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Opening the first letter was like opening the first present on Christmas morning as a child. I may have cried. Okay I most definitely cried.

    Just two months prior to this emotional letter-opening ordeal I had fallen head-over-heels for someone who (thank god!) fell just as hard for me. The only downside? He was leaving for Boot Camp in just a few short months. But I was willing to take a chance on love. So we spent our summer days together, enjoying the warm nights, trading secrets and plans for the future.

    Before we knew it, the dreaded day had arrived. It would be three long months of communicating with good old pen and paper. No face-time. No phone calls. Not even an email. Communication is key in a relationship, and doing so by snail-mail isn’t the easiest.

    But alas, the long 13 week separation ended, and I was presented with one of the newest members of the United States Marine Corps. He was home for ten days. Ten days which were spent with family, friends, netflix, and naps… lots and lots of naps. At the end of the ten days it was back to being at the beck and call of his command. And because of his job in the infantry, the guys that are in charge of shooting the guns, he had to go back to training which meant going days or weeks with no way of communicating. It was hard, but we adapted. We talked when we could, and made the most of the infrequent texts or Facetimes.

    We are lucky enough that he is only a few states away, stationed in North Carolina. He has been able to come home for some of the holidays, and even was able to help me move into college. In January he will be deployed to Japan for six months.

    Being in a military relationship requires a lot of communication in ways couples shouldn’t have to communicate. Serious talks, fights, and discussions are done over the phone. It can be challenging to talk through a screen. However, technology is something that has made this relationship work.

    A lot of people ask how we do it. Or why we do it. Missing out on big events of each others lives can be heartbreaking. I missed his graduation from bootcamp because of school, and he was in an intensive training when I had prom and graduation. Birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations are spent 804 miles apart. I have always been an independent person, whether I am in a relationship or not. And long distance relationships require a lot of independence. It has taught me a lot about myself. I am appreciative of the small things, and never take for granted the times we spend together. We face obstacles and find ways to overcome them.

    Being in a military relationship means sharing your significant other. Whether they want it or not, their job is their priority. A military relationship is more than surprise homecomings, love letters, and the attraction of the uniform. It requires commitment through good and bad, thick and thin. It can be lonely and scary, but it is very rewarding.

    So to all you long-distance couples out there, military or not, I feel you! I know your struggle and understand the pain. But it is possible, and only proves how strong a connection and love is if it transcends over miles and states.

 

 

I am a sophomore at Endicott College majoring in early education!
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