To The Girl Who Reminded Me That I’m “Just” a Girlfriend

Throughout the military community, I’ve met so many wonderful people. I’ve met people who are far more supportive, encouraging, and understanding than anyone I had in my life previously. They share a deep responsibility to care for others, genuinely and sincerely, and it’s often hard to imagine a time when I didn’t know some of these great people.

I’ve always been the type of person that cares immensely about others, so it was nice to finally be surrounded by people who had this delicate balance of strength and sensitivity. People who will let you cry when days are hard but remind you, carefully, when it’s time to put your big girl panties on. In most instances, these are the types of people I meet that represent the military community as a whole.

But every now and then, as some of you have probably found out, there are individuals who seem as though they only wish to bring us down. In my experiences, they haven’t always been those of the military community. Sometimes they’re just mean comments that come from a person who doesn’t know anything about the military or what it’s like to be in a military relationship. Sometimes it’s a family member who just doesn’t understand. And sometimes, it comes from someone who does know what it’s like, but they feel some need to make you feel bad about yourself, your choices, your relationship, or your life as a whole.

You’re just a girlfriend…”

Yes, I am. I am the girlfriend of a United States Army soldier. This fact has encompassed the most joyful and proud moments of my life so far. It has also been some of my scariest, most frustrating moments. I have laughed and I have cried, both alone and with him. Through our triumphs and failures we have built a foundation of love, whether we are together or apart.

I am a girlfriend, but I am also many other things. I’m a caregiver when needed, a supported, a lover, a hand to hold. I am a team member, a backbone, a provider, and a kiss goodnight. I am a puzzle piece that fills in where he lacks, and vise versa. I am a phone call when we’re thousands of miles apart. I am so many little things, that make up a gigantic love.

And the truth is, all of those things will forever be true. But being just a girlfriend is temporary. Someday, girlfriend will turn into fiance, and fiance will turn into wife. And all of those wonderful things that we already are will only evolve and become greater.

So yes, I am just a girlfriend. But there is no greater thing for me to be right now. There is no greater role; no other way that I would be needed more. I have never felt a need to belittle the role that someone else plays in their relationship, or their life. I have never wanted to make someone feel like they’re less than anything. With all of the other things we have to conquer in the world, as military couples and as individuals, why bother with such petty nonsense?

For those of you who have faced the same judgments, whether it be a situation like this one or something completely different, the hardest but most necessary thing for you to do is to rise above it. If someone chooses to use a label such as “wife”, “graduate”, “mother”, etc. to make you feel bad about your apparent “lack” of something, than they don’t truly value what lies behind that label. They only value the connotations that come with that label, and the respect that they believe it will gain them.

Always remember that it isn’t the label that matters. It’s who you are, who you surround yourself with, and why you do.

Have any of you faced a similar situation? How did you resolve it/were you able to?

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22 thoughts on “To The Girl Who Reminded Me That I’m “Just” a Girlfriend

  1. Good for you for understanding the difference! You are 100% right – people who put others down because of their apparent label don’t value the label. But your relationship with Kyle far exceeds the presence of a certain label. Love is love is love. You are going at your own pace as a couple & there isn’t a need to hit milestones at certain times. Keep being you Amanda 😊❤ I’m glad you won’t let these negative people get you down!

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    1. Thanks so much Julia! ❤️ it definitely takes some patience to deal with people like that. But we just have to remember that they’re the unhappy ones, unfortunately. But thank you for you support and kind words!

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  2. I completely agree with you! I’ve definitely felt the pressure from my married friends and family members! It can be so frustrating. Everyone has to start from somewhere. I personally do not see that much of a difference between my “girlfriend/boyfriend” life and “marriage life.” There should be love in both instances and that is what matters most to me, regardless of having a wedding ring and all that jazz! When the time comes, marriage will be wonderful, but for now I’m completely content with being the military girlfriend! I feel like we have just as important of a role as any wife does 🙂

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    1. Absolutely! I think that many people, women mostly, feel pressured to be married because they think that after X amount of time, that’s what’s “right”. It’s like they feel less classy or less important by just dating. It’s so sad to see that some married people look down on dating couples like that. They forget that they were in the same boat once!

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  3. Unfortunately you’re going to encounter this type of ranking throughout your spouse’s career. Right now, it’s “you’re just a girlfriend”, then it’ll be “you’re not a mother”, then it’ll be something else. For me it was always “you’re just a Reservist’s wife” as if his two deployments were to Disney World and his 19 years of service were fictional. These are the people you want to avoid at all costs. These are the people who think they wear their spouse’s rank.

    Thankfully, they seem to be dwindling in numbers over the last few years. Just smile and shut them down with “What was it like way back when you were just a girlfriend?” 😉

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    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m sure I’ll learn how to handle these situations a bit better as the years go on, but in the moment I was so taken aback by it. But you’re absolutely right; it will always be something with those types of people!

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  4. You are so much more than “just a girlfriend” my dear! Amazing piece of writing there! I so understand you and can relate to you. I´ve faced similar situations, or am still facing one. It just makes me feel sad that people feel the need to put someone else down. For whatever reason. It´s just not fair and human. It´s pretty darn mean. So, don´t listen to those who say them, but do tell them what you mean, in a way that will make you much more capable (which you are!) to handle a situation. I get back at people like that with a clever statement that will make them surprised I said that. Something like “well, I am a better friend than some other people”, “friendship is the basis of trust” or “better girlfriend than ex-wife.” It can take courage to say something like that (for me it´s a giant leap, but after all that is one of my resolutions, to stand up for myself)
    Don´t let comments like that get to you. I know it´s really hard. Hang in there! XOXO

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! It’s so important to be able to stand up for ourselves, whether the result is good or bad. Some people are very stuck in their ways, and it’s really too bad that they chose to live their life in such a negative mindset towards others. We just have to remember that our happiness and the happiness of our loved ones is all that matters. Best of luck with those resolutions, I’m sure it’ll get easier the more you practice!

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  5. This is seriously perfect. I used to tell my (now) husband that I hated the way people would respond to me saying I was his ‘girlfriend.’ I wish I would’ve had this to remind me that I shouldn’t have felt embarrassed or ridiculous for being ‘just the girlfriend.’ AMAZING POST! Love it!

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    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you found it helpful! I have to remind myself sometimes not to get irritated with the comments that some people make, but it’s definitely a learning process. I’m sure someday I’ll look back on it and wonder why I ever let it bother me haha. Thanks again!

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  6. I’ve been in your shoes and often I found that being “just the girlfriend” was the much harder role. The support system of a soldier is a key element in our Army and I hope no one actually believes a document of marriage is the only way to prove your loyalty and love.

    My husband and I are newleyweds and both serve. I’m excited to follow your blog! 🇺🇸

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    1. I have often felt that it’s the more difficult role as well, and for so many reasons. Our current dilemma is a pending deployment, and my lack of rights if it goes through. Basically I won’t be a priority for information if something were to happen, which is pretty scary. Unfortunately “married” seems to be the status we need for certain military things. But it’s certainly not an obstacle we can’t handle! Congratulations on your marriage, and thank you very much for your service. I’ll be sure to visit your blog as well!

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  7. I’ve gotten these kinds of comments so often! When Casey was at Ranger School I was regular told that I didn’t have the right to miss him because we weren’t married and there were real couple with struggles. I never understood why people feel the need to build up their relationships by belittling mind! You’re so right! You are no alone.

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    1. Wow, that’s just terrible. “Real” couples?! It never ceases to amaze me how stuck up some people can be. I can’t imagine how unhappy someone would have to be to bring another person down just for the hell of it. I hope you stood up to those people, and reminded them that they don’t have the “right” to dictate how you feel!

      Thanks so much for the support ❤️

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  8. Sometimes it doesn’t get any easier when we become a wife. I’ve only been married since last February and just went through my first PCS to Germany. I didn’t grow up military and most of the time I still wonder what it is I’m supposed to be doing. We don’t have children so I don’t fit in that circle (and that’s a big circle). My advice and what I’ve learned is to continue to live my life and do the things that make me happy and my husband. Because at the end of the day I’m not an Air Force wife.. I’m just a wife…

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    1. Very true. I think many women have forgotten that, and what it means. Happiness is really the core to everything. Thank you for the advice, it definitely helps to hear from people who have more experience with this than I do!

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  9. Wow, I absolutely LOVE this article! You put it into such perfect words! I feel like this is what every military girlfriend goes through. I remember I was dating my current boyfriend for only 4 months before he had to deploy for 6 months. At the homecoming, apparently all the other wives knew about me but were shocked to find out that I was only dating him for 4 months before he left and we made it through deployment! We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. But anyway, love this article and keep making amazing blog post! 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s always funny how people judge a relationship based on time, not who those two people are together. I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years this Saturday, and I always get the “you’re not married yet?!” question. But we all don’t have to be in a big rush! Congratulations on your anniversary and his safe return 🙂 and thank you for reading!

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