The Logistics of Being in Love in the Army

Discussion in 'The Other Half' started by oneconfusedsoldier, Apr 23, 2008.

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  1. Maybe I can get some help from here. :)

    The People:

    1 x Male (26)
    1 x Female (28)

    The Location

    Both in London
    Both originally from Scotland
    Female due to return to Scotland end of year, depending

    The Situation

    Male served 4 years in Army, loving it, currently Living In at SLAM on Barracks.
    Female currently on transfer to London office, due to return to Scotland at end of year. Living in rented accomodation in heart of London but owns a nice flat in Scotland.
    Both deeply, madly in love, and quite convinced they've found their partner for life.

    The Logistics

    Neither are sure how to proceed from here on in. Talk of marriage, house, kids, but no idea how to achieve those aims.
    She can stay in London for as long as she wants, but doesn't, really, want to. However, she doesn't want to be apart from him. He could go back to Scotland every weekend he has free, however, it's not ideal, obviously.
    They could rent together, however, it is expensive, and not going to allow them to save much for a house together.
    They could buy together, but if they have a child, they want it to be born and raised for the first few years at least, in Scotland.
    So do they get married, get a married quarter, save money for house in London there, have child born and raised in her flat in Scotland, with him commuting every weekend to visit? This is not good for raising child, obviously.
    Does he take six months special leave from his Regiment to be with them both in Scotland, risking career prospects?
    Do they just stay in married quarters and raise child there?
    She wants to be close to parents.
    Is it better for us to be close together with the child, or should she be close to her parents for support when I deploy, etc?

    What, in other words, the hell are we to do? So confused. :(

    She has a flat in Scotland, which is enough to raise a newborn child until at least three or four, with some imaginative refurbishing.
    She's semi-close to parents there, but miles away from me, in London.
    I could visit every weekend to see them, but I don't think that would make me a good father, and the early years are the important ones.
    At the same time, I've only ever heard bad things about married quarters, and am not sure I want to raise a child in them, and certainly don't think I want to have her there on her own when I'm away.

    Just not sure what to do, don't think I've explained it very well.

    Help! I need some ideas or suggestions.

    I'm a regular on these Forums, but to save embarrassment, have created a new ID for this one.

    I'd love to hear from people that have no doubt had the exact same problems. :)
  2. Bin her and shack up with a new skirt.

    Being in the army and being in love just seems a bit "Gay" if you ask me.
  3. Dont rush into having kids. Get married by all means but leave it a few years and work out the other bits of the puzzle before you start reproducing.
  4. Bowmore_Assassin

    Bowmore_Assassin LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I am assuming this is not a wah or a wind-up.

    Bottom line - what is most important to you Army or woman ? If, and a lot of us have been here, it is the Army or the woman you have a tough choice to make. If it is both (I want cake and I want to eat it) then you need to persuade future Mrs oneconfusedsoldier that a good life can be had with her following the flag. Again, many of us have been here. If you can do this then there are options:

    1. Don't marry and she follows you wherever you go - costs a lot to set up house whenever you are posted as you will not be entitled to a quarter.

    2. Don't marry and she moves to Scotland, you both buy somewhere and this is home. You commute (see below), daily/weekly/monthly whatever depending on your location.

    3. Get married, she moves to Scotland , you both buy somewhwere and this is home. You commute or try to at least get N.England or Scotland postings (difficult to sustain a career out of this one and MCM Div might not agree to your master plan). If you do the commuting thing for a whole career I admit it might prove a strain but it is a way of life for Royal Navy personnel and I have a lot of friensds in the RN who are happily married - they just get on with it.

    4. Get married, she follows the flag and you do the married quarter thing. Depending on posting depends on quarter quality but most people just 'get on with it' and make the most of their postings. You might be lucky or unlucky ref quarters, same as postings. Of course if the postings and quarter thing does not work you could, having tried it, revert to the married but she lives in Scotland and you commute option.

    Her parents - tricky. How old and how mobile are they ? If they can travel then they can visit wherever you are. If they cannot travel then it is an emotional pull on future Mrs and you might have to commute. What do they think ? With my father having served, me serving and my brother serving we are a disparate family and it is a way of life. You need to base your choice, in part on this.

    Six months special leave ? For what ? To get married and set up home in Scotland ? You are the same as thousands of other soldiers in similar positions and what would merit special treatment ? If you can blag this one let me know how you did it !!!

    Finally - long distance relationships are hard work. Doubt can creep in and nuances to voice on phones can add to problems. If you go down the commuting route make sure you discuss your comms strategy ! Skype is good.

    My view personally if she is 'the one' ?

    Marry her, get a quarter, enjoy your career with a mix of 'career profiling' jobs so you can move up the ladder, mixed with the odd jolly posting (Cyprus, Canada and so on), don't burn bridges until you have too and make sure you and she remain flexible and discuss plans for the future every year.

    Good luck.
  5. Agreed with Dog face. Forget kids for the time being and work the rest out first.

    I'm in a similar situation and have opted to rent just outside London making it easier to get onto the motorway knocking 45mins off the journey to see the OH, set up my own business to control my own time ergo being able to see the OH when possible and we both make every effort to enjoy the time he has not being deployed. We'll sort out the kids and location factor when I decide that I want to go down that route in a couple of years (he's quite happy to now but I am not).

    Whatever happens it won't be perfect but unfortunately that's life being involved with someone who works for the Queen. Full of compromise for both parties but that dreadful cliché does apply "where there's a will, there's a way"
  6. There is the obvious route - sack the Army, get wed, realise how much you resent her for forcing you to give up the job you love, get drunk, shag a slapper, get caught, split, be bitter etc etc.

    There are only two people who can decide what you should do. You and Her.

    This is the Internet FFS. Man up, Grow a pair and make a bloody decision. You might want to check if she agrees at the same time :D
  7. Had a similar problem but it was easier for us: we weren't thinking of kids. I was 27, she was 25, very much in love, but living together would have been hopelessly impractical. She was a medic, I was teeth and constantly on the move.*

    But instead of rambling about that ... my question to you would be, do you want to have kid(s) urgently? I realise she's 28 and the biological clock is ticking, but women in their early 30s are still perfectly well able to have healthy children. If you were to agree to wait a couple of years - just enjoying what you have, with all the flexibility of childlessness - in due course you'll be clearer about what you both want, wiser, richer and more senior (never underestimate the value of rank in getting things the way you want them!). You can pack a heck of a lot into two years.

    Good luck, anyway: it's amazing what love can manage, and it's worth it.

    * She outranked me. Probably seems a quaint idea nowadays, but we waited till I was promoted ... then Fate sent me to Norn Iron. :(
  8. Thanks for the swift response and the good ideas from Soldier Poet. :)

    Who do I love more, her or the army? It has to be the army.
    For the main reason, that I joined up late in life, having had a very reasonable civilian career and home, and decided it just wasn't for me. So I'm not a boy soldier that's never experienced anything but, I know what the big wide world is like, and it didn't fit me.
    I had always envisaged a singly life, going on all the jollies on offer, having a great time and ending up a WO still living in SLAM saving a fortune. :p

    However, fate being what it is, I've found this woman whom is fantastic and amazing on so many different counts. I've been in love before, and know what it involves, and I couldn't honestly imagine my future being with anyone else but her.

    So that makes this so much more harder.

    We met when I was in Iraq, via a community board for the city in Scotland we were both from. Got writing, and it was brilliant, she kept me company through the last three months of a difficult tour. Met on R&R and it was like a house on fire (I don't know why people say that, it always makes me think of people screaming and running away).
    Came back from Iraq, two of us went to Belize for a two week holiday, and shortly after that, started seeing each other.
    So the fact that she is already partially aware of what it means when I'm away, and aware of the difficulties, makes it a bit easier to explain to her what is meant by Flag following, and it is a possibility.

    As for the six months leave, if you read through, you'll find you can apply for special absence. Can't recall what it's actually referred to as, but you can bugger off for 'x' period of time as long as you're not required on the manpower, and obviously, you're CO agrees to it.
    This would involve a lot of pulling in of feet and blagging, but could be done. I had a brief conflab with my leader and he said it's something that is possible, for example, on return from tour, when nothing really happens for the first seven or eight months after that, apart from courses. Thus of course, the career suicide risk. You just need to ask, with a damn good reason. :)

    I've already made sacrifices for her on my half, with regards to jollies. Some very good ones at that, but we wanted to spend summer together, so I said no. So I am willing to make sacrifices, and I know she is, we just don't want to get to the stage where we're sacrificing everything for one thing.

    The easiest option without a doubt would be to end it now to save her the stress and hassle, but then, since when were we ever taught to be weak? :)

    The only problem really, is the housing issue, because if we want to have kids in the future, and we do, but again, in the future, maybe five years down the line, then we need to consider carefully if we are going to buy.

    The interesting thing now though, is that currently, we are seeing each other every weekend, whereas before, it was the weekends when she'd come to me, and during the week, once or twice, when I'd go to her.
    Now that it's only the weekends, it makes the whole commute to Scotland thing a bit more approachable.
    She's concerned she'd never see me, but it would be no different from now, and would allow us both to save a lot of money as she has her home there, and we wouldn't be spending as much as when we're with each other during the week/ends in London, etc.
    You can get rail fares to Scotland for £28 return if you look hard enough, so it's cheap travel too!

    Aye, I guess there is an obvious answer there, I just can't see it. :)

    Really appreciating the help though so far, it's always good for perspective, and this is where I can be bound to find a few SME's!!

    [Edited to new replies]

    Aye, it may be only her and I that can make that decision, but it's always good for a second, third, fourth opinion. You never know when you may be missing an option that's blindingly obvious. :)

    She's insistent she wants to have kids before she's 35, so it's not an urgent issue yet. It mainly impacts on the living arrangements, if we as I say, were to buy a property due to the fact that we want to have Scottish bawbaws and that we're not sure if it would be easier for her to be closer to her parents, or me, when she has them.
    Oh, on that note, her parents are perfectly fit and mobile, however, it's not easy asking a grandmother to babysit whilst I'm deployed, if she has to travel hundreds of miles to do it. :)
    Also, it'd be good emotional support for her.
  9. "However, fate being what it is, I've found this woman whom is fantastic and amazing on so many different counts. I've been in love before, and know what it involves, and I couldn't honestly imagine my future being with anyone else but her."

    Yeah, she's great isn't she?

    I love the way she squirms when you shove your thumb up her hoop.
  10. You are spending a lot of time answering your own questions and then contradicting previous statements.

    If you can't see your life without her but you love the army more, does that mean that you would sacrifice your relationship for the army?

    Life is one big gamble, make a decision and go with it. If it doesn't work, then accept the consequences of that decision and learn from it.

    It's not easy, but good luck.
  11. But a child will help strengthen your love :twisted:
  12. I've read too many heart-rending tales of matelots who've left the Navy for their girlfriend only to regret in bitterly later. That said pongos are probably constructed of different emotional stuff to ruffy tuffy matelots so leaving pongoland and entering civvy street with bird attached is probably different........?

    Fall in lurve with one of your barrack room oppos; that'll make life much easier :twisted: ...after all, life can be such a bummer! :lol:
  13. hey me and my fella were in a similar situation he has been in the army for 11 years now i love him and i knew what i was getting into when i married him - i am 28 and he is 29 we are moving to cyprus episkopi in August and i am leaving a fantastic job and pension behind for a couple of years - whilst we are there the house we bought together is being rented out so at least we have a house to come back - and we have decided to take the opportunity to try for a baby whilst I am off work and we have more time together in the sun !!!
    I cant wait but it will be hard to leave my mum and dad and family behind - but hey my sexy soldier is my family now and i am gonna follow him wherever he is .....
    so you see you can get everything you want - yeah she wont be near her mum and dad but hey thats why we have trains planes and automobiles aint it ?????
    good luck
  14. I met my mrs in London, 2 years later , posting to germany, choices?
    leave said mrs and fcuk off, or get married.
    Got married, had a a great time in bfpo land, had a baby (well she did) 9 years later, got out of army, she fecked off with best mate! re married debs, my best pal,(she's a girl perv's!)
    Moral of the story: I have a son who just finished buisiness management at manchester univercity,has gone to ibiza today for 2 months and i luv im!
    life deals you the cards mate, it all works out in the end!
  15. Don't make any hasty decisions, take them one at a time. A few months before our wedding my OH was sent a few hundred miles down the road. It was obvious that if we were going to live together after we got married one of us was going to have to quit our job. We got married, went on our two week honeymoon, then said goodbye at the airport and went back to our lives. We saw each other at weekends for the next two years, taking turns doing the driving. It wasn't easy but it prolonged the honeymoon!! But it was a gradual introduction into being married to the army which for a lot of women is a shock. We both had space to think about what we wanted, my OH used the time to do all the "career" courses he needed. In the end I made the decision to leave my job, my apartment and the big city. I used it as a chance for a career change and made something positive out of it, I went back to University and now earn more than I could have in my first job.

    About children again don't make any hasty decisions. As any Army wife will tell her, she'll have to do it on her own. Having children and married to a soldier is not easy, despite all your assurances to her, you cannot promise you will be there for all the birthdays, christmases, school sports days, flu days, chickenpox days, broken washing machine days. For her she will have to be mother, father, teacher, finance manager, entertainer, football coach, mechanic, DIY expert. For her and the kids there will be plenty of waving to you in cold airports, through bus windows, quick e-mails -assuming there's electricity where you are, garbled phone calls, map on the kitchen wall with pins in it, calenders with days crossed off, turning off the telly during the news so the kids don't see anything unpleasant. Bring her on tour around MQ's, show her what the reality of your job is like, introduce her to some army wives.

    My OH offered to leave the army years ago but I knew he would be miserable if I held him to it. Since Oct 06 we've had a total of 13 weeks together. It's not easy and it doesn't get easier but we are both content with the choices we made and as a result have a wonderful marriage. We know that we both have to compromise but there is a limit as to how far compromises can go before one starts to resent the other and it can get poisonous.

    Both of you will have to compromise to make the relationship work, but be open and honest about how far you both are prepared to go. Honesty now will save the bitterness and heartache later on.