(Closed) New Military Wife life

posted 7 years ago in Military
Post # 3
Member
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I can’t speak as a wife, although I was in the army for a bit. The situations I saw were different, because UK forces are often posted to Germany. Of course,the wives could not speak German, and therefore they could not work. It is also tough in the UK to request postings, so the constant moving made it very hard for women to work. The only ones I knew with successful careers actually worked within the army as civilian staff. This meant that they relied heavily on their on base support network. These were the only people who they were likely to see again after they were moved on… it was a small world.

I don’t think that the women were lonely as the on base wives and families clique is pretty tight, although I can imagine how some people would find that closeness suffocating. I also don’t think that there is any more cheating than there is amongst the general population. It’s just that they talk about it more in male dominated environments. As always, it’s the man, not the job, who makes that decision.

the thing I would be concerned about is your career, but again, I don’t know how the US differs from the UK. Have you considered looking into a civilian job with the airforce, or joining yourself? I would also consider trying to find jobs which allow you to work from home, as you can do that anywhere, and learn to speak a few languages, just in case.

Post # 4
Member
1519 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

When I met Fiance he was already an officer so I do not know what it was like when he was in cadet school/ROTC, etc. Enlisted may have different experiences. We are getting ready to PCS this summer, and then we will be at the same station for 4 years. I’m pretty sure that’s typical regardless of your rank, job ,etc . We refuse to live on base b/c everyone knows your business, when you’re coming and going, etc. It may be more cost effective for you to live on base though, that is a personal choice. Again, don’t know too much about that because Fiance has always had his own house from the day we met. I believe there is a waitlist system for base housing. I’m sure you are going to get lonely from time to time, but you need to meet people and make relationships outside your marriage. There are often civilian jobs on base, not sure what your educational level is, but that may be something you want to check out as well.

Post # 5
Member
574 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Darling Husband is Navy, so I can’t help you with all your questions, but I’ll do what I can. πŸ™‚

Will it be hard to find a well paying stable job myself?
Not always.  If you go to Siberia, maybe. πŸ˜‰  But, depending on your area of expertise, you may be able to find jobs quickly.  I would recommend checking out USA Jobs and trying to get a government job on base.  When you PCS, you can take your job with you and basically get transfered to the next base.  That might be a really good option for you. 

Will I move a lot?
Plan to, and be pleasantly surprised if you don’t!  Always assume the worst and hope for the best, and just remain flexible. 

Will it get lonely?
Honestly, yes, at times it’s very lonely.  I had to learn to make my own life, get out, go out with friends, make new ones, and do things that I wanted to do.  It’s hard at first getting used to doing things as a couple to going to do things by yourself, but over time it gets easier.  When you move, there will be opportunities to meet new friends.  However, you have to make the effort to make it happen. 

How often do spouses cheat (this seems to come up in every thread I’ve read!)
Oh dear… yes, spouses cheat.  BUT… they do that in the military world and civilian world!  I have no idea if the rate is higher in the military or not, but I have always kind of resented the “cheater” stigma, just because there are so many amazing spouses who would never dream of doing that.  So, don’t worry about what other spouses do, and focus on keeping your marriage strong.  You probably will hear rumors or know things, but keep in mind that ultimately, you have to focus on yourself and your husband.

Should I live on/off base?
Depends on the area.  Some areas have incredible base housing!  Your base housing covers your house (which you normally do get an actual house, not apartment), electric, water, trash, sewer, and basic cable.  But, you don’t get your housing allowance.  So, sometimes, especially before having kids, you can sometimes save money by living off base.  

It can be very possible to find a place to rent where rent + utilities is less than your BAH, and you keep the remainder for whatever.  You just REALLY need to do your homework on the area where you’re going before making a choice.  If you’re not sure, move into base housing, then move out into the surrounding area afterwards.  That’s easier than doing it the other way around.

For us personally, we don’t want to live on base just because we would rather find a smaller place away from his co-workers.  He doesn’t want to live the Navy 24/7, and wants to get away after work.  Also, unless you KNOW you’re staying in the area for more than 5 years, it’s best to not buy a house!

Is there anything you definitely suggest on doing before/after moving?
Take pictures of EVERYTHING before moving!  Document ALL scratches, conditions, pieces of electronics, tools, etc.  Whether you choose to have the government move you, or doing a DITY (do it yourself) move, you’ll still be dealing with movers or moving companies.  It’s important to know precisely what you own and in what condition it’s in before letting strangers touch your belongings.  

After moving, get involved in your FRG group and surrounding area quickly.  Try to make it feel like home and take advantage of whatever the area has to offer.  Get to know the base, and make sure you know where things are.  

Also, make a visit to the JAG office and get updated Power of Attorney papers, wills, and other documents drawn up.  That’s depressing to think about but it’s essential!  You will need a POA to do any business transaction on behalf of your husband while deployed.  If you lose your ID card, you would need a POA to get a new one.  If your apartment gets destroyed by a natural disaster, you would need a POA to sign a new lease.  Try to get all utilities/phone/internet/etc in your name first so you can deal directly with those companies without his information being needed.

Any additional helpful advice?
Enjoy. πŸ™‚  This is a wild, crazy, emotional ride at times, but it’s very worthwhile!!  When he leaves for bootcamp, you may experience a lot of emotions ranging from sadness to anger to resentment.  That’s very, very normal!  Before he leaves, you may also experience a lot of fighting.  That’s also normal. πŸ™‚  Before a separation, it’s common to try to emotionally distance yourselves from each other, which often results in fighting.  Just recognize that when it happens, and talk it through.  

Good communication, patience, flexibility, and the ability to laugh at the worst circumstances will go a long, long way. πŸ™‚

Post # 6
Member
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

So my question for you bees is what will life be like as an AF wife?
For me, it sucks.  YMMV.  I can’t have a career and am very upset about it.

Will it be hard to find a well paying stable job myself?
Yes, if your degree is in something that’s not “portable”.  Don’t believe the hype about helping miltiary spouses find jobs.  It really only applies to teachers, nurses, and people who want to work in retail.

Will I move a lot?
This really depends.  Enlisted Air Force tend to PCS less frequently than officers, but that’s a generalization and may or may not be true for your Fiance, especially since you don’t know what his AFSC will be.

Will it get lonely?
I’m lonely.  I don’t get along with other military wives and don’t have any other way to meet people, so…
But that’s me.  It’s different for everyone.

How often do spouses cheat (this seems to come up in every thread I’ve read!)
I’m Christian.  I don’t cheat.  I don’t personally know anyone who has.  Of course, it happens, and it happens with both the servicemember and spouse.  Don’t put up with people telling you military wives are whores (and they will, just wait) – it’s not true.

Should I live on/off base?
I refuse to live on base.  I need my privacy and we prefer owning anyway.  If you like renting and like being told what to do, living on base may be ok for you.  Just remember, you also lose out on BAH.  If you don’t have kids though, you will get a small house.  We’ve always owned and it costs less than his BAH.  Of course, that’s also dependent on your tolerance for risk, since you may lose money on a house.  I think this is just personal preference.

Is there anything you definitely suggest on doing before/after moving?
Throw away/donate everyone you don’t really want!  It’s so much easier to do that before move, rather than moving a bunch of junk you don’t want.  Also take pictures of everything, from all different angles.  Movers WILL break things.

 

Post # 7
Member
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I’m an AF wife. Darling Husband has been in 3 years.

So my question for you bees is what will life be like as an AF wife?

Life as a military spouse is what you make it. You can choose to hate it and be miserable and you can choose to embrace it for what it is and make the best of it. We all sign up for this lifestyle and we go in with our eyes open knowing about the issues surrounding it. Get used to being 2nd in his life, while he is military the military always has to come first. He will not be around for holidays, birthdays, events all the time. He may get told he’s leaving with just days warning. They can do whatever they want. Get used to standing in line, the Air Force’s unofficial motto is “Hurry up and wait”. Get used to being by yourself. Get used to dealing with paperwork and red tape, the military loves their bureaucracy.

That being said, there are plenty of positives. I don’t want to just complain and tell one side of the story. Travel is fantastic. We currently live overseas in England, a place both of us have always wanted to go, and we get to live here for 3 years and our daughter gets to say she was born here. That’s pretty awesome. The AF also has really awesome resources for spouses. The can help you with your education, job placement, etc as well as offering free counseling (both individual and couples), spouse support groups, etc. I know, for me at least, the other wives in DHs shop are amazing and between that and spouse groups, I have made many life-long friends.

Will it be hard to find a well paying stable job myself?

Honestly? It depends on where you are. We are stationed in England. Here, the answer to that question is YES. The spouse job market is very slim pickings here. This is why a lot of mil-wives operate their own small businesses. A lot of employers don’t like to hire mil spouses because they know we will leave in a couple years. A lot of bases are in the middle of no where… Honestly, don’t get your heart set on finding your dream job while he is enlisted. It’s possible if all your cards line up in perfect order but you will soon learn that that rarely happens with the military. You are better off focusing on your Master’s because you do get tuition assistance from the USAF.

Will I move a lot?

Yes. A regular accompanied tour at a base is 3 years, but it could be more or less. In 3 years, Darling Husband has been at 3 different bases. He spent a year in tech school at Eglin AFB in FL. He spent a year at Cannon AFB in NM and we have been in England since late July. We are due to have a full 3 years here. You can also get involuntarily extended and do 4 years.

Will it get lonely?

Yes. It comes with the territory. Like I said before, they can leave at a moments notice and not tell you where your husband is going or how long he will be gone. AF deployments are 2-6 months but they also go TDY as well. The best thing to do is have something to occupy yourself. Find a hobby, get a job, go to school, make a lot of friends, volunteer, etc. You have to fill your time with something or you will go nuts. You have to put yourself out there. If you act like a sad sack and sit in your house, then expect to feel like a sad sack all the time. Get out, meet people and have a life!

How often do spouses cheat (this seems to come up in every thread I’ve read!)

Spouses cheat whether they are military or civilian. This is not exclusive to the military, although people like to sterotype. : Not all men will sleep with their female airmen on deployment, not all wives are sluts and “tag-chasers”. Don’t buy into that BS.

Should I live on/off base?

This definitely depends on where you are. Here, it’s off-base all the way. Most overseas bases have a housing shortage and the housing is old and out-dated. You will wait for a long time to get into the nice, new housing, sometimes up to 18-24 months. There are other bases that have awesome base housing. For us, we like being off-base. It gives Darling Husband a break from the military and it allows him to be home and out of his work mindset. We also like being able to max out our OHA (Overseas Housing Allowance) and getting the most space for our money. We have an extra bedroom for Darling Husband to use as his office off-base, where on-base we would only get a 2 bedroom house. I agree with not buying unless you know you will be there a long time! We do own a home stateside, but it doesn’t have a mortgage so it doesn’t create a financial burden on us… plus, it’s in our home town, near our families and we know that’s where we will settle when we are done with the AF.

Is there anything you definitely suggest on doing before/after moving?

Research where you are moving. There are TONS of Facebook groups for every base that can be a wealth of information. There are even some that have pictures of base housing on every base so you can get a sneak peek. Usually, a quick google search can turn up tons of information about the base and the surrounding area. Military people, especially wives, are very good about sharing information.

SAVE YOUR MONEY. PCSing can be incredibly expensive, especially if you get sent overseas. An overseas move can easily eat up $5-10k in savings. Start stocking away a portion of his paychecks now and be prepared. Too many mil families don’t save for emergencies and then you get stuck in a bad place.

Take pictures and/or video of everything. This is the only way you get reimbursed for things if they get broken. Our big TV died in our move here and we had no proof that it was working when it was packed, so we couldn’t claim it. Luckily, it was old and Darling Husband was more than happy to go buy a huge new one but… not everyone is as lucky as us.

Start a main file of all important documents. I have a huge manilla envelope with all of our important stuff in it, birth certs, marriage cert, passports, visas, orders, car titles, everything. Keeping all these things in a central location where they can be found quickly and easily is essential.

Don’t take anything you don’t use now. Believe me, you don’t want to move anything you don’t have to.

Any additional helpful advice?

Brush up on military etiquette! There are lots and lots of obscure practices and rules that I had no idea about going in. It’s best to know these things because you getting in trouble can get your husband in trouble.  Also, don’t get sucked into the cliquey, high school mentality that some spouses have. Remember that you are always representing your husband, his job and his squadron. Keep it classy. πŸ™‚

Like a PP said, patience, communication and a sense of humor are key.

 

If you ever have any more questions, feel free to PM me!

Post # 8
Member
1844 posts
Buzzing bee

There is slight disclaimer here, as I am married in to the military, but not the airforce, but I also grew up in the military so I feel that I can answer some of these questions.

Will it be hard to find a well paying stable job myself? you can easily find a job. wether or not that is a job you like, a job in your field, or a job that actually uses your skills… well.. probably not. If you are going to be persuing your masters I highly suggest going in to a field that is portable. Finding a career that you can work from home or easily transfer from agency to agency.

Will I move a lot? It is often easiest to just expect to have to move every 2-3 years and then be excited when you don’t have to. Even as kids we just expected to have to move often, we got in to the routine and did our thing together. I personally hated it as a child, now I see the advantages of it though.

Will it get lonely? yup. Keep your self as busy as possible to not think about it. Find friends who are not other military wives if you can, find a knitting club, a book club, take sewing or cooking lessons or volunteer or SOMETHING to get  your self out of the house and away from it for a little bit each day. I don’t know how long AF deployments are, we have gone through some 6 month ones in the Coast Guard and by the time month 2 rolls around I am going insane if I have not picked up a new craft, hobby, or class. Just do something, anything, and keep doing it.

How often do spouses cheat (this seems to come up in every thread I’ve read!) Spouces everywhere cheat, I think that depends on the marriage and more importantly the spouse. Don’t worry about the “all military men… blah blah blah” My father didn’t cheat on my mother once…. My brothers who are in the navy have not cheated (to my knowledge) but really… don’t worry about the other spouses, worry about yours and just trust him reguardless untill he gives you a concrete reason not to.

Should I live on/off base? This totally depends on the base. Some base housing is really nice and really close. Others, eh, not so much. If you don’t have kids and are wanting to save money it is sometimes best to get a cute cheap little apartment near by and save as much BAH as you can. But that is totally up to you, your Darling Husband, and local housing prices.

Is there anything you definitely suggest on doing before/after moving? Pictures and invantory. and more pictures, and then make more lists. Things break, stuff gets lost, take pictures of absolutely everything, make a list of all the major things with thier numbers etc and keep warenty info for everything dear to you. Also before you move to a place talk to some wives who have been stationed there recently. See what they liked, what they didn’t like, what groups to get involved in and which ones to avoid. Also don’t bother bringing anything you don’t absolutely love or use daily. I think previous posters have said this already. but just donate donate donate and get reciepts for your taxes.

Post # 10
Member
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

“You are better off focusing on your Master’s because you do get tuition assistance from the USAF.”

This is not true anymore if you’re referring to myCAA – It cannot be used for graduate school.  And for his GI Bill, if you two want to use it on your, that’s up to you, but generally it’s better for him to use it on his bachelors degree since it appears he doesn’t have one.

Post # 11
Member
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@starrynight:  MyCAA is NOT the only tuition assistance offered by the military.

OP, the education office at whatever base you end at should be able to help you with this.

Post # 12
Member
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

@zippylef:  What kind of tuition assistance is there for military spouses? I’ve been working with financial aid for the better part of a year. My husband hasn’t been in the military long enough to transfer his GI Bill. There are a few scholarship programs, but those are usually only open to spouses whose partner has served X number of years as well. The only program I’ve heard of is MyCaa. It’d be great to hear of other options, I’ve actually been to the education office and didn’t find anything real helpful.

Post # 13
Member
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@maureen9004:  I was looking into it and some of the options are available to overseas spouses : That’s probably why I know about them. It’s stuff like STAP and the Arnold grant. I didn’t realize they were overseas programs until now.

You can use his GI bill. He gets really good tuition assistance while he is active duty or reserves, so he can finish his that way. This is what we are doing, actually, and then we are saving his GI bill for our kids.

I know each branch has different things, so I’m only talking USAF.

Post # 14
Member
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@zippylef:  Maybe you can clue me in then, because myCAA and GI Bill are the only tuition help avilable to spouses that I’ve learned about.  And myCAA is getting more and more useless by the minute since it only applies to junior enlisted and officers (and associates and certificates as far as education goes).

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