So I've been dating my bf for 2 years now and he is in the national guard. Up until now, it hasn't really been an issue. He has been deployed before, but not while we were dating, and usually just has to go to monthly drill. I'm lucky in that, while his unit is deploying in January for a year, he probably won't have to go.
Something I've been noticing lately, though, is that it's starting to bother me that there's basically this huge part of his life that I'm not a part of. He doesn't really talk about military stuff with me, other than big stuff like deploying. I get that I don't understand a lot of it, but he almost treats it like it's this secret club that no "civilian" can get into. Like, b/c I'm not in the military, I can't possibly understand anything about it. Idk why this is randomly bothering me, but I just kind of realized it the other day. Part of it might be that he'll be gone all day for 3 weeks doing some training (he's a week into it). I guess I just don't enjoy the fact that, while he is a part of every aspect of my life, I am not a part of this huge thing.
I guess my question is, those of you who have experience with this, do you just accept that the military thing is a part of your husband/bf's life that you won't be a part of? Does he come home and actually want to talk about it? I'm not really talking about traumatic experiences here, just normal day-to-day life. My feelings are, this is something that could potentially take him away from me (and all OUR responsibilities) for a year. And while I am more than willing to make that sacrifice, shouldn't I also be allowed to try to understand what it's all about?
10-26-2013, 05:30 PM
I think it depends on the person and not necessarily a military thing. I work in the same company as my husband but he never talks about his work. That is just him.
10-26-2013, 10:22 PM
how does he respond when you ask him about his work? does he blow you off in a patronizing way? does he just want to relax at home and not "think about work?" or does he flat out say it's none of your business? I think how he reacts would give me some direction on how to proceed if I was in your shoes....maybe find something he loves to talk about that has to do with work and focus on that, for example my DH loves to talk about his work investigations so we often talk about that part of his job
10-27-2013, 12:08 PM
I'm not in the military but I spent 10 years in law enforcement and my husband still does. We NEVER talk about police stuff at home - ever.
You will get three kinds of people-
1. Young, who are just new and excited to the whole military/police thing and talk about it non stop - this changes over time, they tone down.
2. Don't really talk much about work with others at home unless pertinent.
3. Let their lives REVOLVE around it and never shut up.
Is he young? New to it? He might just be like someone who just lost weight and can't shut up about it ;) :P
If not, then consider letting him know that you are with him for HIM and not because of his career - and change the topic to something you can both enjoy.
10-27-2013, 12:09 PM
Now that I read your post I see he doesn't really talk about it with you.
So, this seems to be more of your issue than his, correct?
It's not easy being a military/LE wife. You really have to consider if you are ready to do this - consider the possibiilities of him being away and if you are ready for it. Maybe if you aren't, he will leave it (when he can) for you. If not, then maybe it's a dealbreaker.
10-27-2013, 02:45 PM
Yes, I think ultimately it is more my problem. He doesn't straight up tell me it's none of my business, he mostly just has the attitude that I would never understand anything he'd want to talk about. It's like he wants to keep that part of his life separate from our relationship. I'm ready to sacrifice being away from him if I have to, I guess it just bothers me that I'm almost treated like a child, in a way. Or that the military is this closed club of sorts that I'm not invited to be a part of.
Idk, maybe it only bothers me b/c I am so open about the details of every part of my life. I can't really think of any area of my life that I don't willingly share everything with him. I guess I should just accept that he doesn't want to talk about it, with me at least.
Btw, he has been in the military for close to 10 years now. I'm not sure if he's always been like this or not, but it's definitely not a new development with me.
10-27-2013, 03:26 PM
MedChick, I come from a long military/police family, including my father, older brother, son and myself and don't take it wrong but being in the service IS sort of a "club" (same goes for cops and firefighters). Maybe a better term is brotherhood. It's very hard to explain to people who didn't grow up in it or experience it directly. It would be easier if you got to know other military wives or GFs directly, I'm pretty sure you'd find out you aren't the only one feeling left out.
The other thing is ... (and bear in mind, the next bit is coming from a woman who's been a married person more than half her life and probably has a son older than you) some guys just want to leave work at work, period. They don't have the need rehash every BS detail of the day like chicks do. For women talking about the work day can actually be a release valve, for some -- a lot, actually -- men, just the opposite. It's not that they don't want their s/o involved it's just they want to decompress and talking about work can end up being nearly as stressful as being there (little FYI, you might want to check out John Grey's "Men are From Mars/Women are From Venus", that book literally opened my eyes as a young wife).
Finally, depending on what exactly his job is either he: A) is not permitted to talk about it or B) it's so mind numbingly tedious, repetitive, boring, etc., etc., that there's literally nothing TO talk about. Imagine if he was a tollbooth collector, what do you think those guys come home and talk to their wives about?
10-27-2013, 03:40 PM
Child of a career military man here. Your boyfriend sounds a lot like my dad, and I have to tell you, it caused a lot of pain in my family growing up.
But I can tell you that my parents got through it, and they have been married for over 40 years. So while we all wish things had been different, the military didn't take my dad away from us. And his issues were more about him as a person, and not so much the military.
So some of this is the job, and some of it is your boyfriend's personality. How does he act about other parts of his life? Is he honest about his feelings? If so, this air of mystery may be him adjusting to the excitement and romance of the military ... but believe me, that kind of things wears off when one is deployed for a year. He may even be embarrassed about how dull the day to day stuff is ... again, when he is actually deployed, that will change.
I definitely recommend forming relationships with the other significant others. You will depend on them so much during deployments. If there are aspects of his job he can't talk about, then the others won't be talking about it either. If he's just being weird, than others will fill you in.
You sound really strong mentally so my gut tells me that you can handle this. Good luck!
10-27-2013, 04:20 PM
I had a similar, but non-miliary experience with my husband's job.
He worked in a metal anodizing and product finishing plant. The job was very dangerous (much more dangerous than I realized).
I had a clue, because he had the best disability and accidental work-related death insurance I had ever heard of. (The death benefit for a work-related accident or injury was many times that of any other cause of death. Also any permanent disability, work related or not and the insurance premiums would be paid for life).
It was only after hubby became disabled (not work-related) and unable to work that he started to talk about his work more.
If I HAD known, I would have been a nervous wreck, especially since that was also a time when my health was so bad, and taking care of me and the house was a second full-time job.
I told hubby that I could have handled knowing more, but he says he couldn't have handled worrying about me worrying...
...besides which I'm not all that sure that I could really have handled more, because I knew enough to keep me pretty worried anyway.