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Offline nem

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Questions from a possible future wife
« on: December 22, 2015, 03:58:35 »
For a bit of context, my boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years. I've always known that being a pilot is his dream and now it is finally looking like the odds are in his favor. I don't know all of the specific terms and stages, but I know he passed the initial competency tests, interviews and medical checks with flying colors. The interviewer thinks very highly of him and at the very least I am confident he will be offered some position, even if it is not as a pilot, which I know is highly competitive. We have spoken about what this would mean for our relationship and have concluded that if we handle our time apart while he is in Ontario for training/finishing a degree well, it would make sense for us to get married at some point in that time frame to make living situations easier. My issue is that he is being rather stingy with details for fear of upsetting me when nothing has been set in stone yet, whereas I want to know what I might be signing on for as well. Most online resources seem to focus around the U.S. forces, so I'm having trouble finding answers for basic questions from a Canadian spouses perspective. I mainly want to know what to expect if he gets signed on as a pilot, which seems like the most demanding position he is being considered for. 

My questions are:

1) How much time could I expect him to be away during a "normal" year, not counting deployments? I have heard anything from 3-4 months per year (which is concerning to me) to maybe a month. The Forces website says that most of the time members can expect to work a 40 hour week, but from what I've been reading that seems dishonest at best, applying only to less extraordinary positions.

2) How many deployments can a pilot expect to see during a 12 year contract? I know that question will never have a clear answer but do Canadian pilots tend to see a lot of action? How long are deployments usually?

3) I understand that he would be living in barracks all throughout training, but as a married individual who is out of training, would there be many circumstances where he (by himself)/we would HAVE to live on base? The idea of living on a military base is a big turn off to me, but if necessary I wouldn't be opposed to it.

4) Animals have always been a big part of my life. They are pretty non negotiable for me and he is aware of this, but most of the information I am seeing revolves around situations where a single person wants to know if they can have pets. How strict are bases on allowing pets into houses (limits etc.), and as stupid as this question might be, is there ever any reason why you would be restricted by regulation on how many pets you can have if you live off base? Aside from land lord restrictions that is.

I'll appreciate any responses, sorry if I come off as uninformed in any of my statements.

Offline BinRat55

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 07:08:22 »
Nem - don't apologize. There are some in the military that are still "uninformed" as it were! It's always good to do a little homework.

I can't answer the pilot-related questions (SupersonicMax or EyeInTheSky should be along momentarily...) but I can give you a few generalities to start you off...

Pets / Housing - goes without saying, none in barracks (we say shacks) but there are what we call PMQs. Some find them more affordable at the beginning of their career - they aren't bad. They are rent only and the most difficult thing was (for me) was dealing with the rental authority (CFHA - Canadian Forces Housing Agency) but they get a bad rap too. You are under no obligation to live in the PMQ patch and contrary to popular belief we don't earn extra pay if we live off base - PMQ or otherwise. And yes, you are allowed animals - as many as the law allows. Slight difference is thinks like chickens, hens and the like - zoned farm animals. As an aside, I have lived in PMQs for 20 years (always right off the main gate so if I have to, I could walk to work) and managed quite well. Now I have my own home for the same mortgage payment as my PMQ rent. PMQs allowed me to save for my downpayment.

The will be times (more than likely few and far between as officers are treated a little differently than NCMs) when he has to stay in shacks for a course, however it's not the end of life as we know it - depending on the course he may get privileges to slip out after supper, that sort of thing. If he is attending Basic you won't see him for at least 8 weeks (guys correct me if i'm wrong) BMOQ (Basic Military Officer Qualification) is an arduous task in itself, but my son was able to leave base after his 4th week and had access to his phone the whole time. Again, outside basic, the first few years will be a bit hectic but it will settle down.

As far as deployments are concerned it ranges. We (I am a support trade) are between 6 - 9 months. I have served in Bosnia with several chopper pilots (fickle bunch, them!) and then they were doing 59 days. Not sure if that has changed.

Here's my bottom line - It take a strong spouse to support us. I would not have gotten where I am today without the patience and understanding and raw strength of my wife. Israel, Croatia, Africa and Afghanistan twice. Pile on the 100 or so courses, 20-30 out-of-province conferences, multitude of taskings... Her support was needed and given. I applaud you for looking, reading and checking it out for yourself.

If you love him, his lifestyle will become yours and in the blink of an eye your one of us! You will love it, hate it, despise it, want more of it.

Truth!
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake - Napoleon Bonaparte

Offline sheilainthevalley

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 08:30:33 »
Hi nem,

My knowledge is admittedly limited - I am a civilian living and working on base in Ontario while my application to the forces is being processed. For the last 6 months I have also been dating an NCM who lives in the barracks as well.

I can't answer any of your pilot-specific questions, but I do know that in general most soldiers aren't required to live in barracks. Unless he is in a course, in training, or doing an exercise, most of the guys live off-base with their married (or otherwise) counterparts. My boyfriend and I both live in barracks separately by choice because that is an option afforded to us, but it's uncommon for civilians. I would not rule out living in PMQs - in general they are not as bad as you've heard. Many of my friends live in townhouses, apartments and detached houses that are run by the CFHA and wouldn't have it any other way. It's a great way to be a part of the community and get to know others going through the same things you'll be going through.

Most of our friends in PMQs have a dog or a couple of cats, there is no issue with that here. They are required to register the animals with the town and be up-to-date with vet care, but that is standard for most pet owners. I haven't come across any real restrictions other than being aware that you will have to be sole caregiver at times.

Good luck! If there's anything else I can answer please feel free to pm me.

*** Editted by Loachman to remove a couple of sentences to protect the not-so-innocent.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 09:47:07 by Loachman »

Offline Loachman

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2015, 09:25:47 »
Hello, Nem, and Welcome to Army.ca.

While you are waiting for Supersonic Max (who is a fighter Pilot) and Eye in the Sky (who will quite proudly state that he is not any sort of Pilot), I will offer my insight as a Tactical Helicopter (Tac Hel) Pilot.

Firstly, my standard advice is to read through older threads an try the Search Function. You'll find that most of your questions have already been answered, and you will find answers to questions that have not even occurred to you yet. Look through "The Home Front" http://army.ca/forums/index.php/board,49.0.html first. I'll likely merge this thread with one in there once I see the direcion that it is taking.

"PMQs" are Private Married Quarters. These are CF-owned houses on bases. Quality, size, and availability vary. Rent is geared to the local rental market, so they are no longer the really good deal that they used to be. Living in them is a good way to start getting involved with the military community, though, and support from other wives is more readily available. One should be saving to buy one's own house during this time, however.

While in Moose Jaw, married student Pilots can move their families to be with them, either in PMQs or off-base commercial apartments. That is not possible on theother flying courses as they are of much shorter duration.

Time away from home, once initial training is complete and the new Pilot has been posted to a Squadron, varies greatly depending upon the specific role of that Squadron (Tac Hel, Maritime Hel, Search and Rescue, Transport, Fighter, or Long Range Patrol (or whatever the Sleek Greyhound of Death community calls itself officially now. For some, it will mean frequent short-term absences, and for others, it will mean fewer but longer absences. Flying positions are alternated with staff positions in headquarters, and there are also instructional positions, which generally mean no absences.

Start reading, as I suggested, and then feel free to ask more detailed questions.

Offline my72jeep

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2015, 09:31:46 »
I used to keep my pet rat in its cage in my shacks the cleaner looked after it when I was in the field.

*** Editted by Loachman to remove a couple of sentences to protect the not-so-innocent.

« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 09:52:01 by Loachman »
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Offline BinRat55

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 09:36:46 »
I used to keep my pet rat in its cage in my shacks the cleaner looked after it when I was in the field.

Supply Tech humor, hey? I get it. Pick on the tech. All good!

PET rat you say?
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake - Napoleon Bonaparte

Offline my72jeep

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2015, 09:39:34 »
Supply Tech humor, hey? I get it. Pick on the tech. All good!

PET rat you say?
No pun on you,
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Offline sheilainthevalley

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2015, 09:48:35 »
Sorry for hijacking thread there. Back on track -- in the area I'm from the PMQs are generally cheaper than renting off base, and definitely a good option if you can't afford a down payment on a house. I have a few friends who moved from off-base into PMQs when they found out they were pregnant as it was a way to save money. In general the ones around here are pretty nice and if you're lucky you'll get into one of the newer developments. There are some "sides" of town to stay away from but living there generally isn't bad either, just a little messy around garbage day and bulk pickup.

Offline BinRat55

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2015, 09:49:11 »
No pun on you,
Black and white hooded rat. Drank more beer than I did.

I was just jazzin ya... but there is just sooooo much I can say about that last sentence... i'll stick with "Beer, you say? I know a few ... aham... BinRats that just adore beer!!)
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake - Napoleon Bonaparte

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2015, 09:53:22 »
Sorry for hijacking thread there. Back on track -- in the area I'm from the PMQs are generally cheaper than renting off base, and definitely a good option if you can't afford a down payment on a house. I have a few friends who moved from off-base into PMQs when they found out they were pregnant as it was a way to save money. In general the ones around here are pretty nice and if you're lucky you'll get into one of the newer developments. There are some "sides" of town to stay away from but living there generally isn't bad either, just a little messy around garbage day and bulk pickup.

Be advised that if you are applying for a PMQ, they will give you one that matches your 'family size' and what is available, even if it is that "side of town to stay away from".
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and arguments of George Wallace posted on this Site are solely those of George Wallace and not the opinion of Army.ca and are posted for information purposes only.
Unless so stated, they are reflective of my opinion -- and my opinion only, a right that I enjoy along with every other Canadian citizen.

Offline BinRat55

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 09:53:56 »
Sorry for hijacking thread there. Back on track -- in the area I'm from the PMQs are generally cheaper than renting off base, and definitely a good option if you can't afford a down payment on a house. I have a few friends who moved from off-base into PMQs when they found out they were pregnant as it was a way to save money. In general the ones around here are pretty nice and if you're lucky you'll get into one of the newer developments. There are some "sides" of town to stay away from but living there generally isn't bad either, just a little messy around garbage day and bulk pickup.

And as Loach said, what you pay for a Q on the East coast might not be the same on the West, or Central. Just as a comparison, I moved from a newly upgraded PMQ (quite nice actually) which was 1100sq ft - rent was $765 in 2010. My mortgage? $805 a month for 2000 sq ft. $50 bucks more a month and I own my own home.
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake - Napoleon Bonaparte

Offline Loachman

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 09:55:21 »
I have just editted a couple of posts and removed a few others to avoid the possibility of causing any problems for anybody.

Offline nem

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2015, 19:09:33 »
Thank you everyone for your responses :) As its mostly servicemen/women responding (which makes sense), how have your spouses handled your career from what you can tell? I really feel like this is something I can do, but I seem to hear a lot about spouses burning out which is disheartening but is also understandable from what I gather. Is it really likely that he could be away for half the year consistently? I understand that the first few years can be rough but after 5, 7, 10 years is that really what you are still looking at?

Offline mariomike

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2015, 19:34:23 »
How much time could I expect him to be away during a "normal" year, not counting deployments?

How many deployments can a pilot expect to see during a 12 year contract?

Time away from home for Pilots, ACSOs, and Aerospace Control Officers.
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=119510.0

how much time do pilots spend away from home 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=36338.0

From So, you want to be a Fighter Pilot?
"You will be gone from home a lot.  In the last 7 months, I have been at home for 19 days.  On average, you can expect to participate in 3-4 3-4 week exercises per year, plus the odd small 1-2 week deployment.  Roughly 3-4 months away from home a year."
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=103289.0

From Life as a CF pilot 
"My dream has been to fly, but family is more important.  What length of time can I expect to be away from home if I get selected for fixed wing (any fixed wing - search and rescue, transport, instructor, fighter, patrol, etc.)?"
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=94311.0

From Pilot vs. Infantry Officer 
"And how much more time would a pilot be away from home than combat arms?"
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=113867.0

From The "So You Want To Be A Pilot" Merged Thread 
"how family life can vary for a pilot in the CF. ... What occupations tend to be deployed or away from home more often?"
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=12744.110;wap2

"Some things I came up with are being away from home for a long time, not being in a controlled work environment, and not being guaranteed to fly the aircraft that you want to fly."
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=111579.0

etc...

Animals have always been a big part of my life. They are pretty non negotiable for me and he is aware of this, but most of the information I am seeing revolves around situations where a single person wants to know if they can have pets. How strict are bases on allowing pets into houses (limits etc.), and as stupid as this question might be, is there ever any reason why you would be restricted by regulation on how many pets you can have if you live off base? Aside from land lord restrictions that is.

Pets
https://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Aarmy.ca+++pets&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=lWV5VqP7F6ai8we67JyAAw&gws_rd=ssl

I'm having trouble finding answers for basic questions from a Canadian spouses perspective.

Common law spouse: joining/already in (merged)
https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,25612.0.html
9 pages.

Common Law Marriage in the Canadian Forces - Mega Thread 
http://milnet.ca/forums/index.php/topic,30242.msg1408155/topicseen.html#new

common law wives/ girlfriends 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=85856.0

Common Law 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=117461.0

Common Law (so easy to search!!!) 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=30242.0

Spouse
https://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Aarmy.ca+++pets&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=lWV5VqP7F6ai8we67JyAAw&gws_rd=ssl#q=site:army.ca+++spouse

Wives
https://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Aarmy.ca+++wives&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=8nB5VsvqGaii8wfz55zIAg&gws_rd=ssl

Girlfriend
https://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Aarmy.ca+++wives&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=8nB5VsvqGaii8wfz55zIAg&gws_rd=ssl#q=site:army.ca+++girlfriend

few questions from a military girlfriend!
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=111106.0

Tasking / Posting with girlfriend 
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=115244.0

Girlfriend of New Recruit 
http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,46974.0/nowap.html

girlfriends/wives.
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=117420.0

Forums for Military Wives etc.
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=17773.0


Something you will read on here is, "The Army won't weaken a strong marriage, nor will it strengthen a weak one."

You may also wish to read this,

How do the families cope during a tour? Tips and pointers for first timers.
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=33246.0;nowap

Info for Families
http://www.forces.ca/en/page/forfamilies-151

Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs)
http://www.familyforce.ca/en/pages/default.aspx

This is also a popular discussion,

How to get family on board 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,13678.0/nowap.html

etc... etc...






« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 14:14:01 by mariomike »
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Offline DAA

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2015, 19:52:20 »
our time apart while he is in Ontario for training/finishing a degree

Before I wade into this, care to expand on your comment above?

Other than that, I think you are running off the rails here and getting way too far ahead of yourself.  Your boyfriend has applied for a job, one that he hasn't yet gotten an offer for.  It's always nice to plan for the future but you are either in or out, for better or for worse.

Some days, my wife likes my job better than I do!
Got a question that you're afraid to ask online?  PM me!  I don't bite........

Offline Ditch

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2015, 20:49:02 »
Is it really likely that he could be away for half the year consistently?
Hi Nem - I'm not a fighter pilot, a GIB or a rotor-head - I fly big planes.  Here's my input.

It is just as likely that he will be home more often that you can stand.  My first flying gig (SAR) I was home on average 20 days a month.  That's 20 days I didn't put on the uniform per month!

There is no one criteria that you can apply to the pilot life - it will completely differ per base and per airframe.  Most pilots are being slotted into a ground/staff job after their first flying tour - so after four year, they will hang up their flying gloves and cozy up to a computer.  That usually equates to even more home time.

Good luck - my only advice to you - get married or be common-law before he signs up - make sure he claims you as his dependent before signing the line.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline nem

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2015, 14:25:21 »
Thank you :) I know I am getting ahead of myself with all of these questions but I feel much better about unknowns when I feel like I understand them a bit better, just my coping mechanism I guess. And as far as the time in Ontario comment is concerned, he would ideally like to finish whatever degree they ask him to get at the RMC, as well as complete certain aspects of training while there, at least that is how it was explained to me.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2015, 16:39:26 »
Thank you :) I know I am getting ahead of myself with all of these questions but I feel much better about unknowns when I feel like I understand them a bit better, just my coping mechanism I guess.

The fact that you're trying to learn as much about the consequences/implications is good, but always have it in the back of your mind that his career could randomly go sideways and get postings that he (and you) could never have thought possible - for example, a 4-year exchange posting in another country - which can throw spanners in career path, lifestyle, etc. 

Being informed is good, but trying to have all the ducks in a row for the next 25+ years will just give him (and you) fits. 

PS:  I'm a GIB and my career has been....not the norm so far.  I wouldn't change a bit of it though.

PPS:  Related to above, do not let him turn down those foreign postings.   :nod:
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline kratz

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2015, 18:43:45 »
nem,

I'm a recently retired service spouse and I'm learning the answers to the same problems
you are questioning. *gasp* I'm male and my wife has a military career. 
The MFRC is set up for families, child care and wife support...yeah ok, this is a disconnect.

nem, those old advertisements about the military being, "no life like it" is true.
The wages, benefits and opportunities to see and experience the world are easily shared
with a spouse and family willing to join a CAF member in a healthy relationship.

I will echo Dimsum and others, support their efforts. It might be hard at home, but what
you keep going is so appreciated when they finally walk in the door.
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"Tanning Stations on the flight deck"


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Offline nem

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2015, 23:05:06 »
Absolutely, it's definitely hard for me to not try to plan everything out, but I get what you are all saying and I know that I have to keep that in mind. I intend on supporting him as much as possible and would be ecstatic if he ever got stationed over seas (assuming I could go with that is). It's not the spending time alone or frequent moving that is making me nervous, more so it's just the uncertainty of what to expect, but I'll start working on accepting the unknown before things progress further for my own sanity. It's nice to know that there's such a big community of you guys online! I wasn't expecting this many responses and appreciate them all.

Offline Pusser

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2015, 20:00:39 »
No one can give you a definitive answer as to what to expect because every service member is different and so every career is different.  Two members in the same occupation can end up having very different experiences.  However, as a general rule, any officer in the CAF (which all pilots are) can expect to live a reasonably middle class lifestyle.  I own a four bedroom house with a two car garage. I've got two kids and a cat and a dog.  Although I've done four sea tours and two overseas missions, I've still managed to find time to volunteer as a scout leader and minor sports coach (a few different sports).  With the exception of being at sea or on a mission, I'm pretty much home every night.  Even when I was posted to ships, I was still at home more than I was away.

The bottom line is that being married to a service member will mean that you will on your own more often than your friends who are married to guys in "average" jobs, but your life could be anything, but "average."  Some of the opportunities are amazing, not just for the serving member, but for the whole family.  Whenever my wife complains about having left a good job with 13 years seniority to follow me (usually with tongue in cheek and a smile), I remind her (also with tongue in cheek and a smile) that it was to move to Europe!  We've been very lucky in that she has a very transportable and in-demand skill so that she's had a job everywhere we've been, thus she's built up quite a resume herself.

Carpe diem.
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Offline ashley732

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2015, 20:42:40 »
I'm a current army wife living on a base my husband is an EO tech, we currently have 3 pets in our house living in Petawawa. For the last year my husband has been away for 6 months give or take for tasking or course if you want to message me I can answer you some questions from my experince

Offline mariomike

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Re: Questions from a possible future wife
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2015, 21:13:33 »
it's just the uncertainty of what to expect, but I'll start working on accepting the unknown before things progress further for my own sanity.

"Learn to accept rather than expect, and you’ll have far fewer disappointments."  :)

I wasn't expecting this many responses and appreciate them all.

If you search The Home Front forum you will find plenty of advice. Just a few samples below,

AF Spouses 
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=94326.0

Boyfriend joining the military, what should I expect?
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=112885.0

Spouse's Concerns 
http://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=36877.25

etc...

« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 10:43:32 by mariomike »
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