Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Holidays Away From Home

The military can be very unfair to families, and unfortunately, there’s no way around it. Tons of servicemen/servicewomen all over the world on deployment have to spend Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, etc. away from their families. I can’t imagine how they feel, but I know how hard it is from the family’s perspective.

Even though they’re not with their real family, they usually have their own type of celebrations together on base. They may have dinners or even just a time to relax. It’s obviously not even close to being back home, but at least they have something special. Even though it’s terrible, situations like this only make you stronger.

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Taken by: Matt Snow. Pictured: Fellow sailors on deployment.

 

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Letters

Okay, we’re going to jump back to boot camp. A few days after they arrive at boot camp, they will begin to write letters. Receiving your first letter is so relieving. Even though you know they’re in a safe place, it’s reassuring to know how they’re doing on top of that.

You can write them letters as often as you’d like, and they get mail six days a week. They may not get to write you as often, but I guarantee you will get plenty (as long as they’re writing of course). Keep in mind, you have to be careful what you send. They have certain guidelines when it comes to packages, and you can only send plain envelopes and cards. No glitter, stickers, or colored envelopes.

Other than having to be boring with what you send, sending letters begins to be kind of fun. Now you can actually expect something in the mail other than bills, and it’s exciting, too.

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

A Perspective

I’ve talked a lot about what it’s like from a serviceman/servicewoman’s point of view, but not necessarily a spouse’s or family member’s. This perspective is a lot different.

Watching them leave is so hard, and it seems much harder for you. You worry when they tell you where they’ll be stationed next. You worry about their training and deploying. It’s hard seeing other people have their families together for holidays whenever you don’t have that. It’s hard not having them right there when you need them- having them there to comfort you during bad situations. It’s hard not knowing when you’ll hear their voice again.

However, it’s great that you have someone to be so proud of. You have someone who would risk it all for their country, and someone who is stronger than you can imagine. There’s nothing truly quite like it.

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Another Change of Plans?

Now that the military has complete control over your loved one’s schedule, everything can and probably will change. There have been countless occasions where I have experienced a change of plans. It’s very common, and extremely annoying.

The military has a crazy schedule to say the least. Members do not always know what they are going to do next, so a lot of times it is hard to make plans in advance. Leave days usually are not specified until shortly before the leave is actually scheduled, deployment dates and returns are always subject to change, and sometimes they get taken away for gun shoots or extra training.

There’s no real way to overcome this one other than just staying patient and optimistic. I hate having to say “don’t get your hopes up”  or “expect the worst,” but that’s honestly the best way to not let the constant change get to you.

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Long Distance, Long Hours & Time Zones

Sometimes your loved ones may get stationed overseas or in different parts of the country, meaning that they will more than likely be in different time zones. These can be a slight one hour difference, or maybe even an eight or nine hour difference. Either way, it can get confusing.

 

They also tend to work pretty long shifts (at least between 8-12 hours), so that on top of a time difference makes things even more difficult. You may even get to the point where you’re sleeping while they’re working and vice versa- at least I’m no stranger to it.

However, you can power through it.

Memorize how their time corresponds with yours, make sure your phone has the ringer on at all times, set alarms (occasionally at least) to be able to wake up to talk to them for awhile, and do whatever you need to do in order to communicate (even if it’s just for a few minutes).

It’s doable, I promise.

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Meeting New People

As many of you know, there are Facebook groups for seriously everything- military family is one of them. There are multiple pages made for families who have loved ones stationed at the same base or the same area. There are sometimes even pages for the squadron or platoon that your loved one is in that posts pictures and gives updates of current situations.

If possible, become a member of a group or “like” a page! It helps tremendously having other people to talk to while going through boot camp, deployment, or any other extended period of leave. It’s also helpful to know what is going on for the most part at your loved one’s base.

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Long Distance Relationships, Military, Military Relationships

Traveling

Depending on how far away your loved one is stationed, you may or may not get to visit them. Usually they will choose a place that is semi-close to home, even if “semi” means eight or more hours.

Traveling is always best when you’re with your family. It makes for a fun car ride (at least more fun than you would have by yourself) and you can catch a nap while taking turns driving. Oh, and bring snacks! Stopping at gas stations is obviously required, but the fewer times you stop, the faster you get there.

Sometimes the trip feels like it’s lasted forever, but once you make it to their base it’s worth the drive.

This is a picture from Chicago, Illinois when I traveled to Great Lakes.

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