A military relationship can be a true test

Jazzmin Riles with her boyfriend, before he deployed to Japan.
Photo submitted by Jazzmin Riles

When I first met my boyfriend eight years ago, I had no intentions of taking our friendship any further than what it was.

His plans were always to enlist in the military and I knew that I would be attending college after high school.

Fast forward to 2018: I found myself in a serious relationship and preparing to deal with my significant other going to basic training.

We decided to keep dating through the basic training process even though the only form of communication was to write letters to each other.

Although I come from a military background and have been a part of my mom's 21-year journey through the Air Force, this was completely different for me.

There was so much to learn, and I am still learning something new every day about what it means to be in a military relationship.

This life we have chosen together is a balancing act.  After making it through the limited communication that we were granted during basic training, we thought that we would be able to conquer the world. Little did we know that this would only be the beginning.

I was able to spend a month with him before he was deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. This is when our relationship was put to the test.

He is currently 14 hours ahead, which means our time communicating is limited. I go through most of my day not hearing from him or getting random texts throughout his 16-hour work day.

Balancing school and a relationship is already difficult enough; adding busy schedules and time differences often has me questioning how I can maintain my focus and keep the faith that we can make it until he returns to the United States.

The truth is, there are a lot of lonely days and nights. There aren’t too many people in college who can relate, who have a partner in the military, let alone overseas. Nothing is guaranteed at this point in our relationship. There’s a possibility that he will miss my birthday and graduation, in addition to the holidays.

Being a girlfriend to anyone in the military is never easy. You don’t receive any benefits. People will question your motives for being with your partner and often don’t see the relationship lasting. Your friends will consider you crazy for even dating someone who is in the military.

However, staying busy and keeping the end goal in mind makes it easier. He’ll be home soon.