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The MilFam Diaries: Chronicles of a New Milspouse

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I was opposed to marrying someone in the military.

To the amazing military families out there, please, take no offense. I was on a different path. Driven to be successful professionally, my plan had no room for moves every few years, I didn’t want to be told where to live, and I would not move away from the friendships and career I had worked so hard to develop.

What’s the saying? “God laughs when we make plans”? Well, he’s getting a real kick out of me.

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A little bit about me, pre-military spousedom: I am from Newburyport, Mass. (go Pats!); I lived in the same town from the day I was born through the day I moved to Washington, D.C.; I come from a patriotic family, but no one in my immediate family served in the military.

I moved to D.C. to pursue a master’s degree from The George Washington University (GW). While there, I took an assistantship in the GW Office of Community Service (now known as the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service). The assistantship turned into a full-time position when I was asked to coordinate the first-ever Freshman Day of Service, the largest collegiate service event in the country, on Sept. 11, in commemoration of the 2001 attacks. In brainstorming themes for day, it seemed natural that we would focus on service for the military and veterans … and so it began.

In connecting with more than 25 military and veterans service organizations that summer, I developed partnerships and friendships with individuals and organizations that truly fight the good fight. I was asked to serve as a member of GW’s veterans advisory board; I continued volunteering and placing volunteers at veteran retirement homes like Vinson Hall; I organized care package events; and I tried to be the best military and veteran supporter I could be.

Fast-forward a few years …

photo[10]I left my job at GW and I took my dream job, working for Reingold, a social marketing firm. I established a group of friends, and adopted a fantastic rescue dog (Amos).

Being single in a city that has a lot more single women than single men (D.C. ladies, you know what I mean!), I decided to expand my options — I took a stab at (gulp) online dating. A few good dates, a few terrible dates, a few so-awkward-I-fake-an-emergency dates, then I decide to take a hiatus from online dating for a little while, though I stayed online.

During this hiatus I began to exchange emails with a guy in an “undisclosed location” (read: military overseas). After a few months of emailing back and forth, he told me that he was coming back to the D.C. area and wanted to take me out. In my mind, I was saying, “What, you mean we aren’t just going to email forever? I actually have to meet you?”

I canceled the first two dates — no joke — my excuses were terrible too. He asked me out a third time — I caved. After a few months, trips to meet each other’s families, and many fun adventures, I realized I was falling for this guy and breaking my own rule.

Dating in D.C. was a lot of fun, but it was also a false sense of what it is like to have a partner who serves in the military. I was still around my friends, I was still working at my dream job, and I was dating an awesome guy … life was perfect.

Then he got orders, to Spain.

To be continued next week …

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