So, your boyfriend or girlfriend has decided that they are going to join a branch of the army and they are preparing to leave for basic training. You can prepare for them to be gone, but you don't really understand what it's like until it's already happening. Here are a few spoilers, tips, and tricks to help keep your relationship strong, as your S.O. goes through basic training.
Spoiler: You can do it.
1. You won't get a lot of letters, but send as many as you can.
When your S.O. is at basic training, their day is planned from the morning they wake up to the minute they go to sleep. With that being said, they aren't exactly going to get a lot of time to write to you. It sucks not being able to hear from them as much as you would like, but you have to remember they are having a very hard time mentally and physically. When their name gets called for mail, they feel like they won a prize. Even if it feels like a one-way street, you have to keep sending letters.
TIP: Use the Sandboxx app to write letters on your phone. It cost money, but it is a quick way to get them letters. You can attach one picture and if you send the letter before 5 PM on a weekday, they get it printed out the next day.
2. Have them make you a playlist before you leave.
Have your boyfriend or girlfriend make you a playlist to listen to while they're gone. Have them put a ton of songs on it, maybe their favorite songs or songs that you both enjoy. It's really good for when you are doing a workout or just hanging out.
3. Make sure your communication and trust is solid before they go.
You cannot have a successful long-distance relationship if you do not have 2 things: trust and communication. It won't work out for you in the long run. Before they go, make sure you really make sure you trust each other and are very open to discussion before your S.O. leaves for basic. Discuss how you are going to handle the long distance situation and make sure you are confident you will both be doing just as well apart as you would be together.
4. Use this time to focus on yourself!
You should really work on yourself while your partner is gone. Focus on work, fitness, picking up a new hobby, or revisiting a hobby you haven't been doing recently. It is so important for you to have your own identity outside of your relationship, so make sure you are taking care of yourself and working towards your own goals.
5. If you are going to tell them that you miss them, be sure to also tell them how proud you are.
Leaving to go to basic probably wasn't an easy decision for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes we can make others feel guilty when we tell them how much we miss them and wish they weren't gone. It's totally fine to tell someone you miss them, as long as you remember to tell them how proud you are of them. This way, they know you care about them and are being supportive of their decision.
6. The first phone call SUCKS, but the halfway point phone call is great!
When you get that first phone call, it will be a hard one. They can only talk for 2-3 minutes and they have to read a script. This means they can't actually have a conversation and they sound like a robot. It is a really hard phone call, but I promise the half-way point phone call will be an exciting one. They get around 15 minutes to talk and it's so exciting to hear someone's voice after 4 weeks of not hearing it.
7. Make sure you do something social at least twice a week.
Make sure to grab coffee with a friend or go out one night every once in a while! Try out being the third-wheel for once and make sure you allow yourself to have a good time. Being stuck in the house is not the move, so make sure you keep yourself busy and spend time with friends and family.
8. Keep in contact with their family.
It is important to talk to your partner's family while they are gone. Not only is it great to have a relationship with their loved ones, it's great to have people to talk to when you're missing them. You can make sure they're writing and plan to visit or go to their basic training graduation together.
9. Make sure you get some of their favorite clothing items before they go.
Who doesn't want to curl up in their boo's favorite clothes every once in a while?
10. Write a letter about your day each night, even if you don't want to send it.
My boyfriend personally likes getting updates about my days even if it wasn't very eventful. Not only is it good for your significant other to feel like they are still apart of your daily, but it also can be a good way for you to keep up with your feelings and how you are doing. If you don't have anything at the end of your day to write about, have you really been taking care of yourself?
11. Go on a trip or do something together right before they leave.
Spend time with the person you love before they go! Make sure to take plenty of pictures and/or videos so you have some fun memories to look back at when you feel yourself missing them.
12. Send pictures, even if they are Snapchat pictures printed on regular paper.
I didn't send pictures in my first few letters, which was a huge complaint by my boyfriend. I send pictures of our dog, me with friends, or even old pictures of us to hold him over. Pictures mean SO much.
13. Be supportive before, during, and after they decide to enlist.
Choosing to enlist and leaving for basic training is a hard thing to do, ESPECIALLY when you're in a committed relationship and know you'll be gone for months or more. Make sure you let them know you support their decision and make a point to show your support as much as you can.