It’s hard to accurately describe what it feels like to be a military girlfriend. When you tell people that your boyfriend is an officer in the Army, they tilt their head, widen their eyes sorrowfully, then say, “That must be really hard for you”. So obviously my next reaction is to stare at them blankly, because truthfully, I have no idea how I feel about it.
I know I love him, that is a definite. I know that he is my soulmate, partner in crime, ride-or-die partner. I never have, never will, ever doubt our love for each other. He completes me in a way that makes me feel empowered and confident. I love parts about me that I didn’t even realize existed before I met him. He has opened my eyes, taken me through adventures, and awaken something inside of me that could never be smoldered. Being apart longer than we’ve been together allows me to think about everything about him that I love and the things I learn to love.
What we don’t know is the military. The unpredictability is intimidating, especially for me. I don’t let him know how much I think about it. Thank God for cell phones and FaceTime, am I right? Being in BOLC and getting our first glimpse of active duty has been a stumbled learning experience. I love him so much and I’m scared I can’t compete with his lifestyle. I’m proud and annoyed all at the same time. Being a military girlfriend is both glamourous and unthankful. It’s lonely and fulfilling. It’s confusing and clear. Its quick, very quick, and drags on forever. It’s everything, never nothing.
I know that regardless of the doubts and the waiting, my love won’t change. Right? I mean just because a person can’t change their lifestyle, doesn’t give me grounds to lose my love for them. I know if he could he would be by my side, but he has a duty. A big duty. Being an active duty girlfriend, I have a job too. I have to bear his burden even when he won’t tell me.
What about deployment? What about after deployment? What about the moves or the transfers? What you see on TV makes me question what’s real and what’s not. The coming home surprises or the unidentifiable death figures in Iraq on the news, which am I suppose to feel? I mean if you told me I was going to uproot my life for love, I would have laughed. but it doesn’t feel as pathetic as it sounds. I feel like this is my decision. The first big girl decision I’ve ever made. This is my choice. The Army was not my choice, but its my purpose now. Everyone is given a purpose and they must roll with it. Charlie Mike-continue mission.
I’m not sure if you ever get use to this. It’s not like driving a car or starting a new job. The separation gets tougher. The future gets overwhelming. Not talking for an hour because he has to do homework so he can learn something that can save his life feels like forever. You do think about the grim stuff. Like what would happen when you have two soldiers come to your house in their dress blues. Or watching the news and wondering if your soldier is one of the ones that was shot that day. Or how your biggest fear is not losing him physically, but to the deep terrors in his mind that prevent him from looking you in the eye when he comes home from deployment. I don’t think it was ever meant to be comfortable in the first place.
No one could tell me. Being in love is one thing, but being in love while sacrificing, compromising, waiting, and worrying is a completely different emotion. I’m not sure it’s even love. It’s something much better, I think. Its euphoric, but without the crash that comes after. But no one could explain that to you. Regardless of how many blogs or advice columns by military wives that have been there, done that.
And sometimes, I feel guilty because I know he feels guilty. I try not to cry in front of him when we’re apart, because I know it kills him that he can’t wipe my tears or kiss my forehead until I’m done. I remember sitting in the car before my flight back home. I never take the flight home well. I cry the night before and off and on the entire day of departure. But I remember sitting in his car in the airport parking lot, and he begins to cry. He starts to cry because he knows that it kills me to be apart, and that the reason I’m so sad has everything to do with him. How do you even respond to something like that? But I was happy, because I knew then, as I always have, that he wants to be next to me more than anything. I know its not his fault, its the Army’s, so he has no reason to feel guilty. But I try not to cry or tell him I miss him excessively, because I don’t want him to think that I’m second guessing us.
It sounds like I regret loving him, and that’s so far from what I’m trying to say. I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say, but I know that is certainly not it. This pool of emotions from the distance to the frequent change, its new and raw and exciting and frightening. Its everything, never nothing.