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Making a relationship work under "normal" conditions can be a challenge, however, dating someone in the Armed Forces such as a Royal Marine brings with it additional barriers and obstacles to overcome. A serving Marine is often away for long periods of time and might get informed of this at short notice. This will mean that special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas might be spent apart and your loved one won't always be available when you need them. You might also have to deal with your partner being sent on operational tour, which will add even more stress and emotions into the mix. However, there are steps that you can to help lessen the feeling of distance, help you to deal with the emotions involved and to ensure your relationship is a successful and happy one.
Write letters. Often viewed as old fashioned, time-consuming and a "waste of paper" letter writing is no longer a popular choice for communicating with loved ones. However, for those in relationships with a serving Marine, a letter can provide comfort, and at times it might be your only means of communication. The fact that it is a tangible item that can be smelt, touched, and if you wish, carried with you wherever you go, the letters you receive from one another will be special and cherished for many years to come. If writing is the only way to communicate with your loved one, then try to write regularly as letters might take several days or even weeks to arrive. You might also be able to use a system called e-bluey which provides a quicker way of sending letters to British Forces on operational tours.
Make use of modern technology. If possible, video call one another as this will help you to lessen the feeling of distance. Talk, text and communicate regularly as this will make you feel involved in each other's lives even if your loved one is away for a long period of time. Of course, you might find that your partner doesn't have access to phones or technology so don't feel disheartened if you can't communicate as often as you hoped.
Keep busy. There is nothing worse than moping around watching the second hand on the clock ticking! By keeping busy when your partner is away it will help to stop the days dragging and a week won't feel like a whole month. If you work, take on extra hours to help pass the time, or perhaps take up a hobby to help fill up your days.
Keep track. Buy or even make a special calendar to help you keep track and cross off days that have passed. Physically seeing time go by will help to remind you that it isn't as long as it feels until you can see each other next.
Plan for their return. Planning ahead will make sure you have something to look forward to and think about when times are hard. Plan how you will spend your time together once your partner returns. Remember though not everything is set is stone and your partner might be delayed getting home so don't spend a fortune on tickets for a specific event as you might both end up missing it.
Seek support. You might find that; however, hard they try your friends, and family don't understand the emotions involved with dating a Marine. There are many groups and forums in place to help offer support and guidance to those who are in a relationship with someone in the military. Joining one of these groups and making friends in similar situations might help you to get the support and advice you need when times get tough.
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Send a package. If possible send your partner a package containing his or her favorite things. These reminders of home will be much appreciated and will help to bring comfort to your serving Marine. Remember it is often harder for the person who is away as they don't have access to home comforts, and they will be missing their family and friends. Receiving reminders of home will help them to feel closer to you and brighten up their day.
- Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images