Military Brides

Advice for the fiancé of a US Airman?

edited August 2013 in Military Brides
So I guess this is it... 

Today my fiancé left to go take his ASVAB, get some blood work and receive a physical exam. We all know what this means... My future husband will be leaving for basic training soon. He will be in the Air Force Reserves and he will be back in time for our wedding. 

Does anyone have advice on how to get through basic training and specialized training? I have never been away from my fiancé from this long, and even though I do have some time with him before he goes, my heart hurts already from missing him! Any advice you can give ... what to expect, how you got through it, what I can do to get my mind off of not talking to him for a very long time?? Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it!!

** Side note: We aren't planning on getting married before he leaves, so I will be living with probably my parents until he comes back. I'm still young, only 22, and I'm just not too fond of living on my own. And there's no point in finding a roommate at this point, lol. We were engaged and set our wedding date before he decided to go through with the Air Force, but I still just don't really want to get married before he leaves.

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Re: Advice for the fiancé of a US Airman?

  • edited August 2013
    Thanks for your advice @iluvmytxrgr ! I almost teared up reading it. This is the best advice!! I do love him and if I could I would be married to him tomorrow, but since we already had a set date before he enlisted, I didn't want to change it to be sooner nor did I want to do the JOP thing and have my reception a few months after. I don't see the point of rushing it right now.

    I am lucky that he is pushing me to do things on my own while he's gone. He told me to go out and have fun with my friends and he would not want me to sit in my room staring at the walls until he comes back! 

    Did you get to talk on the phone for an hour in basic or in specialized training? Sorry if that's a stupid question, but I'm trying to get as much information as I can! I'm pretty sure the recruiter told us it would be 15 mins a week during basic. 

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  • Things have changed a bit since I went.  Plus, I was in the Army.  There maybe some ladies who can give you more info as far as the AF goes.  
    I will tell you that what I was told would happen was completely different from what actually happened.  I was able to make a phone call from the airport when I landed in St Louis.  From there, I called home once again about a week later, when I was about to leave reception and go to my actual training unit.  After that, I didn't get to call my kids for 36 days.  When we were able to call home after that, it was for 5 min once a week on Sunday afternoons.  
    Once we went into AIT, it was a bit more often.  We were allowed to wander our particular area on Sunday afternoons.  We could use the phones for 20-30 min at a time in the evenings.  I didn't get a cell phone back until week 17 of 19 and that was only during personal time and on weekends.  

    Every training unit is different.  They will tell him the rules when he gets there.  Also, they can take those privileges away if someone messes up.  If as a group, we didn't meet the standards, our phone time was taken away.  Be prepared.  There will be times when he won't call because of that or because of special training days.  When I was referring to talking on the phone for an hour in my post above, I was meaning before I left for training.  When I was gone, I never talked to her on the phone because I called my kids every chance I had.  
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  • 1)  Depending on the amount of time between his training and your wedding, I'd put it off until he's physically back with you.  There are all sorts of things that may set him back in training.  My training was set back 5 months because of multiple fractures and stress fractures in both of my femurs.  During my rehab time, I saw people who had any number of freak injuries who had to heal before going back to training.  Even failing a test or getting a no go could leave him repeating training.  

    2)  I really admire that you don't want to rush a wedding before he leaves.  Too many people do.  That being said, I really do encourage women to live on their own for a bit between moving out of their parents' home and into their married home.  There really is a lot to be said for the independence and pride you build in your self during those times.  Like my grandma used to say, "You can never really learn to live with some one else until you learn to live with your self."  

    3) Take the time while he's away to do something for your self.  Take some classes, learn a hobby, volunteer...  Any of those things will keep you busy and keep your mind off the time apart.  It will also give you something to write to him about.  

    4) Write him every day.  Tell him about everything.  Even the stupid stuff.  Even if it seems mundane.  I lived for mail call and I loved hearing about who my aunt ran into at the grocery store or where my mom went for dinner.  We spend any down time dreaming about home.  We dream and talk about food that doesn't come out of a chow hall.  Tell him about new recipes you've found that you want to make for him.  Write to him about wedding plans.  Send him lyrics of songs you'd like to use for certain dances at your wedding.  Send him a new picture of your self every couple of weeks.  Don't send any thing sexy.  Everyone looks at the pics.  
    When I was gone, my best friend used to write letters to me as if I were her journal.  We used to talk for at least an hour every day on the phone.  She took the conversations we would have had and wrote them down.  I didn't always have time to read it all write there at mail call, but I would read the rest in bits and pieces through out the evening or the next day.  It was like having part of her there with me and it meant so much to me that she took that time for me.  
    5)  Live life.  Go out to lunch or dinner with family and friends.  Go to the movies.  Get out of the house.  Don't sit around all mopey because he's gone and you feel guilty for letting life go on.  He's not dead.  He's away at training.  He's busy.  You need to stay busy, too.  Locking your self away from the world will only make you miserable and cause the time to drag on like a snail in molasses.  If he's one of those people who get's mad because you have a life while he's gone, he's too immature to be a husband.  

    You can do it!  
    I second every piece of this! 

    I also found it easier if I wrote my letters throughout the day - like as I thought of things or took notes for when I sat down and wrote it that evening. It was easier so I wouldn't forget anything. Then I mailed the letter from the day before first thing the next morning. You'll get into a routine. And I would include like the weather report and some times comics from the newspaper that I thought he woud like.

    Oh and don't expect him to be writing to you every day. When my now-husband was away at training, I wrote him every single day and I think I got 3 letters back the entire time. They usually have to give up their sleep time to write their letters, so don't let it discourage you if you don't hear too often.
  • I can give you some advice on where your fiance might be coming from.  I went through basic training last year and mail is the best thing ever.  I mean ever.  Write him as often as you can.  Even if its just a postcard with a picture on it.  When he gets to use the phone and calls you, do your best to answer.  Not much broke my spirit more than when I was given enough time to call several people and someone I really wanted to talk to didn't answer.  Don't send him anything he can't have.  That will cause much embarrassment and he could possibly get in trouble.  My now fiance did that to me because he thought it'd be funny.  When he gets to tech school, that's stressful enough but he'll have lots more down time.  Honestly in situations I've seen people who got married "en route" (between leaving tech school and going to their first duty station) had a lot easier time getting everything arranged.  Example: having their sponsorship done and getting their spouse near them.  Because after he's there, it'd be best to wait til he's been there a while before he can take leave (just like a new job, don't want to take time off shortly after arriving because it looks bad) so that means more waiting for you.  Do what's best for you but this is just what I've seen other people living during my time thus far.  Hope it helps!
  • I'm in the same boat as you, my fiance' has just joined the Air Force! He has signed all the initial paperwork but we are still waiting on the Air Force to tell us when he is leaving for BMT. I have no real advice for you, since I am at the exact same spot in life, but we can do this together! :) 

    I'm 20 years old, we've been dating for a year and a half and have been best friends for what seems like forever. We will be getting married shortly before he leaves for BMT. I have searched and searched the internet for articles written by Air Force Fiance's and I have found absolutely nothing, but I have found several YouTube videos about what our boys will be going through and that has helped calm my fears about him being away! Also, there is a group called Air Force Wing Mom's and they post things on Facebook almost every day about what the guys are doing as well as awesome information about Graduation Weekend! I hope that helped a little!
  • edited September 2013
    Thank you all so much for the advice! You have no idea how much I appreciate this. 

    @kindrawesterfield - wow we are in the same boat! :) We're even close in age; I'm 22! I think looking at YouTube videos is a good idea.. that way I can know exactly what he is getting into. Thank you so much for letting me know about Air Force Wing Mom's!! I'm going to look this page up now! If you ever want to talk, please don't hesitate to reach out to me (PM me)! We are in the same boat and it would be nice to talk to someone who knows exactly what I'm going through when he leaves! :)

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  • My fiancee and I met after he went through basic, so I don't know the specifics of what it's like in basic, but he just returned from deployment and he was away for 9 months.  I was very nervous about us getting through it and being away from him too, but we got through it!  

    The things that helped me the most when he left was getting myself involved in extra activities.  I joined some social groups to get myself out of the house on weekends (through  Made sure I was working full time.  Volunteered to take extra training classes and even got to work extra shifts to trade in for days off when he got home (got myself a whole extra week off when he got home).  It was kinda the perfect time to be a work-o-holic.

    The thing that helped me the most tho was making friends with a lot of the other "wives".  It was a tricky thing, because being just a "girlfriend" at the time meant I didn't get invited to their get-togethers for a long time.  Plus a lot of events were on base where I couldn't go.  but once I made friends with them and they knew I was committed to him they were the most supportive people I could have associated myself with. They had all been through the exact same experience, and some were going through it at the same time as me and it was great.  

    One thing to be aware of, because it totally surprised and offended me the first time it happened - there's a good chance you will get ridiculous judgement from strangers for daring to have a social life when he's gone.  If you go to a bar with your friends, people will think you're there to find a guy so you can cheat.  If you post pictures of you having fun on facebook people may accuse you of rubbing it in his face that you're having fun when he's not.  If you dare to have a male friend there's likely to be accusations of you cheating.  I hope none of you get these idiotic comments, but I got them a few times and I let it get to me more than I should have.  If you get any of these comments, don't let them stop you from having a life! you'll just go crazy if you listen to them and stay home alone the whole time he's gone. Enjoy life!

    Another tip - if he's able to receive care packages, send him lots.  My fiancee told me that even the boxes that contained nothing but soap and extra underwear absolutely made his week every time.  I stopped sending them at one point because I couldn't think of anything to put in them (he'd gotten about 5 identical boxes in a row) and I found out later he was really sad to not be getting things from me. I sent him 3 boxes the next week lol.

    Good luck to you though! the time passes, it'll be over soon, really.  for me once the first month was over the time went much faster than I ever thought it would.  You'll get through it together! 

  • Like everyone else said, keep busy! Go out, have fun, try new things, make friends. On that note... while the other "wives" can be a good source of support and information at times, I have found that I don't always have enough in common with the women to actually be friends with them on a personal basis. Granted, you may find some people you get along with really well, but the fact that you are both with someone in the military is not enough to make you friends. 

    Also, it does get easier. My fiance is on sea duty in the navy and gone for about two weeks out of each month and sometimes for a month at a time. He deploys in under a year and I'm dreading it, but I'm also making moves to take care of myself- moving to be with family and friends, finding a job I enjoy, finding a yoga studio. It's really hard every time they leave, especially at first when you're used to being together all the time, but eventually it does get easier. It's never easy, but you adjust. Good luck! 
  • I know this an old post, but oh well! Might as well post thoughts for any other people going through the same thing. 

    I was INSANELY young when he went through basic and really struggled with finding the balance between "being a good girlfriend" (i.e. devoting so much time to writing him/making care packages/just thinking about him/doing research on the military) and living my life. While it's definitely really important to send him letters, and care packages if you're able, etc. I think it's important to remember not to drown in it. 

    Now (several years and deployments later) when FI's gone I have a completely different way of handling it. 

    1. I act the same I do when he's on vacation. I spend more time checking my phone and email, more time writing letters and getting care packages together, but I no longer check the clock every five minutes and say "I wonder what he's doing right now..." <--- (Again, I was REALLY young when he went to basic so that might have just been me)

    2. Change your routine. Whatever it was when he was home, change it. If there was a certain time of day that you would see each other or talk on the phone, take a class or hang out with friends, do something so that you'll be busy at that time. 

    3. Plug into A community. It took me awhile to realize that other military gfs/FIs/wives weren't necessarily the way to go. It can be UNSPEAKABLY wonderful to have that support, but as a PP said, that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be friends with them. My civilian friends have traditionally been a HUGE help to me. They listen when I want to talk, but otherwise they help me stay busy! Find what works for you and and then stick to it!

    4. Remember that this is a learning process. It'll be different every time he's gone and you'll learn about yourself and your FI with each experience, it can be painful but (again, as PP said) it DOES get easier. Or maybe it doesn't get easier, but you do become more accustomed to it. 

    Also - during basic and the first deployment I was obsessed with sending care packages. In the months leading up to the deployment I kept a Word document open on my computer specifically so that if he said "oh I really like Welch's fruit snacks" I could write it down and remember to send. What I FINALLY realized four months into deployment number two is that he really doesn't care about care packages. He knows I'm thinking about him, he can get almost everything he needs without my help, and if there's something he wants and CAN'T get, he'll specifically ask for it. Care packages meant he ended up with a lot of extra stuff that he didn't have room for at the time. He tried to tell me that and I thought it meant I was failing as a girlfriend and sending him the wrong things. But no, he really didn't care about care packages. (I've never seen anyone say that about their bf/FI/DH though, most seem to really want them)

    Now I send the occasional surprise package and with stuff I know he wants, and he enjoys those. It's way less stress for me and way more pleasant for him.

    So I guess my point is just that don't be worried if you feel like you're going through something no one else goes through - it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. You just have to get into your stride!

  • My FI and I met here in our home state, but he's been in the Air Force and in another state for almost two years now. It sucks and I cry more than not through frustration and sadness of missing him. I get why long distance relationships are difficult. He's come home three times (once to surprise me by proposing!) and I've visited him enough to get more frequent flyer miles than a 24 year old should have :) We are getting married in 5 months and have been planning our wedding via phone calls, Skype and texts. 

    Go to school, find a new hobby, join a new fitness activity and make as much as time for each other as you can via phone calls or texts. It will always suck, but it will get easier and definitely be worth it in the end when you two are married.
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