You know, those weird ass, mostly nonsense thoughts you have sometimes, where you wonder if anyone else thinks these things…
Well I’m here to tell you they do!
It’s hard isn’t it?
Having entered the over 30’s category as an unmarried military spouse, I decided a blog might be a good idea.
I question everything and try to find my own logic through it. Which, isn’t always logical; as you’ll discover! I figured if I write and just one person can relate (and feel a little more normal) or learn something new, then my work here is done.
So who am I really? – Not just a military spouse!
Well, I’m no one special. I live in a little village in the UK, ‘not married’ to a long-serving army man. I’ve been part of this lifestyle for four years – I’m not the first military spouse and I won’t be the last.
What I write isn’t fact, neither is it fiction, it is simply what I know, think and feel. Sharing my experiences with you in the hope you’ll relate; or at least have a new insight into the world of someone else.
I have a passion for turning old furniture into something beautiful. (Much to my not-husband’s disgust when yet another ‘awful’ chair arrives in the living room). But hey, what’s life without having a passion?!
I ‘workout’ twice a week at a military style bootcamp and love to push my limits! Leaving your comfort zone now and then is great soul food!
I’m an animal lover with four dogs, yes – four! They might eat lot and roll in any poop they find (in fact, anything remotely whiffy will do!), but their conversation is second to none. Better than some people actually. Just kidding…or maybe not. Hehe!
I experience anxiety (notice I don’t use the word suffer!) and have had bouts of depression, but why should I let that hold me back from anything? The crazy thoughts are still there, I have just learnt to cope with them more easily. (Credit to my lovely counsellor – more about her another day!)
What else can I tell you?
Well, I’m fiercely independent! Not in a weird feminist way, I’ve just always wanted to do things for myself and not depend on anyone. But that isn’t always a good idea! There are times in life where we all need someone. Whether that’s your spouse, parent or a good friend, you need someone you can be your true self with.
I know this all too well as I’m currently on the emotional roller-coaster that is losing my amazing dad to a terminal illness, but that’s a discussion for another day… Today, the sun is shining! ☀️
So why am I The Not-Wife?
Well, the urban dictionary says,
“Your female partner, life partner, significant other who you are not married to but eternally committed to…“Urban Dictionary
So I guess that’s the answer really. The commitment without the commitment? We live together, I am step-mum (urgh, that word!) to his two children and share everything as any married couple would.
Being in the military, everyone assumes you’re already married, which of course many are due to the demands of forces life. But I’ve been asked, “So, what’s your surname?” and that doesn’t work when you don’t have his name. What they’re actually asking is, “who are you with?”. (Click here to read my post about why women take their husband’s surname after marriage)
And why AREN’T we hitched?
Well, because he was scarred for life by the previous one! (Thanks for that! – NOT!) He’s quite rightfully fearful of another union since the first one left him with not a lot. But he knows we’re not all the same and is amazed by how easy he now has it!
So, until my wonderful not-husband is brave enough to commit again, I shall forever be his not-wife (which is a good thing because then I’d have to rename this entire blog!)
What I find interesting though, is the divorce rate in the UK is at a 40 year low, with around 42% of marriages ending in divorce (in 2017). Isn’t that still an incredibly high number?! Almost half of all marriages won’t work out?! Why is that?
What there aren’t statistics for, are long term, committed relationships – like the one I’m in – that end after years of a joint life. Do they last longer? Or do they just dissolve without anyone batting an eyelid?!
Although there are no official figures on second marriages and divorce rates, the Marriage Foundation suggests only 31% of second marriages ends in divorce. Which is good news right? Perhaps in your second marriage you learn to overcome issues more easily and make an extra effort to stay committed? Or is it that the first person wasn’t right for you or it happened a little too quickly. Or maybe too young? The possibilities are endless and every relationship is different, so how can we possibly conclude why second marriages are more successful?!
Military Life and Marriage
In my time as a military spouse (albeit an unmarried one), I am very aware that many forces relationships are dictated by the serving persons worklife, which can sometimes lead to couples getting a shotgun wedding.
Now this doesn’t mean it is in any way rushed, it simply means that postings hours from home or overseas, deployments or training courses can often bring forward an already planned wedding. Some couples choose to have a simple signing of the register ceremony (the official bit) in order to be together sooner, with a bigger (not always) celebration and/or blessing at a more convenient time. Postings can dictate where you and your family will live and for how long and that becomes a whole lot easier once you’ve signed that little book!
The military and us…
Loving someone who serves can be incredibly difficult at times, but it’s so worth it! We may spend three months or more apart due to a deployment, but that just makes every day we do spend together, all the more precious!
For us, we bought our own house two years ago, settled in a place we both wanted to live. Luckily, we were at a point where we wouldn’t necessarily need to move anywhere for a while, so it was an easy choice to make.
However; things do change (forces life is ALWAYS changing – learn to expect the unexpected!) and we’re now ‘weekending‘!
Weekending? What’s that?
It just means the serving person is away during the week and only home at weekends.
Yes, it sucks!
That Sunday night “he’s leaving again” feeling, coupled with the Friday afternoon “shit, he’ll be back soon and the house is a tip” rush. EVERY WEEK! We’re currently 180 miles apart, but thankfully (and hopefully) only for the next three months…fingers crossed.
Weekending certainly has its own highs and lows, or indeed any long distance relationship, but we’ll save that for another post! You still experience all that life has to throw at you; from love, to loss, to celebration and joy, you just have to learn to experience those things on your own.
Modern technology has of course made military life way easier and more bearable. Being able to see and talk to (when the connection actually works!) to someone the other side of the world is just amazing!! Sharing those moments helps you stay connected over the miles.
Over and Out
Well, that’s it from me and my first post…eek!
What else would you like to know? I’ll be writing about all things life, being a military spouse, questioning everything and revealing some general crazy brain ramblings. Yep, I’ve held back on this one. 😆
I’ll also be sharing my passion with you…furniture flipping. There’s just something so satisfying about turning an old, unloved, maybe even damaged piece of furniture, into a newly loved, beautiful item that takes pride of place in a house. I’ll be sharing tips for that, as well as things that maybe didn’t go quite to plan. Check out my Instagram for updates!
See you soon and stay strong whatever you’re going through!
Are you a fellow military spouse? What do you love or hate about military life? Are you living with someone but as of yet, unmarried? What contributed to your decision not to marry?
Head to my contact page and get in touch!
Over and Out,
The Not Wife