YDU: Can’t Be A MilSpouse If You Don’t Drive


Why did you tell me that you can’t be a military spouse if you can’t drive?   I’m a new Air Force spouse, a college student in my mid 20s.  In June, I started to experience symptoms that have caused me to lose my ability to drive.  When we were in California, this wasn’t much of an issue—everything was within walking distance of where we lived.

Now we are stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, in the deepest darkest suburbs of Ohio.  No driving has started to take a toll, leaving me feeling socially and geographically isolated.  My condition has not been diagnosed and I have no idea if this will be a long-term or short-term problem. I have been to several doctors and specialists, but as of now, my life is my home when my husband is at work.

I have been told that my role in my husband’s career is essential and necessary (apparently officer wife function are vital). But going to any kind of meeting is entirely dependent on my wonderful husband’s availability which is limited –as you all know!

I see many of the club meetings are held in the mid-day at the base and I have no way of getting there. Public transportation in this area is limited.  Even when available, it is also dirty, long, and not very safe. The cab system here is even thinner and very expensive.

I also do not have children, and in no way do my husband or I ever want any. This creates a huge problem in the Air Force where everything is very “family” (i.e. child) orientated. Being a young couple, most all the other people we know have children. We love to have fun in the spur of the moment, but feel we (I) can no longer experience life to its fullest.

So, what is a military spouse to do at this point? How can I become more involved not just in our military life but in my own life without the ability to drive?  How will the spouse community view my situation? Is it better I stay behind the scenes until things are figured out?

I ask you spouses to try and understand how to better my situation. I do not work, not because my medical issues prevent me from holding a job, but since I cannot drive this removes my ability to get to any employment. I need help trying to figure something out in this foreign state, and foreign situation.  Any suggestions are utterly appreciated!

Hayley is an Air Force Spouse currently located in Ohio.

Why Didn’t You Tell Me is a weekly feature that gives our readers a space to tell their own story.  If you have a story for us, please submit using the contact button above. All stories must be original and unpublished.


About the Author

Why Didn't You Tell Me
Why Didn’t You Tell Me is a weekly feature that gives our readers a space to tell their own story. If you have a story for us, please submit using the contact button above. All stories must be original and unpublished.
  • Sarah

    Like you, I don’t have any kids. I am able to drive, but I work full time during the day and so can never attend any daytime meetings or events either. However, there are still ways to be involved and to meet other spouses.
    See if your husband can arrange for you two to go out to dinner with some of his married work friends and their wives. You’ll be able to meet other spouses, and, if you hit it off with them, you can maybe start going to meetings or social club events together (more fun anyways). You guys could also host something at your house like a BBQ, super bowl party, etc. so that you can meet more people.

    Once you have made some friends, invite them over to your home for lunch, coffee, etc. instead of meeting out in public. Let the spouses who are also active in the FRG know that you’re willing to host if they need a place to get together to work on something.

  • Maia

    Have some children. Seriously it will help and you will never regret it.

    • guest

      So the answer is have kids or you don’t belong? I have never heard a worse rationale for procreating.

      • Zeithria

        I agree. I do not want kids, really!

  • Betty

    I’m kind of in the same boat as you are. What do you do to keep busy and not go insane all day long? I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    • Hayley

      Well Betty, I have taken up stained glass, cooking, sewing, and home remolding. However, am I still going insane… YESS!! That is the boat I am stuck in is the fact that there is so little available for me. I live far enough away from base that it makes traveling there impossible without the hubbs. Him and I do do a lot on our own, but I am completely unable to get involved with clubs and organizations on base, which is what I really want to do. I do not want to only have my husband as my only person in my life. So, I am still fighting the repeating system with no escape. Fingers crossed next duty station is a bit closer, or I am finally done with my illness.

  • spouse2000

    You don’t have kids and you want the people who have kids to bend to you? How is that the Air Force’s fault??

    • Zeithria

      Really, that’s your take away? The point was not the desire to have mother and father bend to the like of a childless person, more like the fact there are SOO few couple with out children in the Air Force; thus is make is very hard to find friends to socialize with that have the freedom a childless couple has. Also, there was in no way any blame on the Air Force

  • Sarah –SBuzz

    Maybe a hobby could bring you joy and also contribute to your surrounding community? For example, I am a knitter, and at our last duty station I belonged to a group that made chemo caps and preemie caps for the local hospitals. I did all the knitting at home and then dropped items off at a meeting spot and one person would deliver them all to the hospital. It was a lovely way to volunteer without ever leaving the house.
    Good luck. It is always hard to figure out how you fit into a new community, but I am sure it must be even harder if you have medical issues and limited transportation. All the best…

  • mary

    What is going on with some of these comments? Not everyone wants screaming children running their lives! I’m in the same boat as you, with the exception that I can drive. However, we only have one car, so while my husband is at work, I’m at home! I have a furbaby, so that has helped me with some of my boredom. Plus, I love her to death! :)
    Honestly, I watch a lot of tv, clean my house frequently, cook, and surf the net. I also try to plan dinner for the entire week, and I spend a lot of time grocery shopping. It’ s not really my idea of a great time, but it helps pass the time. I have also just started blogging so that will take up some time too. I only have one friend who is childless, and she has since PCSd. I hate not having friends who I can completely relate to. I don’t mind them having children, it’s their life, but it does get in the way of being able to be spontaneous. My husband hangs out with a lot of his soldiers (almost all single), so it helps in that sense because we are able to do stuff with them almost at the drop of a hat. I hope you find something to help with this problem. I know exactly how you feel!

  • Even when available, it is also dirty, long, and not very safe. The cab system here is even thinner and very expensive.

  • jmloftus

    I’ve been worrying about this for a while now. My fiance’ has just entered and I don’t have a license because of major anxieties while driving that cause me to blackout. Though I’m kind of an introvert and don’t have much of a problem being stuck at home all the time, I am worried about how I’m going to handle getting to places if he is deployed.