Every time I tell someone about my military relationship, I get one of two reactions. The person I am telling is either curious, asks some small talk questions about it, knows someone in the military too, etc. or they make the most negative comments.
I remember the first negative comment I ever received. Taylor had just come home and we were sitting at a bar just having some drinks when a guy sitting a couple chairs down started asking Taylor questions. They got on the topic of Taylor’s service and it was eventually put out there that I am his girlfriend.
“Oh, I see. You must be in it for the money then, huh?”
I don’t think I have ever given someone such a dirty look. Why would he even ask me that. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know Taylor. All he had to do was say, “Oh that’s nice. Good luck to you” or something of that nature. And if it was a joke I definitely did not find it funny.
That happened months ago. Now a days, I am throughly prepared for the remarks that come with telling someone why you never see your boyfriend.
In that regard, I was throughly prepared for the comment I got today. I told a man that my boyfriend was Navy and I told him a little of what he did and this is what I got as a response:
“Ha! Good luck with that. You’ll never see him.”
Oh really? Gee, thanks for your great insight, sir. Didn’t really know that deployment meant not seeing my boyfriend for months at a time? Great, thanks…I had so many choice words I wanted to say but I didn’t.
I’ve also heard the “Oh, but you are so young!” and the “Well, that must really suck” and the dreaded “Oh you poor thing.” I’ve heard all of it and every time it makes me cringe.
And that’s it. I cringe. And then I forget about it. I brush it off. They don’t understand and they never will unless their significant other enlists. They also obviously don’t understand the hurt that comes with comments like that. Brush it off and let it go.
And it’s important to remember that you are your own situation. Not everything happens the same way to everyone. Just because one military couple splits does not mean it will happen to yours. Just because someone knows of a person who was in a long distance relationship and all this horrible stuff happened does not mean that it will happen to you. You know who you are and what kind of relationship you have with your partner and that is all that matters.
When inappropriate comments arise, be strong. Be polite. Be understanding to people who don’t quite understand your situation. Be professional and represent military relationships in a professional manner.