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Had you told me a year ago that I would be in a serious relationship with a man in the military, I probably would have laughed at the idea. A full time college student with a job? How could I balance all that and have a boyfriend in the military? Such a scenario was the last thing on my mind. But, as you can tell by the title of this article, things changed. I may be relatively new at this kind of lifestyle, and I am certainly no expert, but I have learned a few things along the way.

1) He cannot be by your side 24/7

This one is obvious, but still takes some getting used to. At some point, you will adjust.  Just remember that the lonely days and nights are only temporary.

2) His job comes first 

Military jobs can be demanding. When he doesn’t respond to your texts for a few hours or when he’s in the field for a few days or a few weeks, try not to get frustrated. Chances are, he is just as frustrated as you are. Taking it out on each other won’t help anything.

3) There are a lot of rules

Dress codes, curfews, “in uniform” rules, the list goes on and on. You will find yourself learning new rules, policies, etc., every day. 

4) Balance college life 

Balancing college life while trying to be in any relationship, whether long distance or not, is difficult. It is important to stay on top of your school work, even if that means sacrificing some of your time together. Cutting a FaceTime call a little short isn’t going to hurt if it’s between an A instead of a B on an assignment or test.

5) Understand his stress

Enlisted military personnel have one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. Know that there will be times when his stress is out of your control.  Try not to add to it. Do your best to help him destress, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t get through to him as much as you’d hoped.

6) Plan plan plan 

This will give both of you something to look forward to. Do your best to schedule time to see one another, and always plan ahead. You will quickly learn that a little bit of time together is better than none at all. If you can’t plan a time to see one another, try scheduling time out of every day for a quick phone, or FaceTime call. Trust me, this will quickly become your favorite part of every day.

7) The distance is only temporary

Sometimes, you may have to remind each other of this. Remember: It’s never “goodbye,” just “see you later.”

8) Keep your friends close

Too often, young people get wrapped up in relationships and find themselves losing friends over it. Not only should you spend time with friends and family, but also take time to yourself. You don’t want to look back and regret missing out on moments you can’t get back.

9) Show your pride

Some of my proudest moments are when we’re in public and he’s in uniform. Someone is always sure to thank him for his service, or even pay for your casual fast-food dinner date. It’s moments like that that remind you there is still good in the world.

10) You are not alone

We’re in this together. Develop a good support system, and make friends with girls in similar situations. But most importantly, remember why he wears the uniform.

Bethany P
CONTRIBUTOR