Life On A Military Married Patch

Before I married a submariner, I had heard a lot of rumours about what life would be like on a military married patch. I was told it was the bitchiest place to be and it was all just women sitting around gossiping about each other. I've now lived in a military married patch in Scotland for around a year and a half - these are just a few of the things I've learnt during my time there.

Chances are, you will make a ton of new friends. 
 - All it took for us to know pretty much every person who lives in our street, was meeting one person. She introduced us to other wives and often people have barbeques or parties which is a great place to meet new people. If you move to a married patch and haven't met anyone or made any new friends, try reaching out on social media. For our area, we have a Facebook group for all the Armed Forces Families in the area - I've seen people posting on there regularly saying they are new to the area and so many wonderful people will invite you round for coffee or invite you to a families event.

The other wives can lift you up or bring you crashing down in an instant. 
  - I've learnt for myself and seen it happen to other people - it's usually gossip related, but fall outs happen far too often in married patches. Emotions and stress levels run high, especially when we are on our own, the kids or the dogs are playing up and we are so far away from our friends and family. It's not really surprising that sometimes people clash or sometimes people cause unnecessary drama, but equally, all it can take is a cup of coffee with a military wife who understands exactly what you are going through to make everything seem better.

Gossip can travel faster than in an all girls secondary school.
  - I went to an all girls secondary school and this statement is actually true. You will learn quickly who you can and can't trust with your secrets, but when gossip starts, it can get out of control very quickly. We'd been in our house for around 3 months, and I had only spoken to a handful of wives but yet the name "Sarah with the spotty dogs" seemed to be thrown around all over the place amongst people I had never heard of. Unfortunately, the gossip is not always true and things can become twisted as it ends up being a game of 'chinese whispers'.

We are a community that you don't want to mess with.
   - A few months ago in our married patch, there were reports of people trying to steal dogs from people's gardens within the married patch. The news got out so quickly and was spread all over social media and the response was amazing to read. A few wives had commented saying that they were worried that with their husband away, they were worried they might become a target. I then saw other comments from husbands and wives (many of which didn't know each other) saying things along the lines of "if you see anyone, message me and I'll be straight round" and "these people don't want to mess with us, there will be hundreds of marines and sailors watching out for them if they try anything". We are a very tight knit community.

It's horrible when people move away. 
  - When you've made such good friends with people who live a few doors away from you, you see them everyday and get used to having them around. Then their partner is drafted to the other side of the country, and it's horrible having to say goodbye. It happens far more often for us than people in other walks of life. But, they are usually followed with more people moving into the area and more opportunities to make new friends, and there is always social media now-a-days to keep in touch with everyone.

Getting drunk together is cheaper. 
   - You can save money on taxis for a start! We've had so many nights out where we are able to share taxis to the same street and split the cost. And we've had so many nights around each others houses where we can get drunk and not worry about getting home - you just have to manage to stumble down the street and get into your house!

The support from other couples is amazing. 
   - I remember when my husband was last at sea and all of the stupid little things that my husband does, suddenly became an issue when he wasn't around. I'm not the most independent of people at the best of times, but I had no idea how to pump up the tyres on my car. Luckily, one of my close friends sent her husband round to help and it was no longer an issue. It's the little things like that that make you realise how lucky you are to have such supportive people around you.

You don't have to socialise, but people will be there if you want to or if you need them. 
  - This is one of my favourite parts of living on a married patch. We can go weeks without socialising with anyone and it will still pick up where we left off afterwards. And I know a lot of wives who would rather have a peaceful life and stay away from all of the married patch life, but if they needed something, I know a large amount of people who would be happy to help them.

You are surrounded by people who are just like you. 
   - This might not apply to married patches everywhere, but especially where we live, if you go outside of our immediate area, you will hear nothing but Scottish accents, yet within the married patch, everyone sounds the same as us - or at least similar. Almost everyone in the area is not originally from the area so don't have family and friends nearby. Almost everyone has experienced their partner being absent and has been lonely at times. People understand you and you are not alone.

These are just parts of my personal experience with living on a married patch, each area will probably be different and each individuals experience will be different, but if you're thinking about moving onto a married patch, these are some of the things you may encounter!

Sarah (Pale Princess) x