Is Dating in the Military Allowed?

military man with his partner

Like civilians, service members also want to have successful relationships. However, military members, given the nature and demands of their duty, face unique challenges navigating the dating world.

So, how can military personnel take care of their personal relationships while fulfilling their duties for the country? This article covers the repercussions and tips for dating in the military today.

Can Military Members Date Each Other?

Being part of the Armed Forces doesn’t prohibit one from having relationships. However, service members are discouraged from interpersonal relationships that may compromise their work, particularly between officers and subordinates. Regardless, dating someone in the military can be challenging for both civilians and enlisted members.

What to Expect When Dating Someone in the Military

military couple with a dog

Dating a service member is far from easy. It’s normal for service members to move at least every two years because of their deployment orders. Even if that person just started as an enlisted personnel, recruits must devote most of their time to rigorous training schedules.

An enlisted member is expected to be an exemplary manifestation of discipline and good behavior. Thus, a military member is subject to specific rules, regardless of whether they’re dating a civilian or another person in the military.

Can military members date within their military branch? Yes, it’s possible. Those on active duty can pursue romantic relationships, and enlisted members can also enter active duty while already in a relationship. However, there are rules to be followed. If two enlisted members decide to have a relationship, they should follow those rules carefully.

Fraternization in the Military

According to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), fraternization is a relationship that compromises the military’s chain of command. Fraternization may cause favoritism, reduce impartiality in duty, or undermine duty.

Typically, fraternization applies to unprofessional relationships between an officer and enlisted personnel. However, this may extend beyond rank as well. Fraternization isn’t limited to romantic relationships. This may involve borrowing money from one another, engaging in sexual relations, or going out together on dates.

There are rules against fraternization because the military wants to prevent inappropriate relations between higher-ranking personnel and their subordinates. Ultimately, these goals are intended to maintain order and discipline within the organization.

The act of fraternization becomes a crime only when the behavior has compromised the unit’s chain of command. Charges can only be brought against the accused couple if the following happens:

  • One party was a commissioned or warrant officer.
  • That person was aware the person they fraternized with was an enlisted member.
  • That person mingled in terms of military equality with one or more certain enlisted members in a particular manner.
  • The fraternization violated the custom of the accused’s service that officers shall not fraternize with enlisted members regarding military equality.
  • The conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces.
group of military soldiers standing in line

What Relationships Are Allowed in the Military?

As mentioned, not all types of relationships are prohibited in the military. There are exemptions to the rules. Here are instances wherein pursuing a relationship is allowed:

  • Two enlisted members share the same rank
  • One party is a civilian or government employee, while the other is military personnel
  • Marriage between an officer and enlisted service member if they got married before entering into service
  • One-time transactions between enlisted members
  • Ongoing relationships based on civilian jobs

Are Military Members Allowed to Marry Each Other?

Service members are allowed to get married to one another. However, they will be made accountable if they were involved in improper fraternization before marriage. Then, this marriage between personnel of different ranks could result in fraternization if their union compromises their duties.

Moreover, it’s acceptable for military members of the same rank to marry and for one party to be promoted. In this instance, their promotion shouldn’t get in the way of their duty.


Navigating relationships in the military can be demanding. However, if you understand and follow the rules under the UCMJ, it is possible. If you want to learn more about life in the military, explore the Military Verification website further.


Can you date an officer in the military? 

Yes, as long as the relationship doesn’t compromise the chain of command, dating in the military is acceptable. However, if this relationship causes misconduct and disorder, this might count as fraternization.

What are the rules on dating in the army?

As long as the relationship doesn’t result into fraternization, military members can date within the organization or outside. The general rule is that the relationship shouldn’t affect the chain of command.

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