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Military Long Distance Looming Breakup?

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So I have quite a story but I'll do my best to summarize. I started dating my girlfriend about 2.5 years ago while we were both in a Master's program in college together. We weren't even together a year when she had a great opportunity with an internship about 2 hours away from where we went to school; far enough it was difficult but we could still see each other frequently. After the internship, we spent more time together and we both graduated. Being an ROTC cadet, I went into Active Duty Air Force with the plan to be a pilot. I moved to Texas for pilot training and she moved to Georgia for her new engineering job. We had decided to attempt a long distance relationship which has had many struggles, but we've managed to make it work somehow for almost 2 years apart now. We see each other as often as possible, trying for about once a month but sometimes less than that.


While at pilot training, I ended up getting medically disqualified for color vision deficiency. This was very difficult for me to accept and almost destroyed me. I fought to stay but ended up getting re-assigned as an engineer in California. She helped me get through this tough time and to figure out what I would do next.


So for the past year I've been in California, and she in Georgia. My goal is still to be a military pilot and the plan I came up with, is to transfer from the Air Force to the Army National Guard to fly helicopters (they have different medical regs which I pass). This would allow me to choose whichever state I want to live in, on a basically permanent basis compared to active duty. I'm well on my way to making this very complicated transfer process work out for me and I've chosen states closest to her (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida).


Basically, she doesn't want to continue a distance relationship, and neither do I; we want to live in the same place where at the least we could see each other every weekend. Eventually, we'd like to get married, live together and have a family. One problem is, for my Army pilot training, I'd be stationed in Alabama (about 6 hours drive away from her) which would last for about 1.5 years. This is better than our current situation but not necessarily satisfactory to her standards, but we might be able to make this work. She seems to think that it takes me about the same amount of time to fly from California as it would to drive from Alabama, but I generally disagree and think we would have much better flexibility if I were in Alabama. Unfortunately, me making the 6 hour drive each weekend is not really an option, because the military would restrict me to the local area around my base, even on weekends. So this whole situation has caused some problems between us.


Now on to the real problem at hand. If I go into the Army National Guard, it is very likely that I will deploy overseas at some point and it will mostly likely be for approx. 12 months. My current Air Force job has basically no chance of ever being deployed overseas. Somehow, probably my fault, she was not aware that I would most likely deploy for 12 months in the Army; she thought it would generally be for 6 months. In the Air Force there are often 6 month deployments, but plenty are 12 months as well. If I were a pilot in the Air Force like I wanted, I would almost certainly be deployed at some point also.


My girlfriend is from Colombia, South America and has a strong sense of family and maybe didn't understand how the US military works as well as American women. I guess, I must have also done a poor job of explaining things to her, but the point is, she is unwilling to accept the fact that I want a job, which will require me to deploy overseas for 12 months, leaving my family home without me. She has often been upset with me, saying that I am a bad person for being OK with the idea of abandoning my family. She says she is willing to accept 6 month deployments, but not 12 and that it just isn't right for me to leave when she could be pregnant, or have a young child at home.


I've tried talking about family planning around the deployment to avoid a bad situation, but she seems to think that there is no way to make it work, and that by the time we are ready to have kids, I will be deploying, and by the time I return she will be past the magical age of 35. (we are both 26 right now, so 2 years of pilot training, and then a 1 year deployment thrown in sometime after that)


To top it all off, things are difficult, because wherever I end up, she and I would both need to find jobs in that area. She is an engineer and wants a career for herself. She, being a Colombia citizen, is very limited by job selection (as an aerospace engineer many good jobs in the defense sector are out of the question). Even if we are married it would take years before she would become a US citizen.


So the crux of this problem is the 12 month deployment; the other things seem possible to work through. It seems that the Army is drawing down a bit, with possibly shorter 9 month deployments and doing so less frequently as troops leave Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are no guarantees at all. Another war could pop up and I could be sent for 12 months. We have been pretty much at a stalemate argument about this for about 2 months now. I am not willing to give up my dream and have made that very clear to her. I have tried to tell her that this is really her decision, because I want to be with her, but if she doesn't want to be with me that she needs to tell me that and break-up with me.


Sorry for the long post. I'm just looking for any advice at all; I've tried talking with her about it and getting her to seek advice from other military spouses, but she isn't interested in what other people think about this. It really seems like this just isn't going to work out, but I don't want to give up on it and she hasn't broken up with me yet. Is there anything I haven't thought of? Or any suggestions on how to talk to her about this?

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Maybe this girl can't handle you being in the military? Deployment and missing things comes with the territory.


Sadly, you're probably right. It's just hard after 2+ years, while I've been in the military the whole time, and this problem hits now. It seems like it should be her decision to break-up with me if she can't handle it, but I guess at some point if this continues, I'll have to end it because it is just causing too much unhappiness for both of us.

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I'm just surprised she didn't think about this more when you first started dating! It isn't your fault. The military can be rewarding. Sorry your going through this.


Like I said, it's hard for me to understand, but probably has something to do with her being from Colombia and maybe not knowing how the US military works. She had this idea that deployments were only 6 months and seems willing to accept that, but just won't budge on the 12 months.


I do feel like it's my fault somewhat. She definitely thinks I should have discussed it with her in more detail. I probably could have discussed this much more deeply with her so there would have been no doubt what she was getting into.


Thanks for the support. I'd like to give it more time and try anything I can think of before I give up on this.

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