Staying With Your Military S.O.

So, your significant other left on their journey to boot camp and you’re worried about what will happen to your relationship. First of all, don’t feel guilty if this is your first thought when they told you. It’s a natural reaction; your best friend is leaving you to become one of the bravest people in the country. But don’t worry too much about it because you can definitely make it through! It may be hard, but it’s absolutely possible because anything is possible, well except catching the red dot if you’re a cat, but the good news is hopefully you aren’t a cat and this will be easier than that. Plus, it’s one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. You think it felt good to throw your cap up at your high school graduation?  Just wait until you finally pull a letter out of the mailbox from them. I guarantee no matter what that letter says you will cry tears of joy for a good half hour after reading it. Now, I will warn you, it’s going to feel like you’re putting in 95% of the work. However, in reality, if they send you even one letter, they are putting in about 50% of the work right there. (Since one letter is like the equivalent of you being able to send fifteen.)

1. My number one piece of advice: Don’t get mad or upset if they don’t write you very often.

They are doing the hardest thing they have ever done in their entire life. That will take a lot of getting used to. Don’t ever think they don’t want to write you. They absolutely do, it’s just hard for them to find the time. When they go to boot camp, they will be doing fifteen hours’ worth of stuff a day so they will not always have time to write. Don’t forget they may be heroes but they are still human.  Heroes need their sleep, too!  They are often thinking about you though and about the next time they will get to see you. Chances are they miss you more than you miss them (if that is possible.) And do not, I repeat, do NOT compare their communication with you to communication your friend has with their significant other in the military. This will just freak you out for no reason.

2. Write them as many letters as you can.

When soldiers are off at boot camp and becoming heroes of the future, they don’t have anything to do at night before they go to sleep. That is when they are able to read letters from their loved ones. This is where you come in. It is literally the only thing they have to look forward to in the day, so write them lots and lots of letters. I remember I would write one to my soldier every night when he was at boot camp.  He loved to have the letters to read so he could know what was going on in my life and it made us grow closer. Plus, my letters were the main way he got his news of what was happening in the world. When they are gone for all of that time, they don’t get to hear about anything going on outside of the base, unless it’s military-related. It’s a good way to keep them informed.  Don’t worry; they will keep you in their loop, too. Like how much marching they do and what a nightmare they are participating in, for example.  It’s a fun time, for nobody.  

3. Send them lots of pictures.

I know what you are thinking... “Can I send them pictures of me being all-natural?” No, no don’t do that, they will be spending two and a half months outside. That is probably all the “natural” they can take for right now… Just kidding! But, in all seriousness, it’s not a good idea because if one of them sees it, all of them see it. Do you really want to show up to your significant others boot camp graduation and see one of their friends who have seen you naked?  I know I wouldn’t. Save that for when they go to AIT and are able to Skype with you at night. Then it can be completely private and you can do whatever you want. Just make sure their roommate isn’t around. But, honestly, when they are at boot camp, you should really just stick to sending them pictures of family and friends, and, of course, pictures of you guys together. I know sending pictures was a big thing that got my guy through his training and knowing he had so many people back home cheering him on. Pictures are an absolute must.   

4. Write down song lyrics and send them.

They will not be able to hear music for the next two and a half months. And that is one of the big things they miss.  Try to find their favorite songs and send them the lyrics. Then they can at least sing the words in their head to remember what the songs sound like. Trust me, they will thank you for trying to give them back something they lost.

5. Go to graduation to see your soldier.

Yay! The day is finally here; your hero is now a soldier! I know this may sound crazy depending on how long you guys have been dating, but you should go anyway. If they have stayed with you through it all, they want you to be there on this day. This is one of the most important days of their lives and you should really try to be there to celebrate with them. If you missed them as much as I think you did then it is worth it to go see them succeed; after all, you have been there through the worst of it, why not go for the best of it too?  I will tell you from experience that you will never forget the first time you get to wrap your arms around your soldier when you see them. This will be the most bittersweet day of maybe your life, but definitely that year. Go see them, go show them you are in this and you are so proud of everything they have accomplished. It means the world to them when they see people there for them on their graduation day.

I know this may all sound scary, it’s a big step for them and for your relationship. If you are at all concerned about continuing your relationship into the military, talk to you partner about it. If you have those feelings there is a good chance they have them too. But, if you decide to continue your relationship, you will not regret it. It’s a difficult time, but it is a great time too because it really tests what your relationship can handle.  If it can handle being thrown into the middle of a hurricane, when they get back, it will all be smooth-sailing.


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