No one told me this would happen, but it did. It came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a part of post-military life that no one ever really talked about. I never anticipated this. But I suddenly found myself crying, and that’s when I realized what I was battling . . .
When my husband got out of the Marine Corps, it was very bittersweet. We were both eager for our new life. I was excited to have my husband home again for good. We were all happy to not be saying “see you later” anymore. But we still loved the military life. There was so much about it that we knew we were going to miss dearly, and that part made us sad. Yet, adventure awaited us, and we were ready to take the plunge (albeit trepidatiously)!
A new, busy life.
As soon as we moved, I immediately began my job as a teacher. I was incredibly busy. I hardly had time to really sit and think about how different our life suddenly was. We also spent the first few months living with my sister and her family, and I daresay that actually helped the transition go much more smoothly, from an emotional aspect. Having her love and support through those months of upheaval was invaluable.
Then, after we moved into our own place and the school year ended, I plunged myself deeply into college courses. Once again, I didn’t have time to think about the changes. I was still on a high, full of joy, glad to have my husband home on a regular basis.
But life went on and we got more settled. I had time to think, and that’s when I realized the ache. It was there all along, but I had kept stuffing it down deep inside. I had been covering it up with busyness. I couldn’t stuff it down anymore, and it bubbled to the surface. I sat on my bed and cried . . . ugly cried.
I was overwhelmed with loneliness.
It seeped in when I least expected it, and it still does.
I should be on top of the world, yet the loneliness continues to stare me back in the face. People might argue that I shouldn’t be having those feelings. How can I possibly be feeling lonely when I’m living close to family and now have my husband home all the time? The irony is that I know he feels it too. We have a healthy marriage, but our hearts are weighed down by the aches of loneliness.
There’s something so special about the friendships made during military life.
This season has made me appreciate our past military life all the more. You see, the military helped forge some of the deepest, lifelong friendships. Making friends was surprisingly easy. But as a military spouse, you knew you needed to. You know that your time in any location will likely be for only a few years, so time is always of the essence. Those friends become your biggest support and help. You learn very quickly who is for you, and you bond. There is something so special about that bond between military wives. We get it. We get the life. We get each other. We’re not afraid to go deep. We care for each other through the good and the bad. And when one of us gets relocated, we don’t lose touch. The bond is still there.
The same goes for my husband and his buddies. No matter what unit he served with, he forged deep friendships. These are men that he could depend his very life on. These are men who saw him at his best and at his worst.
Though you don’t lose those friendships once you transition back into the civilian world, you do find yourself in a realm of people who don’t understand the life you once lived. You feel disconnected and out of place. Making friends is suddenly not easy anymore. The things that once instantly bonded you to others now make you strangely different. You go from a world where everybody is looking for friends to a world where everybody already has their group of friends. You feel like an outsider trying to wedge yourself in.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I am not friendless. I have made friends since we’ve left the military life. But the bonds made during that time were so special that my heart aches for that. It creates an indescribable sense of longing.
I know that it will take time, but I wish I had been prepared for it.
I wish someone would have warned me about the loneliness. I didn’t expect this after military life.
Are you a former military wife who also battled loneliness after the transition or is still, perhaps, struggling with it? Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email!