Navy Dads

8. The Boyfriend of a Girlfriend in the Navy: Whats Left?


    I found no one online in my situation. I wrote the first handful of blogs and posted them on my own web site. I emailed someone I know that served a full career in the Army. His response was “keep writing.” So I did. I found this site and thought people here would have some knowledge and input into these thoughts, and feelings.  I figured it would be therapeutic and the advice would be helpful. I am reasonably good at picking out advice even if its not right on the surface.

    Did I know when I started what I know now? Absolutely not. Interacting with the experienced people here and others that have been through it, I learned as you well Know by now its not for me. I thought I could do the reserves. I thought it would be easy. I knew it would be an adjustment for me. I am learning it is not an adjustment but a complete change in your life.

    Comments have been made if I don’t write positive letters someone could get hurt or killed. I don’t believe that for a minute. A more likely cause of an accident would be the yelling and berating for 20 hrs a day. Letters telling her the many reasons I miss her are not the problem. In fact I believe telling her if she cant do it, it would make my day to pick her up from the airport a couple weeks early should relax her. So the conclusion I have reached is that I will stay with her whole heartedly till A school is over. If she decides she would like to experience more of the military, that’s her decision.

    We had planned on getting married a few time s before boot camp, but it just hadn’t happened. I will not get married if she is in the service. I am here for her, and its her decision. Not yours or mine. The only advice I ever sought was a little context, and insight into the culture


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Comment by Scott Ritchey on October 14, 2011 at 1:44pm

Mr. Sailorette,

    I've been reading your post for the last few days, and it seems that by your girlfriend joining the Navy it's put you in a dark place. If she loves you as much as you love her then trust should not be an issue. I work in the Gulf of Mexico and I'm away from my wife 6 mo. out the year, she tells me she loves me so I believe and trust her. Whether she's across town or across the country,if she wants to cheat you can't stop her, you have to trust her. You have to support her decision and support her, if you don't that it might send up a red flag in her mind that maybe you're not the one for her. Remember it's about her not you.


    In one of your post you wrote (I'm paraphrasing) the Military is for the poor. That may be the reason some enlist, but there are many others. Education, honor, duty, pride or just a sense of belonging to an elite group of people. My son walked away from a $75,000 a year job to join the Navy (I thought, who in their right mind does that) but after a long talk he made realize it was his was one of the proudest days of my life. He signed his Rescue Swimmer Contract as the #1 Recruit in the Nation, and will soon be in Pensacola. I guess what I'm trying to say is, for whatever reason she joined the Navy it had to be very important to her because she left you and everyone loves to do this. So just keep telling her how proud you are of her & that you love her and can't wait to see her, that will mean the world to her. REMEMBER, you don't have to understand, just support her.


I wish you both all the best 





Comment by Mr. Sailorette on October 14, 2011 at 11:21am

Your story relates to me very well. Those young adults sound like they know what they want and have a model level of maturity. Best of wishes to them both. 


I think about that same scenario daily. I do not know how kids make that work. My half brother just went through this. Still no one has said it was easy. When you are young the world is a scary place and few of us know how we will get from point A to B. The military lays that path for you nicely. It also provides all the things you need in life to get there. 


The sacrifices to me are why I did not chose that path as a young adult. I am now learning even though Im not in it the reserves guarentee the same amount of sacrifice.


She knows how I feel and as she puts it she "wants to get the hell outta there". She is sticking it out. Im waiting for her. Ive got my plane ticket and suit for PIR. We are living day to day. and both of us cant wait to see each other. I think her post PIR liberty I will pick her up and carry her every where. I miss her so much.

Comment by Navy Dads Co-Admin Tom on October 14, 2011 at 11:02am

Mr. Sailorette,

    Let me firstly address your initial concern with my own observations of my daughter and her boyfriend. She was in DEP when they first met. My initial concern was that he would try to change her mind as to joining the U.S. Navy. However, he supported her decision and encouraged her along every step throughout Basic...even to the point of attending P.I.R. He was as proud of her accomplishments as her Mother and I were. I overheard a conversation at the airport the next day regarding his future plans. He wants to enter a field that will anchor him for a period of 2 years to a specific locale...My daughter's response was to say..."You allowed me to pursue my dreams....How can I possibly stand in your way?....We'll figure it out as we go...." This is what I view as being supportive....not the fact that you will be there to pick Sailorette up if she quits!

   When I referred to the potential dangers of distractions, I was referring to her time in the Fleet. The work environment is one of the most dangerous in the world. Sailorette needs to learn as much as possible before her deployment. Whether you choose to believe it or not, a moment's hesitation can cost lives....that is reality, not speculation. You are forcing her to choose between you or the Navy. I have heard the breakup stories that some of my daughter's fellow recruits endured at Basic. The time is stressful enough as is without interjecting relationship problems. This is why I encouraged you to be positive for her as she advances through her training.

   Lastly, you are quite correct in stating that it will be a total change of lifestyle should she choose to continue on with her Naval career. Your eloquence leads me to believe that you are a man of intelligence. Did this not occur to you previous to her joining? The journey is a learning experience fo all of us. I don't think that anyone wishes to see your relationship faulter....however, you requested realistic insight from the other members. You clearly are at a crossroads in your life and will soon have to make a choice...either support Sailorette in her career, or move on with your own life...Best of luck....

Comment by Mr. Sailorette on October 14, 2011 at 1:01am

She asked if I would wait for her. I told her yes. I am waiting. There will be no dear Jane letters from me, even at the plea of others.

It is very easy to get kicked out of boot camp. A girl in her division made a racist comment and was gone the next day. Up through A school it is a test of as previously mentioned, commitment. Those with out that quality are removed. Not by the choice of the soldiers, but the choice of the service.

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on October 14, 2011 at 12:52am

The only thing I would say is that it was her choice up until she raised her right hand and took the oath...she does not have a choice now until her enlistment is is not something that she can simply say "never mind" and walk away from when A-school is over.  She has entered into a contract and she must fullfill her end of that contract or be in breach of that contract....and the government does not like people that are in breach of contract over military duty that they agreed to...just like a bank not looking favorably on someone that in breach of contract for failing to pay a mortgage....

Sitting on the outside is difficult and understanding what is going on and the motivation for what RTC puts recruits through is hard if you are not familiar with the background and reasons.  "Yelling and berating" serves a function...your sailor may never need to call on the responses that RTC has taught...however if she were stationed on ships like the USS Samuel B Roberts or the USS Cole, blind response to an order may well be the only thing that saves her shipmates lives and the vessel they are stationed on.  When you start to know and understand the consequences of hesitation when lives depend on fast and rapid response to a crisis situation, you start to understand.  Least you believe these are ancient events, 3 years ago a fire broke out on one of our carriers.....heroic firefighting efforts by enlisted sailors saved the ship...but not until $70 million in damage was done......since every sailor in the fleet is trained as a firefighter (a change in training that was the result of the horrific loss of life in 1967: USS Forrestal fire was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967 that killed 134 sailors and injured 161) sailors like your girlfriend were called on to save lives and the ship.  RTC is not like a summer camp and many people do not realize the very deadly consequences of hesitation and inadequate training once their sailors are in the fleet.  The context and culture you are trying to understand is the result of 236 years of Naval experiences....many sailors in those years lost their lives and the culture and context of training used today has evolved over those 236 years to try to minimize future loss of life.  The choice is yours, you either stay with her or you don' either support her our you don't.  But I'm confident that regardless of what you do and regardless of the support your sailor receives or not, that tomorrow the sun will rise in the East, the earth will turn on it's axis and life will go on...and the RDCs will still be yelling at new recruits at Great Lakes.  If you want to be part of her life...great...if not...cut your apron strings and go on with your life and let her go on with hers.



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