I've often believed that it takes a certain kind of woman to be a military wife.
...I am not that woman.
I think I knew this at eighteen, when I stood outback of my then-boyfriend's porch with the recruiter in the living room ready to take him to boot camp, and I told him that I couldn't do this.
But we loved each other, and if we had any chance of working this out, I would have to stay at home, while he went off to boot camp and ceased all conversation for the next two months before heading off to training school.
I was a military girlfriend, turned fiance, turned wife, for the better part of three years, and while we had a lot of good times within our marriage, ultimately, we were like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole; we just didn't fit.
There were a lot of lessons I learned as my role of military spouse, but if there's one thing that I can honestly say that stuck out for me, it's that I didn't like doing it, and that's perfectly okay that I feel that way.
Here are the 8 reasons why I hated being a military wife (and why that's okay):
1. I would never become number one in our relationship.
The job comes first, always has and always will. I guarantee being so young had something to do with my issues with this, however, it meant that I'd be alone a lot in our relationship. If we had kids, they would be without their father for a long period of time. That wasn't what I was looking for in a marriage. I wanted a 9-5 relationship, when the work talk stops at 5:01. Understandably so, the military doesn't operate like that. I didn't like that our relationship had to come second.
2. I'd never have a permanent address.
I would have to uproot and start over every couple of years. While I love to travel, there is a difference between visiting a new country, and being stuck there, sometimes with no money available to travel back home to see your friends and your family, or vice versa, your family and friends not being able to afford to see you. Sometimes for years at a time. I missed out on a lot of holidays, and birthdays, and the birth of my nephew, and not being able to fly back home when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I hated not being able to get to them on time, if at all.
3. There was pressure to mature right away, and I was still a teenager.
The military forces your hand in marriage if you want to stay with your significant other, especially if you want base housing. While I loved him at the time, people mature at different rates, and I don't believe anyone is ready for marriage at eighteen years old. I was always an independent person, but I was a fish out of water going into an event with women who'd been married for ten years, had four kids, and looked at me like I was a little girl playing house. Being in love, and being ready to be a wife are two completely different things, and I wasn't ready for the latter. While I was able to cook, and clean, and take care of those little things around the house, mentally, I was a rebellious 18 year old, just like any teenager.
4. You lose your identity.
To get on base, you need an ID with your husband's social on it. To make a doctor's appointment, you need your husband's social. To get base housing, you need your husband to do it. I truly felt like my entire identity was my husband's, and that my contributions and voice were often overlooked because I wasn't active duty. That's a large reason as to why I felt so lost after our divorce - I hadn't focused on being myself, or even figuring out who I was, because my early twenties were spent under the guise of someone close to me. The higher-ups in the service didn't always look at someone so young as having any validity.
5. You're forced to be alone - whether you're up for it or not.
I had never lived on my own, and so, being alone the majority of the time was a stark opposition from being in my parents' house where I felt safe all of the time. If someone came to my door at 2am, I had to deal with it. If there was a lock-down on base, I had to lock my doors, my windows, and feel terrified of what was happening on the outside, with no family there to protect me. If there was something out of the ordinary, I had to deal with it. I give military spouses a lot of credit for handling this, because at that point in my life, it wasn't something I was prepped for.
6. You ultimately (do) sacrifice a part of your life
You give up on certain dreams, jobs, and seeing your family and friends. While the service members make the ultimate sacrifice - and we owe them our gratitude and respect for doing so - being a military spouse does require that you sacrifice original aspirations about your life, at least for a little while. I was on track to go to NYU when I had gotten engaged, and sacrificed going to my dream school for us. While I have no regrets because it let me to where I am now, at the time, that was a dream I wasn't ready to let go of yet.
7. You feel immense pressure to start a family - at nineteen years old.
After a year of marriage, and everyone of your friends getting pregnant, you feel pressure to do the same. While everyone knows they're ready for a baby at different rates, I felt this when I was very young because the military makes it comfortable to bring a child into the world. You have base housing, wonderful benefits, and, if you were like me, a stay-at-home wife that would be able to stay home and care for the child without the pressure of having to go to work to bring in an added paycheck. I felt like having kids was just the natural thing to do, because my life and my identity had changed. I felt like I had given up on the life I had always wanted, so why not become a wife AND a mother?
8. It wasn't the kind of love I was looking for.
And, I understand this better than ever, considering I'm engaged to be married and with someone who I know is the love of my life.
Being a military spouse would have worked differently if it had been a different love. But, we were a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, and while, there was love between us, it wasn't the kind of love worth fighting for - and the military relationship is one that you must fight for every single day. It should be what gets you through lonely nights, and deployments, and long days when you're go to bed before he even comes home.
I give these women, and men, a lot of credit because it is a very challenging lifestyle, and it's not for everybody. For the longest time I thought that I was in the wrong for stating why I hated being a military wife, however, there is strength in being able to identify the kind of life, love, and relationship you're able to handle.
Long-distance, the wrong love, and late nights, it wasn't for me, because, up until three years ago, I hadn't a love that was worth fighting for.
Author of Mindy and Mommy Moon | Chinese Food Connoisseur | Full-time Content Marketing Strategist & Writer | Owner of Bad Art and Meow Follow my life @kort_nay on both Twitter and Instagram I'm still dreaming about that pizza in my profile picture.