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While I am in awe of the military spouse, I know myself well enough to know that I would have a significantly difficult time going about my day-to-day, when my partner and best friend is at war and in danger or deployed or involved in a risky training exercise.

If I met an interested man who happened to be an active member of the military, that wouldn’t necessarily exclude him from consideration, but I would be hesitant to get involved on any sort of serious level. He served in the United States Navy for six years but had been out of the military for a significant amount of time before I sat next to him in on what would be our last first date.

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For someone who has never served in the military, it is difficult to fully comprehend all the complicated ways military service weaves into the very fiber of one’s being.Military members are broken down in boot camp and built up to not just be altered men and women, but trusted, forever soldiers.The training and the missions and the executions of both are so deeply engrained in our service men and women that, I swear, the marrow in their bones is altered.And it wasn’t until I started living with and had a child with a veteran of the United States Military, that I realized that while he left the military years ago, the military cannot – and will not – leave him.He refuses to have his back turned and is constantly on somewhat of a “look out”, even if he’s in the middle of a double bacon cheeseburger and a pint of delicious beer.

I’ve learned that being on time is necessary and absolutely expected.Most everyone are considered potential threats and the consistent vigilance he cannot help but display can become exhausting.He won’t completely relax until he is back at home with his family, so big adventures to extravagant social functions are few and far between.I’ve learned that we are so quick to say we care about our military members and military veterans, but that’s a heavy dose of lip service followed by very little action. There was no particular email or conversation that got me thinking about this topic.If you’re teetering on the edge of this particular path, think through the lifestyle before you jump in:(And don’t date him/her if you believe that “everyone cheats” during deployment.) Period. (So do people in the civilian world.) But that doesn’t mean everyone does, that we all agree with it, or that it’s even the “norm.” You will be separated from the person you love at some point during their career in the military. It’s okay to get frustrated, be angry, and cry, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and move on.