I have been an army girlfriend for over 4 years now, and during those 4 years a girlfriend to the army is often what it has felt like. It starts with the first 5 weeks at Sandhurst where communication with the outside world is forbidden, although even if it were allowed, the boys and girls are so fatigued that conversations with anyone is near impossible.
In fact, during Sandhurst HTB would regularly fall asleep on the phone, sometimes after as little as 7 minutes. Now, I know my conversation topics aren’t always exhilarating but I like to blame the army and not myself for his sudden inability to remain concious. When he was eventually allowed out at the weekends he fell asleep more than once during the meal at a dinner party, literally, head bowed almost touching the steak left on his plate….embarrassing? Sure.
But I am also immensely proud. HTB, like so many servicemen, put their physical and mental capabilities to the extreme; something which I often wonder if I would be capable of, probably not is the answer.
Tiredness is not the only obstacle. The aspect which I have always found the hardest is the inflexible timetabling of exercise and weekends off. So what if it’s your girlfriend’s birthday and you haven’t seen each other for 4 weeks…tough sh*t. Weekends promised and taken away at the last minute, trips to Belize for a month, the inevitable stationing with your battalion, tour dates to Afghanistan; all out of control. So yes, I suppose I had to ‘man up’ quite a bit over the years, but I am so glad that I did.
I know that the level of real and terrifying perspective that being an army girlfriend brought to our relationship is one of the best things to come out of it. The army has stirred more emotions within me than I thought possible; anger, yearning, dread, exhilaration but the constant is pride. My chest feels like it might burst with pride when I think of all that HTB has done, and it’s not just him, it’s the whole of the battalion, the whole of our armed forces. Incredible people.
I suppose now I get the best bit of all, I get to marry HTB in a super fine looking uniform with swords and a proper guard of honour. Ooooh, yeaaaah. Oh and I have also put in a request for at least one champagne bottle to be sliced open by HTB and his sword – if Cameron Diaz can do it then so can he!
Photo Credit: Top two are publisher’s own, bottom via twp.tyepad