Recently I have begun to process the fact that in three months my boyfriend will be swearing into the Army and starting his long journey of becoming a U.S. soldier. My boyfriend has chosen at this point in his life to make the military his career. I have learned a few things so far and have much more to learn as we embark on this journey together. With this list, I hope to pass on some advice and maybe some peace of mind as well to those who find themselves in my shoes.
1. Support your significant other no matter their decisions.
I know that when your significant other tells you they decide to enlist the military every emotion begins to flood your mind. The first thing that rushes to your mind is fear and confusion. Your heart drops to your stomach and you look into the eyes of the person you love the most and think the worst. Next you see all the excitement on their face and overcome with joy because you can tell how happy they are to have their life planned out. Lastly, you feel comfort in the situation because you know no matter what the military throws your way, you both can handle it.
2. Stay positive, believe it or not it’s scarier for them than it is for you.
Although your significant other is excited to enlist and want to start their journey in the military, this can still be a scary time for them; especially if they are still at a young age. They may not always admit to you that they a scared to go, but always be ready for anything. Talking negatively about the experience can make your significant other even more anxious about making such a big step in their life. Remember you are allowed to express your feelings of fear and sadness but you are also their biggest support system. This is one of the times they will need your support and love the most.
3. There are going to be hard times, but it’s not the end of the world.
Fighting can put enough stress on the relationship as is, but add in the military and it can cause even more tension. One thing I think is most important to keep in mind is that your significant other gets yelled at day in and day, especially during basic training, they do not need you to yell at them more when they finally get the chance to call. I know that you are stressed and irritated that you can’t see them or talk to them like you want to but take advantage of what you do have. I promise you they are probably missing you more than you miss them (even if you don’t want to admit it).
4. Deployment sucks and there is no way around it.
Deployment is rough. You have to worry about their safety, what they are doing and where exactly they are. But there are also holidays, birthdays and other special events that will be missed. When any kind of special event is missed it brings back all the emotions you had the first day they left and how hard is was to not have them right next to you or right down the road. There is no getting around the sad lonely nights and the emotions that come with deployment but you can try to keep spirits high. I recommend creating a fun and creative way to count down until they are back in your arms again.
5. Trust is necessary to make any relationship work.
This is especially true in the cases of military relationships. I promise you if you don’t trust that at home you won’t trust them away. The military does not help with trust issues and if anything it just makes them worse. Make sure that your relationship is strong and healthy enough to handle such a difficult experience because its harder to end a military relationship after they leave opposed to when they are still home.
6. Homecomings are emotional and making all the struggles worth while.
When you finally approach the end of your creative count down and realize you get to finally see your military man or woman you have every right to feel like a little kid waiting for Santa to bring them their favorite toy. When you finally are reconnected with your significant other you finally realize every struggle every tear and every hard time was worth the build up to this moment. Just try to remember to share him or her with their family too, don’t worry you two will have plenty of time to catch back up.
7. You become proud of your significant others branch.
Although you technically have nothing to with the branch you become proud of their branch. This feeling may be a little stronger when you are married to service man or woman but in some way you feel as if you are now tied to that branch. No matter how much or little you show your pride you will always have a spot in your heart for their branch.
8. There are people that went through/are going through the same thing you are.
Many times you will feel alone when it comes to the pain of dating someone in the military but remember there are people who are going through the same thing you are or have in the past. Fortunately for myself I have both friends and family who have experience with military relationship but if you don’t there are tons of blogs that can help you get through the hard times. The best advice I can give is do not ever be afraid to reach out or talk to someone.
9. If they are the right one, all of the struggles are worth it.
Yes, I know this sound a little cliche but it’s true. If you are with someone you love and potentially want spend the rest of your life with you have a better chance of surviving the crazy roller coaster of a military relationship. The military can not and will not affect a strong loving healthy relationship. Prove to yourselves and everyone else that the hardships and struggles of the military can not break your inseparable bond.
Being in love with someone who is joining the military is scary, sad, exciting and rewarding all at the same time. You guys have a lot ahead of you, just like my boyfriend and I. I wish you the best on your journey.