Dating in the military

When you’re adjusting to life after the military, there’s a real danger of ending up in “ticking time bomb” relationships because you’ve lost your network (and the flow of dopamine and oxytocin we all get when we are deeply connected with those around us). You may be tempted to try replace your sense of loss by jumping into an exciting new romantic relationship.It’s easy to interpret supercharged emotions as evidence of finding “true love.” But the truth is that all relationships — even those that become abusive nightmares or those that end in heartbreak — feel amazing at first.Make sure you’ve had a number of really good fights before thinking about committing to marriage.Military professionals know that it is only through conflict that you can learn who you can trust.I call this “social diversification.” Look at it the same as you would if you were to get a large chunk of money — would you invest all of it, immediately, in one single company?Wouldn’t it be smarter instead to invest in a “diversified portfolio” of different companies, so that if one failed, you would still be OK? It’s better to develop an inner circle or “core unit” of three or more people who are really close to you, and a wider group of people you enjoy spending time with.It’s much less risky, even if you choose a healthy romantic partner.

In fact, research shows that the brain releases many of the same chemicals when people are falling in love and when they are smoking crack cocaine.Recently discharged veterans need to be aware of this “pull” toward troubled relationships.Instead of investing in only one relationship, it’s wiser to build out a whole network of new relationships.See if you can respect each other, even when you’re really upset with each other.Give yourself the opportunity to see whether you and your partner are an effective team when faced with adversity.

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