Military couples cope with stress of long distance relationships

Evelina Gaivoronskaia | Staff Writer

 Long distance relationships are never easy, but for military couples, the separation can be much more challenging.

Military couples go from talking all the time, to barely being able to hear from each other. Senior Emily Jordan has been with her boyfriend, Matthew Bowman, for nearly a year. He graduated with the Mason class of 2020 and is currently in Army National Guard training in Georgia.

Although Jordan said she struggled with the lack of contact his departure brought, she knows her boyfriend wanted to be part of the military for a long time and she supports his choice.

In order to cope with the challenges of being in a long distance relationship, Jordan joined a Facebook group with girls who also have significant others in the military. Every branch, battalion, and company has a group, so Emily was able to easily connect with others in similar situations. She had a very positive experience with the members of the group, saying they “were each other’s support system when [they] couldn’t talk to [their] loved ones.”

Because her boyfriend is just training right now, any challenges in Jordan’s relationship have been manageable, but she knows the road can get rockier if he gets deployed. Jordan said that the thought of Bowman getting deployed is “extremely nerve-racking” for her. 

Although Jordan worries about her boyfriend’s safety, she understands that the military is doing everything they can to keep him out of danger. No matter what happens in the future, Jordan said she is very proud of her boyfriend and is excited for the future of their relationship.

“I can’t really avoid him getting deployed, I just have to live with it and wait for him to come home.” Jordan said. 

Senior Nicole Transue’s boyfriend, John Lamping, is also part of the National Guard. He went to basic training in Georgia from mid-June to early August this year. Now, the military requires him to go to Columbus during the weekend every three weeks for general training.

Because of this Transue and her boyfriend have limited time together. In order to avoid falling out of touch, Transue said they “like to text and call a lot”. Transue feels being in this relationship has made her “more active and social” by getting her out of her house. Despite them having different future goals, with Transue planning to go to college and Lamping in the military, Transue is happy in her relationship. 

Some couples, on the other hand, do not stay together when one of them leaves for the military. Senior Ashley Black dated her now ex-boyfriend for 10 months before they separated. For eight of those months, he was in Basic Military Training in Georgia, a similar situation to the one Jordan and her boyfriend are currently in.

Black said that at one point, she went six months without seeing her then-boyfriend. After a while of not being able to freely communicate with him, she said they grew apart.

Part of the reason the communication between the two became strained was their inability to instantly reach each other through technology. Black said that her ex-boyfriend was not allowed to use his phone while in training, so sending letters back and forth was their only source of communication. “Sometimes it would be weeks before I got his letters,” Black said.

Another concern she had during the relationship was the fear of her ex-boyfriend being deployed in a dangerous zone. That fear spiked in the beginning of 2020, when the rumors of World War 3 went viral on social media after a US-lead drone attack on one of the Iranian leaders. One of Black’s biggest fears in the relationship was her ex-boyfriend getting deployed. “I was scared he would get hurt,” Black said. 

The fear, the long distance, and the strained communications made Black realize that sort of relationship was not for her. Looking back, Black said she would take more time to write letters 

if she could change something. But she is not sure if she would do it again.

“It just didn’t work,” Black said. “I felt like we didn’t know each other anymore.”