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Low percentage of troops report overseas romance

Mar. 12, 2012 - 07:24AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 12, 2012 - 07:24AM  |  
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Good news for military spouses: Your other half is probably not cheating on you while deployed.

For the first time, the 2012 Military Times Poll asked whether respondents had engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship while deployed.

Seventeen percent of the 695 active-duty respondents who had deployed said they had. Comfortingly, 40 percent of those respondents said the relationship was with their spouses. They did not specify whether the spouse was deployed to the same theater at the time or carrying on a long-distance liaison from home.

Another 25 percent said they were not married or in a long-term live-in relationship.

But among those who engaged in sexual or romantic activity while deployed, one-third said it was adulterous, either because they or their partner — or both — were married. Most said they were married and their deployment partner was someone other than their spouse.

The poll did not ask respondents to list the number of people they had relations with while deployed, but for 13 percent of them, the multiple-choice descriptions they checked could only have been two different people — for example, someone listed both "a foreign service member" and "an American civilian" as partners. A handful had at least three partners.

Still, that means that in the end, only 5 percent of service members who had deployed cheated on their spouses while on the front lines, and just 2 percent had relations with multiple partners.

Service members who admitted to fraternization were even rarer. Although more than half of respondents who had deployed said their partner was a fellow U.S. service member, only five people total, or 4 percent of those who were romantically active in the field, said their relationship likely violated fraternization rules.

Only six active-duty members said they have had a relationship with a local national while deployed. Five were in the Navy, and four said they had been deployed to the Philippines or East Africa at the time.

That's a dramatic drop from years past. Of the 309 former service members responding to this poll who said they were involved with someone while deployed in past wars, half indicated that at least one of their partners was a local national.

Nearly 90 percent of those said the relationship occurred during the Korean or Vietnam wars.

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