As an Army partner, Sarah* faces her own journey and challenges, moving across the country to be with her partner.
‘I moved to Darwin to be with my partner who is in the Army.
Shortly after we met he was posted to Darwin. After nearly six years on and off I finally realised that for the relationship to work, someone would have to make the sacrifice to move and given the nature of the Defence, that person was going to have to be me.
While we share similar ideals and values we often disagree and have many heated debates about many different issues. We share some interests – we are both massive foodies, love to travel and both care about our fitness. We are also different in many ways, I like my creature comforts and am obsessively organised. He loves outdoor activities, where he often comes home covered in mud.
We are vastly different, but it’s that that makes us work. We constantly challenge each other and encourage each other to be exposed to things we may not have been otherwise.
The biggest challenge to our relationship is me. But it’s also the reason we are together, because he is who he is and I am me.
He gives me all the time he can give me outside of his commitment to the Army and while usually this is more than enough for me, when I’m feeling a bit down the feelings of resentment start to surface. You see, as a partner of someone in the Army the greatest challenge can be knowing that you come second to the job.
Why was it me that had to give up my life to facilitate his? Who was I before the attached ‘Army partner’ title was apart of who I am? What is it I want in this life if life didn’t have to revolve around post-ins and deployments?
Well, I’m still me, a civvie. And I’m also me, an Army partner. And most recently – I am a ‘yes-woman’.
Every community group, every comedy night, every after works drinks I have said yes to. I’ve sought out the things I loved back home – restaurants, movies, fitness – and said a resounding YES! to everything else that has come my way.
Eventually I’ll have a strong network here, just as I did back home and in the process of developing my new network I’ll learn and experience new things and expose myself to people and situations I never would have back home.
It’s been challenging, awkward and at times embarrassing, but it’s a challenge that in the end has made me a better, more whole person. We learn a lot about ourselves outside our comfort zones. Perspectives are widened, resourcefulness increases, it becomes easier to make friends and all of these things improve confidence.
True friends that were left behind will still be there, even when geographically you are not. And although the me I always knew is in a new location and living a life many will never experience I’ve realised with this experiment of saying yes that I can be an Army partner, the newest member of the local wine club, the new girl learning the moves awkwardly at the new gym and all the while I’m still me.
Don’t focus on what you’ve lost but rather what you have to gain.’
Alongside supports the partners and families of Defence and Emergency Services personnel.
To find a social catch up, attend a Mental Health First Aid or Wellness Weekend and to stay in touch with what’s happening in your area follow Alongside on Facebook or visit alongside.org.au
*Name has been changed