Okay, this upcoming rant post-Veterans Day cause I’m seeing this issue all over the country within groups I am in.
Military spouses are slowly becoming an ostracized group.
Now that sounds like a really big claim, and it is. But it is one that I am painfully aware of that is very true.
I have been a Military spouse for the past 7ish years, Now I am divorced and remarried but I feel that gives me a better view of what it means than most. I saw the, during, and after treatment of someone married into a military life.
That being said, It is incredibly hard making friends and building community being a Military spouse. Let me explain why.
First issue: Moving Regularly. Building a community is hard to start with, it takes time, and effort on multiple people’s parts and it requires a commitment that the consistent moving can’t give. We are expected to move to a new state/country/hemisphere and be 100% good to go with no support system other than those who are already there and ready to leave in the next 6-12 months. Building a church community feels like a neverending battle to integrate yourselves but also not get too attached because you will move at some point and 50% of the time you don’t know when. Let’s not even start with how hard it is to get a Job or maintain a career.
The military always comes first, a phrase we hear all the time.
Locals won’t pursue friendships with us because why waste time on someone who will only be here for 2-5 years? And I get it. I don’t blame them at all but I also see the value of friendship and community for seasons. It is harder when that clock is apparent and always ticking.
My next issue is Perception: I don’t know where it came from but there is some preconceived perception of Military Spouses that we don’t need anyone, We have our own groups and we stick to our kind. Which is so incredibly wrong. We need community so badly and finding a group you can lean on is incredibly rare. Most of the time we only see each other at events throughout the year when our presence is required or group activities with our spouses. If you don’t live on base (which a lot don’t) you don’t have a local community at all. And people almost feel scared to approach us because they see us as a click you had in High school. Let me be the first to say, that is not true.
Last but I’m sure I’ll think of more after I post this.
The Overwhelming feeling that we have to do it on our own. Now this is so wrong but also a mindset I find myself in all the time. Yes, this life is isolating. It’s you and your spouse against the world. and sometimes it’s just you. For some reason, you are made to feel ungrateful, weak, and selfish when you ask for help and aren’t able to do it all yourself.
“But you signed up for this” No we didn’t our Spouses did and we decided to support them, that does not give a free pass to allow people to stay isolated.
“You have free benefits, you can’t complain” No one is complaining about the benefits. We can’t curb social isolation and homesickness with benefits.
I could keep going but I think you get my point. There is an entire group of people, who live among you, that you know personally who are in desperate need of community, who have been shamed into never asking. Every day I see posts from fellow spouses desperate for community that I can’t give them because, at the same time, I am drowning too.
So in short, Don’t let people slip by because it isn’t worth your time. Or because you don’t see a long-term reason to, life is full of unpredictable moments. And maybe someone needs a hand and just can’t find the words to ask.