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Girlfriend Fears What His Joining the Marine Corps Means

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My boyfriend and I have been together a little over a year. I am starting college in the fall, and I will not be able to bounce around the country with him as he is getting stationed at different bases.

My boyfriend graduated high school last year. All of a sudden, he asked me if I would stay with him if he joined the Marines. Well, I love him so obviously I'm not going to leave him. I'm just wondering what I should expect.

My main concern is that he will no longer be the same person he is now when he returns from a deployment. Also, I do not understand the realities of deployment and leave. He and I are planning on moving in together in the next month or so, but my first instinct is to push him away so it isn't so hard for me when he leaves.

I know this is a selfish decision, but that is all I can think of to make it hurt less.

Please respond and help me out in this situation.

Thanks so much,
Marine Girlfriend

Hello, Marine Girlfriend,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me with your important questions and concerns.

First of all, there are no absolutes with relationships, military careers or military deployments. We can't predict how your boyfriend will be after he returns from a deployment. Everyone is different.

For example, you and I could experience the same deployment, watch the same events and emerge as two different people. You could view certain situations as painful, while I may not be affected at all. Because of this, it does no good to start stressing about things that haven't taken place yet, like deployments.

On the other hand, I would encourage you to learn all you can about the Marine Corps. This will answer a lot of your questions and the more you understand, the more you can support your boyfriend. There is a lot of information about this on Military.com.

I also encourage you to stay in college and attain as much education as you can. More importantly, the more portable your degree is, the better employable you will be if you decide to move around with your boyfriend.

Some couples report that they start arguments or try to separate emotionally to before separations or deployments. However, if you are mature enough to start a relationship, then you have to handle all aspects of the relationship in a mature manner.

For this reason, it's important to talk to your boyfriend and be honest about your fears and concerns. I would also suggest couples therapy to help you and your boyfriend negotiate roles and responsibilities and handle other concerns.

Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing from time to time.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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