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Military Dating — Finding Love Amidst the Challenges of Military Life

Last updated on 2 April 2024 

   Whether you are still active in the military or you are a veteran may we begin by thanking you for your service. No matter what your rank, role or country you are a hero for your friends, family, and the people of your homeland. No matter your role within the military, it is not a career choice that makes finding love easy. Many military personnel are away from home for long periods of time and spend a lot of time with the same group of people. The military does not have particularly strict rules when it comes to dating each other unless one of those involved greatly outranks the other and the relationship is deemed to be detrimental to the running of that particular department, battalion, etc. These relationships can be a problem if one of the parties involved has positional authority over the other. While this seems excellent as it means military personnel can date each other it does not occur as often as you would think. This is mainly because of how much time you would have to spend together, and how awkward this time would be if the relationship went sour!

It could be said that military personnel struggle in the online dating world. This is primarily because people are put off dating someone in the military as there are many occasions where military personnel are away for long periods of time. This does not make online dating impossible as there are now specific online chat rooms dedicated to helping military personnel reach others and begin a journey toward a connection.

Dating someone who is in a different profession to you has many benefits but more often than not the best relationships form when there is a similarity in terms of career choice. There are many positives of dating another member of military personnel and we have outlined a few of these below.

  • The first positive is that they have the same professional background as you. Meeting people from different backgrounds, including their career, is not a negative but dating someone with the same, or similar, career to you definitely has its bonuses. The first of these bonuses is that both of you will understand what the other one is saying when the topic of work comes up. There may be events you, or they, do not wish to talk about — especially if you have seen active duty. If you are both in the military you will understand all of the callsigns, have similar stories, and will have a mutual interest in the military. 
  • Let's be honest, everyone knows that being in the military is not as simple as going to work at 9 am and getting home at 5 pm! There will be times you are away for weeks on end and your free time will not be a regular occurrence! Dating another person in the military means you will understand the complexities of their career, and that their free time is precious and will not occur regularly. They will understand and not judge!
  • Your work commitments probably make it very difficult for you to meet someone outside of your usual friend and/ or work circle. Socializing or meeting new people can be difficult when you have to work away or have lots of training to do. You will want to create a romantic relationship away from your work circle so that things do not get awkward if things go wrong!
  • If you are both in the military you will know the potential experiences the other person may have had. You will know the questions to ask/ not to ask and so will they. Dating another member of the military means you will both be aware of what could cause upset or distress and what to do to help the other person. Your connection could become more than romantic, it could become much more. 

It could be argued that there are just as many positives to dating another member of the military as there are to dating someone who is not military at all. You may find dating another member of the military predictable but at the same time feel secure knowing you both understand the other person's situation. 

Tips & Advice for Online Messaging

     You may think that because you and your prospective date both work within the same profession you know exactly what to talk about and the topics you may need to avoid. However, this is not necessarily true. There are in fact questions that you should not ask (at least in the beginning) and topics that you should avoid (again, especially in the beginning). Just because you share your area of work does not mean that the conversation will come naturally easy.  The first reason for this is that while you both might be military personnel you could be working in very different areas. First, we are going to look at the questions and topics to avoid.

  • You do not want to delve too deep into their personal life. This could be said when dating anyone. Information about their financial situation and/ or relationship history should only be shared when each person is ready and a connection based on mutual trust has been well established. Do not ask questions such as ‘How much do you earn in a year?’, ‘why aren’t you married yet?’, ‘why did your last relationship fail?’ etc as you are likely to put your new friend off rather than encourage a relationship.  Only discuss past relationships if they bring it up and are happy to discuss them.
  • Do not focus too much on work. While we suggest that you discuss your respective careers this should not be the sole focus of your discussions. More often than not most military personnel do not want to discuss their work too much, especially when trying to establish romantic connections. Of course, it is only natural that you will end up talking about the part of the military you both work in, years of service, etc but you do not want to end up having this as your main topic of conversation
  • Depending on the particular part of the military your online date is from will impact this next one. It could be said that a veteran, or even a current serving member, will possibly have aspects of their career they either cannot discuss (confidentiality laws) or would rather not discuss. There could be aspects of their military career, such as active service, that are harrowing or bring up awful memories for them. Be understanding and if they say no to a topic, respect this. 
  • Avoid being boring. Yes, you may be nervous but if you are bored then your new military acquaintance will surely walk away. Not all military personnel lead exciting work lives (e.g. not all of them are on active duty in a battlefield etc) but that does not mean they want to sit and discuss the weather all of the time!

Now, the most important things to remember are the topics you should discuss and the questions that are a definite must to ask! Here, we are going to look at the topics and questions that are definitely appropriate when dating a member of the military and talking with them (whether online or in person).

  • This is not necessarily an easy one so tread carefully. You can always ask them about their day. It is likely that they will discuss aspects of their working day but do not push them for too much information. As you are aware, they probably can’t tell you much! Asking them how they are, what they did that day, and how they are going to relax are good starting points. It is key to note that most military personnel will probably go about their day without being asked how it is going, they will appreciate your interest and care!
  • Most military personnel don’t have spare time that often or they have it in chunks e.g. a lot of active soldiers get two weeks at home and then are away again for months. Ask about their plans for their time, what they like to do to relax etc. The long-term goal here is to get to the point where you make joint plans together…that is if your R&R dates match up!
  • It is always good to find out about your dates journey. We do not mean that you should pry into their dating history or find out every private piece of information. You could ask about their professional journey and see if there are any similarities! You could discuss where you both trained, why you entered into that particular aspect of the military, and, possibly, what your long-term goals are. This will show your interest in the ‘whole them’, not just their social or career side. 
  • It is likely that your prospective date would much rather talk about something other than their profession. You could talk about memories from your childhood, ask them about their family, or discuss your hobbies. Not only is this a wonderful way of getting to know each other but also works wonders as a back-and-forth conversation. You can discuss the similarities and differences between you both (for all of the aforementioned topics), share comical stories from the past, and see how your families compare. One piece of advice here though. When discussing families make sure you do not ask too deep a question. You do not want to upset your military date!
  • If you have started your dating journey with your military person online then we hope that you will have taken the time to read their profile. This is the best thing you can do to make a fantastic impression. If you comment on what they write or ask questions relating to their profile it will show you have taken the time to find out more about them before engaging them in conversation. Military personnel are thorough by nature and regimented, as you know, and will appreciate someone showing genuine interest in them. 
  • This next one could be said of dating anyone, no matter their profession. Ask general, open-ended questions. Try not to ask closed questions (those that seek a yes or no answer). You want to make sure the conversation flows at all times. You could discuss a whole host of topics such as films, cooking, music, travel, etc. Just make sure that the topics you pick are of interest to you both! If you do all of the talking they will get bored very quickly!

One thing that is important to remember is that you should not use your rank against your prospective date. It could be true of any workplace or industry that people in certain positions look down upon those in other areas. No matter your, or their, rank you should treat your prospective date with respect at all times.

Date Ideas for Your Perfect Military Dating!

     You may either start your military dating journey in the offline world or move there from the online world. Either way, you will want to make sure your dates are enjoyable for both parties involved and that you plan dates that help take you from friends to a romantic military couple. Your dating experience will not be as straightforward as a civilian dating journey. Your free time is not necessarily as structured or regular as most people's so your dates will take more careful planning. Here we look at some of the different date ideas for military personnel that will help your journey blossom into something beautiful!

  • Plan your weekends/ free time accordingly. This could be the only spare time you have and you do not want to waste (all of) it watching television. You could plan to head off to street festivals, food events, or live music. Depending on which area of the military you serve in you will either want to head off on quiet dates or disappear off into the hustle and bustle with your date. You need to make sure that you both plan your dates with each other in mind. You want your time together to be time well spent, not time wasted with one of you wishing for a different activity!
  • Picnics are a lovely idea for two military personnel who want to get out into the fresh air, do something physical, and enjoy spending time with their date. You and your date could go for a romantic walk along the beach or a hike in the countryside finished off with a delicious picnic. No air-packed meals!
  • Who doesn’t enjoy a classic date? You could take your date out for a romantic meal, head for a coffee date, or just go for a romantic walk. As the old saying goes, if ain't broke why fix it? Just make sure you pick a date that gives you both the opportunity to talk and get to know each other. The old classic of going to the ‘pictures’ (cinema) is not really viable as you will not have the chance to actually speak with each other. You do not want to spend up to two hours in silence, staring at a screen!
  • A themed dinner date is another fantastic date idea. This is where you pick a particular cuisine and run with it! You pick a cuisine that you both like and either cook that meal together or order it in! Open a bottle of wine, eat some delicious food, and spend some quality time together!
  • If you have dated for a little while, you can start introducing new date ideas. Some of this will be dependent on your interests. You could get a nice bottle of wine, turn off the television, turn on some music, and have a cheese and wine night. One fun game that all people, not just military professionals do, is the date night choosing game. People play rock, paper, scissors. Whoever wins each round picks something different for the night, for example, the first winner picks the starter, the second the main, the third the desserts, the fourth the drinks, etc. You could do the same to pick your activity. Not only is this fun, and different every time, but it provides you with a wonderful evening!
  • If your particular military career is quite active you could head out on an active date. Whether you go on a bike ride, hike, or take part in a sport together. On the flip side, you may want a quieter date where you spend more time together. One of the quieter date ideas is a games night together. Look into how to play a game with just two players, have some lovely food, and enjoy playing a game together. This is a great idea as it will completely distract you both from work while giving you time to chat and build more of a connection. Just make sure that if you pick an active date idea you both want to do it and will enjoy it! 
  • If you have been dating for a little while, a fantastic idea is to do the raffle idea. This is where you both have scraps of paper and write down different date ideas you would like to go on. You fold these pieces of paper and put them in a jar or container of some sort. When it comes to planning a date you pick one of the pieces of paper and go on that date! Just make sure you both only put ideas that you will both be, at least, happy to try. The best bit about this for military personnel is that it can be completed when you are both free!

When dating another member of the military you need to be understanding of their schedule, think outside the box when it comes to dates and treat them in the same way you wish to be treated. There is one other thing you need to be mindful of. Military personnel tend to be quite driven people who want to move through the ranks. This can have an impact on their personal lives. You need to be prepared for this and understand when the time comes. The hope is that they will do the same! You could touch on this subject early on and if you are worried at all either discuss the concerns or look elsewhere! Do all this and they will respond in kind. Make sure you are always polite, respectful, and listen!


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