First let me tell you a bit about my situation. I am 24 and engaged to a service member. We have been together for 4 years and we have been through so much together.
We have not gotten married yet, because of a range of different reasons. He wants me to have the wedding of my dreams and not just a court house thing, he wants me to have all my family there, he is even willing to take out a HUGE loan to give me what I want.
I said I would NOT be allowing us to go into debt over a wedding.
He even saved for a year to buy me the most beautiful ring.
I would be fine with a quick court house, but he insists that we do this the right way so I have no regrets. Several times I have even pushed it off, because he needs to be focused on his career and not the “little misses” at home.
Now to my dilemma, I have been attending just about every meeting and homecoming for his unit. His higher up’s spouse has become one of my best friends and she is always making sure to sponsor me on base to attend these events.
I generally have a great time and love to mingle with everyone. Recently, I had a spouse approach me and say, “It is really pathetic that you are here, you are not even a spouse and don’t look to becoming one anytime soon, so why are you here?” I ran out crying and stayed outside until my friend came out and took me home.
I refused to tell her what had really happened and blamed it on missing my fiancé. I wouldn’t tell her because I knew she would tell her husband who would then make a huge deal about it to the rest of the command.
I didn’t want to become the narc.
Since that day, I have noticed that a lot more spouses have been giving me “the look.” They all disburse when I come in, as if they just got done talking about me. I haven’t even told my fiancé, because he is now on his 3rd deployment.
What do I do? I am not a spouse, but I feel like one. We have lived together for 4 years, I have even uprooted myself to follow him to his new duty station. Why am I treated this way?
Not a Spouse Yet
Dear Not a Spouse Yet,
Wow, congrats on the engagement. Show me a picture of that gorgeous ring!
First, let me say how amazing your service member sounds. My husband and I got married outside of a bar at sunset in Key West, FL. The reception was inside the bar with a buffet of chicken (lots of chicken), during karaoke night.
I also love the fact that you are thinking ahead about your future and not wanting to go into debt. Major kudos for everything you are doing.
Now on to your difficult situation. You are in a very sticky situation. It is never easy teetering on the edge of military/married life, especially since you have been doing so for 4 years. You are a spouse in almost every aspect of the word, without the legal part.
First of all, what that spouse said to you was 100% completely uncalled for and way out of line. She has no right to confront you about any aspect of your life. You were not hurting anyone by being there, you were there to keep supporting your friends and fiancé from the home front. Do NOT feel bad about that.
As far as being a significant other of a spouse, I can understand where some people in this community can be put off by that. There are some that feel that until the legal part is done, you don’t belong. There are some that believe until you are a “real spouse” then you have no rights to the same things they have.
In some aspects, this comes back to the girlfriend/boyfriend who thinks that just because they have been with their military member for 2 months that they are now entitled to privileges.
Some of the “new” gf/bf’s give others a really bad name.
So many of the spouses are guarded. However, what that spouse said to you was horrible and NOT OK.
It is wonderful that you have friends who welcome you with open arms. Personally, I would tell your friend about that confrontation. Mainly because she has also probably been in the same situation or has dealt with a situation and she can have tons of advice to help you cope through.
I recently wrote an article about military spouse bullying. Take a look, because you can stand up for yourself no matter if you are a milspouse or not.
Bullying is NEVER ok.
Your friends will become your family, and they will become your rock. Your service member should also know, not to stress him out, but because having an open communication is one of the strengthening building blocks to marriage.
In addition to this, I would highly recommend starting to navigate Military OneSource. This will be a huge resource to you in your married life as a dependent. That website has been a life saver for me.
I would also recommend United Military Significant Others, Inc. (UMSO). This organization was created just for people like you. Those who are teetering between the realms.
Do not give up on the mil spouse community. There are a lot more amazing people than there are bullies. We’ve got your six and we will be here for you every time!
P.S. I can’t wait for wedding pics!