Bootcamp is definitely one of the top five hardest things you will do in a military relationship. It’s the first time you are apart with no contact. It is the first terrifying step, one of many that you will have to make, on this journey.
But don’t fret.
Many relationships make it through bootcamp. My relationship came back even stronger. You will learn lots of ways to cope with all your emotions during this time but I have a cheat sheet to get you started.
1. Having His Things
Before he left he gave me one of his shirts and I couldn’t even count the number of times I slept in that shirt. I really only gave up wearing it when I had to wash it. I loved that I could smell him and know I was wearing something that he at one point wore. My other steals have been his hoodies an blankets. Hoard as many of their things as you possibly can before they leave.
Every. Single. Day. I wrote my sailor a letter once a day even if it was just a short one. Then at the end of the week I would seal them in envelopes and send them off. Just the act of writing helps keep you on track and make sense of things, similar to keeping a journal or diary. It also gives you the chance once a day to express your emotions and how you’re feeling which is a great release.
However, be careful about what you write and send. Keep in mind that they are most likely opening their mail in front of others. Also, be aware of sending newspaper clippings with ink. The ink tends to get on fingers and clothing which they can get in trouble for. If you are questioning whether or not to send or do something…don’t do it.
The letters you write are important for not only you but your significant other too. Bootcamp isn’t a walk in the park so receiving mail is everything to them. It’s their only access to the outside world besides the occasional phone call they are allowed to make.
3. Keep Busy
Always be busy whether you immerse yourself in work or family or hobbies. Be involved. Try something new. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. I started to learn how to cook and got more involved in work and school. It keeps things interesting and gives you more to write about in your letters.
4. Join a community and show support
During his nine weeks at boot, I joined every group and page I could find on every social media account I had in hopes of making friends and having a support system. It helped to know I wasn’t alone in what I was going through and I could talk to others who were in the same situation.
I also wore his Navy shirt around to show my support and I made acquaintances with random people in the gym or on the street who had family or significant others in the same branch. This became another way to create a support system for myself while he was away.
5. His friends and family
Sometimes this one isn’t always easy depending on your situation. But a great comfort of mine was my boyfriend’s friends and his family. Just being around them and the places my boyfriend liked to hangout gave me peace while he was away. This is a big part of creating a support system for yourself whenever he leaves. Of course you can join Facebook communities and organizations to help but most of the support you’ll receive is from the people closest to you and him.
Maybe the biggest thing to keep in mind while they are in bootcamp is that it’s only temporary. You will speak to each other again and see each other.Never focus on the distance and all the negative things. Instead, continue to remember all the reasons why you’re choosing to stay.