Posted on Feb 23, 2018
1LT Data Scientist/Analyst (Contractor)
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Relationships within the military are difficult enough as it is. At any instant, we could find ourselves in a warzone, deployed overseas, or in a forgein country, and the stress of that alone is enough to drive away significant others. The amount of strength needed to love someone, albeit be with someone, who chooses to serve and risk everything, is to be commended, which is why I have a deep respect for loyal spouses. Looking for general advice, and advice for my own personal situation below, if you wish to help.

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I am in a long distance "relationship" with a graduate student in Great Britain, and she is honestly the most amazing woman I have ever met. She is American, and from Texas. Regardless of everyone else I've dated, she is absolutely and fundamentally different from any other girl I've been with, and it feels different. She's 24 and I'm 26. We've connected on fundamental beleifs and ideas that we both share, and put simply, we just have fun together. At least, we did for a while.

Its complicated. I put "relationship" in quotations because we're not "official" but it has definitely been a relationship for some time. For the majoirty of our relationship, it has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. She is over there with no oversight, free do to do what she wants. When we started talking, she told me explicitly that she was not looking for a boyfriend, but as time progressed, that is exactly what I became without the title or committment. The majority of our time has been spent on Skype, for hours on end, usually into the early mornings for the both of us because of the five hour time zone difference. When I say hours, I mean a lot, sometimes even 8-10 some days. We got close. When I was working a minimum wage job, I saved up for months to go visit her for the first time, when I had no real money to my name. We've met three times, and intorduced each other to each other's parents. Time and time again, I demonstrated my loyalty. I trusted her fully. We'd get into arguments from time to time, but nothing serious. She'd always promise we were working towards a relationship, always a promise for tomorrow, but never delivering on that promise.

She slept with someone over there, during a period of us not talking, and during a period when she was upset. Her choice entirely. Completely cut me out. It felt like a betrayal of my trust, because I had been faithful to her since the beginning. Was she within her right? Even though it screwed me over and I got my feelings hurt? If it were up to me, I'd have wanted to talk to her about it, but she gave me no shot at that.

We shared mutual friends, friends I have known all my life. She was an online video game friend to my real life friends here. I trust their judgement, so I went to them and sought counsel. Is that not a normal reaction to do when you're hurting, seek advice from trusted friends? I told her I told these people, these mutual friends, and they cut her out completely because they knew I genuinely liked her, and they could not beleive that she'd do that to me. She viewed it as a betrayal of trust with her "personal information" that she entrsuted to me in telling me that she did sleep with someone else, and that she lost two really good friends out of it. I know there is resentment there.

I've never been promiscuous. I save intimate relations like that for people that I love, not go around to random girls for hookups. I've been told I'm very mature for my age, a lot due to the position I hold as an officer and a leader. I set the example. I live by the Army Values, an honor code, where it seems like people now adays don't know what that is. Honor used to be a big deal - if you lost it, you were shamed, and basically a nobody. Am I old fashioned in this belief? Am I right, and she's wrong? I try so hard to see her side of things, that she was single and well within her right to do that if she pleased. But it hurt me to my core, and yet I still love the girl. Now, we're not talking, our communication has been very piecemeal, limited back and forth, and I torture myself with thoughts that she's sleeping around. And I try so hard to drop my anger and hurt, but it comes stemming back. Any advice here? Do I hold out and wait for her to be done in England in 8 months when she finishes her degree? I don't want to let her go. This situation has tortured me for quite some time.
Edited 3 y ago
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Responses: 13
CW5 Jack Cardwell
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No good solution. All people are different, so find what works for you.
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CPT Jack Durish
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I once believed that " love conquers all". It doesn't. I was told that "distance makes the heart grow fonder." It doesn't. I then married the girl who had sent me two Dear Johns during a long distance relationship. The "marriage" lasted about six months though we remained together for about six years. I am now happily married to my best friend of 43 years, the one I met after my adventuring days were ended. So here's the one adage I do believe in: There's more than one fish in the ocean. Now, enjoy your life of adventuring. Make friends along the way but don't make enemies of those who can't go adventuring with you. No, you won't be adventuring forever. That's a young person's prerogative...
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Susan Foster
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I commend you for being so honest. It's obvious you live your Army values. You probably felt after all that time talking, you knew her extremely well, and you probably talked more than people who see each other on the weekend for months at a time. Let me ask you: Had she promised you she would not see anyone else while you two were connected? Did she confess, and if she did, did she apologize and say it would never happen again? Or did she just get mad and say she had every right? That will tell you a lot right there, because unless she feels the same way about honor and values that you do, you would be tortured every time you deployed if you were married. Perhaps she's just not as mature and doesn't know who she is yet, and that's what she is trying to figure out. She's still pretty young, and you said you are mature for your age. I know betrayal hurts you to your core. I've been there. You think you will just die because it hurts so much, yet it's something you have absolutely no control over, only yourself. Please try realizing that what she's doing or not doing and driving yourself crazy? Your own thoughts. You really have no idea. But whatever it is, you can handle it, because you are handling it now. I would talk to her, tell her how you feel, and tell her the ball is in her court. That you still love her, but because you love her, you know she's her own person, and you can't decide for her. That you are there when she's ready to talk it out, but you won't chase her--but that she'll never do better than you (and you should believe that). Then stop rowing the boat by yourself and see if she picks up the oars and rows with you. Try not to get into any quick relationships right now because you are hurting. That's just advice from someone who's "got the T-shirt." Let me know if I can help.
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1LT Data Scientist/Analyst (Contractor)
1LT (Join to see)
3 y
Susan Foster, thank you so much for taking the time to answer honestly. I appreciate your thoughtful, and indeed deep, sentiments. Now to answer your questions. When I most recently visited her over the holidays down in Texas, where I met her folks (who loved me), we had a long talk over dinner out together. It was nice. As the conversation deepened into that timeframe, she opened up about sleeping with this other guy. I was so distraught, so incredibly hurt and betrayed by this, that at the moment I took it internally. She also told me that she wasn't sorry for doing it, that she was well within her right to do so, because she had been upset, hurting as well, and that she claimed alcohol was involved. No matter how upset I was at someone, I'd never do that. I raked her over the fires for it the next day after I had internalized it some. Later on, she confided that she told me because she wanted to clear the air, start new in the new year, and only be intimate with me moving forward. I do not know if this is the truth or not, because now I cannot trust her. Trust is the foundation of everything. She does not trust me either, because I took that "personal information" and shared it with friends, because I trusted my friends not to turn me wrong, even though it paints her in a negative light. I wanted to talk to her specifically about these own issues, but she completely blocked me, and shut me out. A dilemma, to say the least.
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Susan Foster
Susan Foster
3 y
1LT (Join to see) - Yes it is a dilemma, but you are so right. Trust is absolutely the foundation of a relationship. Unfortunately once it's broken, it is much harder to gain back that trust than it was to lose it. It can take a long time, sometimes years. I don't quite see that you sharing this news with friends when you were hurting is at all equal to what she did. Sounds like she's justifying it to herself, at least in her own mind. There was absolutely no reason to ever tell you if she wasn't sorry--I can't see it gained either of you anything. "Confiding later" sounds like she had time to think of something to say that made her actions look better. If you both had an understanding that you would not cheat until you figured out how the relationship would progress, then it was still a betrayal. If you really want to try again, and can send her some communication (even snail mail if she's blocked you) and tell her how you feel, etc., you could give her a timeframe to answer back--tell her after __ amount of time, you will assume she no longer wants to talk to work it out. Then you will know when to let it go. I know you don't want to be left hanging. She really doesn't have that much longer there. Six months is not so long. But she needs to do a little apologizing here--she said she wasn't sorry. No matter how much you love her, you will never have a peaceful day with her if you don't trust her. And certainly not a good marriage.
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