You’d figure service members dating each other would be way easier than service members dating civilians because of the shared connection and a mutual understanding that service comes first, but it’s actually the opposite. There’s a laundry list of expectations and rules pressed on a relationship in the service that don’t exist for dating a civilian.
Don’t get me wrong, some military members weather the storm and make long-lasting relationships from serving together, but it takes more attention to detail than a non-military/military courtship.
1. Just don’t go there.
Okay, I know this is supposed to be about advice on how to date other military members, but there needs to be a disclaimer up-front because things can get real messy. First off, it’s probably best not to date anyone from your same unit. If the relationship sours, you will have to see that person every day for who-knows-how-long until one of you moves workplaces or duty stations.
The military is small and the chances of seeing your ex again or having them as a supervisor sometime in your career are pretty high. Imagine that: Your ex could be your supervisor. Admittedly, there are military couples out there that make it work, but they probably followed the other tips on this list.
2. Keep it on the down low.
If you end up dating the cute blonde in the orderly room, just know that you are not dating a civilian and this is not the time or place for announcing your courtship. No one likes workplace drama, but relationship workplace drama is even worse. Fights about who left the towel on the floor shouldn’t impede the work environment — keep all of that at home.
Don’t make it evident you’re dating each other because it will just stir the pot and amplify anything you do wrong. Everyone already assumes you’re unprofessional due to your inter-squadron relationship; keeping it secret just keeps everything professional.
You need to separate work from play.
3. No PDA in the presence of co-workers or in uniform.
There is a mission to attend to and sucking face with Senior Airman Smith isn’t on the checklist. Plus, PDA is never allowed in uniform, so don’t get caught even grazing each other’s hands or you will get torn a new one by anyone who sees you.
Undoubtedly, to some service members, this is just common sense, but some new enlistees may make the mistake of showing affections merely because they’re wet behind the ears. Don’t worry; they will get corrected, eventually. The majority of mil-on-mil relationships learn to deal with this aspect of dating and, most times, it’s a non-issue.
4. Don’t date a supervisor, commanding officer, or anyone who gives you orders.
This needs to be said because some still do it even though they know they shouldn’t. It’s against the fraternization laws of the military and it’s in place for good reason: There can be no preferential treatment in your chain of command.
All kinds of disasters take place when others find out about a relationship between a subordinate and their superior. Plus, who could stand their significant other giving them orders at work and home anyway?