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06-Feb-2020 00:54

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But I’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and wore it proudly until it wasn’t mine to wear anymore. But trying to date without crossing paths with the military wasn’t easy.

Two years later, my husband and I would consider missing that same Pride festival, raw and in shock from the Orlando shooting a week prior.

When it came up in conversation that I used to be a military spouse, I found myself avoiding questions about my ex and his rank and job in the military.

I was reminded of how small the military community is, and I realized the chances were high that I could, at some point, end up on a date with someone who knew and/or worked with my ex, a prospect that made dating even more awkward than it already was.

Marriage by itself can be challenging, but toss the military into the equation and the challenges multiply. The possibility of death is a required — and repeated — conversation. The military was not the cause of my divorce — another question frequently asked — and I will always look back on the experiences my military life allowed me with fondness and appreciation.

Separations are frequent — there’s often an empty seat at the dinner table. I guess that’s why, when my 13-year marriage to a service member ended in divorce, I was asked repeatedly, “Would you do it again? I walked away from it with a wealth of knowledge, unforgettable experiences, lifelong friendships and a deep respect for service members.There's a first time for everything — and that includes technology-powered searches for love.