The military community is a very unique community. It can be very inclusive but also extremely exclusive without even recognizing it. The first two years of our relationship, B included me on anything he could, but I still felt like I was on the outside looking in. No one was outright hostile. No was mean or rude. I made friends with wives, girlfriends, husbands, and fiances of many service members. But I was still JUST a girlfriend. I still needed B to escort me on base. I had to initiate any plans, etc. and I was never invited to anything they all did together. And I think I was even included in more than most because B and I acted like an old married couple–but we mainly kept to ourselves most of the time anyways.
I had my own community for awhilethough. I worked for a small Christian school at the time that was also part of a church. I had people there I worked with that were like family to me. They were around before B even was in the picture. And once he was, he loved integrating into my community. Honestly I think he enjoyed being around people that weren’t in the military…for the same reason I wanted to hang out with his “people.” I loved my community but there were times I needed a break from “teaching.” So I had to find encouragement/support through different channels.
I tried looking for groups online. That was a disaster. Anyone else try that? I mean, seriously. I just looked up milso groups on facebook. Maybe you found more luck than I did. But what I thought was community, ended up just causing problems in my relationship. I would leave feeling insecure and angry…people would share a lot of the ugly, instead of speak reason or point me in the right direction. Of course, I wish I would have sought out the right kind of groups—I now know there are tons of very supportive groups and milspouses that are inclusive and DRAMA-FREE. I hope this littleblog becomes that too!
After being able to travel to visit B at his command in Bahrain, I think I finally understood more of what being a Navy wife would entail. I was definitely treated differently before at the base in California, but there in the Middle East, I think the fact that I was “brave” enough to go out there bought me some credibility as someone in it for the long haul.
I think a big part of it is your frame of mind. For me, the direction of our relationship and “horror stories” kept me frazzled, depressed, and miserable. I thought I was on the outside but I wasn’t reaching out to the right people. Once I really allowed myself to let go though, I finally felt part of an incredible community.