I am sure you already knew this, but this holds especially true for those serving in the armed forces. You may think that long distance is long distance, regardless of what your profession may be, but you would be wrong. There is an extra level of difficulty for people serving in the armed forces that is impossible for those who have never experienced it to understand. No matter what, it is a difficulty that you and your significant can either face together and do everything you can to make it work or watch as the distance causes the relationship to deteriorate. It is a difficult choice either way. If you really want it to work, both parties must understand the situation you are in. There needs to be a plan. There needs to be a lot of love and patience. There needs to be long term commitment.
For context, it is important to know that, while military service is voluntary, once you are in the machine, once you are a part of the organization, your choices and freedoms become restricted. When you sign up, you are committed to the service for the agreed upon amount of time and for that time, you no longer are in possession of complete control over your life. Some choices remain yours, to an extent, but overall, the needs of the service will ALWAYS come before your needs. Sometimes you get lucky and fall under the command of a leader who is empathetic and will do whatever they can to help you anywhere they are able. Still, the needs of the service will always come first. You go where they need you to go and the consequences for refusal or resistance can be extreme. Most military missions do not take your personal life into consideration. You go where and do what you are told without question.
The military is a very pick up and go lifestyle. There is a lot of movement and a lot of changes that take place. It can get very stressful, and it is a way of life that is difficult for people to adapt to. Over time, it can wear people down to the point of re-evaluating whether it is something they really want. The distance and time spent apart also creates other difficulties. Loyalty and commitment are frequently tested. For those not fully committed, or those more promiscuous partners, opportunities are plentiful, and the distance creates a barrier that provides abundant opportunities for indiscretion. I knew before enlisting that it was something that happened. I never thought that it would be as big of an issue as it really was. While I was never directly impacted, I saw these problems more often than I ever anticipated. After the first year, break-ups and/or divorce no longer surprised me.
Like many aspects of life, it is important to know and understand the challenges you will face before making big decisions. Whether it is entering into a relationship, leaving one job for another, going to college, or enlisting in the armed forces, there are always going to be challenges that are general, applying to just about anything you do, and challenges that are specific, applying directly to what you decide. When you join the military, it is important to accept that the challenges will be intense and ongoing. If you are going to enter a relationship with someone, it is important that you both understand exactly what you are getting into. You are not always, if ever, going to get the things you want. You are going to miss important events. You are going to have to do things you don’t want to do, at times you don’t want to do them, in a place you probably don’t want to be. If you can both accept that and face the hard times together, the relationship will work. If not, it will fail. Simple as that.