Mimi, Please keep this discussion going, I am going through the same thing myself, however, my boyfriend is not deploying, but is in the AF and is being re-stationed in Hawaii. I have been so confused what to do and how to approach things. This series (as many from you) is extremely helpful.
Much more from women who love men in the military, and women who are IN the military.
These emails will touch your heart and maybe break it. All names have been changed.
Where to write to soldiers:
I can comment on this with experience. My husband was in the military for 33 years, and I know for a fact that a girlfriend needs to be there for him without ultimatums. He is not going to mention the big "M" word or discuss his relationship with you, because he has said nothing, take it at this point in time, that all is well.
What you are wanting to do, another woman did to my husband in Vietnam. She pressured him to get engaged, etc., and then she broke it off while he was over there and married someone else. It caused grave hurt and emotional scars. His mates have told me the effect on him as well as them. I met him after he came home from the war. I also had long separations from my man due to Military life and exercises and there is always risk.
Right now your guy needs your love support and loyalty. He will need your love, letters, care packages of essentials he does not have or cannot get, send photos, and do not write about your problems or insecurities. This man is about to go into a war zone and anything can happen. He will be nervous and possibly scared about it, but he will not say so. If anything negative happens with you, it could cost lives at the other end, due to his upset emotional state he will not be focusing as he should.
Take this time as a special time for you. Start those projects you want to do, spend time on you, set out to make yourself a confident and happy person. Still see friends, and maybe even his friends - but not too friendly with them !!!!! Reason: life with a military man means that there will be time apart, you and he have no control over this. The strength and depth of love will be shown by your confidence in him (NO BIG TALK).
He also needs to know that you are capable of being on your own and the trust and loyalty is there. This makes a very solid relationship and he can get on with what he has been sent to do with confidence all is well at home. Any negative things, Dear John letters, etc., has a real impact on all his colleagues and mates at the time, so your actions will also affect others and possibly their safety.
A lot a men in the military, due to the fact that there is always a danger, they often do not open up, they accept it "as is." If you do marry and have family later, your faith in him now and loyalty will be a very strong point with you relationship later raising children in his absence (been there and done that) he will feel safe with you, that you will not let him down. These situations make or break relationships in the military.
And what more..... when my husband died from war injuries a few years ago after 25 years of marriage to Him and the Military, while cleaning out his things, I found EVERY SINGLE letter I had ever written to him while he was away, tied with red ribbon. The ones written before we became engaged were tied separately in the bundle. It says a lot.
SO, tell him you love him, support him, love him from afar, every letter tell him you love him, be creative with your letters, (I used to draw coloured pictures on my envelopes, and the other guys would tell him there's a letter for you - it became a trademark and a high point for him, and some of the guys were envious of his girlfriend - he told me so when he came back), write about nice things that you did together and experienced together, this lets him know you care and that the relationship matters, give him positive information and above all Love and HOPE, and write OFTEN. This is war, not a holiday excursion. He may be killed, injured or disfigured, so he must know that it will not matter, that it is HIM that you love.
So if you love him and are serious about your relationship... BE THERE FOR HIM. Take the mental view that this is a new experience and get on with it with confidence, Wish him well, say goodbye with a smile and with love, no hysterics (seen that and not good), a tear is OK, and go home and cry in private, wreck your mascara. This will be his last memory of you until he gets back and it is important, be nicely dressed, smell nice, etc... This is giving him nice memories to hold him over until he comes home to you - this is one of the important memories of you.... most important.
This way he can be proud of you. And now his mates look after me, and I'm now in my 50s they are my friends too, and because the relationship with my husband - some of them served overseas in war with him; they look after me now. That is how it is with the Military (in Australia).
Best of Luck to Amy.
Mimi, there is so much more to this and I feel this young girl needs some really sound advice on how to handle herself and be there for him.
Just one more thing about Amy and her "soldier boyfriend." While we all understand her need for commitment before he leaves, let's just consider one of the worst scenarios:
I had a friend who was very much in love with her GI boyfriend and he with her. Unfortunately he was sent overseas and got very badly injured. I won't go into the horrid details, but believe me, there wasn't much left of him when he came back, save his brain and his ability to speak...
He felt he wanted to release her from the relationship despite their previous agreement that they were in a committed relationship...
She felt torn between pity and loyalty... but had to admit to herself that she couldn't possibly have married him now.....
Had they waited for the 'talk' till he got back....... do I need to say more?
While I wish Amy all the best and her boyfriend all the luck in the world... I feel the 'talk' can wait... and wait...............
You are "gorgeous"....
SFC "Rourke," just to add to your story... I have been back home for a little over 2 years from Iraq.
I got divorced when I returned home... People don't understand how much the "I care" packages mean to a soldier.
If you can not afford to send packages, his home station can help you out, but nothing means more than a slice of home when a soldier is away.
I did not get the "I care" packages... All I got was "I need, I need, I need," from my spouse, even when I had to be medivaced to Germany.. Anyway...
We are already under a lots of stress and we too have some fear in our hearts about being deployed.
You let "Amy" know that if she wants to keep her man... "Patience is a Virtue".... Let him know you care while he is gone and give him time when he returns home.
Once we return back to the good ole USA, we have to fit back in... I know it sounds strange but believe me it's not.... I cried because I went past my street for the third time in a row... "New Construction"... So our minds are looking for familiarity....
Hope it all works out......
Hello,Comments are welcome!
I really feel for Amy. My brother was deployed to Afghanastan and his girlfriend was concerned about their relationship and what she should do. They had been together for 10 months and he is 35 and she, 30.
She ended up moving in with him to see if it would even work out 3 months before his deployment. (That may have been a mistake). It seemed to be fine, but when he left I asked him if she was getting a ring? He said no. His track record with women is bad in my opinion, I don't even bother to learn their names most of the time because he has picked poorly and I know they won't last long.
We all loved this girl and thought she was the one. He is the type of guy that is friends with all his ex's which I guess is a good thing. Anyway, he left for 6 weeks, was home for Thanksgiving then off to Afghanistan. He broke up with her in January. I was blown away! His excuse was that he didn't miss her so it must not be meant to be.
I think with his military job he has conditioned himself to feel little emotion and put up a wall. I have no idea if she said the wrong things or pushed or what, but he is sticking to his story. He got home a month ago and saw her twice in the first 4 days. It is of course just as friends and I think she needs to play hard to get and blow him off. He let her get away and he's never going to figure it out.
For Amy, since you and he are not in your 20's, he's been around the block and he is probably not wanting to rush into anything now at all. He is pre-occupied and what they go through just preparing to leave is intense. Just be positive for him and see how it goes after he's gone. You should know him well enough to sense a blow off after he's been gone a while. If he wants you he will let you know; if he doesn't, he will turn you loose. I know my BF would want me to wait for him but we are in an exclusive committed relationship and we now live together.
Don't whine or pressure him for anything. Believe me, they share stories and I'm sure he's heard an earful from his buddies and others about the drama. Don't be that person and he will respect you immensely.
Hang in there!