Milso = Military Significant Other, typically a military girlfriend or boyfriend

Just a few short years ago, I remember me and my service member were driving around on base. It was my first time on a military installation. We were dating for about six months before he asked me if I wanted to go on base. I had no idea what to expect. As he drove around, I was in awe of the impressive static displays of military prowess, the service members marching in unison, the American flag at the center of the post in all of its glory.

I thought to myself, “This, this military world, this is a world that makes you feel incredibly humbled and incredibly blessed to be protected. I was so lucky to find such a wonderful man to love me AND his country unconditionally.“  

Before we left base, I mentioned we had to grab a few things for dinner tonight. So we drove up to the commissary, and before the doors would slide open, we were stopped in our tracks and told to get out our ids.

“Is she your guest?”, the security guard asked my then-boyfriend.

“Yes,” he replied.

I was like …”ok… all this just for food?”

After we shopped around and gathered our things, we proceeded straight to checkout.

“I’ll pay for it,” I (naively) said.

He looked at me adoringly and said “Thanks, but you can’t”. The cashier then bluntly replied, “Are you not his wife? Then you can’t pay. If you don’t have a military or dependent id card, you can’t buy anything here.”

…And that was my first experience of being shunned as a milso.

From there, I learned more and more things about being a military girlfriend.

In military life, long term committed relationships other than marriage can be perceived as “not real”. As in, if you’re not married, then the girlfriend is “just a girlfriend”.

That’s not what being a milso means.

It means you’re not totally married, but you’re 100 percent in love.

It means you don’t have benefits, but you’re not in it for the insurance.

It means you’re not officially on PCS orders, but you would follow him anywhere if you could.

It means you don’t have a dependent id, but your commitment isn’t measured by paper.

It means you can’t get on base by yourself, but will proudly be on his arm as his guest.

It means you don’t always have access to the latest news of his deployment but you will be there for his homecoming.

It means you’re not officially next-of-kin, but you would stand by him through anything.

It means your time spent together may be limited but you cherish every single minute.

It means you didn’t necessarily recite vows, but you made promises.

It means you don’t have a ring but you have his heart.

…and that’s what it really means to be a milso.

milso, military girlfriend

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