The life of a military spouse is not necessarily filled with glamorous duty stations and foreign escapades. Spouses are pulled out of their comfort zones every few years and forced to start over with homes, jobs, schools, friends, and almost every other aspect of life. The stereotype is that the best military spouses “bloom where they’re planted.” They prioritize fitting in after a move and dive in head first and make each new place home for themselves and their families. Spouses are supposed to find ways to get involved, meet people, and seamlessly recreate the life they had at each previous duty station.

So what happens if you don’t bloom where you’re planted? If you’re a military spouse who doesn’t bloom, are you a failure? And what do you do with the wilted life you’re leading? Sometimes you don’t bloom, and it’s OK.

We all know that fitting in after a move is tough — it’s showing up to events where you know no one, it’s putting yourself out there again and again. There is always a learning curve as you meet new friends, get familiar with your new surroundings, and find new ways to get involved. Many times you spend a few months struggling, but eventually, you will probably grow to love it. It’s hard to move and start over, but military spouses are expected to overcome and overachieve, which they often do. No one talks about the spouses who don’t overachieve. No one shares when they never truly bloom.

fitting in after a move

Fitting in After a Move Isn’t Mandatory or Guaranteed

The truth is, sometimes it never becomes OK. You might have that one spot where you never meet friends. You’re too far from family. The kids struggle more than usual. Maybe you don’t speak the language. You can’t find work. You live off-base when you’re used to your military community. You justdon’tclick.

You’re not a failure if you never bloom. Military life is a tough life. For some personalities, upheaval is daunting or more than an average struggle. And contrary to unspoken rules, there are no actual guidelines for handling the constant transition.

When you’re struggling to find your happy place, you might need to look for intrinsic motivators. If your restaurant options are limited to fast food when you’re used to big-city dining options, if your shopping went from high-fashion to high-speed internet, if your career options disappeared or your tenure went out the window, you need to find alternate ways to keep yourself happy. Not unlike surviving a deployment, keep yourself busy until the countdown ends and you get to replant yourself!

Exploring Your New Place and Exploring Your Options

Where do you find joy? Are you crafty? Set up a room and become a factory of DIY. Are your kids a source of happiness or distraction? Put your efforts into making their time here the best. Explore your new area — day trips, stay-cations, weekend get-aways, local festivals. Are you at your best when you’re busy? Get involved in a spouse club, local charity, part-time work, mentorship, tutoring, etc. If your career is portable, start the job search. If learning is your jam, but career is on hold, can you parlay your educational goals into learning opportunities? Now might be the time to catch up on that pile of books you haven’t had time to read. If you can’t quite find your niche anywhere, examine how you might find joy in the quiet corners of your home.

If Support is Needed

Not fitting in after a move, despite every effort, is not pleasant, but it’s not impossible to handle. However, if you’re starting to wilt in very real ways, be sensitive to warning signs:

  • Struggling to get out of bed
  • Lacking enthusiasm for even the most joyful things
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Struggling to get even basic things done
  • Crying constantly

Depression can be situational and can creep in if you’ve fallen too far. You know yourself better than anyone, and it’s important to be your own advocate. Find a therapist, speak with your doctor, use your support system. Never try to go it alone if you feel like you’ve lost even a little control.

fitting in after a move

Focusing on the Good

No, you may not always bloom where you’re planted, but hang in there. Focus on the love that keeps you in the game, or the pride in your spouse, and the importance of what he or she does. The good news is that even the worst-looking plants can be revived with the right care and attention. If you can’t find it where you are now, you get to try again in two or three years!

Want more help fitting in after a move? Commiserate with us as we relive Friend Dating, and don’t miss an opportunity to let your baby help you make friends!

fitting in after a move

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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