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Being a military spouse comes with its own unique sets of challenges, different from those of military members. If you’re a new military spouse, I’m sure you can relate to most of these…or if not, at least you’ll know what to expect. And if you know a military spouse, maybe this will help you to understand their perspective just a bit better. So without further ado, here are 5 Problems Military Spouses Will Probably Definitely Face:
1. Job insecurity
It turns out that employers don’t like to hire people who they know will be moving frequently. This can be a real struggle for career driven military spouses who want to be supportive of their spouse’s career, but also want one of their own. Of course, there are many spouses who are employed, but many who have more specialized job fields have a difficult time finding jobs that they aren’t overqualified for. And even if you do find a job, it’s more than likely that you’ll leave it in 2-3 years, and have to start the whole process over.
2. Civilians writing you off as friends
I once had a well-intentioned lady tell me “Well, I just don’t know anything about being a military wife,” to which I replied, “Neither do I. Last year I was just a normal person.” Maybe that was a little too passive aggressive, but it was true. It kinda sucks to have someone tell you they can’t relate to you, so they won’t even try. And honestly, I’ve gotten the same sort of response from others.
Sometimes I cringe at the question “so how long will you be living here?” because I’ve found that some people just aren’t willing to invest in a friendship they don’t see lasting longer than a year. This is by far the minority of people I meet, but it’s still discouraging when you’re in a new place.
I realize the whole spiel of this blog post is about being a military spouse, but I promise it’s not my entire identity. I was just a regular old civilian up until recently, and I like to think I haven’t totally forgotten how to be a normal person. And that’s all I have to say about that.
3. Messed up paperwork
Marriage licenses. Social Security Cards. Drivers Licenses. Military ID cards. Marrying into the military requires a lot of paperwork, and that just multiplies the chances that your paperwork can get messed up. And it probably will. And it’ll take months to correct. Trust me…I know from personal experience. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
Moving to a new place where you have no family or friends can feel very overwhelming. But it can be really fun to start from scratch and make new friends. I’ve found so far that the military community is very welcoming. But you’ll still face loneliness because your spouse will likely face deployments, time away for training, and traveling for work. This means you’ll probably face a lot of time at home alone, especially as a new military spouse. And especially if you are unemployed, or work from home (as many milspouses do.) Time alone doesn’t always have to be a bad thing though…time alone led me to write this post of 10 Things To Do When You’re Home Alone (To Avoid Going Crazy). So that’s something.
5. Not comprehending 75% of conversations
One of my biggest pet peeves is spouses who only speak in military acronyms. It’s very frustrating as a new military spouse because you suddenly feel a.) dumb b.) left out of conversations with other military spouses. (I even wrote a whole acronym guide on the subject.) In addition to hearing other wives talking in acronyms and using military time exclusively, your spouse will also come home and you’ll have to ask them to translate their day into plain English. I know, I know, you’ll catch on eventually..but I’m over a year into this whole military spouse thing, and I still learn new military terms all-the-flippin-time.
Despite these difficulties, being a military spouse has been a great experience for me. It’s definitely not the life for everyone, and that’s ok too. But it has taught me so much and for that, I’m truly grateful. If you’re a new (or old) military spouse, just know that you’re not alone. I hear you. I’m rooting for you.