Deciding to date someone in the military is a very personal decision. Because not every solider's story is the same and neither are the relationships that are played out during those stories.
Before Akeem and I became a couple, the decision was already made that he was going to the Army. It was my decision if I could handle the bumpy ride. For the 3 months leading up to his departure, I determined that this was something more than a short term fling. In my attempts to give him piece of mind, I somehow convinced myself that this time apart would not be that bad. That in the end, we would look back at this and laugh. I wish I had remained that confident the entire 5 months.
My first moments of insecurity and craziness came within his first month of basic training. For the first week, we were able to text each other, but after that Friday...........silence. His mom had received 3 phone calls between the time I had last texted him and the first time I received letters (almost 3 weeks later). She told me she had missed 2 of his calls. I went into crazy mode.
"Why hadn't he tried to call me!?"
"Why is she being so nonchalant about missing her son's phone calls!?"
"Does he not want to talk to me?!"
"Is this his way of dumping me?!"
Many thoughts along those lines clouded any sense of rational thinking. I felt so forgotten. In just a couple of weeks, I felt as though I had completely made up the importance of my relationship. It is as if I had fooled myself into believing that we were really going to make it. Then to top off my crazy, social networking became my enemy. Since my internet wasn't working, I had to access Facebook through my phone. The way Facebook is displayed on my phone, it looked as if he was able to access Facebook. Though I found out later that I was way off the mark, I initially thought he was getting online and not even trying to communicate with me.
Eventually, I did receive my letters. Turns out Akeem had locked his phone and didn't know my number by heart (I wasn't mad, cause I didn't know his by heart either). Also, the mail was really slow. But as good as I feel about my relationship now, I would be lying to say that moments of doubt and worry didn't frequently visit my thoughts.
I didn't really have anyone to talk to about my feelings. Army wives have some security, their men are only getting out either by death or legal action. As a girlfriend, your feelings are unique. I didn't want to burden my single friends with my issues and my girlfriends who were in relationships couldn't relate. So I felt so alone.
Before Akeem found out his duty station, fear dominated my late night thoughts. We aren't married and we weren't even engaged. Ex-boyfriends, girlfriends, and even my mom planted seeds of doubt in my mind.
"Does he really want to get married now?"
"Can you do long distance?"
"What makes you think you can't be replaced?"
"What do you have to offer?"
"Are you ready to get married?"
"What are you gonna do if he gets deployed?"
I could write a short book of all the negative things people said to me. As strong as, I believe, I have been overall, those things can eventually weigh down on a person. Akeem and I had talked about marriage, but we had not made any plans. I began to wonder if I was being strung along. But the moment marriage became a serious discussion, new thoughts crossed my mind.
Soon my thoughts became more selfish. I began to wonder if I could really be a military wife. I wondered if I could really handle frequently moving, if I could have a career, and if I was even ready to be married. Growing up, I always told myself I would never marry a man in the military. So it seems very amusing to me that this is where I am right now.
The worst thoughts came most recently: deployment. I was watching a video on YouTube about Army wives and she brought up some interesting points. One night, I had thoughts of Akeem deploying and was surprised that it brought me to tears. I wondered how I would deal if *God forbid* he came back maimed. I know that sounds awful and selfish, but it is a scary reality. I, also, thought about him coming back mentally unhinged. And of course the worst thought is of him not coming back at all.
With Akeem approaching the end of his training, a new obstacle awaits..........marriage. But that is worthy of a post on its own. Next week, he graduates then heads to Kentucky before he returns home. I'm beyond ready for this phase to be over.
In a letter a he wrote to me during basic, he ended it with this:
"Do you think you made the right decision being with me in my military career?"After all the insecurities and crazy thoughts have faded away, I can read that letter and smile to myself and say.......YES! :-)