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My Biggest Pet Peeve with Military Wives and Significant Others

I have run into this so much lately in both real life and online. Why do military wives (actually this is anyone connected to a soldier but I’m going to just say wives to keep it simple!) feel the need to one up each other for who has the worst situation? Let me give you a few examples of what I’m referring to.

Comments I’ve overheard around other military wives or witnessed on message boards:

1. “You sure are lucky your husband only deploys for 3-4 months at a time. My life is much harder than yours because my soldier deploys for xx months.” Please keep in mind that soldiers with shorter deployment schedules also usually have more frequent deployment schedules.

2. “My husband is in the field for two weeks. We’ve never been apart before and I don’t know how to cope. Any tips?” This could just as easily read basic training, any school, etc. The reactions from others: “Be happy he’s not in a war zone.” or “Get over it, you signed on for this life.” or “My husband’s been deployed for XX months. You have it so easy, quit complaining.”

3. “I miss my husband so much! I can’t wait until this deployment is over. These last few months are dragging by.” The reactions? “You should just be happy it is almost over. I’m just beginning this deployment. Want to trade places with me?” or “My friend’s husband just left for nine months, you only have a few months to go? What a piece of cake.”

Do you notice anything here? Now of course not all of the comments received are so spiteful but it amazes me that these women are replied to with any of these types of comments. As military wives, we are suppose to be SUPPORTIVE of each other. We should do what we can to help a fellow military spouse through whatever it is she is enduring especially if we can offer been there, done that advice. Why do we feel the need to play the “who’s got it worse” game?

Separations from our loved ones are separations period. It doesn’t matter if it’s for two weeks or two years, if its for basic training, deployment or an overseas duty assignment, it is still a separation. No matter which of these situations it is, we all know what it is like to have to sleep in an empty bed, to wake up in the middle of the night thinking it was all a bad dream until you roll over and once again, he’s not there, to jump every time the phone rings hoping its him and to panic every time the doorbell rings hoping you won’t find someone in a dress uniform on the other side.

Even more recently, I was approached with the sentiment that Army parents have it much harder during deployments than Army wives because I can just replace my husband if he is killed. Wow! Let’s just say I’m sure you could see the steam coming from my ears with that one. I’m not here to debate who has it harder. But no life is replaceable and had they really thought about it, they would see how ridiculous that statement is since every husband is someone’s son!

We all share common ground and we can make our military communities stronger by being supportive of one another. Reach out to the wife who’s having a hard time dealing with her husband at basic training. It wasn’t that long ago when you were there, remember? Take the time to offer some tips to the wife who is about to endure her first deployment. Just imagine the impact you may have on someone for them to know that a complete stranger cares about their well being and wants to be sure they are okay.

Stepping down from my soapbox….

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 83 comments… add one }
  • aubreyb March 15, 2013, 12:51 am

    I totally agree with this! My husband just joined the military so I made some more friends to help the time pass by while he was away at basic. I am thankful to find some good friends but one of them constantly compares her situation to others and makes us feel like our situation isn’t as bad as it seems. It is what it is, you know? Like you said, we should be supportive and try not to “outdo” each other, but thats all she does! Its kind of annoying since she does it to everyone and in almost every situation. Thanks for writing this..it expresses exactly how I’ve been feeling!

  • Rae June 8, 2013, 7:40 pm

    I welled up with tears when I read this post. See…. I have been the girfriend of an Army soldier now for two years. He lives 1400 miles away from me normally….how we met is a long story. For nearly two years we fought a long distance relationship. To make things worse, Im 34 years old, have never had a boyfriend period and I have no experience with military at all. Love and the Lord kept us together for nearly two years. Out of that long time, we have only been together two days!!! Just when things were starting to unfold, he got orders over seas for 6 months. Not knowing how to survive I turned to a military wife/girlfriend support forum. I got slapped in the face!!! I was called dirty names for my stupidity, and in not so nice of words, I was told I was an idiot. I had NO support and understanding from friends and family. They only made things worse telling me horrible things like “he has another woman”, “he doesn’t love you or he would come see you”, “he’s just playing you”…. and the list goes on. Through all this my soldier suupported me (as I tried to support him) and fought for my love!!!! Now that he is deployed, the tables have turned and I have tried to step up and help him be strong. Its very hard for me being without him and its even harder not to have any support for myself. Most nighst are spent sleepless and crying, days are spent in dreams just waiting for him to get his leave and come home so we can get married. I take up my time with work, every evening I walk or do some kind of exercise….. thankfully I live close to our National Guard Armory and have befriended a retired National Guardsman and his wife. She knows what Im going through and when I need to talk, she is always there for me when I walk past her home. It would be so nice to have some support from other Army wives!!! It just crushed me when the women on that message forum ripped me like they did. It just drove home the fact that Im all alone in this. So even in my daily life now, when some one tells me their husband or bf is gone for the week, my heart breaks for them and I try to help offer support. When I see our National Guard men and women pull out for a couple of weeks I tear up and cry for their families!!!! Its a hard life… .but its a life I would not trade for any other. And the soldier I love is worth waiting ten life times for… he is worth every bit of waiting, every bit of crying, every bit of hurt and pain. I know once we are married it will be just as hard… but its a life I long for. So I thank you for this post, it makes me feel like Im not totally alone in this!!!!!

  • Kayla January 7, 2014, 11:13 am

    I am really late to comment on this but I just wanted to say that I so appreciate this post. I have participated in at least one large military significant other forum and facebook pages and it’s absolutely amazing to me how nasty some ladies are. I know it takes all kinds but, honestly, I have never seen some of the insanity and horrible things said anywhere else but in military significant other “support” groups. Right now I am a gf and it makes me really nervous about ever being married to someone in the military if that is how so many ladies are.

    • Stacey Abler January 10, 2014, 1:49 pm

      I think just as in any other situation, you’ll find one extreme to the other in spouses. I found a great group and was very happy to have them! Of course, you always run across that one who is out to make everyone else miserable! Identify her early! 🙂 As for the online groups, some people have an attitude simply because they’re safely behind a computer screen – I’ve seen comments just like what you’re referencing and it’s embarrassing! But thankfully those people are the minority. I’m sure you’ll meet a great group of spouses as well. I still keep in touch with many people who have since moved on – find the right group and they will become your second family.

  • Jen January 13, 2014, 4:20 am

    As a new military spouse I am lost on how to deal with most things involving military moves, deployments etc. We are now dealing with the PTSD issue as well. This post was really helpful to me because I keep hearing just to suck it up and that is so hard sometimes when your soldier is dealing with horrible anger issues and you are at the other end of the fury. I wish i knew how other spouses have dealt with their soldier having ptsd. Every day its difficult and everyday I question if I am good enough or strong enough to be an army wife. We are awaiting a pcs move that has been in the works since last April. As a newbie I am nervous to reach out to other spouses because of so much judgement I have seen on other forums online. I just want to learn more and find more resources to help us and to learn from other spouses. I admit I try my best but I get overwhelmed.

    • Stacey Abler January 16, 2014, 9:59 am

      Check out this page: https://www.facebook.com/UncleSamsMistress She has a blog as well. She is a friend of mine and while she’s still struggling to find some sense of normal, her blog posts just lay it all out there. There’s no sugarcoating. After reading some of the things she has written, at the very least, you should know you are not alone. I hope this helps.

  • Kirsten January 10, 2015, 9:11 pm

    I’m a new Army wife/mom-to-be. My husband just left for basic training, and while we’ve dealt with distance for over a year before, this is the longest we’ve gone without not being able to communicate at least once a day. On top of him leaving, I’ve run into a lot of financial issues and I’ve had to part with my cats (who were a huge source of comfort for me). I tried to reach out to the military wife/mom community and I was laughed at, harassed, and told that I needed to “suck it up and move on.” I’ve been an Army brat for a majority of my life, and I’ve known so many of my mom’s friends, so I was surprised and appalled at the complete lack of sympathy and the fact that they were making fun of me for missing my husband. “He’s only at BCT, wait until he gets deployed,” was a comment made frequently along with, “Don’t be such a crybaby. I can’t wait until you have to live in the Army community. The Army wives are going to tear you apart.” I always thought that there would be a sense of camaraderie among the military spouses, but if that’s the way these women act, then I don’t see why I’d want to even try to reach out to anyone.

    • Kirsten January 10, 2015, 9:15 pm

      P.S. I was so caught up in what I was saying that I forgot to mention that I’m so glad I found your blog. It’s been really helpful and informative. I appreciate that you and many of the others who have commented on your posts are sympathetic and try to help each other out. THAT’S what the military spouse community should be like. I’d much rather encounter the ladies on this site than the nasty, ill-mannered ones who don’t seem to understand what compassion is.

      • Samantha June 30, 2015, 12:55 am

        Your comment really struck a cord with me. Recently, I had a woman tell me “If you can’t handle 16 weeks of AIT, how do you expect to survive deployment?” I hate that we live in a world where someone can take someone else’s vulnerable time and pretty much just say, “suck it up; i got through it and so will you.”

  • Jessie October 12, 2015, 10:47 am

    I am new to all of this. We have been in fort Campbell about a month now. And this is all new for me, not just the military but being away from home. I have lived in the same area of about 2 counties for all my life. And I have yet to make new friends. But my friends back home are a great support for now but none of them have been thru the whole military wife life. And this article and site is a big help as far as adjusting to things here. Any one have any ideas on how to meet people. I do have 3 school aged kids (another big change lol school back home start WAY later then here!) and I will be a stay at home mommy for them. Any advice or anything tips are greatly appreciated. 🙂

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