A little context, my boyfriend is still in BMT and we have been together for a little over 2 years.
[ decided to preface this by saying that I truly think it is an honour to be an NS gf, I’m honoured to get to learn about the ns reality and life through my bf and to be someone’s support system during such a tough period. Not everyone will have the experience of dating an NS guy, so I truly truly view it as an honour to have been given this chance to learn more and to better myself as a partner ]
Before my bf went into NS, I made him a care pack full of stuff from caps to mosquito repellent, KT tape, muscle relaxant patches and much more. I even prepared tons of letters for my bf which are colour coded by how his day went, so that the letters he reads everyday would be more contextualized towards his experience for that day and I think this is a super good gift for all NS gfs to prepare!! Plus I also bought a voice recording card on shopee to record a message for him, so that he can listen to my voice too before he sleeps.
When my bf enlisted, I made sure to be super super supportive. Till this day (3 months+ in), I still fetch him from every single bookout and drop him off for every single book-in, so long as it doesnt clash with my working hours (mon-fri, 9-6), as I’m currently working full time before entering uni. I kid you not, I’m there waiting at the mrt where the bus drops all the NS boys off, every single book-in and book-out that I can. By this point probably my bfs entire platoon recognises me lmao. And every time he books out, I do my best to buy a different drink for him ( diff brands of bbt, boost etc.) before rushing down from my workplace to pick him up from book-out. Girls, you dont know how badly your bf misses civillian food and his favourite bbt. But yeah, presence is key, always show your support for your NS bf every chance you get, I promise it means the world to him!
So what do I do when my boyfriend is busy in NS? Well, I do my research on different things about NS. Mostly I spend time on this NS thread, reading about the experiences of different NS guys and the kind of inside jokes yall have, or whatever complaints yall have about cookhouse food or field camp. In fact I’ve genuinely become insanely interested in NS life. I’ve watched all the mindef playlists (yep even the ones from >10 years ago with the stupid 240p resolution), because I want to better understand what my bf is going through as well as his experience. Tbh I dont understand why NS bfs always complain that their gfs aren’t interested in what they have to say about the army. I literally ask my bf so many questions about the army, to the point he’s sick of talking about it already HAHA. But in all honestly, mindefs youtube is a hugely helpful resource for NS gfs to understand how NS works. I’m so fascinated by the different types of trainings they undergo, how to use the SAR-21 and before this, I never even knew the grenade had a lever! Now I better understand the military rankings and different vocations and all this I’ve learnt from mindefs youtube, without having to ask my bf. And in fact it’s so cool to really see that the NS facilities look like, because we girls will otherwise never be able to relate. Watching the videos gave me such a better picture of how the SOC looks, how the dismantled SAR-21 looks, how the BCCT premises look and so much more. And I’ve learnt so many cool things from asking my bf questions as well! How else would I know there’s such a thing as a tracer bullet or the different shooting positions or the different things you guys carry during FBO. It’s literally so interesting, you can learn the head knowledge about the NS process and go ask your bf for the practical knowledge and experience. I know from a macro-view that guns, grenades, marching and shooting sound incredibly boring, but I promise you it’s not! I never saw myself as someone who would be interested in these things, but boy was I wrong. It’s really fascinating and Im sure your bf will really appreciate you taking your time to deepen your knowledge in what is his everyday reality!
In terms of keeping an NS relationship strong, it takes 2 hands to clap. Ive been so so fortune to have the best bf in the universe because idk how he even makes time to text me everyday during his limited admin time. Not only do I ask about his day, he also puts in the effort to ask about how my work went and we always talk about what we had for lunch. Always communicate with your partner, even on the most mundane of things! I’ve honestly never felt happier in my relationship than now, it is the easiest because Im so touched by how my bf makes time for me out of his busy NS schedule. But dont expect too much, some days your bf will be too exhausted to text. Instead, just be understanding snd wish him goodnight immediately when he expresses exhaustion. You will never be able to understand just how exhausted he is from getting scolded by sergeants all day and having to do intense physical workouts. Just support him and remind him that you’re always there! Don’t be quick to get angry with him, always empathise, his NS life is tougher than you can imagine. Always reassure him that you love him and only him, your loyalty will motivate him through the toughest of trainings!
I was genuinely shocked when I saw NS guys in this thread saying that their gf expects them to pay for both parties on weekend dates. I think it’s horribly insensitive and selfish on a gfs part to expect that. In fact, I do the complete opposite. I’ve asked my bf if he would allow me to pay for our meals whenever we go out, seeing as I know he wants to save as much as he can out of the peanut pay that NS gives. I’ve told my bf that everything is about proportionality, I’m earning more now, due to my full time job, hence I should pay for the dates and his food. However, he didnt want me to fully pay either, since he says my money from work belongs to me. So we’ve decided that whenever we go out, we eat simple and if I decide I want to eat something more expensive that day, I would pay for 80% of the total meal. For dates and outings to movies or places like USS, I’ll pay 100% for both of us. It’s only fair to do so. So ladies please dont expect your bf to pay for you ya, he barely earns enough for himself, be the generous one! I’m sure it’ll relieve his financial burdens too.
And for weekend dates, try to plan chill stuff if you must! Keep in mind that your bf has been walking, marching, jogging, running, swimming, climbing and so much more, all day every day. He’s probably already so exhausted and just wants a break to rest, so do indulge him in that. Try to plan more home dates, just grab snacks or order in food and watch some movies together. Better yet, just take a nap together. If you wanna go out, pick a close mall or one with a direct bus route, so your bf can rest more. Please dont plan full day outings, you dont want to torture him. Also, on weekend dates, be the bigger person and let him choose what to eat most of the time. After all, he only has those 2 bookout days to indulge in civilian food. If you want to eat smth badly but he doesnt like it, just eat it yourself during the weekdays HAHA. He has less freedom than you, so let him enjoy those little moments of freedom and I’m sure he will appreciate you for it.
Remember to let your bf spend time with his family and friends too. Give him bro-time to game, gamble, drink or just catch up with his guy friends too. After all, he’s only human and as much as he loves you, he has a life outside of your relationship as well, so let him enjoy that. Dont cut him off from his family or friends, things in NS are already hard for him as they are.
Andddd words of affirmation! I always remind my bf that I’m very proud of him and that I believe in him, every time he completes an exercise, whether it be a run or a strength training or something else. Hearing that you’re proud of him will really brighten his gruelling days.
All in all, the NS relationship experience really is what you make of it! I live an hour away from my bfs book in/drop off point, while he only lives about 20mins away from it. But some days I will still wake up at 7am and travel all the way down to his house, just to accompany him in the bus for those last 20mins before he books in. Quality time is everything to a man with such limited time, always show him how important he is to you by making sacrifices for him, your little sacrifices will eventually go a long way in his heart. Jiayou to all the NS gfs and bfs out there!!
( just wanted to add that my bf is going for his field camp soon and I’m filled with worry and excitement, I’m so proud of him and I know he will do amazing, I can’t wait to surprise him at his post-fieldcamp bookout and treat him to good food and hear all the stories he’ll have to tell me about his field camp experience!! )