A blog from Army&You’s summer edition by Holly, @lifeofamilitarywife

My fiancé and I met in 2017 and immediately became best friends. Only six months later, we went on holiday and decided, there and then, to move in together!

As we weren’t married and hadn’t been together long, we weren’t entitled to a quarter so, after commuting for a year from Wales to London every weekend, we finally moved into our extortionately priced flat in April 2019 and began living together; we were so excited and relieved! But one week after signing for a flat, we discovered he was being deployed.

It was devastating. We’d only just started living together and within eight months, he’d be gone. We weren’t expecting a deployment for another year but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, you can’t predict military life. The deployment hung over our heads. It felt like so much pressure to enjoy every second and sometimes, in life, that’s not possible.

Perhaps if we’d had a house on the patch that was actually ours and I was surrounded by other military spouses, I wouldn’t have minded as much. But we weren’t married, nor were we together long enough to be entitled, which is understandable. Instead, I had just started a new job, moved away from my family and friends, and was living in London with no familiar surroundings.

On the day of his deployment my journey began just as much as his. I couldn’t afford to keep the flat and I didn’t want him sending money home; it was his chance to save! I trekked around London after work – alone – viewing place after place, finally finding a flat available for six weeks over Christmas and another for eight weeks after Christmas, living with complete strangers.

Once they were secure, I then had to find a new flat for us to move into when he got back; although, that part was quite exciting! Our first deployment was badly timed and quite stressful. However, I look back now and I’m grateful for it. I felt stronger and more independent than ever, only relying on myself and now greatly appreciating our quarter and time we have together.

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