Reality of Loving A Guy In Combat Boots

Let’s face it girls (and boys) there is a fair amount of ohhhhhh hells yeah sex appeal and romantic ideals attached to guys who wear combat boots for a living.  In the world of Romance Writing the sexy Marine, Army, Air Force or Navy guy either still actively duty or honourably discharged due to injury as the hero is one of the top 3 hero types. We have a fairly romantic ideal of this tall, fit, sexy, silent and slightly mysterious man who is mouth-wateringly sexy in camouflage gear and combat boots and cream your panties orgasm on sight sexy in their formal uniforms.  BTW from experience I can tell you that formal uniform can transform a really irritating guy into “well helloooo sexy” instantly (no idea why but it’s true).

One of the main things that possibly adds to the sex appeal of the combat boot cami gear clad guy is the fact that there is a fare about of mystery surrounding their life, their job and well just about everything about them.  If they happen to be belong to a Special Operations  unit (e.g. Navy SEAL, SAS, Recon Marine, Army Ranger, Commando) the mystery and thus sex appeal seems to go up.

So if you have your heart set on finding a combat boot wearing man (or woman) as your happily ever after read the below so you have a bit more of an idea of what you’re really in for.  None of the below bad mouths the combat boot crowed I have dated some and worked with a lot of them and they have been some of the nicest, politest and at times craziest guys I’ve ever met.

IF YOU’RE CLINGY & INSECURE FOR GET IT: Not being mean but if you are the type of person who needs to know where your partner is 24/7 and get’s shitty if they don’t text back within 2 minutes DO NOT DATE A SOLIDER!!!!!!!  The reality is that your Combat Boots will be gone for long stretches of time and he/she may not have access to any type of internet or phone system.  If they are deployed you might be able to send them snail mail (yes hand written letter posted via the Postal System) but they may not be able to send replies. It’s unlikely your combat boots is ever going to talk in detail about their job and yeah they will probably stop talking to their buddies or on their mobile when you walk in the room…….why……because they are legally NOT allowed to divulge information about 99.9% of what they do to anyone not directly related to their chain of command. So if  you are the suspicious type who goes through phone records, emails and so on trying to find out what they are not telling you it’s not going to work out. Special Operation Units partners might get a text message saying something like “going wheels up in 1 hour” and then not see or hear from their combat boots for days, weeks or months on end.  Imagine if you get the text “going wheels up in 45 min” and then 6 weeks later you come home to find your combat boots asleep on the lounge (fully dressed) having had zero communication from him/her since the text message 6 weeks earlier.  If your reaction is total drama queen and you want to scream, rage, rant and say things like “where the fuck have you been for the last 6 weeks” then burst into tears and sob out “you just left me, why didn’t you call” and so on YOU WILL NOT LAST AS A COMBAT BOOTS PARTNER.  If your reaction is to stop the door slamming so it doesn’t wake him/her up and then think “oh thank god he’s home safe” before tiptoeing upstairs to put fresh sheets on the bed, mentally run through what to cook for dinner that he’ll love and to then go make a batch of his favourite cookies (trying hard to do it all silently) YOU ARE COMBAT BOOTS PARTNER MATERIAL.

SECURITY CLEARANCE: This never seems to get mentioned in romance novels or much in life actually but it’s very much part of life as the partner of someone who wears combat boots.  Once you move from casual dating (or sex) into the realm of “partner” you will have to be security cleared.  Even low level security clearance is invasive and the clearance level you are required to undergo will depend on the level your man (or woman) has. The higher the security clearance the more information you will be required to provide and you do not get the option of saying “none of your fucking business” when they ask things like “you’re banking transactions show you shopped online at SexyGirlsToys recently what did you buy” (not kidding I got asked something like that). If you have kids they will also require clearance and unless you are a widow the children’s biological dad/s (or mum/s) will also require clearance. Be prepared for clearance to possibly be done on family members (mum, dad, siblings), close friends and if you are not at the living with your combat boots stage then your current and possibly x-housemates.  They will look into your medical history, educational history, work history, finances, places you’ve lived, places you’ve travelled, court appearances (civil or criminal), criminal history and other shit dating back anywhere from the last 3 years to your entire life depending on clearance level you require.  This process will put a HUGE amount of stress on your relationship because if you fail to get your clearance it could end your relationship. So make sure you are willing to be totally honest about anything and it helps if you’ve already talked to your combat boots about what level of clearance you’ll be undergoing and any issues that might pop up.

IT”S A SMALL WORLD: You might look at the size of say the Army and think it’s huge but trust me it’s a small community and everyone seems to know someone who know’s someone who know’s your combat boots.  The higher your security clearance the more likely it is that 99% of your social life will happen with the circle of people your combat boots works with because maintaining outside the wire relationships is hard as you can NOT talk about your life inside the wire.  Plus if say your man is for example a Commando anyone you regularly see who is NOT part of your new world will be viewed as a security threat. From the point of view of support the other combat boot partner crowed is good as they know what you’re going through when the Combat Boots are away on exercises or get’s deployed to a war zone. They also understand the stress of things like moving every few years, being a sometimes single parent, the deployment fear and all the other stuff that is the reality of being a combat boot partner. However like any village everyone thinks they know everything about everyone else life and they will discuss you. Some of it might be just gossip but most of it will be them trying to decide if you are the right girl (or guy) for your combat boots. Think of it as a cross between being the new kid at school so everyone will be curious about you and a very large family full of over protective siblings. If you get a reputation as a bitch, slut, possibly husband stealer or some other negative tag it will follow you to every base you end up living on. So be prepared to play nice even if you want to bitch slap the cow who just called you fat don’t just tuck it away for LATER.  Once you’ve put a ring on it, learnt the ropes and proved you’ve got what it takes to be a full combat boots partner hells yeah bitch slap away (unless it’s your combat boots commanding officers partner that would not end well). Be prepared for people to judge and make assumptions if you become close to someone of the opposite gender and you hang out at each others places a lot someone will inevitably decide you are cheating on your combat boots and probably tell him. To avoid issues make sure your combat boots is 110% ok with the friendship and will tell people that.

HOUSING: Once you move from casual whatever to partner the issue of housing will need to be delta with and it’s way more complicated than deciding if he just moves in with you at your current digs or do you move out and the two of you get a place together. The military lets their combat boots live in 3 types of accommodation and none of them are moving in with you and your housemates.

  1. Barracks – normally it’s where single combat boots live and could be anything from 4 to 12 people in a room with a bathroom at the end of the hall all the way up to officer quarters which is normally single room with own bathroom. Mostly they are gender segregated so you doing sleepovers tends to be a no no and your sure as hell NOT going to be moving in. As you can imagine this also means there is not a lot of privacy so if you are snuck in for a sleepover keep the noise down and try to keep phone or video calls decent because combat boots may not be the only one listening.
  2. On Base Housing – mostly this tends to be for the married combat boots and could be a small apartment or if they have children a house. If your combat boots wants to transition from Barracks to On Base Housing there is a shit load of paperwork, a lot of pretty please sir can you help and you will need to have been fully security cleared before they even consider the application. On Base Housing has some upsides like it’s secure, you quickly become part of the combat boot partner community and it tends to be discounted. There is also downsides to this type of housing some of which are you don’t get to pick furniture, decor or utility providers. You’ll probably find your internet activity is monitored or filtered through key word systems and blocked if it’s found to breach the agreement you will have to sign. So if you are an avid blogger but your topics trigger alerts you will find yourself having a “please explain” meeting with security which is NOT good for your combat boots as what you do on base affects his/her job. Security Passes and Lockdowns are something you’ll have to get used to.  To get on or off a base you will need to be cleared at the gate EVERY TIME and god forbid you forget or lose your pass (trusts me spending 3 hours in the Gate House waiting for someone to say yeah ok let her/him in or out is not fun). If a Lockdown occurs and you are off base you will not be allowed back on base till it ends.  If you are on base and the Lockdown happens you can not get off the base.  Lockdowns are not advertised in any way they will just happen so be prepared because you could wake up and find you can’t go to work or can’t get home or can’t go collect the kids and it could be anything from 2 hours to several days depending on what triggered the Lockdown (if it’s days they do make special allowances to collect kids who are outside the wire).
  3. Off Base Housing – this option entirely depends on the base size (not all bases have On Base Housing) and IF your combat boots get’s approved to do this. As per most things in the Military it will take a shit load of paperwork, lots of pretty please sir can I do this and you having already gained security clearence.  If your combat boots is already living off base (normally share housing with other approved combat boots) and you move in before you’ve been security cleared and he/she’s been given permission to allow you to move in then your combat boots will get in a shit load of trouble.  Not the bast way to start your life as a combat boot partner or make a good impression on the rest of the combat boot partners set.

MOVING: Unless your combat boots is about to retire he/she will be transferred to where ever the hell the Military decides they are needed so get used to moving.  Combat Boots rotation in his/her position will normally last between 9 months and 3 years then they’ll get rotated out to their new position which could be on a base in the same State, on the opposite side of the country or on the opposite side of the world (it depends mostly on their skills, who’s military it is and who the heck they’ve pleased or pissed off).  The USA Military has a lot more places than say the Australian Military to rotate people through but that doesn’t mean you won’t move, it just means you might not end up in a totally different country for 3 years.  Hopefully you and your combat boots have had a chance to get all the security clearance stuff done and managed to be allowed to live together before he/she rotates out of their current position. Sometimes if you are lucky you’ll get a couple of months warning that the move is about to happen and have time to do all the paperwork, organising movers, getting kids prepared, resigning from your job and so on. However there is always the possibility that the  warning will be 2 weeks (or less) so your combat boots will go first and you are left to deal with everything else (this is more likely to happen if you are not yet an offical partner who has been security cleared). If you are not an offical partner who’s been security cleared following your combat boots will be 100% your problem you will get zip, zero, zilch assistance from the Military, depending on where your combat boots is being rotated to you may not be able to follow (e.g. US Marines rotating through Darwin don’t get to bring partners). Making friends with other Combat Boot Partners is the best way to find help in solving all the little shit that will come up like what forms to fill in, quotes for movers, information on the new location you’re going because most of them will have been through it probably more than once. Technically the Military will help with organising some things like movers, school admissions, breaking lease and they might help you shift jobs if you work for Dept of Defence (or another government agency). However there is no guarantee they can or will help with any of those things as it depends on a lot of variables including if you are officially classified as your combat boots partner.

Hopefully the above has given some idea of the reality that goes with loving someone who wears combat boots for a living.  If this is the path you have your heart set on or your just at the getting to know each other stage think long and hard about things like

  • your career – how will moving every few year impact on your career path, can you get a new job in whatever location he/she’s deployed in, if you give up your career to accommodate their needs are you going to hate them for it later
  • moving your kids from school to school every few year’s or do you send them to boarding school (not all kids cope with constant change).
  • special needs children if your child is say autistic or has some other type of disability are you going to be able to access the services you need in different locations
  • if you co-parent you kids how will moving around a lot effect their relationship with their biological mum/dad
  • is there any reason you CAN NOT follow your combat boots around the globe (carer for ageing parents, carer for disabled sibling, legal agreement with x-partner about children, you’re studying to be a doctor and can not transfer to another university)
  • feeling isolated, alone and scared – can you handle being away from your friends, family and other support networks when the going gets tough and it will get tough.

Soul Mate – What Do I Really Want?

From the time most girls hit puberty or hight school society starts the subtle and sometimes not so subtle message that it is time to start the process of finding your soul mate with the end goal of settling down and popping out a couple of offspring.  Flirtatious behaviour and casual dating are encourage and rewarded (mostly) and over time young ladies learn what their preferred TYPE is.

By their mid-20s they will have been on enough good or bad dates to give you a list (occasionally a very detailed list) of what they find attractive or unattractive in their prospective soul mate. They could also probably produce a detailed description of what they find desirable or undesirable in their soul mate including physical appearance, cultural background, hobbies, belief systems and so on ad-nauseam.

I was always considered a little odd because I didn’t date in my teens, early 20s or even mid 20s.  I’ve had more than one person quietly ask if I’m gay and just kept my dating on the down low.  I’ve had others who do not know my family assume I came from a home with strict rules or religious beliefs that meant I was not allowed to date.  In actual fact I didn’t date because I’m autistic so I don’t read body language, facial expressions, tonal voice changes so flirting was and still is a total mystery to me. If I did go out with any guy or girl I just assumed it was friendship and had no clue if they were flirting with me so date things like snogging never happened it was just a fun night out.  As a consequence I was often baffled as to why one week someone was really nice to me and the next week wouldn’t talk to me – apparently it was because I didn’t follow the date behaviour script that eventually leads to snogging and they got upset and thought I didn’t like them.

My first offical date happened when I was 27 (nope not kidding) and he defiantly didn’t follow the standard flirt, date, snog, sex rules.  I’d  only just transferred to a military base on the out skirts of Melbourne in Victoria Australia when I met C (I’ve deliberately not written his name he’ll just be C).  Anyway every morning I caught the train from where I lived to just outside the base and entered the base at exactly 08:00.  To get from the base gates to the building I worked in I walked right past the Base Shop and like clockwork at 08:15 I ordered a large soy latte to go and took it with me to my desk.

There was always in the Base Shop guys in uniforms getting coffee or food and if they said hi I would absent mindedly say hi and smiled in their general direction.  Someone always seem to open the door as I approached and I’d smile in their general direction and say thanks.  I had no idea who they were and at that time in the morning I couldn’t have cared less I was 100% focused on getting my caffeine fix.  Every now and again someone would ask me questions and I’d answer them politely but still not paying much attention to who I was talking to (by the time I got to my desk I couldn’t even tell you what gender they were let alone anything else about them).

Then one Thursday morning I as per normal got in line to order my coffee and before I could open my mouth the girl behind the counter handed me my coffee and a note.  This was defiantly a WTF moment and very much out of my routine.  The note said “Hi training started early today, I’ve already paid for your coffee see you tomorrow morning. C” .  I was actually a little cranky as this totally fucked up my daily routine and I had no idea who this C was.  Then it turned into one of those days where shit didn’t just hit the fan it exploded like a volcanic eruption and I  totally forgot all about the coffee incident.

The next morning (Friday) as per normal I’m in line at 08:15 behind some tall guy in army camouflage gear waiting to order my coffee.  I mentally catalogued that he was very well built and then switched my mental capacity to trying hard not to yawn my head off or fall asleep in line and face plant into his muscly back.  Next thing I know sexy uniform turns around and hands me a coffee, which I took while doing the look from coffee to sexy uniforms face with total confusion.  He holds out his now free hand and say “Hi I’m C sorry I couldn’t stay yesterday”, I’m 99% sure there was a one of those everyone goes dead quiet longer than socially polite pause as I mentally went WHO but then my manners kicked in and I smiled and said “Hi I’m Dominique and thanks for the coffee”.

By now I had realised two things:

  1. This was the guy who paid for my coffee yesterday
  2. Everyone in the shop was now watching what would happen

I put a smile on my rapidly reddening face and said “um I don’t mean to be rude but I need to get moving I have to be in a Staff Meeting at 08:45”.  I was expecting him to do the open door and let me out thing while making pleasant small talk routine but nope yet again he didn’t follow normal behaviour rules.   He did open the door but he followed me out and walked me all the way to my desk, which turned a few heads.  In the short time period between exiting shop and arriving at desk  I relaxed so when he asked me if he could take me on a dinner date that night I said yes.

I found out after we’d been together for a bit that he’d been trying to flirt with me every morning for 2 weeks, which I missed totally I don’t even remember talking to him till he handed me a coffee.  Then one afternoon while taking his frustration at my lack of response and possible disappointment that I was attached out on the punching bag in the gym he’d got talking to one of the guys I worked with who told him that no I wasn’t attached I was just a little odd and to try a more direct approach.  This lead him to think up the buying my coffee idea, which worked and for a short time made us both happy.

After C and I broke up I dated, well kind of more like got involved with two other military guys neither of which lasted very long but they were fun.  Then I started the epic Husband Hunt, which the entire Surviving Cookie Cutter Dating blog is about.

You would assume after having filled out what feels like a gazillion “preferred partner” forms & questionaries and gone on enough bad dates that I’d have a rock solid idea of my TYPE!  Oddly I do not.  If anything the  be more specific, narrow it down to a specific type, give more specific details, pick the top 10 must have attributes or whatever I constantly get asked for from everything from websites to love spell casters has made me less picky.  I mean isn’t the whole point of a SOUL MATE that your souls energy recognises and connects to their souls energy, which is an unseen force not dictated by their eye colour or job?

I have 5 very simple criteria for my soul mate:

  1. He is single
  2. I find him mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually attractive
  3. He finds me mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually attractive
  4. We’re there for each other through good and bad
  5. Mutual respect – neither of us is better or worse than the other we are fully formed adults with past lives that we might or might not want to discus but moving forward we are equal in the relationship

Not exactly a huge long list is it!

I don’t need him to complete me, to be my protector, to save me from fire breathing dragons or be by my side 24/7.  I don’t care if he wears designer suits or combat boots so long as he likes what he’s doing.  I don’t need to know where he is 24/7 so if  travels for work or get’s deployed for months at a time it’s not going to bug me.  I’d worry about him and if he’s deployed I’d send regular care packages but I’m not going to expect constant text or phone contact.  I’m secure enough as a fully formed adult to not feel threatened if he shows another human being affection and I expect him to respect and trust me the same way.

So why am I still single?