My Biggest Pet Peeve with Military Wives and Significant Others

I have run into this so much lately in real life and online life. Why do military wives (actually, this is anyone connected to a soldier, but I’m going to 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 remember 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.” “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 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 supposed 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 it’s for basic training, deployment, or an overseas duty assignment.

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. We know what it’s like to jump every time the phone rings, hoping it’s 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 replace my husband if he is killed. Wow!

Let’s 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 can strengthen our military communities 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….

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. 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 expresses exactly how I’ve been feeling!

  2. 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!!!!!

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. Check out this page: 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.”

  6. 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. 🙂

  7. I know I’m late for this blog post, I was googling Amry wives and tips and came across it. Today I had my first actual cry, I had been holding it in and convincing myself that my feelings were not valid because I know many others are enduring much more. My husband of 4.5 years, partner for 7, has just left for BCT and although we’ve had a long-distance relationship before this feels so much different. About two years ago I was offered a job in a different city and he was working on finishing his bachelors, the obvious choice for us as a couple has always been to support each other so I moved to a city that was 506 miles away from home. It wasn’t easy but I still had the option of calling him or sending him a text and I knew that I would get a reply within a few hours, I knew that if I wanted to, we could meet in the middle and have a mini-vacation on any given weekend. Needless to say, we made it through that, he moved up to the city with me after graduation and then, a year and a half later he decided to join the Army. He left for BCT last week on Tuesday morning, before he was leaving he sent me a text that said “Be strong and stay safe”, I talked to him again on the phone the next day and he let me know he wouldn’t be able to talk to me for a few days. This last week has been full of changes and exciting moments and it has been tough not being able to actively share that with him. Today was one of those days where I really missed coming home to him. What they don’t tell you is that when your SO joins the Armed Forces they’re not just breaking them, they’re breaking you too. Except with them, there’s a process, a program, a support system of a unit who is being broken and built back up at the exact same time by the exact same figure. For us, it’s a lot different. There are no manuals or processes, there’s no unit or team going through the same thing with you day in and day out, there’s just silence. It’s odd to have had someone there for you every single day to suddenly not having them at all. Although I have an amazing support system, I feel lonely. I am doing all the same things that I used to do when my husband was here, except now I’m doing them alone. It has only been a few days but adjusting to your new old life isn’t easy, the handbook doesn’t really tell you enough about that part.

  8. I just read this post.
    I was surprised to read that In not the only one that has experienced some of those remarks.
    My personal experience with this.
    My Husband and I are a same sex couple. So people automatically say well be a man and suck it up, man up stop being a baby any numerous remarks like that.
    Since I am older then my husband I hear. Why would you marry someone so much younger then you, why did you let him join the military, why don’t you leave that boy alone.
    I have actually heard on post some people saying I can’t believe they are allowing fags in the military.
    As a Husband of a US. Soldier I can tell you.
    I’m extremely PROUD of my husband and what he does. We made the decision to join.
    The time we spend apart is just as hard and heart wrenching for us as it is for any other married couple.
    I find myself dreading the door bell ringing and he is still here.
    I don’t have family and all of our friends we had don’t want to be around us any longer cause we never know when we will have to pack up and move.
    I have not made any friends on post yet because of mine and my husbands age difference and really don’t want to deal with the drama of all the younger girls and wives.
    It is a lonely uncomfortable situation.
    I Love my Husband with everything I am and I will never stop Loving or respecting him. He is my Hero and soul mate.

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