If you are beginning to join the Air Force or are thinking about joining the Air Force, it’s important to know there are official military dating rules and regulations (which will be briefly covered). However, the unofficial Air Force dating rules from first-hand experience will benefit you even more. These unofficial rules can be beneficial to you whether you are single or in a relationship.
Identifying potential situations you as a new airman can find yourself in. Like what you need to know about getting married early in the Air Force, getting dirty pictures confiscated in BMT, and the single life in tech school, to new relationships and deploying.
Plus, what can help a military relationship strengthen and last.
The Official Military Dating Rules
First things first, let’s get the official jargon of the Air Force dating rules out of the way. And if it’s too long winded there is a stripped down version at the bottom of the section.
Obeying the rules on dating is a serious matter. If you are discovered having unprofessional relationships with certain other Air Force members a long list of potential administrative actions can take place. Actions like removal from your position, reassignment, demotion, reenlistment denial, administrative separation, on up to disciplinary action under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Just know, you as a military member dating a civilian who is unassociated with the Air Force is completely fine.
So who can an unprofessional relationship be with, and what does one look like? An unprofessional relationship can be with your direct supervisor or leadership, an officer, or any military member that results in bringing discredit to the Air Force. Air Force relationships turn unprofessional when they affect morale, discipline, unit cohesion, respect for authority, or mission accomplishment.
As a rule of thumb, if you do date another Air Force member be sure they are in a different career field. Dating within the same chain of command or supervision is prohibited. Outranking airmen Showing favoritism or misuse of position isn’t tolerated. Plus, relationships between enlisted airmen and officers are not allowed either.
An officer who engages in an unprofessional relationship with an enlisted member is ultimately held responsible. So its deemed off limits, officers will not date or engage in sexual relations with enlisted members. Doing so they may be subject to prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Here is the stripped down version: Put simply, while dating in the military you can’t mingle officer and enlisted relationships, can’t date within your chain of command or career field, and don’t discredit or negatively affect the military while dating other military members.
All official military dating rules can be found here: AFI 36-2909
Unofficial Air Force Dating Rules
Now on to the good stuff that you and many others will find useful whether you are single or in a relationship.
Air Force Dating Rule #1 – Don’t Marry Your New Girlfriend/Boyfriend Right Before or After BMT
Now if you’ve been dating each other for a sustainable amount of time then, by all means, that’s your business if marriage is in the cards. However, if your relationship is fresh and you don’t want to spend a minute apart, yet you are going to BMT. Pump the brakes on marriage thoughts. It happens all too often, young couples get married very early in the military and when the Air Force starts throwing wrenches in the relationship divorce papers shortly follow.
Use this time as a new airman to get settled into the military life, as well as feel out your new Air Force relationship.
Continue to date long distance while you are away. This will take your training wheels off in the relationship and really test whether it will last. If you and your partner can’t handle having a long distance relationship through BMT, tech school, and into your first duty station, then the relationship can’t handle a deployment. Being half the world away and unreachable at times is a regular everyday occurrence in a deployed airman’s world. And at one point or another, you will deploy.
So when you think of an Air Force long distance relationship, really consider it. Numerous people get married who are not familiar with the military lifestyle and sacrifices and they fall into the divorce statistic.
Related article: 4 Tips For Staying Connected During Basic Training
Air Force Dating Rule #2 – Don’t Mail Nude Pictures To BMT
Going through BMT you will be placed under many restrictions and have a lack of freedom while at Lackland AFB. So if the person you are dating sends you naked pictures at basic training a few things will happen.
- Your instructor will have you open your mail in front of them.
- Your instructor will see the naked pictures.
- The pictures will be thrown away.
- You as the recipient of the mail will be punished with push-ups.
To save the person your dating the embarrassment of having strangers see them naked, simply prevent them from being sent. Warn them of the repercussions put on you and embarrassment on their part.
Related article: Can You Write Letters In Basic Training?
Air Force Dating Rules #3 – Don’t Fall Into The Tech School Trap
Stepping foot at tech school you’ll start to gain personal freedoms back, which is a big relief after the stresses of basic training. Everyone else attending tech school is also experiencing the same thing. During BMT zero to slim interaction with the opposite sex takes place, so when everyone is in tech school many new airmen start to mingle and date. As a result, being single in tech school offers some enjoyable times.
It’s such a drastic overnight difference, that there are signs posted in the day rooms saying “PDA is not allowed”. Occasionally overhead speakers will announce when public displays of affection are seen too. Its also commonplace that you are not allowed to have the opposite sex in your dorm room with the door closed. While these rules are put in place, being single in tech school is still a blast. So if you’ll be a single airman at tech school, enjoy it.
The trap lays when new airmen realize they can have additional monetary benefits like housing allowance and food allowance if they get married. Military marrying military means that joint assignments are given also. Both tech school airmen will have the same first duty assignment location. So some airmen get wrapped up in their Air Force relationship and don’t want it to end, and they marry after only a short duration.
Don’t be that person who gets married quickly for the wrong reasons.
Air Force Dating Rule #4 – Keep New Relationships And Deployment Simple
Dating in the military is hard when it comes to deploying and long distance relationships. Especially if the relationship is new. While you are thousands of miles away in a completely different timezone life is on pause to you. However, life is still chugging along for everyone else you left behind, including the newfound hottie you started dating.
It’s only a matter of time until the military lifestyle takes its toll on your new Air Force relationship. You can talk and connect as much as possible, yet it’s still a beast being thousands of miles away for extended amounts of time on a fresh relationship.
I made the mistake that many airmen make and moved too quickly. I wanted the new person I was seeing to be there when I came back, so she moved in with me. A short while into the deployment things fell apart and being half the world away during the thick of it was tough.
Keep things lighthearted and simple in a new relationship while you deploy. If the person is worth it, they will still be there when you come back.
Air Force Dating Rule #5 – Read The 5 Love Languages Military Edition Book
If you are serious and committed to your Air Force relationship it would behoove you to read the 5 Love Languages Military Edition by Gary Chapman. This book is eye-opening and will tremendously alter your relationship for the better if you practice what is in the book.
Another military member recommended this book to me when I was a young airman struggling in a relationship. I ultimately didn’t read the book until after my military relationship problems ended things with the individual. Yet still, the book has been very influential towards my future relationships and is an absolute must-read.
Give the book a try on Amazon – https://amzn.to/2DB1Sdb
As hard of a struggle as it is to be dating in the military or married in the military, your relationships will only benefit and improve. Hard situations like dealing with being separated during basic training or deployments become easier. Even everyday life at home is improved practicing the proper love language to your significant other.
To Wrap It Up
As a new airman be mindful of the official Air Force dating rules, don’t have relations between officers and enlisted airmen, don’t date within your chain of command/supervisors, and don’t discredit the Air Force.
Take to heart the unofficial Air Force dating rules as they can benefits you as a new airman or potentially prevent particular situations. Situations like your instructor seeing dirty photos of the person your dating, things to watch out for in tech school, and how to strengthen your military relationships by reading the 5 Love Languages Military Edition.
Share this with someone you feel will benefit from it.
Air Force Veteran
Corey is an Air Force veteran and the lead writer at Basic to Blues. He refueled fighter jets as a young airman and deployed twice to the Middle East. Now Corey can be found hiking in the Pacific Northwest.
Who the hell… POL!