How Does Dating Work in the Military?

By: Jason Lee

Whether you’re already in the military, looking to join, or you’re interested in dating someone who is in the military, it can be a lot to process. Outside of keeping up with all the acronyms, jargon, and lifestyle changes, you may be wondering how exactly does dating work in the military?

Some of the most common questions we get on the topic include:

  • How does dating work in the military?
  • Can a soldier date someone who is also in the military?
  • Is dating a soldier good or bad?
  • How does dating work during deployment?
  • Are soldiers good in relationships?

If you’ve asked any of these questions of ones like it, we’re here to get you the answers. So, go ahead and grab your boots, strap on your Kevlar, and let’s get into answer each of these questions by the numbers.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a place for military people to meet single women and men (who are in and out of the military), check out the link we’ve got for you here.

For you: The Best Dating Apps for the Military

Marine smiling at girlfriend

How does dating work in the military?

Surprisingly to a lot of people, dating in the military works a lot like dating anywhere else. Even though the military is a bit more demanding than other jobs, it’s still just a job. You may work longer hours, have more responsibility, and have to leave from time to time, but it’s still just a job.

We share that because just because you have a demanding job doesn’t mean you don’t have the right or the ability to date just like everyone else. When you’re off work, you can still go out on dates. You can still grab dinner, grab drinks, grab coffee, and spend time with a new love interest or someone you’ve been dating for a long time.

That all being said, there are a few ways that things are probably going to be different:

  • Soldiers may have more unexpected time commitments, which may make scheduling dates tougher.
  • Soldiers have to stay in shape and some of their jobs may be dangerous. This means there may be nights where you’d like to stay up late or have drinks and they’ll need to keep sober and get to bed early.
  • If you’re looking for a long-term commitment (as the soldier), you’ll need to make sure to share the details of your lifestyle with the person you’re dating.
  • If you’re looking for a long-term commitment (dating a soldier), you’ll need to understand that things may be challenging at times, especially during long days, unexpected trainings, and deployments.

Here’s the bottom line. Dating works in the military pretty dang close to the way it works everywhere else. You may have to be a bit more flexible setting up dates, but it works the same.

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Can a soldier date someone who is also in the military?

Yes, soldiers are allowed to date civilians, as well as other soldiers in the military. However, there are some limitations.

  • Officers and enlisted are not allowed to date. There are some exceptions if they were dating prior to joining the service, but you’ll want to check the regs for the details.
  • Many units don’t allow soldiers to date anyone directly in their chain of command or a subordinate. Again, check the most active regs for the up to date details.

Also, you may want to consider not dating anyone in your unit, even if it’s permitted. Why? Mixing work with pleasure can be a recipe for disaster. This is especially true with a military job where you can’t just quit and work somewhere else if you break up. If you want to avoid the drama, don’t date anyone anywhere close to your unit.

Is dating a soldier good or bad?

The actual answer is that it’s neither! If you’re both a good match for each other and you understand how dating in the military works, it can be a great idea! However, there are times where dating a soldier might be a bad idea. Here are a few examples (these are directed towards civilians):

  • If you engage in any criminal activity or take illegal drugs
  • If you’re involved in radical groups or frequent protests
  • If you’re not capable of being away from your significant other for long periods of time
  • If you struggle with infidelity
  • If you aren’t a fan of the military lifestyle

How does dating work during deployment?

Here’s the bottom line up front—dating during a deployment stinks. You have to be away from your significant other for upwards of a year. Usually, there’s a three-month train up for the deployment (often away from home), and then nine months of boots on ground in the country they’re deployed to.

And before you ask, no, you can’t go on deployment with them. This is different from getting stationed at a new duty station. That’s a PCS move, which you’re allowed to go with them in most instances.

But the actual particulars of how communication works will depend on where they are deployed to. If it’s to a relatively built-up place like Kuwait, you’ll probably be able to talk quite frequently, though, the hours will be wildly different.

But if they get deployed to a combat zone, you might not hear from them for weeks or months. It’s the nature of the beast sometimes.

Are soldiers good in relationships?

One of the most popular questions that comes up in the how does dating work in the military discussion is whether or not soldiers are good in relationships. And the answer is that it depends. Like with any profession, you can’t say 100% of the people in that job are great or terrible. It’s going to all be on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, there are some conclusions and generalizations you can draw that are true more often than they’re not. Soldiers are trained in respect, attention to detail, timeliness, and how to get a job done. If these are traits that sound great to you, getting into a relationship with a soldier might be an awesome idea.

However, if you’re someone who clashes with things being orderly, black and white, organized, and always on time—you may have some struggles dating a soldier.

So, should you date someone in the military? It’s up to you. Approach it on a case-by-case basis. Look at them as an individual and not as a soldier. Would you date them if they weren’t in the military? If the answer is no, that’s a red flag. If the answer is yes, go for it!



Written By: Jason Lee

Jason Lee is a data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.

His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.