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Thread: Transitioning to Civilian Life

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    #1

    Transitioning to Civilian Life

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    DB has a little over 5 months until his ETS date and we are both really excited to be done with our long distance relationship and the constant changes and last minute notice of the military. He will be moving back home for a few months before beginning the police academy and starting work after that. His parents live about an hour from me so we will be able to see each other every weekend at least.

    I've been helping him get prepared for the tests and hiring process he will need to go through to get into the police academy and hopefully get sponsored (hired before the academy basically). We've talked a lot about our expectations for after he gets out and are hoping to move in together within a year of him getting home.

    That said, I am a little nervous about him getting out. He's only been in for 3 years but he went straight out of high school so the military is all he's known. He gets frustrated with the military and the immature people in it but I told him those exist everywhere. I'm worried he's not going to like civilian life. He's very good at his job and he has the respect of those in his unit, including his leadership. I don't know why I'm so concerned since he's a hard worker, part of me just feels like even though he complains about the military he actually loves it and will hate civilian life when he gets out. He jokes about reenlisting sometimes and I can never tell if he's serious.

    I'm also interested to see how our relationship will change once we are no longer a long distance military couple, as we have been since the beginning. Any advice or anecdotes on handling but the transition both for him personally and us as a couple would be appreciated!
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    #2
    He should look into whether or not he would be able to join again down the road (year or two) if he decided the military was a better fit than civilian life. Also look into schooling and get all the information he can on his benefits. Better to get all the information first hand while it's available.

    As for your relationship, set your realistic expectations. Do you need to see him every weekend? Is "long-distance" no longer an option? What's his plan after his parent's house? Do you have expectations to move in together? What if he isn't accepted into the academy, or gets a job farther than an hour away?
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    He's just starting on all of the classes he has to take before he can get out with information on benefits and other things.

    I wouldn't say we need to see each other every weekend (obviously, because we've been going months without it now), but we would both like to and I think that's realistic. After his parents house he's planning on renting an apartment either where he gets a job or where I live - which is where he lived before enlisting and where he hopes to be hired. We would like to move in together by next fall, once I finish my credential program and get a teaching job. We aren't worried about him getting accepted to the academy since the only requirements are to pass a written (very simple if the study books he's been doing are any indication) and physical (piece of cake) test as well as be physically cleared and fingerprinted to own a firearm. Getting hired is a bit more concerning, but lots of departments in the area are hiring. My dad is actually a police officer at the department where DB wants to work and thinks his chances are good since they have a lot of openings at the moment and like hiring military. I've been using a lot of the connections I have through him to get DB's name out there and get him in contact with a Captain who actually worked (works?) in hiring. If he gets a job further away, he will move to where his job is after graduating the academy and I will apply to teaching jobs in that area. We ultimately have the goal of getting back in the area we're from but would be okay with being away for a few years while looking for employment back home.
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    #4
    My SO is a Police Officer and has been for about 7 years. Private message me any of your questions. I can tell you the in's and out's of the job and how your life will be once he gets hired as an officer. I can also answer questions on how its going to be different from military life to police life (even tho Im new to military life I can already tell many changes). Talk to ya soon!
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by EverlastingLove View Post
    He should look into whether or not he would be able to join again down the road (year or two) if he decided the military was a better fit than civilian life. Also look into schooling and get all the information he can on his benefits. Better to get all the information first hand while it's available.

    As for your relationship, set your realistic expectations. Do you need to see him every weekend? Is "long-distance" no longer an option? What's his plan after his parent's house? Do you have expectations to move in together? What if he isn't accepted into the academy, or gets a job farther than an hour away?
    This is something I would recommend to everyone.
    My husband is trying to go back in after realizing that civilian life is not for him. It's harder to get back in after getting completely out. Some guys do better in the military.

    Best of luck to you both!!! Going into something paramilitary like the police force is probably a good idea for a step away.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by AdaraMarie View Post
    My SO is a Police Officer and has been for about 7 years. Private message me any of your questions. I can tell you the in's and out's of the job and how your life will be once he gets hired as an officer. I can also answer questions on how its going to be different from military life to police life (even tho Im new to military life I can already tell many changes). Talk to ya soon!
    Thanks! My dad has been a police officer for my whole life so I'm pretty well versed on the ins and outs, although I'm sure it's different with an SO. I'll PM you when I have a bit more time later!
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Medic2Doula View Post
    This is something I would recommend to everyone.
    My husband is trying to go back in after realizing that civilian life is not for him. It's harder to get back in after getting completely out. Some guys do better in the military.

    Best of luck to you both!!! Going into something paramilitary like the police force is probably a good idea for a step away.
    Thank you! I'll have him ask around. It would be the career people he would need to talk to right?

    He had a good day at work yesterday where he was given an opportunity as a SPC over one of his SGTs and his squad leader was asking him like what can I do to make you reenlist just name it so I was like ahhhh are we sure we know what we're doing?? Some of his leadership still don't believe he's getting out - they just keep saying he'll change his mind. So I had to ask him again last night and he still says he's sure about getting out. Thanks for the well-wishes!
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    #8
    I know you said he jokes a lot, but it's ok to just be up front and tell him that his joking makes you wonder if he wants to re-enlist, and ask him to put the humor aside for one moment and be 100% honest about how he feels. DH does this too, not so much with joking but building this big daydreams, and sometimes I freak out thinking it's something he really wants to do but then he'll tell me he didn't mean it.

    One thing with immature/bad people ... moving to a civilian job, I guess the upside is that it's (usually) easier for a civilian workplace to fire bad apples than it is the military. This might depend on how strong the union is at the police force he's wanting to join though. But it may be that the immature people that annoy him won't last long.

    Second thing that came to mind (and a lot of veterans have told me this too) is that sometimes it's hard for them to relate to civilians at work because professional courtesy in the workplace is so different from that way soldiers talk to each other. If DH talked to his workmates the way he talked to his soldiers, they would be pissed off and feel disrespected. Even though to DH it would feel like just letting people know what the plan was. Maybe in a police environment it won't be so bad, your question just made me think of it because I've heard a lot of people say that.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tojai View Post
    I know you said he jokes a lot, but it's ok to just be up front and tell him that his joking makes you wonder if he wants to re-enlist, and ask him to put the humor aside for one moment and be 100% honest about how he feels. DH does this too, not so much with joking but building this big daydreams, and sometimes I freak out thinking it's something he really wants to do but then he'll tell me he didn't mean it.

    One thing with immature/bad people ... moving to a civilian job, I guess the upside is that it's (usually) easier for a civilian workplace to fire bad apples than it is the military. This might depend on how strong the union is at the police force he's wanting to join though. But it may be that the immature people that annoy him won't last long.

    Second thing that came to mind (and a lot of veterans have told me this too) is that sometimes it's hard for them to relate to civilians at work because professional courtesy in the workplace is so different from that way soldiers talk to each other. If DH talked to his workmates the way he talked to his soldiers, they would be pissed off and feel disrespected. Even though to DH it would feel like just letting people know what the plan was. Maybe in a police environment it won't be so bad, your question just made me think of it because I've heard a lot of people say that.
    I ask him that often. In fact I asked him last night lol. He says he does it because it freaks me out and it's funny (isn't he thoughtful haha). He still says he's sure he wants to get out. I feel like we've beaten this subject to death and that I've given him plenty of opportunities to tell me if he wants to stay in - as in asking him point blank. He only seems to really consider it when he talks about the "cool" missions they're talking about for deployment.

    I totally agree with you about workplace culture. That's one thing that concerns me a bit is the level of professionalism and politeness required in dealing with not only coworkers but also criminals. Might be something I can mention in passing that he should just be conscious of.
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    #10
    Aside from all the work and adjusting to civilians, he needs a hobby if he doesn't have one. He will want that time alone doing his hobby so he can relieve any frustration that builds up during the transition. And good luck to you both!
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