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Will I Lose Her If She Joins the Military?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My fiancée plans on enlisting in the Air Force after we get married. She has always wanted to enlist. I'm perfectly fine with that ... except it's my biggest fear.

I’m planning to be a conservation biologist. And I’m not afraid of the distance. Heck, the first three years of our relationship were long distance, seeing her for only a week or two, maybe twice a year, if I was lucky.

What scares me is just her being in the military -- the lack of communication, especially. I went away on a monthlong expedition into the mountains once, where we could only write letters. She became incredibly depressed and hurt while I was away.

The fact that she's in the Air Force, and will likely take a job that will most times place her stateside, makes me worry less about her getting killed. My biggest fear is just ... well ... losing her. I can’t quite explain it, but I just feel like after she enlists, I'm going to lose her somehow. That'll she'll be different.

What can I do to help ease my fears? I know there are support groups, but most of them are for military wives, not husbands, and I fear I will be out of place. She's my everything. I'd gladly sacrifice anything for her. She makes me incredibly proud.

If it helps, I'm 20, and she's 19, we've been together since we were both 15, and honestly, I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I just can't help but think that these next four years are going to be complete and total hell for me. Any advice, comments or anything would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Scared to Death

Dear Scared,

The next four years won’t be complete hell for you. However, this is a big transition that will bring changes. These changes may be stressful but they can be opportunities for growth.

You are right -- change can be scary. Your fiancée will be growing individually. This growth will not only involve you but also many other people.

You could also be realizing that she will have to depend on other people and not just you and your support. I know it’s scary, but if you reframe all of this, you could also think that it will be great to watch her grow and mature into a very confident woman.

Yes, you will be away from her during her initial training, but you can keep in touch with her, attend her graduations and celebrate her accomplishments.

To your benefit, you report that you love her very much and you also have a lot of great things going in your favor. Over the next four years, you will get to meet other men who are supporting their wives' military careers. I won’t endorse any particular online support group for men, but there are many available to you.

Keep talking to your fiancée and be honest with her about how you feel. It’s very important to keep the lines of communication open. The only time you may have limited contact with her is during boot camp. Otherwise, you should be able to have an enormous amount of communication with her.

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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