I apologize for my previous post, the hardships of my way of life sometimes catch up to me and out comes the negative emotions. I am human after all.
I am switching gears a bit and this post will be dealing with relationships in the military, I will continue my previous story at a later date. Enjoy
Films have changed the perspective of military relationships for many people. This is written to shed light on my truth versus what is portrayed in various form of media. Many people expect a fairy tale story but in the end the odds stack up and pain is the result.
In my time I have seen more negative results from relationships than positive. Many people join the military with the hopes that their relationships turns out to be something straight out of the movie Dear John, and although the film romanticizes a military relationship I have rarely seen it happen that way. We get off the bus with a vague idea of what will happen to us once we stop. I believe that a relationship is beneficial to the military way of life just because a person can only accomplish so much by themselves before they need support.
I have read many papers on emotional resilience and I’ve always wondered how our(meaning military personnel) experiences have altered our emotional state in relationships. Do we choose not to go back to our pre-military state of mind or are we just changed forever. My understanding about the papers I’ve read is that the general consensus is that a person chooses not to go back. But I now pose this question to my audience; What if I have seen many of my friends die? The emotional burden that this carries is enormous, but is a person choosing to not change dramatically and alter their mindset in a relationship, or is this something that is uncontrollable?
Even in Basic Combat Training where we(future soldiers) were pretty safe(meaning no combat) the amount of “Dear John/Jane” letters that were received was mind boggling. I might be able to forgive someone that ends a relationship when their significant other is gone for over a year, but when a person is across the country for nine weeks is the emotional burden is too great? I am glad that I was never in a position to have this happened to me but many of my comrades were not so lucky. There we were going as far as our mind and body would take us and at the end of the day a single letter could cause more damage than a Drill Sergeant ever could. I can remember people punching lockers and even crying, it was a sad sight to see. Maybe I figured that if we were doing a good thing for a country people would realize this and who knows maybe emotionally support the decision. It is not uncommon to hear stories of people deploying and returning home to an empty house and empty bank account. This actually happened to a coworker of mine, he arrived from the Middle East to nothing.
Although the amount of negative stories that I have heard is much greater than positive ones military relationships do work for some people. I was actually at the barber shop on base today and one of the ladies cutting hair said this, “Hold them and cherish them as much as you can while they are here, and when they deploy never give up the hope and love that is there”. Many spouses are not able to adapt to the military way of life and that might actually be the biggest cause of failed relationships. That is not to say that an individual unit doesn’t have a big impact on a relationship. It depends on how your unit is, but many want to micromanage your personal life, and I would assume that most adults have no desire to have a stranger constantly bothering them. I believe that leadership in a unit can make or break a relationship depending on how they choose to lead soldiers. Leaders with compassion might suggest counseling or even give you personal time during the day to take care of business. If something isn’t right at home a soldier isn’t going to concentrate like they should be at work.
In the end I believe that the negative connotation attached to military relationships makes it difficult to find a true companion but it is not an impossible task. As long as we are here we will be constantly in search of happiness no matter where the path might lead us to.