I moved back to Vegas a couple of weeks ago and have been settling in here at my parents' home. We're on the hunt for a house of our own, so keep us in your thoughts and prayers that it all works out and happens soon!
Over the weekend, I got an email from a soon to be new Marine girlfriend asking me some questions about what to expect with all of this, and I love answering questions, so I'm going to go ahead and do that for her here in the hopes that it helps her and anyone else with these questions...
Not weird... I went over a little bit about what I experience when he first decided to join and after that in a past blog post here, but I'd be glad to get more detailed. Our situation was different than most. I was planning our wedding when The Husband left for boot camp. Okay... so it's not THAT different from many Marine Corps stories because I know that a LOT of people get married right before boot camp or right after (I do NOT condone this however, for reasons I will explain later). Our story is different in that we had already planned on getting married well before he left for the Marine Corps. That said... I was busy. I was working, wedding planning, going to school and generally didn't have time to focus on all of the changes that were coming eventually. I do think that staying busy was good for me because I didn't focus on how much I missed him. Just write a lot of letters, send wallet sized pictures (nothing risky, the drill instructors do look at their mail), no packages. Write about anything, how the weather was, what you ate that day... anything. Be encouraging and be very careful to walk that fine like between making sure they know you miss them but not making them feel left out or guilty for being gone.I know this is weird, but I was wondering how it was for you during the time your husband left for bootcamp/ what the first four years were like and how it is now?
The first four years were a huge learning experience for me. This lifestyle is hard. I mean HARD. We face different sorts of realities and challenges than most other marriages. Which is why I don't recommend getting married right before or right after one joins. You need time to adjust to all of this, and being a girlfriend is more difficult than being a wife, in my opinion. You're not privy to as much information or any of the benefits. If you can deal with that as a girlfriend, I say move forward. But locking yourself into a lifelong relationship when your lifestyle has completely changed is not a good idea. Yes, it can work, but observation and experience tell me it's harder and less likely. I spent a lot of time learning to become an independent person, though it admittedly took me a long time to become someone with my own identity other than "Marine Wife". The first four years will be different for absolutely everyone. Everyone's experience is different because, though it is the Marine Corps, things vary between MOSs, units, bases, everything. The best thing I can say is "be flexible". Eventually, it all becomes second nature. It's not always easy, but coping becomes easier.
In all honesty, I'm not going to be a good representation of this. I've only had my degree since 2011 AND I am not able to work in my field without a Masters degree of some sort (Thanks psychology!). That said, it all depends. The job market is down everywhere and military towns are saturated with spouses who are trying to find any sort of job they can. As far as enlisted spouses/girlfriends, you're ahead of the game because many enlisted spouses don't already have degrees (Mostly because enlisted spouses are generally much younger than officer spouses and don't pursue/finish a college degree before or after getting married). I do believe having a degree puts you a step ahead and will help you land a better job. But again, you're likely to be in an over saturated area filled with people looking for some sort of income.Also, as a woman with a degree how did you find a job? Was it easy? Did you eventually find a job in your field regardless of moving around?
You'll always be learning and things will always be changing, especially right now. The Marine Corps is going through all sorts of changes and it's not the same Corps it was 2 years ago, let alone nearly 7 when The Husband joined.
My best advice: Be flexible and don't believe anything until it happens.