Dear Ms. Vicki,
I am a 29-year-old active-duty service member who has fallen in love with another active-duty service member after a year of dating.
I just received orders to PCS overseas, and neither of us is ready for marriage.
I have already lost two men I loved and now I have three children's needs to consider, as well. I lost my first spouse in a car accident before I enlisted, and we had two children together. I also lost my fiancé a few years ago in a motorcycle accident after the birth of our son.
The man I'm dating now also has a few commitment demons he is working through. We don't want to rush into a lifelong vow and commitment of marriage because of our military obligations, but we also don't want to lose each other.
Being honest with one another, we both agree that a long-distance relationship is not something we would be able to maintain. Is there anything else that you are aware of that can help me not lose another man I love again?
My kids and I are so done with the heartache. I feel like the military divorce rate is so high because so many military dating couples are forced to make a decision to be married before they are ready because there are no other options available.
I don't want us to be a statistic, and I don't want to be confined to dating predetermined by the span of an assignment.
Thank you, A Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Hard Place,
Thanks for writing to me. You raise some good points in your letter.
Yes, military relationships and long-distance relationships can be difficult, but all relationships have challenges. With that said, I think you are choosing to do the right thing by not rushing into a marriage. It's OK to wait.
Relationships take time to build, especially when there are children involved. Truth is, a solid relationship can handle some distance and separation. You should have some conversations about your absence from each other, ways to stay in touch, making visits possible, and even discuss seeing or dating other people. You should talk about the hard subjects, the things most people avoid discussing.
Another important topic is your experience with many losses. This has tremendously impacted your life. You might even wonder how long your relationship with your current boyfriend will last. In the back of your mind, you could be thinking that something will happen to him too.
I highly recommend that you seek therapy while you are stationed overseas. It will only make you stronger and more resilient. From the way you describe your experiences, I think you probably have some grief and loss to work through.
There may not be much you can do right now to stop this separation because of your military commitments, but there's no reason you shouldn't try to have a long-distance relationship. Please let me know how it goes.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki