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SWO and relationships

nikki4

Member
So I know this isn't exactly the most important thing to focus on at first when preparing for becoming an officer, but I'm curious.

I'm currently waiting to hear back about acceptance into OCS, should hear in November. I'll finish college in May and supposedly would leave soon after if accepted in. After OCS, and assuming i get picked up for SWO, what should I expect to happen afterwards and also in relation to maintaining my relationship with my boyfriend? Anyone have any experience or know if its possible? I knew going into this there would be some sea time, but I've heard SWOs get a lot of sea time in the beginning, what am I looking at here?
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
It certainly is possible to have a relationship, many of your predecessors have had successful relationships but military life can be very tough on relationships and it depends on the individuals to make it work. Things can be easier and tougher with connectivity being so much better nowadays but your boyfriend will have to have a lot of patience to deal with the vagaries of your life in the Navy.
 

nikki4

Member
It certainly is possible to have a relationship, many of your predecessors have had successful relationships but military life can be very tough on relationships and it depends on the individuals to make it work. Things can be easier and tougher with connectivity being so much better nowadays but your boyfriend will have to have a lot of patience to deal with the vagaries of your life in the Navy.
Yea I just thought if I get picked up for SWO over the other options it may be more difficult, like if I should be expecting a longer sea time in the beginning. Things are already a bit difficult for us since he is a Merchant Marine and currently on a 4 month on, 4 month off schedule. Guess I'm just shooting in the dark for some advice and something to prepare myself for to try and make things work.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Yea I just thought if I get picked up for SWO over the other options it may be more difficult, like if I should be expecting a longer sea time in the beginning. Things are already a bit difficult for us since he is a Merchant Marine and currently on a 4 month on, 4 month off schedule. Guess I'm just shooting in the dark for some advice and something to prepare myself for to try and make things work.
There are some differences between the different communities when it comes to how much time you spend away and where it is but in the end most folks to include aviators of all stripes, submariners and SWO's will likely be 'away' for at least half of their 'operational' tours either on deployment or working up for one. Frankly a lot of it comes down to luck and timing, like many other things in the military.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Yea I just thought if I get picked up for SWO over the other options it may be more difficult, like if I should be expecting a longer sea time in the beginning. Things are already a bit difficult for us since he is a Merchant Marine and currently on a 4 month on, 4 month off schedule. Guess I'm just shooting in the dark for some advice and something to prepare myself for to try and make things work.
You're not being set up for success, I'll say that much. Any junior officer job in a line speciality (surface, subs, aviation, etc) is going to be deployed/at sea a lot. Combine that with a partner who'll also be gone to sea a lot...you're not going to see much of each other.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Contrarian view: Be open to the possibility that it's just not going to work out.

You're going to be at sea for 6-9 months while deployed, and that doesn't include the 6 months of constant back and forth during the work-ups you'll do leading up to deployment. Starting a new career in a new place with an unpredictable schedule is a good inflection point in life to reexamine your priorities and focus on you and your new job for a while without being distracted by the relationship drama that is almost sure to ensue.

That dog is also going to be a challenge as well. Better have a good plan for that too.
 

Hayley D.

Well-Known Member
Yea I just thought if I get picked up for SWO over the other options it may be more difficult, like if I should be expecting a longer sea time in the beginning. Things are already a bit difficult for us since he is a Merchant Marine and currently on a 4 month on, 4 month off schedule. Guess I'm just shooting in the dark for some advice and something to prepare myself for to try and make things work.
It depends on your personalities and your relationship. Both of you being gone could make it easier, or worse, it's kind of just something you'll have to figure out when you get to it.
 

moveslikemorgan

Standing By
Disclaimer: I am not trying to pull the "I'm older and smarter" card, because to be completely honest with you, I still have no idea what I'm doing. But what I can tell you is that the person I was at 21 years old is 150% different from the person I am now. And it's only been 4 years! I thought I knew literally everything then, ironically. I've wised up a bit since. I'll give you a little bit of personal background information to highlight my own experiences, just in case you care, haha.

When I was 21, I was just about to graduate from college and move back to Dallas to start a full time job. At the time, I had a VERY serious long distance relationship with a guy I met in high school. We dated for 7 years, and I don't mean on and off either. It was a solid 7 years, and I thought I was going to marry the guy. And to clarify, when I say long distance, I mean we were in different cities. Not far at all, honestly. Only 2.5 hours away.

I moved home after college and he was still out at school getting his Master's. Nothing about our relationship really changed, but we started growing apart. And not for any real reason rather than a) we rarely saw each other and it became an out of sight, out of mind scenario, and b) the distance caused unnecessary drama and created issues that didn't actually exist. Slowly but surely, the relationship fell apart, as expected. And while that's all fine and good, I can also tell you that those years were the absolute worst and most stressful times in my life, and I wouldn't go back and suffer through them for literally anything. It was a loooonnnng slow death, and it took a huge toll on me.

Now, if we consider the other aspects of my life, they were all little-to-no stress, whatsoever. I had a nice 1-bedroom apartment in a big city, with a great first job to start off my career. I had a great friend group and a supportive family behind me. I wasn't hurting for money. The only real source of pain and stress in my life was that relationship.

Now, think about the mental stressors of OCS and the military in general. The physical stressors/exhaustion. The time away, no contact, etc. The studying, focus, intensity you're going to have to put into this whole thing. You won't always have time for this guy, unfortunately. And vice versa, as you mentioned he's military as well. There will be new uncertainties creeping in regarding you (a pretty female) in a male-dominated industry. And maybe he trusts you 100%, if so, that's great. But those thoughts will inevitably cross his mind at some point. That's just the way it is.

All that being said, I personally will not to go into OCS/the military while in a relationship, based largely on the fact that this journey we're about to embark on will be stressful enough as it is for us alone. Top OCS stress with relationship issues, and honestly, I'm not sure I'd make it out with my sanity. I personally don't want or need any outside distractions or emotional turmoil. I personally don't want to be training and have some guy cross my mind all of the sudden and pull me away from being present at OCS. It's too big a risk. Matter of fact, I've got to break things off with the dude I'm currently seeing...if I ever get my orders.

Anyway, just my perspective on the whole thing. Obviously, some people do have successful relationships in the military. It's not completely unheard of. But as someone who spent a large part of my life with a dude that's nothing but a memory now, I'd hate to see you make a choice that holds you back or creates added stressors in your life. I was in a relationship all through college, and as a result, missed out on a lot of fun opportunities and great friendships I could've made. I can't relive or redo that time in my life, and it's pretty disappointing looking back. You honestly will probably look back at yourself in 5 or so years and be amazed at how much things change. How much you will change.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox. That's just my two cents. But I'll urge you to really really really consider all aspects of the lifestyle changes you're about to be forced to make. Good luck!
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
So I know this isn't exactly the most important thing to focus on at first when preparing for becoming an officer, but I'm curious.

I'm currently waiting to hear back about acceptance into OCS, should hear in November. I'll finish college in May and supposedly would leave soon after if accepted in. After OCS, and assuming i get picked up for SWO, what should I expect to happen afterwards and also in relation to maintaining my relationship with my boyfriend? Anyone have any experience or know if its possible? I knew going into this there would be some sea time, but I've heard SWOs get a lot of sea time in the beginning, what am I looking at here?
Did your BF come in a seabag with your uniforms? (old school comment)

If you can't make it work with your boyfriend as a SWO odds are there are many civilian jobs that it wouldn't work out in either.

We had a LT in our Department who's wife was an LT on another ship, in one stroke of bad timing they managed to see each other for 1 day in San Diego while we were coming home and they were going out, so they saw each other once in 1 year! She left the USN, he went on shore duty, she ended up meeting a guy at work cheating on him then they divorced and she married the guy from work.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
All good stuff. And I'd argue that SWO is one of the more easier communities to make this work (note: I'm not saying it will be easy, just easier). You mention that you have more than one choice, and SWO isn't the #1 (inferred, perhaps incorrectly by me). For pretty much every other community, you're going to have to move at least once, and there's going to be some level of dedicated study while at that location (as opposed to SWO, which will require study, but I'd argue at least 90% of that can be done while on duty).

And then you're adding the stress of a SO who is also gone for 1/3 of the year. I don't smell success. I hope I'm wrong and you're the outlier, but statistically, the odds are not in your favor.

That said, PLEASE enjoy what you have, but just don't count on it being a long-term emotional constant.
 

Hayley D.

Well-Known Member
Did your BF come in a seabag with your uniforms? (old school comment)

If you can't make it work with your boyfriend as a SWO odds are there are many civilian jobs that it wouldn't work out in either.

We had a LT in our Department who's wife was an LT on another ship, in one stroke of bad timing they managed to see each other for 1 day in San Diego while we were coming home and they were going out, so they saw each other once in 1 year! She left the USN, he went on shore duty, she ended up meeting a guy at work cheating on him then they divorced and she married the guy from work.
Wow, that got juicy.
 

jtmedli

Well-Known Member
pilot
.....she ended up meeting a guy at work cheating on him then they divorced and she married the guy from work.
Who, ironically, she probably then ended up only seeing once that year, cheating on, and marrying another guy from work. It's a vicious cycle!!
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
So I know this isn't exactly the most important thing to focus on at first when preparing for becoming an officer, but I'm curious.

I'm currently waiting to hear back about acceptance into OCS, should hear in November. I'll finish college in May and supposedly would leave soon after if accepted in. After OCS, and assuming i get picked up for SWO, what should I expect to happen afterwards and also in relation to maintaining my relationship with my boyfriend? Anyone have any experience or know if its possible? I knew going into this there would be some sea time, but I've heard SWOs get a lot of sea time in the beginning, what am I looking at here?
The answer to your question lies from within yourself. You need to have a chat with your boyfriend telling him about your interest to serve/become and officer and assuming the cards line up, the plan moving forward. If both sides put in the work, it can easily work out. If not, oh well it just wasn't meant to be.

I would ensure your boyfriend is 100% onboard with you joining. If not, this could cause trouble down the road as well as your recruiter...
 

jtmedli

Well-Known Member
pilot
So I know this isn't exactly the most important thing to focus on at first when preparing for becoming an officer, but I'm curious.

I'm currently waiting to hear back about acceptance into OCS, should hear in November. I'll finish college in May and supposedly would leave soon after if accepted in. After OCS, and assuming i get picked up for SWO, what should I expect to happen afterwards and also in relation to maintaining my relationship with my boyfriend? Anyone have any experience or know if its possible? I knew going into this there would be some sea time, but I've heard SWOs get a lot of sea time in the beginning, what am I looking at here?
Disclaimer: NOT a SWO.

As an aviator in my JO tour, I was gone about 20 months out of a 36 month JO tour. Boat dets, workups, 9 month deployment to to the suck, etc... I'm obviously not sure where your head is at on this whole "Navy Thing" but the following is the best advice I ever got in the Navy:

API instructor: How many of you have girlfriends/boyfriends that you think are "the one"?
Me: (raises hand...along with others in the room)
API instructor: Dump them. If they're still around after you get your wings and want you then they were probably the one. If not...at least you got your wings.
*I ended up breaking up with her over some bullshit but we got back together 2 years later and just had our first baby. Stuff kinda works out when it's meant to work out. AND..I got my wings! haha I've also flown over the entire country and half of the planet since then.

The above was pretty tongue in cheek advice from him but the sentiment is solid. Don't waste this opportunity over the boyfriend or let it affect your choices too much. Not much of America can say they've flown gray aircraft, driven a warship, or 'fought the war'. That said, I'm gonna have a beer and take off my fatherly advice hat.
 

nikki4

Member
Disclaimer: I am not trying to pull the "I'm older and smarter" card, because to be completely honest with you, I still have no idea what I'm doing. But what I can tell you is that the person I was at 21 years old is 150% different from the person I am now. And it's only been 4 years! I thought I knew literally everything then, ironically. I've wised up a bit since. I'll give you a little bit of personal background information to highlight my own experiences, just in case you care, haha.

When I was 21, I was just about to graduate from college and move back to Dallas to start a full time job. At the time, I had a VERY serious long distance relationship with a guy I met in high school. We dated for 7 years, and I don't mean on and off either. It was a solid 7 years, and I thought I was going to marry the guy. And to clarify, when I say long distance, I mean we were in different cities. Not far at all, honestly. Only 2.5 hours away.

I moved home after college and he was still out at school getting his Master's. Nothing about our relationship really changed, but we started growing apart. And not for any real reason rather than a) we rarely saw each other and it became an out of sight, out of mind scenario, and b) the distance caused unnecessary drama and created issues that didn't actually exist. Slowly but surely, the relationship fell apart, as expected. And while that's all fine and good, I can also tell you that those years were the absolute worst and most stressful times in my life, and I wouldn't go back and suffer through them for literally anything. It was a loooonnnng slow death, and it took a huge toll on me.

Now, if we consider the other aspects of my life, they were all little-to-no stress, whatsoever. I had a nice 1-bedroom apartment in a big city, with a great first job to start off my career. I had a great friend group and a supportive family behind me. I wasn't hurting for money. The only real source of pain and stress in my life was that relationship.

Now, think about the mental stressors of OCS and the military in general. The physical stressors/exhaustion. The time away, no contact, etc. The studying, focus, intensity you're going to have to put into this whole thing. You won't always have time for this guy, unfortunately. And vice versa, as you mentioned he's military as well. There will be new uncertainties creeping in regarding you (a pretty female) in a male-dominated industry. And maybe he trusts you 100%, if so, that's great. But those thoughts will inevitably cross his mind at some point. That's just the way it is.

All that being said, I personally will not to go into OCS/the military while in a relationship, based largely on the fact that this journey we're about to embark on will be stressful enough as it is for us alone. Top OCS stress with relationship issues, and honestly, I'm not sure I'd make it out with my sanity. I personally don't want or need any outside distractions or emotional turmoil. I personally don't want to be training and have some guy cross my mind all of the sudden and pull me away from being present at OCS. It's too big a risk. Matter of fact, I've got to break things off with the dude I'm currently seeing...if I ever get my orders.

Anyway, just my perspective on the whole thing. Obviously, some people do have successful relationships in the military. It's not completely unheard of. But as someone who spent a large part of my life with a dude that's nothing but a memory now, I'd hate to see you make a choice that holds you back or creates added stressors in your life. I was in a relationship all through college, and as a result, missed out on a lot of fun opportunities and great friendships I could've made. I can't relive or redo that time in my life, and it's pretty disappointing looking back. You honestly will probably look back at yourself in 5 or so years and be amazed at how much things change. How much you will change.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox. That's just my two cents. But I'll urge you to really really really consider all aspects of the lifestyle changes you're about to be forced to make. Good luck!
Wow long story but good to hear for sure. I know a lot of changes are coming, and on my side, by myself, I'm ready for them. I actually started the whole process of applying on my own without being with anyone. Really planned to stay single until at least after I had been in a while. But I guess things always happen unexpectedly. And I didn't quite think of it in terms of added stress on top of studying and meeting my quals. Thanks for the input though, really gave me some things to consider and think about before moving forward!

So side question, you're already in and waiting to go through OCS?
 
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