I’ll Trade You My Heart for Your Dog Tags

The unthinkable has happened to you: you realized that you are dating someone who is brave, courageous, and wants to join the one percent. Yep, you just learned that your significant other wants to go fight for their country and join the military. You are happy that they are following their dreams, but you start worrying about what this means for your relationship. Well, don’t worry just yet because there are ways to keep your relationship strong! I remember the day my boyfriend told me he was joining the military. While I was so worried for him, and my heart dropped to the floor, I was happy he was following his dreams. My worst nightmare became a reality, though, because I was dating a military guy and our relationship was going to be long distance. I told myself I would never do either of those things, but you can’t hide from your heart forever. In the end it wins.

When that dreaded day comes when they are supposed to get on an airplane, fly away, and become a soldier, you can’t help but miss them instantly. That first day you will probably spend the whole day crying, reading past text messages from them, looking at their pictures, and reminiscing on your relationship. You will begin hoping and praying your relationship makes it to that wonderful homecoming. After all of that initial sadness is over, it’s time to get up, wipe away your tears, and keep going with your life while they are gone. I know, I know; “but how am I supposed to do that? My heart is across the country right now.” Well, to keep yourself sane and your relationship going strong there are some things you need to do for yourself.

1. Make sure you have a relationship strong enough to be put through the ringer.

Before they leave make sure you are on the same page with them about your relationship. If you start dating someone right before they leave, or even if you have been dating for a long time, you need to understand that there is a chance your relationship won’t necessarily work out. Don’t forget that they are going to be under so much mental pressure and they will not be there for you all the time. 80% of boot camp is mental, 20% is physical. Your soldier will be different when they come back; you just have to make sure you are both ready for that. But even though they can’t be there for you, you can always be there for them.

2. The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep yourself busy.

Sitting in a dark room crying for the next three months while they are at boot camp is not the way to go. You need to keep yourself busy so time doesn’t become your worst enemy. This is the time to get a job, take some extra classes, take up a new hobby, or go out with friends. Anything to keep your mind off of the sadness you feel.

3. Get yourself ready for change.

Once your significant other joins the military, a lot of things change. Not only do you enter into a long distance relationship, but you have to understand they may not be the same person they were before they left. Bootcamp is meant to build people into soldiers. Hopefully your significant other doesn’t lose their love for you, but you have to brace yourself for that to be a possibility. No matter what, you need to realize as long as you are with them your life has been changed. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing because some really good things come out of that change. Your significant other will probably come back toned, strong, and sexier than ever, which is an upside to boot camp!

4. Write them as many letters as you can.

Writing your significant other letters make them happy, because they miss you and your letters will bring them joy. Letters will also give you a sense of joy because it will make you feel more connected to them. Letters just feel like you are talking to them like normal. The only difference is when you just talk to them you don’t have to wait a week and a half for a response… Well, unless you say something to make them mad.

5. It’s time for a glow up.

You are going to spend at least the next three months without them, so why not take that time to work on yourself. While they are off becoming a soldier, take the time to make yourself look fabulous! I know you don’t want to, but make some changes: start going to the gym, eat healthier, lose the Christmas weight. Trust me, you will feel fantastic about yourself and it is a great way to keep yourself occupied during the day. Hey, why should they be the only one in the relationship that gets to be ripped?


If your love is true let it flow through you, don’t give up on it just because long distance is hard. They never said life would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it. Just think someday you could have a love story that nobody could ever beat because you made it through the roughest storms together.

“Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.” Winston Churchill


Photo credits: 1, 2