Dear Alicia

By on November 7, 2007

“I read about how your boyfriend is a Marine in Iraq. Well, my boyfriend will be leaving for Iraq shortly. We’ve been dating for about a year and neither one of us knows if we should stay in our relationship or not. When we discuss it we argue or end up becoming upset. You mentioned that people comment about you relationship and staying together. Do you have any advice for someone who will be in the same situation as you are now?”

Marine girlfriend

Dear Marine girlfriend,

First off, I would just like to say thank you. I always feel very alone in this situation and obviously, we are not alone. The advice I am going to give you comes straight from my experiences with my boyfriend Chris.

Let’s start with the fact that you argue with him every time you talk about him leaving and if you should stay in the relationship. I have been there. This is normal and is going to happen because you are in very different points in your life and you are both confused and scared.

I realized that Chris was extremely stressed. As much as he wanted to become a marine and go to Iraq, he would fight with me because he did not want to leave me behind. He never admitted it, but I knew that he was scared. He wanted to be my boyfriend but he also did not want to hold me back.

The night before he left we fought over something stupid and it became the repetitive fight about if we should stay together. After a night of tears and some hard-core making up, he admitted that it was too hard for him to love me at that point, so he opted for the easier option of fighting with me.

The fights are hard to deal with and the only advice I have for you that actually worked for me is to be compassionate and think about him. Think about how he is feeling and how his feelings affect his actions. This is extremely hard to do and sometimes you feel like you are giving too much, but if you love him and you think it is worth it. then do it.

Chris and I made the decision to stay together because we decided that the wait was worth it. Our relationship of four years was perfect and we were not going to let Iraq tear us apart.

Your boyfriend’s thoughts are going to be incoherent at times. Remember, he is the one going to Iraq. He is the one leaving his friends, family and you.

I know I told you to always consider his feelings and you should, but you also need to make the best decision for yourself. So let me give you a little peek into what you will be dealing with if you decide to stay together with your boyfriend.

Well first it depends on what his job is. Chris is infantry, so he is always out in the field and on missions; others jobs can vary. We talk for about 20 minutes each week. It is very difficult to say everything I want to say to him. Many conversations are spent saying I love you and making sure he is okay.

To tell you the truth, I do not care what we talk about. Every second hearing his voice is worth it to me. I usually get emotional but when I hang up, a feeling of pride and happiness flows through my body. We are being strong and we are going through this together.

This is the ‘ultimate’ long distance relationship and if you feel you are up for the challenge and that this man is worth your time. I do not see harm in trying it.

I know you must have doubts because you are so young or only have been together for a year, but this is why you need to sit down and talk to him, trying your hardest to not get upset or angry. You need to talk about feelings, fears, insecurities and situations that you might face together.

One thing I know for sure is that I have learned a lot about myself through this whole experience and you will too, no matter what decision you make.

Another pointer, if you do decide to stay with him, there are many support groups to help you get through it and there is always me. Our boyfriends are called “The few, the proud, the Marines” and we, marine girlfriends, fit into that category as well.


About Alicia Staffa