Possible long distance relationship with military man....advice
January 29, 2013 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Hoping for advice, encouragement, discouragement, honesty, etc. I just ended a marriage (shy of one year) last year and am newly single as of four months, I was in a 6 year relationship which ended because I realized my ex was not faithful and continued to question our marriage.

Being able to step back and analyze the marriage I am now able to see it wasn't what I thought it was ever. I am happier than I have ever been, in therapy still and re-building my life. I have been on a couple dates and have been keeping myself busy with sports, social events and getting out there with friends to meet people. A chance encounter a month ago with a stranger which has led to the possiblity of a long distance relationship is why I have come here for advice.

We had an instant connection, if I could write down everything I would want in someone he would be it. I know, nobody is perfect and I have only known him for a month, so there are flaws I am sure of it. Here is the problem, he has visited me once two weekends ago, and stayed extra after I met him in December- he is military and will be stationed 4.5 hours from me for 3 years. (I am 29, he is 34). Everything about our goals, aspirations, dreams, likes, wants, etc. mesh well, we feel like we have known eachother for years, talk every day, he is an amazing person and makes me feel like a princess- someone I know was put in my life for a reason. He is someone I would wait for. My question is, is this do-able? Will we fall out of love because of distance and then I have wasted more of my life... we are still new so we both want to see as much of each other as we can to get to know each other better, and we have talked about being faithful to one another while we are doing this, and have agreed to try to see one another every 2 weeks or close to it. If we continue on this path for a few months and feel closer than we do now, is this a bad idea to go from divorce to an LDR if you are sure this is the person for you? Anyones thoughts/experience. As backround, we have talked about the possiblity of a future, I know he is ready to settle and be committed with one woman, he is so open and honest with his feelings and how strong they are for me and his hope that we can continue to get to know each other.

My internal dilema is, how can I pass up someone that may be the one- but then I ask, do I need to be with someone who is physically near me at this moment. I am a very strong and independent woman and have called the distance (at the moment) a blessing because it has given us the opportunity to really talk and get to know one another, set boundries, talk about our feelings, and for me to continue to learn about myself on my own. I know I would be strong enough to handle a military relationship (ps- he retires in 3 years and will not be re-inlisting and there is always the chacne of deployment in those 3 years). Thanks for reading everyone.
posted by love2much to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is no one, man, if this dude doesn't believe the same thing. Do you want him to hold your fate and emotions in his hands like a tiny bird? No. Why? Because it's not a healthy road for you.

Dude's in the military. Concentrate on yourself. Every officer I've known has talked about the rampant cheating that goes on. Do you really want that?

Learn to care for yourself more than you care for these guys you're attracted to.

Otherwise, you should be able to talk openly to him about this.
posted by discopolo at 12:38 PM on January 29, 2013

Honestly, who can know? I mean, maybe he is one of "the ones" for you (I don't believe in THE ONE), but it could just as easily be that you want this very much to be the case that you're rushing things.

Problem is that you're cutting off a lot of potentials to try to be with this guy less than part time. That doesn't seem fair to you or him. Why so exclusive so soon? That's a ton of pressure on a young relationship.

I know I would be strong enough to handle a military relationship

You don't know this. You hope this.
posted by inturnaround at 12:42 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

You say there's "always the chance of deployment" -- IS he on a deployment sort of path? Because otherwise what you are describing is just an LDR and the military thing is sort of a red herring. But if there is a chance he'll deploy regularly, or for any long period of time, that's indeed a different question. (Disclaimer: I spent the first year of my relationship in a very LDR with a military guy who did not deploy, but now that we are engaged and live together he does deploy regularly for a couple months at a time, so it is still effectively an LDR with added excitement)

LDRs can work. They do work. They have worked for me. They have worked for many others. What felt important to me was establishing early on that one and/or both (preferably both) of us were willing to make a change in order for it not to be LDR at some point. He's there for the next three years; do you have to be where you are for the next three years? Would you consider moving away? After he gets out and doesn't re-enlist, is he willing to move where you are? Is he absolutely sure he doesn't want to re-enlist? What if he changes his mind? How does your career fit into the picture? What does he plan to go into after he gets out, and what is the job market like for that career in the area you live? Will you both have to move anyway?

There are military men who cheat. There are civilian men who cheat. There are plenty of men of both types who don't. Evaluate this relationship and your trust of this guy the same you would any other relationship, particularly within the context of the betrayal of trust in your last relationship, and make the LDR decision that way. We can't answer the question for you. All you can get from us is anecdata, not a "right" answer.
posted by olinerd at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Very valid points...thank you. We have talked about all of these things. I'm not sure why so exclusive so soon, for my health and personal reasons I just chose to be physical with one person at a time and he agreed so we decided to I guess be "honest" with each other if one of us strays, not exclusive if that makes sense.
posted by love2much at 12:47 PM on January 29, 2013

You were with your ex from your early 20s until 4 months ago. Take some time to be single. Who are you when you're not in an intense, committed relationship with someone?
posted by macadamiaranch at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you inturnaround, these are good questions to examine with him when I see him next. He is in 10 mos of training, and will be stationed in jacksonville NC after that. He can't say for sure about deployment. I appreciate your comments.
posted by love2much at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2013

Best answer: One of my marriages was LDR when we were both in the Army and after I got out. My current marriage was LDR when we were both civilians and when I was back in the Army for a while. I've had other LDRs all over the military/civilian LDR Punnett square. After all those various relationships, I have learned this:

Take every chance you get to be happy. Will pursuing this relationship make you happy? Then do it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Well, the thing about LDR's is that they have to end at one point or another. In your case, can the both of you wait 3 years? And what if the LDR gets even farther away than it is now? And how flexibly can you move, because it's not under his control to move to you if you need to be together sooner?

In order to be with a military man, the entire relationship is under the control of the military. You may have to give up your entire life to be with this dude if you can't wait 3 years to live in the same town/commit more. That's something you have to keep in mind.

I concur with you that in some ways it's great to get to have your me time with him not underfoot, but 3 years is a long time waiting if it gets serious. If you can keep it more casual and open and not super serious, it could work. But who knows what the heart's gonna do this soon, eh?
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:51 PM on January 29, 2013

Best answer: Will we fall out of love because of distance

You might. Or you might fall out of love because he can't remember to not leave his shoes where you fall over them, or you meet someone else even more awesome, or you discover he's secretly [some thing you hate].

and then I have wasted more of my life

Wasted how? By loving someone, even though it didn't last forever? By being happy for a while? By trying new things? Learning new things?

Relationships that don't last until you both die are not automatically failures, and framing them as a "waste" does a disservice to you both.
posted by rtha at 1:31 PM on January 29, 2013 [10 favorites]

Military Officer here. I'm happy to go on record to state that we don't cheat on our relationships any more or less than any other group in society, so I wouldn't let that be a factor in your thought processes.

As for being 3-4 hours apart? Well, at some point you're likely to be on opposite sides of the world for extended periods of time. The good thing is that you already know this going into the relationship, and you've already stated that you're a strong independent person who could handle such separations. In other words, I wouldn't let the distance be a factor in your thought processes EITHER!

If you like him and things seem to be going well, enjoy the ride. You've nothing to lose.
posted by matty at 4:13 PM on January 29, 2013

Echoing what olinerd said- is he on a deployment path? He will know if he is highly likely to deploy of if it's really not likely to happen.

And you can definitely survive deployments early in a LDR. My husband, who is active duty and I have been together for more than 10 years now. Six weeks after we met and started dating, he left on an emergency deployment for several months; came back from that, and moved - PCS'd, permanent change of station - 1500 miles away from me for 2 years. We made it work. I have a crazy huge number of frequent flier miles from flying to see him where he was, and we've had several other extended separations, but there are these cool things called instant messaging, email, texting, and phone calls that can help.
posted by lyra4 at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2013

i agree with macadamiaranch's comment above. seriously consider that. if there's something that prevents you from thinking about that, or you feel a bit afraid of considering the answer to that, maybe rethink this.
posted by zdravo at 7:13 AM on January 30, 2013

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