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What's It Like to Have a Significant Other in the Air Force?

A Story

By J.N. LiraPublished 7 years ago 5 min read

“What’s it like to have a significant other in the Air Force?” is a common question people ask me.

I go through a series of answers in my head that sounds a lot like this:

  • “I hate being so far apart.”
  • “I hate loving someone that doesn’t belong to only me.”
  • “I haven’t seen him since the end of May. I’m ready to see him again.”
  • “I hate all of it.”
  • “I cry a lot. “
  • “I miss him so much that my heart hurts.”
  • “I would do anything just for a hug and a kiss.”
  • “What I wouldn’t do to be in his arms again.”

What actually comes out is, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Then I get asked why.

So, I proceed to explain that of our 1 year and 7 month relationship, we were only in the same city for the first 3 months.

For those 3 months, we fell so completely in love with each other that we didn’t want to let it go.

About a month before he left, he gave me an out. He told me that I didn’t have to stay. That I could look for someone else and move on. But I couldn’t do that. So, I stayed. I stayed because I love him with my whole heart and I didn’t want anyone else.

It really is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

We started out as only being 10 miles away from each other. We could make super last-minute plans to see each other. We could see each other whenever we wanted. We had the comfort of being close.

Then he left for training.

We made it through no contact besides letters and one 9-minute phone call for 7 and a half weeks. We made it through being apart for an additional 2 months because of tech school; he was just allowed to have his phone this time. I was actually lucky on that; some people have to go through almost a year of tech school, but I only had to go through 33 days.

After that, he came home to me. Just like he promised.

But he couldn’t stay.

Not forever.

I got 10 days.

I got to share him with everyone (including Hurricane Matthew, which took one of my precious days) for 10 days.

10 days of bliss and agony, laughing and tears, love making and some cuddles while watching college football.

Then I had to say, “see you later,” again. He was headed to Grand Forks, North Dakota.

If you just asked “Where?” that’s pretty accurate. I didn’t have any idea that that city even existed before he got stationed there. The city that now, every time it's mentioned on the news, or on the weather channel, I get nervous that something bad has happened. Now, whenever I have to explain where my boyfriend is, I have to explain that he’s in North Dakota because of the Air Force. But either way, he was going to be 2,118 miles away from me and his whole life.

I missed him intensely. I cried at least once a week, and more than that during the really difficult ones. Sometimes I let him see me lose my breath because I was crying so hard. Most of the time however, I waited until the call line hung up to burst into tears.

I was breaking. I really thought I was. There were moments when I didn’t want to do it anymore. There were moments where I was so pissed off at him, at the Air Force, and at the Universe because they all took him away from me, that I could see red. I even said, “Screw the Air Force” once, and I instantly regretted it.

I got sad. It was overwhelming sometimes. Nothing anyone that wasn’t him did would help me feel better. The only thing that helped was sitting on the phone with him for hours upon hours.

He helped, of course. He kept reminding me that I’m strong, stronger than anyone he’s ever known. He kept reminding me that I will see him again. “Time never stops” is what he always told me, and he still does. He always told me “I love you” at the exact moment when I needed to hear him say it. He always made me feel loved.

I waited 8 months. 8 months to hug him. 8 months to kiss him. 8 months to be in the same room as him. I waited all that time, and I only got 6-ish days. Let me tell you, they were the best 6 days I could’ve ever imagined. But of course, those 6 days didn’t last forever. No matter how much I wanted them to.

Since he left for the Air Force (almost one and a half years ago), I’ve seen him a total of 15 days.

15 days.

I’ve spent 15 days total with the love of my life since he shipped out for Basic Training on May 31, 2016.

There have been so many nights where I just cry and cry because I miss him. There have been times where I think that it would be easier to love someone that’s only 10 miles away versus 1,148 miles away (I moved a little bit north, so the distance shrunk a little).

But then I stop and think: if I had to pick a person to do it all over again with, he would definitely still be the one I choose.

See, the thing about loving someone in the Air Force is that it tests you. It tests your relationship. It tests your other half. It tests how much you love each other. How much fight you have for your relationship. It tests how strong you are.

“Distance means so little, when someone means so much.” That quote speaks truth. Each of those 1,148 miles means nothing compared to how much I love that man.

When people ask me “What’s it like to have a significant other in the Air Force?” instead of just thinking about how horrible it is, I also think about things like this:

  • “I’m going to marry this man.”
  • “I get to hug and kiss him in 49 days!”
  • “He’s still mine, no matter what.”
  • “We will make it through absolutely everything that life throws in our direction.”
  • “It’s me and him against the world.”
  • “I can’t wait for the rest of our lives.”

Most importantly, I think about how much we love each other. There is not a part of him that I don’t love unconditionally. There is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for him.

I’ll ask him to tell me how much he loves me, and he’ll either just start pouring his heart out, or he’ll spread his arms out as wide as they can go to show me.

I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for him. I have so much appreciation for him.

So much so, that whenever I personally think about what’s it like to have a significant other in the Air Force, I think that the Air Force is something that’ll never change. It is a part of him despite how hard it makes our relationship for the time being.

And anyway, what I think about the most is how I’ll never stop loving him.


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    J.N. LiraWritten by J.N. Lira

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