Monday, July 15, 2013

The NSF/ SAF Regular's Girlfriend

I won't deny, I'm going through quite a bad time in my relationship with Martin now because he's so busy with NDP and his army stuff, and we hardly have 24 hours a week together
and that causes a lot of conflict whenever we meet due to stress, being rushed by deadlines etc..

I cried, stuffed my face with chocolates and I thought a lot about it..
I don't believe in feelings fading, I don't believe that Love has an expiry date,
and I'm not going to throw this relationship away just because it's temporarily broken because I believe it can be fixed
so I'm hanging on and I hope we can get through this.

On my part, I want to remind myself to be more considerate as his girlfriend and I hope that would reduce our arguments as well,
so I decided to write this blogpost, for myself and for all other girlfriends of NSFs or SAF Regulars.

This is quite a personal post and I will take offense if you leave nasty comments.
So if you don't have anything good to say, just don't say anything at all. I will appreciate it, thank you.

I've been together with Martin since October 2010 (3rd anniversary soon).
We had the best memories throughout our first year together because he graduated from school and I had a long school holiday from NUS, and during school days my school hours weren't that long either.
We'd pretty much meet up every single day, go out and do fun stuff, grab a lot of yummy food to eat... life was good and stress free.
It was kinda the best time for the honeymoon period of any relationship.

And then he got enlisted into the army in November 2011 (soon after our 1st year together).
My boyfriend signed on with the Army about because it's a stable paying job and he said it's because he wanted to save enough for our marriage.
Unlike your usual NSF, signed on regulars get about twice or thrice the pay every month. But the catch is that he has to serve for 6 years instead of 2 years.

But well, enough background information about us
and back to the topic of this post.

The NSF/ SAF Regular's Girlfriend

1. Emotional Breakdown
If your boyfriend is about to enlist into the army/ just enlisted, you WILL almost always suffer an emotional breakdown.
From experience, I found myself lost, uncertain, lonely, depressed and all sorts of other shit feeling
because I was so attached to my boyfriend previously and suddenly he has to be confined in BMT for 2 weeks...
We hardly had any time to text, and even if we did, it'd probably be enough for a goodnight message.

But if you think you're having it tough, think again.
Your boyfriend has to give up on his civilian life to undergo strenuous training, be disciplined harshly when he makes mistakes, and face an immense amount of physical and mental stress
not to mention having to miss you, his family, his friends, his room, his bed...

What you can do as a girlfriend
Think from his perspective.
Try to understand how difficult it is for him as well and try not to add on any pressure onto him.
Send him encouraging text messages, tell him you're proud of him no matter what.
Keep him motivated, keep his spirits up, let him know you'll be waiting for him and you're excited for the weekend when you'll see him again.

2. Loneliness
All girlfriends of NSF/ SAF Regulars will be familiar with this.
Your boyfriend will have very little time for you, especially at the start of his NS life.
And even when he books out on weekends, even if you made plans for the both of you to go here and there,
they might just knock out by 11pm and not have the mood to go out at all.
But things should get better over time!

What you can do as a girlfriend
If you're with someone you really love, you should not have to be doing anything special to feel happy.
Just being in the same room, watching TV, eating instant noodles together, knowing each other is around should feel like a happy thing.
Cuddle time is good too :)
Try not to pack too many plans for the weekends in case you get disappointed when he comes back all worn out with blisters and sun burns and all and just want to stay home and rest.
Also, if you have a super horrible body clock like me, you'll most likely get pissed off cause you hate being awake alone
when your boyfriend knocks out at 11pm, but it's actually not his fault lah :/
If possible, try to adjust your own body clock to suit his and sleep at regular timings too,
so you guys can wake up at the same "time zone" on weekends and it'll be a lot more productive.
Besides, it'll be good for your complexion and health, and lesser eyebags etc too!

3. Boring Topics
It's EXTREMELY NORMAL for guys in the army to continuously blabber about army stuff
whether it's about their SAR21, IPPT, Sit Test, platoon mates, camp mates, bunk mates, low rope, shellscrape, outfield, sergeant, officer, CO, OC etc etc..
To a girl these topics may not be your favourite,
but neither do girl politics or shopping for shoes or make up sound very interesting to your boyfriends either.

What you can do as a girlfriend
If you choose to have a boyfriend who's in the army,
Try your best to understand what he's talking about instead of zoning off when he's telling you about it.
And from experience, when you actually engage in those topics, you'll realise it's actually not bad one haha!

4. Tantrums
It's not unusual for guys to have a worse temper when they book out on weekends
because they go through a lot of shouting and scoldings in camp.
They might get too used to that sort of exchange of conversations and end up venting their frustrations or raising their voices easily at their families and girlfriends when they book out (but I am NOT condoning this okay!!!)
But I guess it's also part of their training lah because you can't expect these tough soldiers to receive orders like
"Can you please rush down now and assemble in 10 seconds? Thank you very much ah~"

What you can do as a girlfriend
Try to understand why they get frustrated so easily and are so quick-tempered
compromise by not flaring back at them
but at the same remind them firmly that
you are their girlfriends, you love and care for them, they are not in camp now so they don't have to be so tensed up, and you just want the precious time you have spent together to be as happy as possible.
If your boyfriend is logical enough, he should be able to compromise too.
If your boyfriend vents his frustrations by HITTING you or doesn't even give in one bit, please ditch him.

I've been hit by an EX-bf who was back then in the army before, and he was way bigger sized than I was.
I can tell you it's frigging traumatic.
Get out of that relationship ASAP.

5. Staying Loyal
One of the worst things any girl could do is to cheat on their boyfriends when they're in the army.
If you can't stand the loneliness or whatever else you can't endure being with an NSF or SAF regular, please break up with them cleanly before moving on to another guy.
Just don't cheat on them.
Actually breaking up with them is kinda mean but it's less cruel than cheating on them, not that the former is encouraged.
My boyfriend told me that in BMT a lot of guys will suddenly become single.. it sucks, but it happens a lot.
But that is why they say that NS will be a good test of your relationship with your partner
because this period is hell of a difficult to get through.

What you can do as a girlfriend
Hang out with the right company.
Like friends who actually support you and your boyfriend to be together,
or even other girlfriends of NSFs.
This is NOT the time to hang out with guys who have previously shown interest in you
or guy friends your boyfriends don't like you hanging out with etc.
Try not to club if possible too because
you won't want your boyfriend to go to bed feeling insecure that while he's asleep you'll be drunk and in the arms of another boy? :S

6. Time management
Time becomes extremely precious when he's in the army so he will want all the rest time he can get over the weekends.

What you can do as a girlfriend
Finish all your work ASAP on weekdays so you can enjoy your weekends with your boy without care.
Nobody likes to be rushed, so help out your boyfriend in this aspect if you can.
Sometimes he might run out of body soap, tooth paste, detergent for his uniforms etc..
these simple things, try to get them for him so he won't have to make a trip over the weekends just to get them.
This would mean more time for the both of you to go pat tor (date) or just laze around at home.

7. Feeling Useless
He's getting muscle aches, sun burns, blisters, and scoldings from camp.
He doesn't like it but you can't get him out of army cause every Singaporean boy will have to serve,
and you feel like you can't help him with anything to make him feel better.

What you can do as a girlfriend
Give him massages, cook him his favourite foods, help him apply aloe vera, give him some pampering facials with those face masks etc.
These things won't cost a lot, but I'm sure it'll warm his heart.

A lot of girls think that guys should treat girls like princesses.
But guys would likewise want to be pampered like princes once in awhile too, no?
I don't think it's unreasonable that the boyfriend of a "princess" want to be treated like a prince.

Well this is all I have for you girls right now,
and I'm really glad that I took time to write this post cause it reminded me a lot about what Martin and I have gone through..

From talking to him only through SMS and MSN..
To going on our first few dates and using my lousy front camera back then to camwhore..

To knowing his best friend and some of his friends..

To bullying him..
To having his picture on my wall so I can see his face everytime I wake up..
To our first, our favourite and our most memorable Halloween celebration ever..
To the first time he came to my place and felt shy lol..
To us dressing up and going for flea markets..
To us going overseas to Hong Kong and Taiwan together..
To going to his workplace till late just to accompany him..
Loving his glorious long hair..
And accompanying him to trim it short in preparation for NS..
To telling him not to be sad cause he still looks really cute..
To loving his round bald head hahaha xD
To having mixed feelings of heart pain and yet feeling super proud of him when I saw the photos of him in camp tagged on Facebook..
Whether or not the boys are "forced" into serving NS, I still feel an immense amount of respect for each and everyone of them for going through it and surviving it.
And I think that they deserve a lot more respect than what they are getting currently.
To attending his POP and cheering my heart out for him..
To building an entire friggin wall with him in his room..
And leaving our hand prints in a corner...
 To watching him get his 3SG rank...
To him going on overseas deployment for an ENTIRE MONTH T~T
To watching his hair grow :p

To going to USS together although he doesn't like roller coasters hahah..
To letting him meet one of my only guy friends LOL...
To watching me dye my yellow hair to jet black..
And taking some of my favouritest pictures of us together ever..
To countless other adventures along the way until now..
Our relationship may not have been the most glamorous or one that's filled with roses/ flowers/ presents/ romantic surprises,
but it definitely felt safe, happy, real and down to earth.

Last year we had a blast watching NDP together..
And this year I'm extremely proud that my baby's going to be a part of the 21-Guns Salute during NDP!!
(picture taken from his Facebook)

But partly because of his current tight schedule and also my own blog deadlines to meet we're having quite a bit of a conflict whenever we meet because we're both kinda stressed.. :'(
I really hope we'll get pass this difficult phase quick and we can go back to how happy and carefree we were..

We both are really in need of a getaway!!! T~T
One where we can just both be alone and not care about anything else!

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
~ Jason Mraz - I won't give up

Anyway, thank you all for being patient too and reading my extremely long rant,
I feel a lot better now :')

If you're having relationship problems as well,
whether or not your boyfriend's in the army,
here's a gold advice from people who know it best:

Thank you for reading, love you all!