My boyfriend and I have been dating a grand total of two weeks, although we’ve been friends for months. Those ridiculous feelings of puppy love are floating around, so I won’t harp on it, but let’s just say I’m quite a fan of this guy.
So why the letter to you?
He’s in the military and is moving in about a week. At first he will only be a handful of hours away so we’ll see each other weekends here and there. Then he’s going to move across country and from there we don’t know. We’ve planned Skype dates and phone call times, promised to be honest if there’s something wrong, and we are both determined to make this work. Oh, and if this could get more fun, throw in the fact that he is my first boyfriend and both his previous relationships ended because the girls were cheating.
My life is already awesome on its own; he adds to that. I have zero intention of being the girl who mopes and pines for her boyfriend when he’s gone. I do have every intention of being an encouraging and supportive girlfriend, and to make it clear that I am invested in our relationship.
So my question is this: do you have advice, recommendations, wisdom or sarcastic thoughts on how to make those things happen? Any secrets you can share for a soon-to-be-long-distance couple? Anything would be appreciated, as everyone gives me the “you’re DOOMED!” face when they hear he’s moving…
Becoming The Long Distance Girl
as a matter of fact, i do have some thoughts.
and the world was shocked into stopping it’s rotation.
the first and biggest thought is that this is going to be a perfect trial by fire to see if you’re up to the task of being a military girlfriend. no slam on those who can’t/won’t do it, but it really takes a special breed of strength and independence to do it well. you’ve got an advantage in that you’ll get to see him, however sporadically, for the first little while.
the rest of my thoughts will come in list form, because that’s what i must do to keeps things in order and not come off like a complete asshat.
1. if you’re clingy, you’re dead. you’re going to have to get your head around the fact that no matter how much he wants to, he is not going to be able to meet your every emotional need, be there for you when you get a flat or listen to you gripe about your best friend stretching out your favorite pair of True Religions. the time you do get to be in his presence or talk to him on the phone is precious, so don’t make it emotionally taxing or make him feel helpless because you’re dumping things on him he can’t fix. feel free to dump on your friends and family at will.
2. always be honest and demand the same from him. tell him you will take honesty over fairness or nobility any day. i dated an army guy for a while and would have been willing to do just about anything to stay with him. he insisted i see other people to be “fair”. i speak fluent guy and “i want you to see other people” means “i’m seeing other people”. so i started seeing other people. namely, the man i’ve been married to now for almost 20 years. turns out, my boyfriend was trying to be fair to me, but what he really wanted was to ask me to stay with him. but he didn’t. and i moved on. honesty. honesty. honesty. there’s no way to make it work without it.
3. set up a schedule. as best as possible. i know this can be rough, but if calling you at work is a problem for your boss, he needs to wait until your off hours. his schedule is going to be written in military blood, so be as flexible as you can. Skype often and tell your friends to bite me when they complain that it’s cutting into your hanging out time. being as available as possible is the sacrifice you’re going to have to be willing to make.
4. grace and patience. you’re both going to need more than Job. when he doesn’t call on time, when your internet goes down (damn you Comcast) or a phone got left on vibrate and went unheard…you get the idea. these aren’t personal slights, but they sure can be taken that way when even the smallest amount of insecurity exists. considering his history with girls, he will probably be even more touchy about that sort of thing.
hand written letters, pictures and care packages are always awesome for our military men, too. makes the other guys jealous.
as for those who look at you with pity…screw ’em. only time, not distance, will tell if this is going to work.
oh so sincerely,
have you ever dated anyone in the military or do you come from a military family?
any other advice for our friend?