Poll: Does Girlfriend Trump Mom at Homecoming

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When it comes to having your in-laws visit during homecoming, we stand pretty firm:  Don’t do it. But what about girlfriends, boyfriends and significant others? Do they trump parents, too?

Unless your servicemember insists that he or she could never, ever be happy without seeing the parents at homecoming, we recommend that you wrap a little time around you and yours — and go visit the in-laws the next week.

We got a question from a National Guard girlfriend whose boyfriend is deployed. He was raised by a single mother. The lady has visited the couple and has been very supportive during this deployment. The girlfriend wrote:

My boyfriend addressed the issue today that his mom was unable to see him when he came home from AFG last deployment and how it would mean a lot to her if she were here when he came home.

Since he did not deploy with a unit at Ft. Benning, we will literally just be picking him up from the airport in Atlanta.

Do I need to start preparing myself for the fact that after six months I still won’t get alone time (and I’m seriously talking about cuddling and just staring at each other) because she will expect him to stay at her hotel so she can stare at him?

While we have collected some advice for girlfriends, boyfriends and MilSos at homecoming for a future article, we wanted to ask you first. Should the mom come to homecoming? Take our poll to the right of the screen and check out the results below:

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at JaceyEckhart.net.
  • Mona

    Yes she should. For a short while anyway.

  • jojo613

    Depends.

    If this is a longterm girlfriend-boyfriend on the cusp of getting married, married of all intents and purposes, or living together in a serious monogamous relationship. The mom should be invited, but if the guy should probably spend the majority of the time with his girlfriend (I know that when my husband and I were dating and he was going to the Academy, he actually wanted to spend more time with me, and no time with my future in-laws). It should be left up to the guy coming home.

    If this is a new relationship, then probably the girlfriend should take a back seat and let momma see her boy.

    Either way, the guy coming home has the final say.

  • Lisa

    My husband is extremely close to his family and even on his 4th deployment coming home, he wanted them to be there because it means so much to them to be able to welcome him home. I have absolutely no problem with that because I get to be the one to live with him and I know we can make our own time together special too. It’s not like his parents being at homecoming are going to suddenly move in with us and follow us around everywhere we go. They’ll see him, perhaps stay a couple days, and then leave while I’m still with him. I’m not about to selfishly keep him away from people who also missed him, worried about him, love him, and just want to be able to see with their own eyes that their “little boy” came home safe. Especially in the case of the girl in the story, it sounds like the guy is close to his mom and wants her to be there so she should just suck it up and enjoy what time she gets with him instead of sulking about it. I really can’t stand when I hear some of the wives whining about their husband wanting more than just them at the homecoming. If he wants to see others there too, then he should get to as he’s the one who hasn’t been able to be around these people for so long (and I say he because I never seem to see husbands complain if their service member wives want their parents or siblings at a homecoming). I honestly wouldn’t feel any differently if they were married not just dating because as long as the service member coming home wants that other person there too, then they should get that. IMO, it should be all about who the service member wants to see that moment and what they want to do.

  • MrsJ

    “It would mean a lot to her” there is your answer right there, he wouldn’t be bringing it up if it wasn’t important to him too. It is what, a couple of days? Think of how much goodwill that will go towards a future mil/dil relationship. Think longterm not short term when it comes to things like this

  • guest

    I am so glad I never had to deal with this, my in laws are the total opposite, they pretty much don’t have anything to do with my husband…now my family, we have to beat them off with a stick, but at least they understand the privacy thins.

  • Samantha

    When it’s a boyfriend/girlfriend, sorry, it’s not a marriage. Until there’s a ring on it, you’re going to be taking that backseat and should, whether you like it or not.
    Your time will come when the “I do” is spoken.

  • Red

    I would say since she was a single parent and hasn’t seen him come home before, and the fact *he* asked about this, that yes, mom should be invited. BUT, I don’t see that it should have to be a ‘me or her’ kind of situation. This is something she really should discuss with her boyfriend beforehand IMO so as not to make an issue out of nothing.

    I’m not sure why, if both are going to pick him up, that he would stay with his mother and not his girlfriend. But I’d probably say, if mom & girlfriend are coming to pick up/meet a service member, and the member stays with the parent(s), that pretty much explains where the girlfriend falls on the totem pole of ‘seriousness’. There should be ample time to do things or spend time together so mom/son can catch up without necessarily leaving the girlfriend out, and allowing for some private time for girlfriend/boyfriend.

    Personally, I don’t really mind sharing homecomings with friends and family, but activities are kept to in-house, so we don’t have to drive all over and he can just stay at home. We also now have a son, which makes it even easier for me to step back and let everyone else have their excitement and time for the short period after homecoming, because he’ll be home with us after that. We still get our private time in, in the midst. Doing homecoming this way saves us from having to be on the phone for hours with all these people, and him having to answer the same questions repeatedly, or having visitors pop up over & over (because not everyone always respects requests for “no visits the first day/week, etc.” period). We can do it all at once, then be done with it.

  • CDs

    A key is remembering our loved ones don’t just have relationships with us, but with other people, too. In this case, the “other woman” will ALWAYS be his mother. My view is that family should always be allowed to participate, especially if the member wants it.

    Then, there’s the highly unromsntic question of “what KIND of girlfriend is this individual”? If this was a verified spouse asking, that would establish a different set of parameters because, if you’re married, that spousal relationship needs particular, strong, priority focus because it is unique and, hopefully, life-long.

    However, as I look out at the world, “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” can have a range of meanings from someone who is, for all intents and purposes, acting like a spouse, to a “going steady” relationship with a level of commitment but separate lives, or even to simply a special someone who gives you someone to be with on the weekends. And it’s hard to tell from the letter.

    I do, also, find the strong “her versus me” vibe troubling because, once again, he will always be his mother’s son. He might not always be the writer’s boyfriend. “Family” is forever, “friends”, not always, and family usually trumps friends, in the end. Until he accepts the writer as family, we can probably expect mom to take priority, especially if mom’s presence is only temporary.

  • Bill

    My mother waited for her husband to come home after WWII, and Korea. Me from Vietnam and Sand Box 1. My son from Sand Box 2 and AStan. I can never know or understand what a mother goes through. I do know that in my Moms case, she was joyed in me coming home. Who gets to do what to whom whenever, really didnt matter to her. She knew she was my Mom and would always be my Mom. Wives are different.

  • Retired_MP

    Thank god my son-in-law is not so insecure he didn’t want us their when my daughter got back from deployment. I can’t believe this is even an issue.

    • timsarmywifey

      It’s not necessarily an insecurity issue — not all in-laws have adult boundaries. Wanting time with your spouse – or in this case significant other after they’ve been gone awhile does not indicate insecurity actually either – each family needs to do what works for them. Some service members just want to come home and sleep then see family later, some want a big hoopla – it’s ok to fall on either side or somewhere in between.

    • jojo613

      I can tell you that my in-laws do NOT have adult boundaries, and it is hell having them visit under normal circumstances. We have a solid no visits two weeks and two weeks after any major military changes (TDY, PCS, or deployment). It has come to be this way, because of past horrible behavior. If you are invited to homecoming pat yourself on the back for being a good in-law to your son-in-law, and good parents to your daughter. Not all parents are like that.

  • Max A Million

    Wife
    Mom
    Girlfriend

  • Kim

    I believe the mother should be there. BUT they evening should be spent with the girlfriend ONLY. Even if they were married and the family could be there it would be the same thing. They can show up and give they hugs on a welcome home…depending on time maybe have dinner together than the family needs to leave. They can all get together at a later time after the “immediate family girlfriend/spouse and the service member (kids if they have any) spend some alone time and the service member also has time to relax, sleep and not be on alert etc…. The families may be bummed but they NEED to understand. They are NOT the primary focus of the service member anymore his/hers takes priority.

    • Margaret

      Just like to say Kim that I totally agree with you 100%

  • Margaret

    Has everyone forgot all the un related hundreds of soldiers angels that go out of their way to keep these soldiers moral up when they are deployed wrighting to them ,e mailing them and sending care packs to them at their own cost as and when they can ? Believe me once you take on being a soldiers angel you realy get to feel what it,s like looseing a deployed soldier every time you hear about someone who has been lost to the company it,s like looseing one of your own you wonder if it,s one of the soldiers you care about you realise after a wile just how young they realy are almost straight out of school and then when you have been careing for them for so long it breaks your heart so much you lay flowers for them anyway as soon as you can at the nearest mamorial we angels care a great deal to night and day for all our deployed troops please don,t forget us as we care an awful lot about keeping the troops moral up witch can make the difference between life and death at times if they have no one to talk to <3

  • Melinda

    To Kim a big negative. Wait till you carry 9 months , have that child and worry about him for 18 years. ESP if the son is close to his mother. Girlfriends come and go, until there is a ring the gf needs to step back. They can spend time all together, moms don’t stay around forever

  • Karen

    When my son comes home from anywhere I am there. He has always been my baby, sorry if that offends anyone but every day he spends deployed is a day of worry for me like a dagger in my heart. I will worry about him every day until I take my last breath just like I do with his Dad and his sister. Yes we were a military family with myself in included. I’ll give them all the alone time they want but first after she hugs him, I am going to hug and kiss my son. Hope I didn’t offend anyone.

  • Melanie

    I think it is up to the service member who they want there. Each situation is going to be completely different and having blanket statements just doesn’t work. My husband just got back from deployment and purposely did not tell his parents when he was coming home because he didn’t want them there and for good reason. They caused a lot of problems the last time. Obviously, that is not the case with everyone, but I would never judge.