Dear Ms. Vicki,
I'm 22 years old, and this is my first time being in a relationship with a man in the military. He just got back from Afghanistan and decided that he wants to be married within the next two years.
I've heard many stories of soldiers being unfaithful, and I was wondering whether I should be concerned, with him being only 21?
We are already nine hours apart, and I plan on moving my son and me closer to him. Will that help at all?
-- New Relationship
I promised myself to start being more open and honest with everyone who writes to me. I'm not saying I will be mean or surly; I just intend to be more candid about the situation.
You said this is your first time with a military man. I hope he is a good man, not only because you deserve a good man, but because you have a son you are bringing into the relationship.
I've got four "don'ts" you need to keep in mind as you move forward.
1. Don't forget the man inside the uniform.
I've learned over the years that some people go crazy over a man in uniform. It represents power and prestige for many.
They forget the man inside the uniform. They believe the uniform and rank equal character, but they don't. Because of this, women can leap too quickly into the relationship. As a result, they can ignore signs that should be grabbing their attention.
2. Don't rush into this relationship.
I would say this if you were 22 or 52. Your age doesn't matter, and his age doesn't matter. Just take your time.
Naturally, you want to be in close proximity to your boyfriend, but the distance will be OK for now. If he is deploying soon, just stay where you are. You have set at least a two-year marker for marriage, and that's great. Use this time to get to know him and his character.
3. Don't involve your child in this relationship.
You have time before you need to let your child get to know him. Women often involve their children too soon in a new relationship and, when it ends, it leaves their children confused and angry. Children see their mother's excitement, and they feed off her emotions (quite naturally). However, when the bubble bursts, they feel the same sadness and disappointment.
4. Don't forget your own pair of roller skates.
In other words, make sure you can provide for you and your son. If I had a dollar for every woman who runs off with her military man, leaving her family, friends, employment and education behind, I would be independently wealthy.
Women often move to be closer to someone in uniform. These women don't have a job, a savings account, or an education. Nothing. When the relationship goes sour, they are left feeling used and abused. Please don't do this.
There is nothing wrong with being in love, but don't be stupid for love. Use this time to make sure you are on solid ground. Finish your education or make sure you have solid work skills and credentials.
Start saving your own money, because you are sadly mistaken if you think Uncle Sam will take care of you. This is not true. There is no Uncle Sam and, if there were, he doesn't know who you are.
My point: Be able to take care of you and your son.
-- Ms. Vicki