I am a proud military girlfriend. I have a strong relationship with my boyfriend, and can see myself becoming a fiancée and then a wife someday. As of now, I carry no military I.D. card. I am not on Tricare. I do not live on base, and I cannot even get on without my boyfriend’s help. Being a military girlfriend seems like a kind of support limbo. I can get plenty of support online from the girls I’ve met in Facebook groups, but the military provides me with no support. Any time military significant others are portrayed in the media, they are always wives. People often think of the spouses that are left behind, but assume since we haven’t committed (not true) and that we don’t live together (not always true) that the girlfriends will be okay. Again, not true. I am in no way saying that the wives do not deserve all of the support and attention that they get. They definitely deserve everything they receive, since when their husbands are gone they have to handle everything on their own. I just wish that someone would recognize the sacrifice girlfriends make, too.
I understand that every relationship is different, and that being a girlfriend means we haven’t taken the next step of complete commitment. I know that many relationships don’t work out, that a few are unfaithful, that being a girlfriend is not the same as being a wife. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t shed tears over goodbyes, feel that amazing feeling of reunions, write letters, support our loved ones, and have to deal with the military on a daily basis. All wives were once girlfriends, but it seems that once that ring is on their finger, some (again, not true for all) of them forget our importance.
I cannot wait to one day get my military I.D., to have base privileges, to be recognized by the military as someone of importance in my service member’s life. When Ben fills out forms, he has to write “single,” because being in a long-term relationship doesn’t matter to the government. It is because of this that girlfriends are not recognized on sites such as “Base Guide,” which has forums for wives only. It is because of this that we don’t get recognized or acknowledged as often by the media and general public. There is even a Military Spouse Appreciation Day. If it wasn’t for social networking, most military girlfriends would be completely lost and overwhelmed. I can’t wait to move past being “just a girlfriend” and to get the support of the military, and I don’t want to take away from the support given to the wives, but I still wish there was some way girlfriends could be equally recognized for our hardships.