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. My husband deploys soon….I keep having nightmares about him cheating or not coming back…is this normal??…I never had these before and he hasn’t even left yet….but they are more frequent .

  2. My soon to be husband has training in Oct. 2012 for a month and then he deploys Jan. 2013. Him and I want to get married before he leaves. He lives in WA and I live in AK. I was just wondering if other wifes or girlfreinds who have depression and PTSD, anxiety disorder , SAD, (I currently still take medication), but in “Remission”, I just have trigger months, (certain months are worse). I know my soon be husband is supportive of my health and to be well.

    I didn’t know if any one else has dealt with this and how they did, did you get counseling or talk to other wifes on line. I know I will have some support, not a whole lot of family left in the state I live in (AK). His unit is in WA.

    I know I will still work until he gets back from deployment and we agreeed I would still work and be “focused” and move down when he gets back. I know I will also fill out the FMLA for my job. I will let minimul co-workers know he is gone and be quiet about him being gone. I geuss I am just that way, I like to be quiet in certain sitations.

    So should I still be in contact with his FRG, I heard it was not a good unit, lots of complaints from it.

    1. Hi! This is really late (I know), but I have BPD and it’s been really hard to deal with since my husband left. He’s only at basic, but 3 months with little to no contact has really hit me hard. There are days where I can barely pull myself out of bed (I do because I’m pregnant and I know it’s unhealthy to lay around and cry all day). But I just try to take on every day one at a time. It’s really hard because I’ve resorted to counting down the hours (not just the days). I try to keep busy, but I’m never motivated to do anything.

      I was wondering if you found out a good way to handle your separation?

  3. Thank you so much for this post! My husband is in basic right now and he left the 18th of September. I haven’t gotten a phone call or letter or anything from him since October 6th. Now I realize he’s safe and it’s part of the lifestyle, but I also understand, I love my husband and went from talking to him daily and seeing him daily and him being my best friend to feeling as though he just fell off the face of the earth completely. Now, I have family members who used to be in the army making this out to be as though its nothing and I should just get over it. I’m sad that I haven’t heard from him and I have the right to be. My husband may not be a casualty of war but to my heart its just the same as losing him all together because one day he’s here the next day he’s gone and unheard from. Anyone who loves there husband, is going to miss them whether he be gone for a year or 2 weeks.. the heart aches from the separation. This post just makes me feel like finally someone can relate to the idea that separation is separation no matter what and that we all have a right to feel sad about it. I truly respect you for acknowledging this problem and setting the record straight.

  4. Reading this made me feel a lot better. Thank you so much for posting. My boyfriend of two years just left for basic 10 days ago, and I must say its been hard to cope. Your site has given me so much information and help. Out of countless blogs that go on about how army girlfriends don’t get the same “perks” as wives when it comes to their soldier, I got very overwhelmed (and quite honestly angry) at all the negativity surrounding the matter. Especially those who made little of those girlfriends who were young teenagers, even though I myself am 25. I wanted to find a support group/blog that recognized everyone who is going through the seperation pains of not having their loved one there. Whether you are a wife, mom, brother, friend, dad, or girlfriend, we all recognize that it’s not easy being away from those we love. So I want to say thank you.

  5. I’m glad I found this site! I’m a newlywed, so I’m still pretty new to this. My husband, who is an E-6 in the Army (he works finance), just got orders to go to South Korea for one year. This was absolutely heart-wrenching news for us since we just got married back in June. I’ve lived on my own for the past 8 years – moved from different cities and even moved out of state completely on my own. I have my sense of independancy. I’m currently going through some health problems – nothing life threatening – so that just puts more stress on the fact that he is leaving within the next 2 months. What I have mainly heard so far from other Army wives is I need to be thankful he is going to South Korea and not Afghanistan because they have it so much worse, and I shouldn’t be complaining anyway since I don’t have kids and he works finance. I’m fully aware that some places are “safer” than others. I know it would be way more “stressful” with kids, but seriously? My husband and I just bought a home and we have been fixing it up the way that we want it, and, so far, it’s only half way done. At times, I feel like I’m about to go through a break-up, and he hasn’t even left yet! I always told myself I wouldn’t become friends with fellow Army wives and when I get remarks like that, it definitely doesn’t make me want to know anyone.

  6. I absolutely love this post because this exact thing happened to me this past summer. A friend that I had met while my now husband was at basic training. My husband and her boyfriend were in the same training unit. My husband this summer went to AIT in Gulfport Mississippi, and he new boyfriend was in Afghanistan. She was always telling me I didn’t need to worry about him because he was at Keesler Airforce Base first of all my husband was NOT at Keesler. Prior to my husband leaving we had just gotten married, and had only been married 2 weeks when he left. She then brought up the fact that I didn’t need to be sending my husband care packages because he had time to go things, which again was not true at all, and besides the fact he asked me to send him stuff. I am glad a post like this came up on this website, because I also think that we are all in this together and that’s to support the ones we love regardless of where they are or what they are doing.

  7. You wrote, “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!”

    I am a military widower, with the American Widow Project, and I have to agree 100% with the way you feel about that sort of statement. Who has it worse? That all depends on the people. In one family it might be the wife, in another it might be the father, the mother in another, the brother or sister in another family. Those who make that sort of statement are just ignorant.

    What I can tell you is this, a military spouse has made a choice and an investment of love, time, heart and soul in the marriage, more than civilian spouses. My wife and I saw both sides of the issue, since we were both military spouses and military members at different times.

    I pray that none of your readers ever join our band of Proud Widows, but we are here.

    Travis, Ambassador -American Widow Project.

  8. Being an army husband I thank you too. However I would also like to point out that some of these same women that are there for the other army wives and are nice to them, the second they hear that I am a stay at home dad with 3 kids, I am totaly useless. My wife is currently deployed for the first time and I was told by our FRG not to show up because being the only husband i am not welcome.

    1. Wow, that is ridiculous! The FRG should accept you the same they would any female spouse. I’m so sorry that was your experience.

  9. I don’t think any situation is worse than the next… I think that military wives should, instead, stick together & support each other through ANY tough time the other may be going through. I’ve, personally, been long distance with my FI for a year and a half, due to my job situation, and would never tell another wife she has it easier when her husband, FI, or bf is out of town for a period of time. Although, I have gotten annoyed when they complain about not seeing them much besides being able to sleep next to them… hehe… Regardless of the situation, we always want our men next to us, so it’s never easy…. any amount of time…

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