We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they wish everyone knew about being a military spouse. Here are some of their responses:
1. Being faithful is actually commonplace.
"Not all of us are cheaters. We do wait for our men or women while they fight for our freedom!"
"Sometimes, other men think we're open to cheating when our husbands are deployed. For most of us, that couldn't be further from the truth."
2. Romance doesn't come easy.
"It's [not] romantic, some big hearts-and-flowers fairy tale. It can be very lonely and isolating for both of you. You can't be there for each other during the bad times or the times you struggle as a couple. It's not, I repeat, not romantic."
3. Women are a huge part of our armed forces.
"It's [not] always a wife and kids that are left at home. There are wives in the military, and they often have to leave behind a husband and young children."
—Kara Anne, Facebook
"The biggest misconception is that all military spouses are women! Try finding an 'Air Force husband' shirt. Spoiler: you can't. I am in the Air Force, and every time we go to a restaurant and ask if they have military discount, they automatically look at my husband and thank him for his service."
—Sarah Luiz, Facebook
4. Warm-weather assignments aren't always peachy.
5. Military couples have all different political views.
"People assume that we are all super-conservative gun owners. I am neither one of those things."
6. And they aren't all interested in having dozens of children.
"We're [not] all getting married young and popping out babies right away. I have felt more pressure to have a child in the military spouse community than anywhere else. It's uncomfortable."
—Celia Marie Gomez, Facebook
"All spouses aren't like 1950s housewives! First, not all spouses are homemakers, we can have careers, too. Second, we aren't baby-making machines!"
7. Double servicemember couples are common.
"Both me and my husband are are Air Force. When I say I'm married, people assume I'm a dependent, and not active duty also."
8. Getting married young isn't the worst thing in the world.
"I wish people didn't judge some military couples for getting married young. Yes, some do it for the wrong reasons, but others would rather go through all the challenges and time apart than be with anyone else. While my husband is deployed, I'm finishing school and keeping our house together. It takes a mature person to do that, and it feels nice when we people respect that."
9. Homecomings aren't all swooning and kisses.
10. Being married to a service member isn't a meal ticket.
"I [never] married him for his money (ha!) or health insurance. And I [don't] 'freeload' off of him."
—Christina Spenard-Ano, Facebook
"People tell me how lucky we are to have discounted grocery stores, free insurance, and to receive military discounts. I would give that up in a heartbeat for my husband to be home. It's not free, it's paid for with my husband's time away from our family. My husband is Special Ops and gone over 250 days a year."
11. Military spouses aren't all BFFs.
"You [don't] automatically have a community of friends. Most wives I met only want to complain about the spouses they supposedly love and spread mindless gossip about everyone else. There are exceptions, but they are hard to find!"
12. If you want to support the troops, support their spouses, too.
"If you want to 'support the troops,' consider their spouses, as well. It's not enough to put a bumper sticker on your car — take his wife a casserole one night, just so she's not eating dinner alone again. Go babysit her children so dad can have a night off to decompress. Spouses are often a soldier's first line of comfort and support while they're away for training or a deployment. It's nice when someone can comfort and support us, too."
—Car Sue Woodrow, Facebook
13. PTSD is very real.
14. The feelings of fear and anxiety are constant.
"I hear, 'At least he isn't in danger,' and, 'He's gone on so many deployments now that you are used to it by now, right?' so often, even by spouses from other branches, that it makes me want to scream. You know what submarines were designed to do, right? If his sub gets caught somewhere it's not supposed to be, there's no surviving. I'm never not worried or used to it."
15. ~Dependapotamuses~ are as mythical as they are annoying-sounding.
"Everyone assumes that we're all 'dependapotamuses.' I make more money than my SO, and I like to treat him when I'm able to. We have a normal give and take just like any relationship."
"We are [not] all 'dependas'. My job is not 'Army Wife,' I don't sit around getting fat and having kids. Yes, we hate those spouses just as much as you do."
16. Not everyone chases ranks.
"I was [not] stuck up because of my husband's rank. He may be high-ranking, but that doesn't make my nose turn up high. Also civilian spouses are NOT their spouse's rank. I worked my ass off at my job to make sure other spouses in the unit felt valued and loved."
17. Military insurance can be inadequate.
"The military won't completely take care of you. You will be broke and Tricare medical insurance is awful."
18. Their feelings about U.S. military actions are complex.
19. Being apart is hard.
"It's a total misconception that being apart gets easier over time. It doesn't. Days feel like weeks, weeks feel like months, and months feel like years. Do we get in a routine and find what works best for us and our families while they are away? Yes. But not a day goes by that I wouldn't rather have my husband there with me, cleaning up the puke from a sick kid, paying the bills, or just watching Netflix."
20. Being stationed doesn't mean you're always lonely.
"We're [not] isolated on base all the time! I'm very involved with a local theater and love frequenting local businesses. This place is home to me, just like it is for the people who were born here!"
21. Everyone's experience is different.
"The worst misconception is that we are all the same. We all bring different things to the table, and our spouses/SOs have seen or done different things. My favorite thing about being a military spouse is the friends I've made across the spectrum of humanity. I've had a chance to learn things and meet people that I would never have had before this life. It's been hard, and it's been long, and we lost friends, but it's also been beautiful and fulfilling."
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The comments for this post have been edited for length and clarity.