Being in a relationship when your boyfriend goes to National Service (NS) can be really tough.
This is because the time that you can spend together with your SO will be dramatically reduced!
However, are all relationships during NS doomed to fail?
I had the opportunity to interview someone who went through NS with her boyfriend without breaking up, and here’s what you need to know:
Why do couples break up during NS?
Couples may break up during NS as there is less time for you and your partner to meet with each other. Particularly, if your boyfriend is in a stay-in vocation, this may significantly reduce the amount of time that you can meet each other.
When you first got together with your boyfriend, you may be used to seeing each other every day.
However, this may all change once your boyfriend starts to serve NS, particularly during the Basic Military Training (BMT) period in NS.
For most of the week, he will be in camp, and there is very little free time (aka admin time) that he will get.
Furthermore, to ensure safety during NS, a strict ‘7 hours of interrupted sleep‘ is imposed on all NSFs.
What all of this means is that there is very little time for you and your boyfriend to interact with each other.
When your boyfriend gets posted to his unit, things may be slightly better. If he is a PES C9 NSF, there is a chance that he may be in a stay-out vocation.
As such, you may have more chances of meeting him during the week.
However, if your boyfriend is in a combat-fit PES status (such as PES B1), he may be in a stay-in unit. Again, this will reduce the time that you can interact with him.
Going through NS as a girlfriend can be really tough, as you won’t be able to spend as much time with him as before.
What should I do when my boyfriend is going to NS?
As we all know, National Service (NS) is a huge part of every Singaporean man’s life. It is physically and mentally taxing so much so that many of them heavily rely on their loved ones (e.g family, significant other, friends etc) for support and motivation.
The total duration may be a full 2 years, but it is possible to cut it down to 1 year and 10 months if your boyfriend is part of the Enhanced Batch!
As an NS girlfriend myself, I have come to realize how much our love and encouragement mean to our partners and we can actually convey these feelings through many different ways and forms.
Firstly, we can make it a practice to come up with a care package for them, be it weekly or monthly. It is really up to you on what you want to place inside, including and some of these items can include:
- Healthy snacks
- Skincare products
- Pictures of them with their loved ones
However, you may want to do some research as to what they are allowed to bring into camp!
Secondly, you can even put together a few messages in a book (maybe even a blanket if you are feeling a little witty) from his close friends and family to keep him company while at camp. There is nothing dearer than the well wishes of loved ones when you are not with them.
Thirdly, what’s to stop you from planning a small full-day surprise for your boyfriend? Nothing beats a romantic and intimate meal, paired with sight-seeing and fun activities to strengthen your bond.
Of course, these are just some of the many ideas that you can put together and ultimately, it is really up to your creative imagination on what you want to do for your partner before he leaves for NS.
Are there any tips if I miss my boyfriend during NS?
Honestly speaking, we should all understand that it is normal for us to miss our boyfriends during this period of time and it does not always have to constitute being ‘clingy’ or ‘attention-seeking’.
Believe it or not, it is equally challenging for us, NS girlfriends, to be emotionally strong when our significant other has gone to serve our nation. We may often find ourselves being idle, bored or even anxious when we do not get to spend a few days or a week with our partners.
As such, I have put together some activities we can indulge ourselves in when our boyfriends are away. Some of them include:
- Picking up a new language
- Planning romantic dates
I personally think that this is a great time to catch up on our own mental well-being and these activities are a good way to do so.
Keeping yourself distracted is really an effective illusion that seems to make time pass by faster and before you know it, your boyfriend is already booking out tomorrow!
And as a bonus, you might have even picked up a new hobby!
At the same time, it is a great opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your family and friends. Oftentimes, many of us unintentionally tend to neglect them once we get a partner and the crazy thing is, we do not even realise it!
Catch up with some old friends, make some new ones and plan more family outings. You will be amazed as to how great a distraction their company is.
Is there such a thing as the NS breakup curse?
Now, I think we can all agree that we have heard of the infamous “NS breakup curse” and this is a very real thing. It is a period of time where all relationships are tested and unfortunately, many of them do not make it to the finish line.
Just like every other relationship, there are bound to be arguments and unhappiness along the way, especially throughout NS.
Many of these squabbles mainly occur due to:
- “Insufficient attention”
- “Bad mood”
- “Not having enough money”
The key to all of them is having empathy.
You might even want to lead a comfortable lifestyle and want your boyfriend to spoil you, which is completely valid. However, most NSFs only earn enough to buy meals and other necessities for the next month and might end up being tight on money if they spend too much.
Understanding and empathising with these problems will build patience, trust and love in your relationship. This will give both of you the strength and confidence to overcome bigger challenges in the near future.
As an alternative solution, both of you can also take turns to treat each other to meals or come up with a rough timeline on when you can communicate with each other, when your boyfriend is in camp.
Being in a relationship will mean that you would have to work out all your unhappiness and grow as individuals together, instead of running away whenever you face a problem.
How do you maintain a relationship in NS?
Maintaining a relationship in NS can be done via trust, sacrifice and empathising with each other. It is definitely a tough period that you will go through during a relationship, but your relationship will definitely be stronger if you are able to work together.
Being faced with such a tough challenge early on in your relationship can be really taxing. However, you will really need to work as a team with your boyfriend to get through this together.
Good communication is key to ensuring that you will be able to stay the course with your boyfriend!
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