One terrible fact of military life is moving.
All the time.
Since my husband joined almost four years ago, we have lived in three different states and four different apartments.
We just renewed a lease for the first time in our marriage. Each of our children were conceived in a different state than they were born in, and neither were born (or conceived) in the same state.
Update: since writing this post, we had another child who was actually conceived and born in the same state, but he was conceived in a different state than the rest of my children. Also, we have moved two more times, each time buying a new house, in two different states. Navy life sure is an adventure. You should see how fun our taxes are. 🙂
Our first duty station was a training command, most of the people there were like us and living on their own for the first time and eager to meet others.
There were several Facebook groups, and meetups all the time. I personally held “Girl’s Day” at my house every Friday for several months.
I had close friends, and the majority of my close friends I met there I still keep in touch with today. I look back fondly at my memories there. As a “nuke” wife, you will definitely be starting out in South Carolina.
If you live on base, you will definitely meet a lot of people, if you find the Facebook groups, you’ll interact with other wives in the exact same position as you.
The second duty station we had was a lot different. I was closer to family, so instead of trying to meet people and start friendships, I visited family I hadn’t seen in years and kept close with the great friends I had known for a decade or longer. The military friends I had there were already established, they moved when we moved, so we kept in touch.
Now here we are at our third duty section and I’m far away from everything and everyone. We have one set of very close friends that we spend time with just about every day. Our daughters are best friends, and they’re the first people we call whenever we hear about anything fun, or we just want to hang out. Aside from that, I have not met really any new people at all.
Being a military wife is lonely. As a nuke wife, you get to look forward to your husband being gone for at least 25% of your nights. This is because of duty days. On a fantastic, overmanned ship, you’ll get four section duty. Meaning he will be on watch for 24 hours once every four days. He still has his job commitment, so don’t expect him to get his day after duty off. He won’t.
This is why you need friends.
- Your husband’s friends’ (or coworker’s) wives. He has friends, they can’t spend a zillion hours a week together and not have found friends. Ask about his friends and invite them over.
- Facebook. There are seriously at least 83 Navy wife groups in every duty station. Where we are stationed, there is a new one every few days. You can search “Navy Wives in (your state, duty station) or “(ship name) Navy Wives” or ask your Ombudsman.
- Your Ombudsman. This person is your liaison to your husband’s command. She will be aware of the official groups connected to your husband’s command. She can point you to any classes, groups, or meet ups from the command.
- FRG Meetings. This is “Family Readiness Group” and all the commands have one. They have meetings. These are usually once a month, and there are lots of people there. You’ll meet the FRG board, the Ombudsman, new wives, old wives, pregnant wives, even husbands.
- Friends of Friends. Reach out to your friends from your old command and ask them if they know anyone in your new command. When we moved here we met up with someone because they knew our old friends in New York. It was like validation for both of us that this person is okay, and we had our mutual friend in common.
- Meetup.com They have groups for everything. They have groups for dog walkers, photographers, there is legitimately hundreds of categories to choose from. The last I checked, within 10 miles of me is 445 meetups. That’s insane. You’re sure to find someone!
- Neighbors. When we bought a house in Virginia, our neighbors came over and introduced themselves one by one. It’s been two years since we moved away from there, and we still keep in touch, and miss them dearly. You NEED to build your own family when you’re so far away from home. This is a great way to do it. Bring some cookies!
- Take Your Dog For Walks. If you don’t have a dog, become a dog walker. Go on those new Facebook groups you found and tell everyone that you want to walk dogs. Set your price, and get to stepping. You meet so many people when you go out for a walk every day. Some people in our last duty station just knew me as “Anchovy’s mom”.
- Volunteer Someplace You’re Passionate About. This is great, because you’re giving back. My favorite places to donate time are dog shelters. I love walking the dogs and taking pictures of them to help them get adopted.
What can you do today to find new friends? Don’t answer that, go out and do it!
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