Things Not to Say to a Military Spouse Or Girlfriend..

I know this has been out for awhile but  think it needs repeating sometimes! :)

Things NOT to say to a military Spouse or Girlfriend!

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.)

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
(Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back to Iraq b/c there is work that needs to be done.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
(Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a ****** ford taurus with mercedes convertible.)

9. "Wow you must miss him?"
(This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere.)

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over there.
(Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"
(hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)

13. "Well in my opinion....."
(Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our ***** off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids, they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)

last but not least....

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)

If you want to say anything, say thank you. After all, we are sexually deprived for your freedom.

Frogs2010 Frogs2010
31-35, F
28 Responses Mar 16, 2009

I am absolutely in love with this post! However, it brought me to tears. I am lucky to have my man (who is in the army) with me on a daily basis. We have not experienced deployment yet & it scares me to death.

Your boyfriend is a murderer. That's my standard response. I couldn't date someone with blood on their hands.

Some of the questions are compassionate! Acknowledging you must miss him or the sex is a healthy, human thing to do.

Haha, your freedom, my freedom , for everybody's freedom. Just hear it and suck it up and move on. Keep yourself busy, stay in shape,& be faithful or not your choice. At the end they are in Middle East , technology is advanced. So much to do . Not like in early World War I era

Yep each and every time I hear something to that effect I want to blow up. I stopped telling one of best friend things because from the very beginning she didn't understand. I always got comments like oh well you still get to talk right? Or it will be just like when he was at a school. Its hard but she will never get it.

I screen passengers at an airport, and I never miss an opportunity to thank a service man or woman in uniform, not in uniform, and their spouses, children, fianc├ęs, SO, and any one else connected to them. I thank them for their service to our country, and many times I get choked up and my eyes water when I do. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

I am an active duty military woman with a hard-working military spouse husband who I just got home to yesterday after my 5th deployment.....I concur with all that you have stated above. In addition, he has to listen to: 1. "How can you let your wife go over there when you get to stay here? (None of your business, but he did enlist, and was medically discharged early on....drives him crazy to this day. Thanks for making him feel bad....again). 2. "Hey, she left you here, if you wanna go find "some," it's her fault." 3. Not being included/asked to any of the deployed spouse activities, nor being checked on while I am gone, because "well, he's a man, he can handle himself." And then, when he tries to take advantage of any of the "deployed spouse" support activities, he is inundated by "lonely" spouses that want him to change the oil in their car (in exchange for "compensation") or just "keep him company" until the husband and wife re-deploy. (True stories....really). 4. All of this on top of the basic fact that as a male military spouse he is looked down on by most of the military for not being active duty and "doing his part." Trust me, as difficult as it is being a female military spouse (and I know, I was one in between my active duty stints in a previous marriage) it is far more difficult being a male military spouse...... Tough jobs for all...

My soldier has been deployed for 2 weeks so far, and I can't tell you how many girls have said "I dont know if I could wait that long, I would miss him too much" at first I just ignored the comment but after hearing it a million times already I finally said "you would miss him too much if you had to go a year without him, so you would break up with him and have to go the rest of your life without him?"

wow you have alot of anger, lady. It's going to be well. You know obviously that these people are ignorant enlighten them, dont be mad at them. Stay positive and God will comfort you

I have been a military girlfriend for two years and a fiance for about three months, and this post is so true people ask me stupid butt questions all the time. but the worse was my boyfriend is in a different state for three month playing ball i know how you feel. i was like what the ****, my fiance is in Afghanistan, being shot at, people are trying to kill him, he is going through combat stress and could come home missing peices or with PDS, you dont know what i am going through please stop talking. i didnt mean to be rude but i was so pissed she even said that.

I am going through this right now and i have to say that this is so entirely true...thank you so much for the post so i can past it on

thanks that made me cry alittle but also made my day..

Wow, this is very obnoxiously self-righteous and, quite frankly, rude. Any job, profession, etc can come up with such a list of annoying questions that people who cannot relate to their situation ask them daily. This does not mean the person asking is insincere or uncaring or wishes you ill. In fact, more likely than not, they ask it out of genuine concern. Someone who is not in a given situation cannot be expected to understand what you are going through, so please be patient with them. They may even be asking it out of desire to offer you support!

Very Rude. I am thankful that we have a military to defend our Country but I am tired of every single military personnel and family member to expect special treatment and hero worship. My husband is a law enforcement officer and I am a public school teacher. We don't expect hero worship nor do we get it. We chose to have these careers. We are also employed by our great government and make many sacrifices because we care about this Land. We made the choices to have these careers just like your husband made the choice to join the military. Just like our choices, the military is an honorable career but no more so than any other lifestyle that billions of other choose every day. Whether it is fighting the war on terror, working in an office, teaching school, fighting fires, or flipping burgers, we all are intricate pieces that together play an equal role in making our country great. Please don't put on heirs, it only makes you seem arrogant and immature.

Wow. Don't know if I am more amused that you compared your 180-day/yr union job to that of a member of the US military deployed in a war zone, or depressed that a fine educator such as yourself cannot distinguish between "heirs" and "airs". The difference is as though your military didn't know which end of the weapon to point away from them, and the result in American public schools is as if they made that critical error and then pulled the trigger. Nice. Job.

Puleeeeeeeze! Teaching school versus a dangerous year long overseas combat assignment!!!!! Who is putting on Heirs? (maybe you meant airs school Marm?) Maybe you might break a nail on the chalk board.

Wow, that was condescending! If it makes you feel better to put yourself up on a pedestal because you married a guy who makes his living in the military, then go right ahead. I'd imagine that with your level of arrogance, though, you're pretty much on your own. I wouldn't jump in to try to help out, knowing that behind my back you were being that rude!

My sister's Fiance is in Afganistan at the moment and she shared this link.<br />
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Its hard to imagine the stress of what she is going through, but having a job and a passtime that have death consequences (no I am not a soilder) I CAN begin to - It is unfair of me to expect other people to understand what I and my family go through when I deliberately accept these consequences, and I think it unfair of you to do as well<br />
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So what the hell am I supposed to say? The points are well made, but the comments come across as arrogant. Army spouses are not the only people with stresses in thier lives, and they arnt the only ones who have a right to worry about their loved ones. You do not have the right to patronise or look down at people who are showing concern.<br />
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Please do not take your stress out on me when I ask questions. I am trying to be sincere, and you are being rude.

OMG!!!!!!! this is the best thing i have read so far out of all of the army stuff. i nearly wet myself laughing!! i love it!!! so love it. its so acurate and its exactly what i say in my head!!

I saw this posted on FB and as an Army Wife I must say "Very Well Said." My husband just got back from Iraq and I kept getting "At least he's not in Afghanistan." When I had to take a couple of my kids (I have 5) to a therapist she asked "How do you do it?" My reply "apparently not too well considering I'm sitting on your couch!" I think it's important to keep your chin up and keep a sense of humor. I don't think the majority of people are trying to be dumb. These are the same people who, upon hearing that we have 5 kids, ask me and my husband questions like "Are you done?" "Are you Mormon?" "Haven't you figured out what causes that yet?"<br />
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There are the good folks too. Like the lady who noticed the "Keep Daddy Safe" magnet on the back of the car as I shlepped all the kids into McDonalds. She came back into the restaurant and asked to pay for our meal. (I declined, but how sweet is that?) There were many people who stopped us coming out of the airport as we dropped my husband off to thank me for our service.<br />
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I've had fellow Army wives and other soldiers say REALLY dumb things too!!! I had a "friend" say "I'm not gonna ask you when he's due back b/c there were a bunch of guys in our old battalion that got killed in their last month." And once when my husband was in Afghanistan, I was in a Visitor's Center at our old post, there was a TV on reporting a bomb that hit outside the camp where he was. I asked a soldier working the desk "Where there any casualties?" His reply. "Only one!" Yeah well, my husband is only one person nitwit!!!<br />
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I guess my point is that there are idiots everywhere. Just smile at them and thank God you aren't as stupid as they are! Good luck and take care of you!!!

Thank you as a Marine Wife whose husband is again deployed, this is an issue we seem to constantly have to address. I love my life, I love my husband so dealing with topics as you have posted can take an ok day and totally rub you the wrong what. I don't like to be rude however, there are days that I just want to slap someone upside the head and tell them GET A CLUE! I liked this and thank you so much for posting it!

A list of things it's okay to say would be nice!<br />
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While these kinds of lists are all very interesting, I wonder if people who write them really expect people to learn their lesson? <br />
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Rather, I think the onus is on the person being questioned to try to remember that however stupid or repetitive the question is, the person asking it is probably just trying to make a connection or learn something about you. It helps to remember that whoever you are, whatever you do, there is a 'Top Ten' list of annoying questions attached! (just google 'What not to say...' or imagine for a moment having to announce at a cocktail party that you are a lawyer, or over dinner that you are a urologist)<br />
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Hard as it may sound, try to swallow your annoyance and use the opportunity to teach the person something about your life.

Congrats on a well written list with the reason why they are annoying. I am a 21 year Navy Veteran who loved to serve my country and my wife and children were proud of the service I provided to OUR country. I was the military husband who deployed to the Persian Gulf twice and yes my wife had been asked half of those questions over and over again.<br />
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My wife had to learn 1st hand the difficulty of and endure the seperation. As she had an "eye-opener" so do the civilian well wishers so I agree to be nice but at the same time "DUH" can you think befoer you speak. If you spin the questions to a civilian world, Would anyone ask these questions at the grocery store to a stranger?<br />
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1) "Are you afraid your son will be killed crossing the street?" <br />
3) "At least he's not in Detroit"<br />
6) "How much longer before your husband quits his job?"<br />
8) " I got a hangnail yesterday so I know how you feel about your masectomy"<br />
11) " Well he signed up to be a fireman so he deserves to be burned" <br />
12) " Do you have sex with the neighbor when your husband goes out of town?"<br />
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Nuf said. BZ to all members of the armed services Past, Present and in the Future. I know I was there.

I think your list is full of great information but am not too happy with how aggressively rude you come off. I've gotten these questions, but would have asked the same ones if I wasn't married to a marine. I had no idea what deployment life would be like when we agreed to get married! My friends who don't live in a military city really don't know understand, so a question like "Aren't you afraid they will killed?" is an honest question coming from someone who is trying to put themselves in our shoes. They are trying to get a deeper understanding of how hard it must be on us. <br />
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At first I was laughing with you but then it was kinda over-the-top. Like #10. My husband doesn't get out the map and tell me exactly. I usually know the base and city but to go into detail like you did was not the general knowledge. If you live on base, I think you pick up on more of the language too. <br />
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I think you should write a Top Ten list of questions they SHOULD ask. #1. Isn't is great having him gone during football season?<br />
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Great job though!

I'd like to start this by saying thank you to your and your family. I have the utmost respect for soldiers and the sacrifices they make. Some of the things on your list are no-brainers; I apologize immensely on behalf of any idiot who ever asked you if you fear your husband dying or attempted to use the fact he's a soldier as a stepping stone for political debate. However, as someone whose husband is not in the military, some of this list surprised me. For example, I would be the one asking "How do you do it?' simply because your life is very different than mine. Also, if I don't know when your husband deployed, how would I know he won't be home for Christmas? (I know he doesn't get "vacation", but he might be home based on his scheduled return?) Also, like many people, my geography is lacking. You are much more knowledgeable about these places because your husband is stationed there; to many of us they are far-away places that we occasionally hear about on the news (map and pointer not included!) <br />
My point, I would never have known some of the things on your list would be offensive to a military wife. Most of us are out of the loop on what it's like to be in your shoes. If we miss the mark sometimes, it's not for lack of trying. (But again, "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?" REALLY? So, so sorry.)

Thanks for the great list. It's a really fun read, and so true in many ways! I'd love to see you change all of your references to a military wife to a military spouse though. It's 2010 and women have been fighing in the military for a very long time, with many a military husband making all of the same sacrifices as above. My wife is one of those women, and I'm one of those husbands. Thanks again, just some food for thought.

This might be the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I've got to the point to where I don't tell people where my husband is going or doing. I love the question "how do you do it"? When you love someone that's how you do it. I'm not happy that we still get these questions but I'm so glad other wives feel the same way. And I'm not the only one getting "duh" questions. Honestly, Thank you.

Amen to this! This is exactly why I joined this site. I am happy to hear that others are feeling the same way I am right now.

love this:)

This is a brilliant post. I am not, nor have I ever been, a military wife. My daughter's fiance is in Iraq now, and she has told me of a number of comments similar to those you dissect in your post.<br />
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Please tell your guy "Thanks" for me and mine. I make it a point to convey that message whenever I have an opportunity. As the saying goes, "They also serve who only stand and wait..." and I know military wives, especially those with children, have no time to "stand and wait." Thanks to all of you for the sacrifice of 'normal' homelife you've made to help keep us safe.

Great post! Exactly what I came to this site for!