Would you follow your head or your heart? Katie,30, a military girlfriend, wants your advice. Katie has been dating her soldier, 33, for three months. They currently live two hours apart and spend every weekend together. They have already discussed having her relocate to his duty station, moving in together, getting married.
We can all understand that finding what you always wanted in a partner and having them want you back feels like a miracle. “This man is easily the love of my life,” says Katie.
The trouble is that a decision to fly off to be with the love of your life is different in your thirties than it is in your twenties. Katie and her soldier are both divorced. Her soldier has a three-year old who lives in another state. Katie has a job in human resources that is OK, but not life-defining. The Army offers even more complications. Katie writes:
His current assignment ends in six months. He has NO idea where his next assignment will be or for how long. I’m terrified to leave my home / job in another city without any kind of information of next steps, without any kind of commitment.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I want to continue to work, because I feel it is important that we both contribute to our financial future. Should I continue to look for full-time jobs in HIS town, before there is a commitment made?
With your experience with head and heart, what would you recommend to Katie? From where I’m sitting, making a decision based on the logic in your head makes more sense. So here are three suggestions I would keep in mind:
Three months in is three months too soon to move. I am all about the love. But in your thirties financial stability is a requisite to being a good partner. I’d want to get all the way through the wacky holiday season with a guy before I would be willing to move—best to see your partner over time before you pick him for life.
Get a job first, then move. Too many military girlfriends read the career statistics about military spouses and think those facts do not apply to them. The majority of military spouses do work. The research shows that they have trouble getting jobs not because they are not qualified to work or because they don’t try hard enough. Military spouses have trouble finding work because of structural problems related to military life. These will apply to you the minute you move in with a military guy. So get the job first. Nothing kills love faster than the daily grind of no job, no money and no prospects.
Don’t hurry because of orders. Just because your guy is due for orders doesn’t mean that the orders are on their way. He could get orders tomorrow. He could get orders next year. He could get an extension on the job he is in right now. No matter what rank a service member is, his or her duty station is at the whim of the military. Don’t make your crucial life plans based on something the military may or may not do.
But maybe I’m all wrong. Maybe it is easy to tell someone else to sit tight and wait when I am already married to the love of my life. Do you think Katie at 30 ought to follow her heart instead?