If you haven’t already read Part 1, you’ll want to start there! This post is all about how we balanced army life and a long distance relationship… all 5 years of long distance! That’s right… We dated long distance for 5 years! Our relationship ran on airplane tickets, 6+ hours time difference, and 2 weeks R&R.
After we graduated from highschool, I moved to Nashville, TN to study Music Business and Sean moved to England where he started basic training. This part of our relationship is my least favorite. It often looked like months and months without seeing each other, followed by 2 weeks together during Sean’s R&R leave.
I was a broke college student and Sean was in the infantry. When we did finally get time together, we would spend most of our money on plane tickets. This meant there was little left over for date nights and fun! We always made it work though! I loved all of our visits together in Argentina, Nashville, and England!
I’ll never forget the highs and lows that surrounded each visit. The euphoria I’d feel getting off the plane or while waiting for Sean to walk through the doors at the airport. And the deepest pain I’d feel dropping him off to catch a flight or when I’d have to go through the security line alone.
Long distance was hard enough, but Army life made it that much harder! Our visits and our phone calls revolved around his work. Oftentimes the Army would spur a surprise exercise or last minute mission on them, and just like that, I wouldn’t hear from Sean for an entire month. No texts. No calls. No facetime. I wouldn’t know if he was in England on base, training in Scotland, or off on an exercise in Kenya until he got back.
In September of 2013 Sean was deployed for the first time. This was new territory for both of us, and probably the hardest thing we had encountered. There’s so much uncertainty and stress surrounding deployments, and I’m not surprised that it can make or break a relationship. Luckily, Sean’s deployment led to the purchase of a ring and a big question!
Fun facts about this part of our relationship:
- When Sean didn’t have a way to communicate with me, he would write me letters by hand or write in the notes app and deliver everything all at once.
- In June 2013 I impulsively bought an airplane ticket with just 2 days notice to visit Sean.
- During Sean’s deployment, he stepped on an IED that didn’t detonate properly. This was part of what led him to propose.
- At this time I started volunteering for Hearts Apart – an organization that offers free photo sessions to deploying service members and their families!
Part 3 is here and I share all about how he popped the question the next time we saw each other!