone would invite me in.
It certainly doesn’t help that I’m a fairly introverted person, or that I live an hour away, but one of the things I loved about being part of a military family was that instant connection. The “we’re all in this together” and “I’ve been there, done that, so if you need help or have a question, just ask” mentality. In reality, it feels more like “You guys aren’t married yet? Oh, sorry. You’re not cool enough to hang out with us” and “This event/group/party is just for spouses.”
For someone who grew up in the military and saw the intense camaraderie, this is heartbreaking. Shouldn’t this be seen as an opportunity for military spouses to step in and be mentors and help girlfriends really understand military life? Thankfully, I feel as though I’m well prepared for my soldier’s upcoming deployment – even if I have to do it on my own, without support from an FRG or spouse’s group. But what about the girls who know nothing about the military?
Perhaps I’m being idealistic, but weren’t all military spouses at one time girlfriends and fiances?
Just something to think about.