Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s about time that we talk about dating. Dating men and women in uniform, to be specific. They are, of course, just like any other person you would date— they could be fun, spontaneous, serious, quirky, sweet, awkward. Dating soldiers is not for everyone, but if you’re one of those who are ready to embrace this path (or planning to), there would be a few things that you should (and should not) expect from them. Here are some:

Accept They Will Not Always Be Beside You

German soldiers saying goodbye to wives and girlfriends. (National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s one of the first things you should expect when dating military personnel. They do the bidding of their service branch and could be deployed anywhere inside or outside the country on short notice.  They can’t choose between you and the military, they have chosen both. They swore to protect and serve the nation, and I’m sure they will appreciate your respect and understanding towards their profession. Expect that there will be special occasions that you can’t celebrate together, be it Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries. On the brighter side, reunions with your loved one will be all sweeter.

Understand That Communication Is Restricted

Some long-distance relationships work as long as there is constant communication. Dating a soldier would be quite different, as in connection to the first reminder on this list, they are being sent to do important duties and not to sit around and facetime their loved ones. That could be a deal-breaker for some, but if you choose to stick around, it’s important to set proper expectations on how and when you could communicate while they are away.

As one Air Force spouse said: