Dating a US Marine

The marines are some of the most highly trained members of the US armed forces. And though their courage and combat skills are immensely attractive, they also come with a different set of priorities and a different kind of temperament, which do not make for easy dating. So if you have just stared dating a marine or are thinking of dating one, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Know the Marine Corps

Your marine boy/girlfriend is part of the US Marine Corps which like the US Army, US Navy and US Air Force function under the Department of Defense. However the marines are different from other service personnel by being are mobile, lightweight and very rapid. They are a highly mobile amphibious attack force. Marines are trained to attack from the water and establish a beach head, an area of control on foreign soil. After the marines take territory, other armed forces, such as the army, move in to maintain control, while the marines move on. You can start off your relationship with your marine partner on the right foot by finding out as much as you can about this highly specialized and decorated corps. Being aware of the functions and traditions will not only help you be proud of your partner’s job but also help you stay away from unnecessary comparisons with other branches of service especially regarding matters like leave and deployment.

Learn the lingo

The Marine Corps are a distinct service branch and as such have developed a set of unique terms and expressions. So if you are confused about certain words your partner uses or find him/her chatting in a practically foreign language with other marines and their families, why not ask him/her to help you pick up the lingo as well? For example, the "head" is marine-speak for the bathroom and "dog watch" is a watch duty shift that lasts from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Also like other service personnel, a marine is used to military time which operates on a 24-hour clock, with midnight being 0000. The morning hours are noted as 0100, 0200 and so on through noon which is 1200 and you always say ‘hours’ after the numbers unlike using ‘a.m’ or ‘p.m’ as in civilian time.

Be mentally prepared for long absences

The most important challenge when dating a marine involves having to get used to his/her long absences. Your marine boy/ marines could be sent away for training, schooling or even to fight in a war. In fact there may not be enough notice before he/she is subject to deployment and so you may have little time to prepare yourself emotionally. When he/she is out on a deployment, your marine may not be able to communicate with you very often. During these times, you must remain faithful to your marine and have faith that he/she is doing the same. Always be supportive when the organization calls a marine into training or for duty. At these times the best thing you can do for your relationship is to support your partner through all his/her military responsibilities so that he/she sees you as the ideal life mate for a marine.

Keep in touch

It is essential that you employ all possible methods of communication to stay in touch with your partner when he/she is away. These days there are several ways of keeping in touch across distances. Cell phones are the most convenient of them and for regions where there is no network, satellite phones can be used. Sometimes however use of phones may not be permitted for security purposes and on such occasions, you can use the internet to reach out to your partner. Send emails, chat or use Skype to communicate with each other. Write lots of letters and once in a while send your partner small reminders of your love – like a batch of his/her favorite cookies that you have baked yourself or a scrapbook of memories of the times you have spent together. These gestures will go a long way in keeping the relationship going during a training period or deployment.

At the same time you need to be aware that your marine boy/girlfriend cannot behave like a civilian friend on social media sites.  The marine corps expects its members to act like marines 24 hours a day - even in the virtual world. Because of these regulations, your marine may not be able to "post to your wall" or reply to public messages in certain ways. Everything he posts on social media websites has to defend the Marine Corps and show the entire branch a positive light.

Follow rules

Dating a marine is not like dating a guy or a girl in a regular job. The marines have to maintain a code of conduct in the public and are even proud of the high standards of behavior expected of them. As his/her partner, it is best if you too understand and respect these traditions. So tone down public displays of affection when your marine is in uniform since PDAs are frowned upon by the Marine Corps. While acts such as hugging or holding hands may be permissible at special events, such as graduations from boot camp, you shouldn't expect your marine to do these acts in public on a consistent basis. Understand that it is not because he/she doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to come close, it is because he/she is forbidden from these actions while in uniform. Also when dating a marine, familiarize yourself with rules of the base where he/she is posted. Rules may vary from base to another, so you may have to learn the rules at every base you visit with your marine.

Give him/her privacy

For security reasons, your marine boy/girlfriend will not be allowed to disclose all aspects of their duty, even to their family members, and this is especially true of someone who is deployed in combat zones. So you may find your partner not exactly forthcoming on where he will go from here or when he can you call you again. Try to understand their compulsions instead of complaining about their evasiveness or worse interpreting it as an attempt to hide something from you.

Finally lead a busy, fulfilling life yourself. Having a job, interesting hobbies and a strong network of friends and family members will help you to weather the long absences of your marine partner. In fact being an independent person becomes even more important if you and your partner are thinking of getting married. Not only he/she is likely to be absent for most of the times, as the resident partner you will have to take over all the responsibilities of running a home and family. Thus if you are interested in a serious relationship with a marine, you need to cultivate mental and emotional strength and find ways to keep yourself busy.