I am a seasoned spouse, which is a nice way of saying I’m old. The Good Chaplain is retiring this year after 31 years of service to the Air Force. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lonely bunch as this new crop of spouses. I understand how overwhelming military life can be for new spouses, but if you are on your second assignment or beyond, you should have this down.
Let me put in a disclaimer here. I am an extrovert. I have no problem putting myself out there and that’s what it takes. You have to put yourself out there. Gone are the days when someone knocks on your door with a plate of cookies when you arrive at your new station. It just doesn’t happen.
So, maybe you need to be the one to knock on the door. When we lived off base in Oklahoma, we knocked on the immediate neighbors’ doors and introduced ourselves. Most were not military. We did get some strange looks but then relationships happened in driveways and working to fix a common fence together and watching pets.
The old saying, “if you want a friend, be a friend” is true. I know how busy life can be in today’s society. But if you just sit in your home waiting for the world to come to you, you are missing some important experiences.
Most bases are starting up different clubs so people with like interests can find each other. Most bases also have spouse clubs, Bible studies, chapel services and other activities. And most spouse clubs also have mini clubs such as Book Club, Bunco, Bowling, Mahjongg, Lunch Bunch, etc.
If you have school age children you can volunteer at the school and meet some of the other parents. For younger children, try looking for a Mommy and Me group or Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). While these may not be on base, almost every community has one available.
What I’m trying to say is look around, see what your new community has to offer and make that first step. You may not meet your BFF, but you will meet enough people in your situation to help each other through this season of your life. It breaks my heart to read how lonely you are, but I do give you props for putting it out there. Now put yourself out there too and see what happens.
Share how you fight loneliness in the comments below.