1. Keep work inquiries simple. Asking your partner how his day was is courteous and is encouraged by dating experts. For 9-to-5ers, this is the norm. Not necessarily so with the uniformed. Cops and firefighters may talk when asked, but if he's in the military, chances are his duties are confidential, especially after deployment overseas. So, where does this leave you? My advice is K.I.S.S: keep inquiries simple, sister!
2. Be flexible. Though they aren't doctors, men who protect and serve are on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And remember, disaster doesn't take vacation either, which means dating or marrying a man in uniform takes a lot of patience and flexibility. One strategy when making plans is to use a pencil in your date book. This will prevent your calendar from looking like a Rorschach inkblot.
3. Decoding "Boys' Night Out." Camaraderie is the foundation of survival for servicemen across the country. Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, there have been more memorials, fundraisers, and other organized events than ever. Unwritten rules in firehouses, police stations, and military bases nationwide require brotherhood attendance, so ladies please cut your man slack. Don't get me wrong, NO guy should use these outings as a means to get drunk with his buddies and ditch out on his duties to your or his family, but understand that gatherings are expected.
4. Making nice. A good laugh amongst like-minded women who "get it" can enrich your relationship. When I was a newbie attending a formal with my fireman, I found that being cordial right away put me in a favorable light. I quickly began making plans with others who used pencils in their planners!
It takes a strong, confident woman to date a man in uniform. Handling uncertainties is a job in itself, but the rewards of being with a hero (from watching him slip into his gear to seeing his courageous actions captured in local newspapers) are priceless.