Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stay Strong When Your Boyfriend Goes to Basic Training

Hopeful by Leigh Anthony Dehaney via Flickr cc.  
Anonymous Asked:
Hello, my boyfriend and I will have been together for three years in September. A year ago he told me he was interested in the Navy and that college just wasn't for him. I respect his decision and I am so proud to call him mine, but he is leaving for basic in 15 days and I am starting to become more and more scared everyday. This man is my first love and I desperately want for him to be my only. I know that I can commit to him and remain faithful, but I am starting to get really scared knowing that soon he wont come running whenever I need him. Any advice on just staying strong and keeping hope alive for our relationship? I hope this doesn't sound like I am complaining.. thank you so much.

 My Answer:

Hi Anonymous, 

Thank you so much for commenting. No it doesn't sound like you are complaining at all. In fact the way that you feel is perfectly normal, and it's the way everyone feels when their boyfriend, fiance, or husband is about to head off to basic or on a deployment.

I really hope that you check out our Facebook forum because there are a lot of people on there who can share their experiences on this matter as well.

What I can tell you is that it’s okay to feel what you are feeling, and that you shouldn’t fight it, deny it, or feel guilty for it. It’s normal and even healthy to feel scared, doubtful, sad, and angry, even when it doesn’t feel normal. 

Be Prepared for Little Communication 
Love Letter by Peter Hellberg via Flickr cc.
I wish I could say that basic will be a piece of cake, but it’s going to be rough at times. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that it's not doable. Countless others haven’t survived it, and you can too! The scariest thing about basic is that there will be little communication. He might not call you or write you for a couple of weeks right from the beginning, not because he doesn’t want to but because they make it difficult for him to do so. Things may have changed since my husband was in basic, but he was only given a short period of time to write once a week. 

Try to think of the good things about this though. When you eventually do go through deployments, you'll have much more reliable communication and much more of it, so it will make things a little easier when that time comes. 

Basic is Your Training Too
Basic isn't just training for him. It's training for you too. Try not to think of it as something he's doing and you're not. You are going to go through some stuff too, and you have every right to feel the emotions that comes from pushing yourself. 

You mentioned how you are afraid that you won't be able to rely on the idea that he can come running when you need him. This is something that a lot if not all of us expereince and at first it will be a little scary but here comes some of that training, the training to be self-reliant emotionally as well is when it comes to handyman type of stuff. Remember too that it's okay to be scared about this. It’s okay to freak out or do what I do and become a big crying mess. Just don’t be hard on yourself for getting that way because it’s perfectly normal and healthy. 

Be Kind To Yourself!
When I was in the beginning, I used to come down on myself, feel weak and even crazy when I freaked out like that and it took me years to realize that, going through those moments isn't something that makes you weak or crazy, it's what reveals your strength. 

Prepare Before He Goes
It might be helpful to talk to your Sailor now about how you both will be feeling when there’s no communication, that way when you haven’t heard from him, you can remember what he said. Maybe even write each other some sealed emergency letters to open when the time comes that you desperately wish to talk to each other and cannot.

Goodbye by m kasahara via Flickr cc.
I know talking about this stuff with him is difficult, especially right before he goes because the closer you get to that date, the more the both of you will be getting into the psychological process that comes from a separation, and sometimes that means communication is harder. It's better to try than not to, just don't push or worry if those attempts at in-depth communication don't happen the way you want them to. Remember, sometimes communication gets hard leading up to the separation and that's normal.

Staying Strong & Having Hope
What's really important to remember is that you are strong. The moments that you think mean you are weak are actually the moments that make you strong because you are willing to endure this for someone else. That's strength, no doubt about it. Always remember that your feelings are normal and healthy, and it's okay to feel them. You can do this.

Have hope because others, many others have survived this experience and even thrived in this lifestyle, and you can too! 

With the best of wishes,
Stephanie Carroll

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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