Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Cellar Door, the personal blog of Gabrielle Puglia. You need to understand that the military is a brotherhood.There have been a few articles about the pros and cons of dating the Generation Y military man, and while some of them are better reads than others, I felt the need to weigh in. Military men may never have closer relationships than those they made in the military.This is based solely on the experiences of my veteran friends, as well as my own with a past paramour. The military teaches service members to trust their unit, and few others. If he comes to you with a problem, chances are he’ll talk about it until he no longer wants to and then go into lockdown. That is not a good thing or a bad thing, that is just a matter of fact and something you need to understand. Military men are used to their band of brothers, and are bred to be loyal and protective. Some branches of the military (I’m looking at you, Marines) have a feeling of superiority over others.This list is not simply a composition of pros or cons, but rather an overview of what dating a service member active duty or veteran — is like. They are meant to be extremely close with this group of people and everyone else is simply on a need-to-know basis. It is not a competition between his military friends and you; they are people who shared a very intimate part of his life, and you should want to be close with them, too. He will love you fiercely and be the most faithful companion, if you can promise the same. Granted, that is earned due to the nature of their work and how much they put on the line.As the significant other, you will not get more details than necessary on anything unless you poke and prod. Related: The unconventional relationship is the norm in the military. However, in the civilian world, or in a relationship, it may be a little hard to deal with. Especially if he is coming from a higher rank, it may be increasingly difficult for him to “fall in line” with civilian life. Not every soldier comes home with post-traumatic stress.It is a lot of work to break down those barriers and gain enough trust for him open up and be vulnerable. You need to understand this and realize how difficult it is. However, for those who do, there is nothing wrong with that.Just keep in mind that the chances of him wanting to open up and talk about it — let alone seek help — are slim to none, at least at first.
Fun facts are everywhere, and it doesn’t hurt for you to sound more worldly too! Dating a service member is not all fun and games; it takes a lot of work and patience, but if you are interested in the person and not just the uniform, then he is definitely worth the pursuit.Also, if you are lucky enough to date one (or some!) of our country’s finest service members, don’t feel like you have to abide by all of these guidelines.Just be a decent human being and you will get decency back.
Gabrielle Puglia is a free spirit with a wild heart.
Perpetual overthinker, good-doer, book nerd, wine connoisseur and amateur world traveler.