Girlfriends, when their recruit is in boot camp, can go through so many emotions throughout the journey, especially those that are best friends with their significant other or have been with them for a long time previously. A lot of people take the time to consider all the emotions the recruit can go through, but what about his family? The most prevalent perhaps would be loneliness, followed by worry, longing, anxiety, and confusion or doubt. I speak generally when I state that long distance relationships can be difficult, because when you really love someone with all you have and they have become a piece of you, it’s devastating to not be near them.
I have recently become a part of a Facebook group dedicated to marine/recruits significant others to talk about questions, bond, and really just interact with one another to combat the loneliness or help other girls with theirs. It is an amazing portal that has really helped me to cope with the absence of my boyfriend, and in the process distract myself with learning as much information as I can because as the women online say, the learning process for someone in the military is endless.
There are so many different stages and new things to go through and it can be somewhat complicated to navigate through all the acronyms and requirements of everyone, so I for one am extremely grateful to have them all help me understand these things in a non-judgmental environment. I have seen women on there just like me that are of course lonely and sad because they are missing their favorite person in the world… but also we talk about our fears and discuss ways to make them heal.
A main worry is definitely just if our man is alright, if he is healthy or hurt, but a quote you hear EVERYONE say is that “no news is the best news,” because since you barely hear from your boyfriend except for just a few letters, you feel concerned due to the unknown. It is something to keep in mind that even though there is a lot left out when they send letters to you, they would let you know if an issue was to arise. Not just your guy, but the Drill Instructors themselves because health is just as big a deal to them as it is to you. Once you start realizing this, you can relax somewhat but that is not the only fear I have heard of.
One comes along much later, as the recruit’s graduation to become a full marine draw near. You are of course excited to see them, but you could also come across the notions of being anxious, nervous, even scared or dreadful. I mean, your significant other has gone through an EXTREME mental and physical test and will have matured and grown a lot since you have last seen them, and you haven’t talked near as much so it feels a little like you don’t have that good connection with them like before. Maybe they don’t want to be with you anymore. Maybe they are a very different person now and you will barely be able to recognize them. The concerns are endless and completely valid, and it’s important to know that you are not the only person experiencing this. It doesn’t mean your worst fears will come true, it just means that you need to keep your head up and know that things are usually not as bad as you expect (that coming from an extremely anxious person that over-worries to the max) so try and lift your thoughts to the positive, like how nice it will be to finally be in their arms and see their sweet face, and you will be OKAY. If your significant other can do this huge adventure and come out stronger from it, so can you, so trust your gut and don’t pay attention to the impending butterflies.
In addition to mental and emotional hardships, there are also physical changes that some people experience when their significant other leaves. Something I would advise to possibly be prepared for is all the crying. I found it really easy to burst into tears nearly all the time, whether I was thing of my boyfriend or not. I had a lot of assignments and stress when he left, and usually he is my rock, the one who grounds me and talks me through my anxiety and panic. It was a very hard transition (and still is) to feel alright without him able to do that. Also, I have found myself not able to eat as much as I usually would- this could have been due to stress from other things as well, but I normally eat snacks and meals throughout each day so when I started noticing my meals were very few and in-between, I made a note to make sure I am staying healthy too. My boyfriend is going through a lot, so there is no reason to make him concerned over my health in comparison to that! Some girls also stated that they ate as a comfort item and ate more than usual. Both are absolutely normal, but my only advice is to be aware of your eating habits and stay healthy and take care of yourself, not only for you but also for your man, if that helps any.
Important to note is that even though you have lost your significant other for a limited time, you have also gained so many new friends through these online portals to connect you to the military life. This is a very hard time for you, and it is going to be a roller coaster of feelings. Forgive yourself for not being perfect- you can cry, and you can forget, and you can smile even though he is not there. You are valid, and so are your emotions, but do not feed your fears and don’t be unwilling to lean on others. This is a big thing for them, you, and your family, and you are not forgotten.