Good afternoon everyone! Thanks so much for stopping in to read our guest writer, Alexandria Kelley, a Jacksonville Florida local!
High school sweethearts, her husband and her have barely lived together. Once he joined the military while she was still in high school, their relationship definitely got harder. Even once she graduated, she pursued her passion and begin her college experience. Now they are just 2 more years shy of being together. This is her viewpoint on long distance relationships & the military lifestyle.
Photos: various past homecoming sessions by Little Miss Reds Photography
Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy. Add in the military lifestyle and you have yourself a whole other can of worms. By no means do I regret the decision to get married to my husband and not move to him, but I definitely have pondered what it would be like if I did the stereotypical thing –get hitched and move to another state leaving everything I have ever known behind. Would I be happier at times? Probably. But for some reason, the decision to be in a long distance military marriage seemed better in my mind – probably because of other factors that aren’t necessarily important right now.
I’m often asked “How do you do it? Why don’t you just move to him if you hate the distance? It must be so difficult with him being so far.” In all honesty, I am not sure how I do it. Dealing with the distance seems to be as simple as remembering to breathe. Sometimes, breathing can be easy – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale – other times, you put too much stress on your body and your breathing could be more inhales than exhales. The same goes for dealing with distance. If I do not focus on the fact there is some sort of distance in the way, it’s easy for me to cope. However, when things become stressful, regardless if it is because of work, school, or my personal life, distance seems to be impossible to conquer. All the stressors in my life make it hard to focus on the end goal and in turn, I feel overwhelmed, weak, and pathetic. I constantly have to remind myself why we made this decision and sometimes it takes a tearful facetime call with my husband to bring me back to stable breathing again.
I think the most frustrating thing about choosing to do long distance is that you often scroll through social media and see people “ending distance” and feeling complete again. There’s a part of you that is constantly left empty and there’s a hint of jealousy when you see posts like that. I won’t lie – seeing people talk about their husbands coming home after duty makes me cry every now and then. However, I think our situation is a blessing in disguise. My husband is stationed only five and a half hours away from where I am currently attending college. When he has a weekend off, he tries to make an effort to come home and visit me or vice versa. I think the most important lesson I have gathered in our three-year journey with the military thus far is to always look forward to the reunion, even if it has only been a few weeks. Every time my husband comes home or I go visit him, we are on cloud nine. We soak up every single second with each other and take as many pictures as possible because that’s all we have for weeks or months on end. We have learned to make our own routine and traditions – the day that one of us has to leave the other, we go out to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It sounds silly, but it helps us feel normal and at peace with the fact we are going to be separated. When we aren’t together and he isn’t out at sea (he’s a submariner), we facetime every day even if nothing eventful is going to happen. I think communication is the most important aspect in any relationship, but is the foundation to a successful long distance marriage.
Recently, I have reached out on a wives page where my husband is stationed. Come to find out there is a large majority of women who deal with long distance by choice. Some women made the decision because their husband was going to be at a different command for a short amount of time, others were because their children were in school, and the last little bit was because they were going to college just like me. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone. I can’t say that enough. You. Are. Not. Alone. If you ever feel conflicted with you decision and want to throw in the rag, reach out and I promise someone somewhere will be able to relate. Take it from someone who will be enduring five long years of distance by choice – not by military orders. The sacrifices we make today will only give us a better tomorrow.