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:

“I try to understand that although my husband does miss me, he may not want to spend his whole deployment on the computer with me. It can make it harder for him. He needs his ways of dealing and to get his mind off of the deployment. If the chow hall is having a themed dinner, he may spend more time there with co-workers and friends than on the computer with me. He may spend more time with his friends at the gym. This doesn’t mean that he does not want to talk to his family.”

Thanks to the power of technology and social media, communicating is easier than ever, although that doesn’t mean that you could expect and bug them to respond to your calls and texts every time. But the service member overseas on deployment most wants to know that you are keeping the home fires burning and that you will be there when he or she returns.  

There Would Be Constant Worry

It is no secret that the lives of service members are on the line whenever and wherever they carry out their duties, especially when they are sent to conflict zones. For you, that would mean that there would be constant fear and worrying about your partner’s life. You’ll have to learn to keep those thoughts at bay and trust that your loved one will make it back safe and sound.

Do Not Get Attached

…to places. So you decided to level up your relationship and have moved together. As mentioned, they could be stationed anywhere domestically or in a foreign country, and while your partner couldn’t bring you with them, some spouses move in the same city or country so they could visit and see them more often. If you choose to do that, bear in mind that no place is permanent, and you would constantly be on the move. It could be easy to fall in love with places and the people around them, but don’t get too attached. The great thing about it is that you get to see different places, experience different cultures, and gain a lot of friends, maybe learn a new language, all while being closer to your military loved one.

Sgt. Tanya Casey, a volunteer from Camp Nathan Smith, greets an Afghan woman during the celebration of Eid al-Adha organized by the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. (ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office from Kabul, AfghanistanCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Get Ready For An Adventure!

You are dating a person with tons of experiences and something of a thirst for adventure, so you will definitely learn a lot from their stories and see things through their eyes. Just like any other relationship, there would be lots of challenges and difficulties that you would face along the way, but if you two could make it work, then you’re in for a beautiful and extraordinary adventure!

Still looking for love? Check out our article about military dating sites here.