Everyday I listen to my combat veterans as they struggle to return to the “normal” world after having a deeply life-changing experience. I do everything I can to help them. Sometimes that can involve medications, but listening is key. Sometimes a combat veteran tells me things that they wish their families knew. They have asked me to write something for their families, from my unique position as soldier, wife, and physician. These are generalizations; not all veterans have these reactions, but they are the concerns most commonly shared with me. Author’s note: obviously warriors can be female — like me — and family can be male, but for clarity’s sake I will write assuming a male soldier and female family. He is addicted to war, although he loves you. War is horrible, but there is nothing like a life-and-death fight to make you feel truly alive. The adrenaline rush is tremendous, and can never be replaced.
7 things you should never say to a veteran
You are a brave and supportive girlfriend and I know you will get through this. I wish you all the best! Hello, Thank you for sharing this military and giving some great advice for relationships who are going through this experiencing. I really connected with this post and received a lot of much needed military and encouragement!
Maybe you just met this person in the military and are curious about the “what-ifs” that come with the relationship. Perhaps you are already dating someone in.
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I’m a Veteran With PTSD. The Medication I Take Makes Dating Difficult.
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I’ve been dating a military member for over a year now. He’s been deployed 8 months now. I was married but separated from my ex at the time. I am now divorced.
Leaving the military and transitioning back into the civilian world is a very high-stakes time for close relationships. Even if you came from a tightly knit family, the personal bonds formed in the military are uniquely strong and intense. Your survival may have depended on it. You celebrated the great moments together and, in many cases, you faced tragedy together.
But the cost of love is the grief of separation. When leaving the military, you may lose a sense of identity, or lose a sense of purpose and relevance. You might feel invisible in a society that does not understand your experience or share your core values.
5 Tips for a Healthy Relationship with a Combat Veteran
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Dating a service member or veteran can be challenging for a civilian unfamiliar with the world of military life. And it can even throw veterans.
I started dating a Marine about a year ago now. His service is done, but the lessons they taught him are not. When I first started dating him, he was very secretive about his life as a Marine. But slowly he started opening up about his experiences and how they affect the way he acts. The first thing he told me is that, among the hazing and bullshit from their drill instructors, they were taught to treat a lady with the upmost respect.
This means everything, from opening the car door for you, to locking your door to make sure you are safe at night. The next thing he told me, was about his training. How harsh it was. He had 7 seconds to tie his boots in the morning, or face punishment.
Dating an ex
If your heart is already with a Marine , you understand the challenges of a military relationship. And, sometimes, you just have to lighten up because the military lifestyle will drive you crazy otherwise. Con: You have to wash all those uniforms while remembering all the special care instructions.
Get military service records for the army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines or RAF from You need to know the person’s full name, date of birth and service number.
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She was a cat lover with cotton-candy-colored hair and obnoxious tastes in music but similar politics to mine. While texting on Tinder, she suggested I might get to play with her kitty. We agreed that we would take her cat out to the park some time but that we would start with dinner and a drink. There were no other hints to me that anything thrilling might happen beyond my riding my motorcycle from Denver to Boulder for the meeting.
Sitting together at an Italian restaurant, we got past the cat conversation and progressed to politics and music, jokes and laughter. As the waitress picked up the check, my date invited me back to her place. I went. But not everything happened, and probably not as much as she expected. I explained about the injuries, the PTSD, the medication. She was nice about it. We eagerly agreed on a second date. Sign up here.
My heart, though, was not the only part of me in need of repair.
Why your relationship is at risk when you leave the military
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Learning a new sense of humor is something that has to happen when you date a veteran. They cope with things with a dark sense of humor, and this can be a little off-putting. Just like dating a civilian woman, military women will leave bobby pins behind. Occasionally, they get left behind on night stands and kitchen sinks as an accidental territory marker.
Air Force photo by Airman Collin Schmidt. Any relationship is built on trust and understanding — a relationship with a vet is no different. Special importance has to be put on trust, though. Many veterans are used to losing the people who are closest to them, whether from failed relationships, in combat, or to suicide. They may not want to get attached for fear of losing you, but you have to work to build their trust.
Any veteran, young or old, loves to tell stories from their service. Guidons of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, surround the newlywed couple. Photo courtesy of Richard and Janet Page. Veterans can be intense people. Learning new things may include backpacking or kayaking or it could be a sport like football or basketball.