As we finish our senior year of high school and prepare to be freshmen again, we all face different situations.
Some of us may be trying to stay close to home with eating less cafeteria food and taking fewer math classes being the only changes. Some of us may be changing a lot more than that and are moving out — perhaps across the country — to look for a bit of independence.
But what if you’re like me and you’re trying to leave some things behind without really leaving them behind?
When my boyfriend and I got together more than a year ago, I quickly became acquainted with cadet functions. He and his dad both looked comfortable, proud and on top of their game when they were in uniform. Between cadet leadership, music and sports I was always seeing him do something impressive. He could do anything he wanted — but I knew he felt drawn to the military.
I didn’t understand.
Since I had no experience with loved ones in the military, it seemed like a lot more trouble than it was worth. Plus, violent combat (even for defense) made me feel icky and conflicted. I remember even telling a friend that the problem with my relationship was that I knew I could never stay in it while dealing with our different plans.
I’m not sure of the exact moment that “dealing with it” became an option, but it happened slowly until I wasn’t even considering ending the relationship. We became too close, and while I’m sure I would survive a breakup, I saw no reason to put us through that. We’ve always lifted each other up as individuals.
Next year my boyfriend will be training as a combat engineer all around Canada. Sometimes he’ll be close by my school in New Brunswick, but other times he won’t be. It will get harder when he finishes training and is posted away for work while I’m still in school.
Like any couple coming out of high school, we’re trying to stay true to ourselves and set up our futures as individuals without sacrificing one another as partners in crime. I’m still nervous and often frustrated with the idea of seeing someone so important to me on special occasions only, but in the end my own self-awareness and independence is going to let me overcome it.
There’s something exciting about being on our own while at a university anyway — I mean, isn’t that the biggest part of freshman year? I’m hopeful that our communication and trust is strong enough to be apart for that long. And I have no reason to think it isn’t.
For those of us in this position, there are a lot of people warning that long distance relationships can’t work. But the bottom line is this: I made the decision because I would rather be with my boyfriend sometimes rather than not at all.
I think of it as a relationship boot camp to make us stronger and test our values, and any couple could use that. I also know for myself that I am capable of being alone. If you are in a similar situation to my own, I urge you to be honest and think hard about your relationship and your goals before deciding what to do. But if it’s totally what you want, we don’t need to be afraid of a little long distance. Or do we? I guess I’ll find out.
Lead Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek