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My Boyfriend Joined the Army. What Happens Now?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My boyfriend has enlisted in the Army, and I couldn't be more proud. We haven't been together for very long -- we just celebrated our five-month anniversary -- but we are in love and I know that he's the one for me.

Still, I'm having some trouble getting used to the idea of him as a military man. He is going to be an Apache repairman -- not infantry, thank goodness! I don't think my heart or sanity could take infantry!

I guess what I'm looking for is a little advice. How do I get used to his absence? We talk all the time and see each other almost every day, but that will drastically change when he leaves for basic training in June.

He is scheduled to leave the day after our eight-month anniversary, and then he will be stationed somewhere for six whole years. I can only hope he gets stationed stateside.

Do you have any tips for a young woman struggling to find peace with the fact that she won't see the love of her life very much for six years? Any help is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,
Scared and Confused

Dear Scared and Confused,

I know all of this is very new to you, and you don't know what to expect. My first bit of advice is to remember that this is also new to your boyfriend, and he won't always have answers for you. He may be unsure about what's next. Don't perceive his unknowing as him withholding information.

He will be very busy in basic training, and he won't have a lot of time to call and talk. When he does call, keep the conversations positive. Hopefully, you will be able to attend his graduation.

After he completes his AIT, he will be off to his permanent-duty assignment. Six years at one location is not the norm, but it could happen. Perhaps by then, you will have moved on to another phase of your relationship and be engaged or married and living in the same location.

In the meantime, I highly suggest that you read all you can on Military.com and other websites about his MOS, his basic training location and his permanent-duty location. There is a great deal of information online that will answer many of your questions and concerns.

Related:

What the Military Does: Enlisted Jobs Explained

Military.com's Base Guides

I find that when couples are in a new relationship and one of them is in the military, it works best if each person in the couple continues to pursue his or her individual goals and they find a way to join their goals as a couple. Many couples have problems when one of them gives up their individual goals to support the other person.

Lastly, I would encourage you to join an online support group or discussion. This will be very helpful because people will share their information and knowledge and you can do the same.

I wish you and your boyfriend much success. I am very proud of him for making a decision to serve his country. Give him my best and keep in touch.

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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