Staying in vs. Getting out.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my husband and I are debating our future. This is the ideal time to either get out and start anew, or to stay in and make this our life. My husband and I both like our Navy lives, he loves his job, and I love that he loves his job. However, the constantly looming deployments are demoralizing, and there is NO escaping them. We will not have another shore tour for at least another 3 – 4 deployments, and at least 2 of those deployments will last 9 – 10 months.

He has made it clear to me that if he were to get out, it would be for me — so that we would never have to be forcibly separated for 9 – 10 months.

However … what is the alternative? That he become a commercial pilot? Then he will be gone more frequently and I will not have a support network. We will also take a big pay hit for a few years, but in the long run he will make a lot more money. Is that better? I don’t know.

I am trying to keep my mind open to all the alternatives. In the end, if we stay in, we will stay in knowing that we made the best choice for us. We will know that we continued with open eyes, rather then just following the easiest path.

We are very happy now, but one of the main problems with staying in is that job satisfaction changes every time we move and every time my husband gets a new boss. Yes, this is similar to the civilian world, except that we may move as frequently as every 2 years, and his boss may change 2 times in every duty station. And, when we move, we may move overseas, or my husband and I may be forced to live apart, sometimes with no communication, for as long as a year.

It’s a lot to think about. I am glad that I have such a broad group of military wife friends. No matter their husband’s rank or branch of service, we face the same challenges and questions. We have the same sleepless nights and heated discussions.

Getting out or staying in IS the biggest, most important decision of our married lives.


  1. My cousin is a Navy pilot and is now a Reservist also flying for the airlines. I grew up with my dad flying commercial and it is so much easier having him come and go more often than dealing with the deployments. Granted, subs are different than carriers but it is easier to say goodbye for a weekend or two weeks (varies from trip to trip) than it is for months to an indefinite amount of time. Plus a support system isn’t as much a necessity with the short trips and communication is so much easier.

    Andrew went out for two weeks in the fall and that was so much easier to handle than the normal patrols! Granted it was after only 4 days of being home from an excessively long (and miserable) patrol but it was so much easier than having to let him go for a long time and not knowing when he’d be back (since that’s how it goes with the subs…they don’t like to give us exact dates).

    You can also plan out your lives and have more freedom with the airlines than with the Navy. Just sayin. My dad had to plan ahead to take leave and stuff like a normal job but I much prefer that than the constant worry of “will they randomly deny or cut short his leave?!” like they like to do with the Navy.

  2. That was us a few years ago, we hit the ten year mark and had to decide. Stay in for the retirement or get out and actually use that degree doing something you would enjoy. Sticking it out for 20 was his choice and we still debate if it was the right one!

  3. We had this exact same discussion many times. My husband will have served 9 years by the time his current contract is done, and it’s tempting to stay in for another 11 to get retirement. Depending on his boss of the moment, some days he really loves his job.

    The deciding factor for us was the deployments. Not because he doesn’t want to leave me (he doesn’t, but he we can both handle it), but because he can’t bare the idea of having to leave his future kids.

    Getting out is pretty scary, the military is the only real job he has had, and we are so used to the steady income. It will certainly be an adventure when he gets out in 21 months!

  4. Thank you so much for your input, ladies! The two things that we are taking into consideration heavily are: 1. that I’m not done my professional degree, and I won’t make descent money for at least another 5 years, and 2. health insurance is a problem for me. With the ACA, I can’t legally be dropped, but I have been dropped and denied coverage in the past, and if the ACA is ever repealed, I’ll be in trouble again. When we met, my parents were paying over $800/mo for my health insurance, and that was the only plan I qualified for. We can stay on TriCare if he’s in the reserves, which is great, but the reserves will DOUBLE his time owed — from 10yrs to 20yrs! It’s crazy. So, we’re still talking and he’s talking to the detailers. I think that we are going to continue on with active duty, but I also am glad that we are looking into other options and making sure that this life is what WE want.

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