Regardless of which branch of the military your girlfriend is in, basic training is often a shock to couples used to spending a lot of time together. Focus on learning as much as possible, maintaining contact with your girlfriend and staying busy with activities you enjoy. Although basic can be tough for everyone involved, using available resources can help you maintain a positive attitude.

Learn What to Expect

When your girlfriend heads off to basic training, she enters a whole new world that you might not know much about. You might feel lonely and left out, or worry about how she is. Learning about basic can keep you connected, reassure you that she is okay and help you redirect your energy into feeling excited for her. Each branch of the military has an extensive website packed with information on what to expect during basic training and throughout a military career. Each branch divides up basic training in a slightly different way, and each teaches skills that are specific to that branch’s operational needs. Consider making a countdown calendar that shows what your girlfriend is doing each week. This helps you feel closer, makes the time apart seem shorter and gives you common ground to build on when discussing her experience.

Send Frequent Letters

Depending on her branch of service and the operational concerns of her superiors, your girlfriend might get to call home a few times during basic, but this is never guaranteed. Even if you are able to talk on the phone, recruit phone calls are generally very short. Instead, mail call is an important part of every recruit’s life. Your girlfriend will have about an hour each night to read and respond to letters, making this an excellent way to stay in touch. Stay connected by telling her about your daily life and activities, and ask a lot of questions about hers. In addition, writing is a powerful tool for managing emotions. Turn your feelings around by focusing on giving your girlfriend the support she needs. Tell her how much you value the relationship and appreciate the sacrifices she is making. Make an effort to keep your letters positive and upbeat, and you will begin to feel happier and more relaxed.

Stay Active and Involved

The best way to stay positive is to get involved in things you enjoy that absorb your attention. Whether you play sports or video games, go rock climbing or spend time at the gym, take the opportunity to explore your passions. Force yourself to socialize, even if you feel sad or lonely. This will help you replace sad emotions with more positive feelings, help the separation pass more quickly and give you something interesting to talk about in your letters to your girlfriend. If possible, plan to attend your girlfriend’s graduation ceremony. Planning the trip helps you channel nervous energy and gives you something to look forward to.

Find Emotional Support

It is normal to feel upset when your girlfriend is away. Surround yourself with trusted friends and family members who will listen to your concerns and give you helpful advice. In addition, basic training is only the beginning of a military career. Sponsored by each base, Family Readiness Groups help loved ones get used to military life. You do not have to be married to participate. Many people find that spending time with others who have loved ones in the military helps to ease the transition and weather the inevitable changes in the relationship. Contact your local base for information on how to get involved.