- Which Army Wife is closest to your place in the military structure? Denise
- Which service is your significant other in and for how long? 15 years in the U.S. Marine Corps
- What rank and job does he have? Major and Infantry Officer (war strategist)
- Where has he/you both been stationed? 29 Palms (Southern California desert by Palm Springs), Quantico (Virginia near Washington, D.C.), Atlanta (independent duty station, not near a military base), Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), Camp Pendleton (San Diego Co., Southern California Coast)
- Do you get dependent benefits? No, because we are not married
- Do you live on base or off? Off
- Is it hard changing your job every time you move? Yes, it's challenging. It doesn't bother me because I enjoyed a challenging 13 year career as a teacher of at-risk kids and I was looking for change and adventure.
- How many times has he deployed? Four
- How long have you been together? Since 2009
How we met
I enjoyed married life in my 20's (with my 'WASband' for 8 years) until he decided he wanted to drink every day and not be married anymore. I felt like a failure, but you can't force someone to stop divorcing you. Life was shockingly easier (I no longer had to pick him up drunk from places or deal with his drunken messes). I kept things amicable with him and wished him well.
Eventually, I began to really enjoy the single life: traveling, comedy clubs, theater, & meeting new people. I enjoyed singledom, but found that men who asked me out weren't matching up with what I wanted. I couldn't tell by looking at an attractive man whether he was educated, available, etc. so it would be too scary to ask a man out, only to find out he had a girlfriend or a bunch of kids. The only married man I ever went out with (to my knowledge) was a man I met at a friend's birthday party (he was not wearing a ring). I didn't want that to happen again, either. So, I shopped for my perfect man recipe online, and that's how I met my Marine. There is no shortage of men in Southern California, but I realized I wanted a different caliber of man than who I met at the grocery store, someone educated, fun, but clean (healthy eating, fit, and no substance abuse), preferably divorced (more realistic expectations of a relationship) who didn't want arm candy or an instant wife &mom (which is what many of the 30 & up men I met were after- you can really tell they are interested in marriage when they ask to see a photo of your mother). **Read about my online dating success here.
My beau and I met in 2009 online. His profile listed his job as "ask me", so I was unaware of his military involvement. Intrigued by his red hair, muscles, and movie star smile, I sent him a one paragraph email. He replied from The Republic of Georgia (near Russia) with a five paragraph, very articulate letter. He was back at his home near 29 Palms Marine Base that week and we spoke on the phone a couple times.
Our first date was later that week at an upscale casino lounge in the California desert. As soon as I saw the razor-fade hair cut and V-shaped physique, I knew he was military. A red flag went up. Then, to my disappointment, his ginger hair was bleached blonde from the sun and he was thinner than his pictures. He had lost weight while training troops in Europe. But, when he opened his mouth and spoke with focus, charm, and eloquence, I was more than impressed. Intelligence is soooo sexy to me. When he gave me a flirty look and smiled at me full-on, I was hooked. We had a long conversation, followed by food at the cafe. I remember he had a giant Belgian waffle. (I'm gluten free and cannot eat those. I was distracted by salivating over it the whole time. He does not eat those in front of me anymore.)
We did all of our dating in Palm Springs. A couple dates later we kissed. A couple dates after that, he had to go back to Europe for several weeks on several occasions. He finally was invited over to my house (it takes quite awhile for me to let a man know my address). Our moms flew in and we all spent Thanksgiving at my new house. He and I flew to visit our moms for Xmas.
Then, we found out that instead of staying at 29 Palms for a few years, he had been surprisingly selected to attend an officer's school on the East Coast. I thought about it and then took a year's leave-of-absence from my tenured 13 year teaching position (they hold your job for a year but you sign a paper stating you will not work elsewhere during that time) and went with him to explore our relationship further. During that year, I, ever the pragmatist, decided that besides being in love, we got along and lived together really well. So, I resigned from my teaching career and joined him in this military life for as long as we love it. 2014 marks his fifteenth year of military service.