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Spain. Do not panic (totally panicking). Orders to Spain! I didn’t know that was possible. I figured he would be staying in D.C. for the next few years, and by then, who knows — maybe we’d be together, maybe we wouldn’t. I immediately went into planning mode (as an event planner, I love contingencies for contingencies). It probably would have been smart to have a conversation with him, but instead I decided to create every possible scenario in my head:
Scenario 1: Long-distance relationship. I hate long-distance relationships. Is he committed enough that he would be willing to give that a shot? What about the time difference? (Six hours is tough.) What’s the end goal? Do we do a long-distance relationship for two years? Do we get married? (OK — maybe I am putting the cart before the horse here.)
Scenario 2: Play it cool and see what happens. Actually, this isn’t an option for me. I am not cool. I would go crazy. I need clear expectations.
Scenario 3: Break up. Ouch, this would be a bummer. I really, really like (read: love) this guy. Hopefully this isn’t the option he wants — and now I am feeling vulnerable.
With no idea what to expect and each scenario on a loop in my head, I sat there as he asked me what I wanted. He wasn’t asking what I want to drink (although a glass of wine would have been nice); he was asking what I wanted with our relationship. In an effort at self-preservation, I fired the question back at him: “Well, what do you want?”
Then he said it: He wanted to stay together, do long distance, and make it work. I agreed.
As the PCS (aka permanent change of station, aka move) approached, I became weepy. Every time I heard “What’s meant to be will be,” I wanted to pop that person in the mouth. No one understood what I was going through, not even me. I was a girlfriend — not a fiancee, not a spouse. “My boyfriend is moving to Spain” didn’t have the same ring (no pun intended) as “My husband is moving to Spain.”
I must have asked him to call his detailer (the position responsible for determining a service member’s fate for two to three years) daily to see if there were any openings in the D.C. area. Alas, there were no “career-enhancing billets.” I had no idea what a billet was, let alone one that was career-enhancing. (Who comes up with this terminology?) All I knew is that there had to be Navy jobs in the D.C. area, so why wasn’t he “coded” for any of them? This was my first experience with the system that I prefer to refer to as the machine.
I continued to be weepy and feel sorry for myself until Sept. 23, the night before he flew to Spain.military family military spouse milso
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