Hometown– Hollis: Georgia Tiffany: North Carolina
Dating for 2 years and 5 months
Tiffany and Hollis are both cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. West Point consist of them each going to school full time Monday- Friday, military training on certain weekends as well as participating in extra circular activities. Hollis is a nuclear engineer major and Tiffany is a socialogy major. They each have a year left to complete school. Upon completion they will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. They met in basic training. During the three weeks of training, they were unable to interact with one another, but being in the same platoon they were able to see each other everyday. Shortly after they finished training, Hollis asked Tiffany on a date and almost 2 months later she finally accepted. He later, officially asked her to be in a relationship while attending a church service and the rest is history.
What is the most challenging thing about being with someone in the military?
Hollis: Unwanted separation. The possibility of not being at the same duty station.
Tiffany: Seperation and the fear of the unknown. You know you’re going to be separated, but for how long? How far apart? For me it’s the unknown.
Whats the longest you’ve been apart?
Both: A month at the most.
What is the toughest thing you have had to overcome in your relationship?
Tiffany: Communication. I’m a very vocal person about everything. If things are going well, if things are not going well and he’s more reserved. He likes to take more time to digest information first and then tell me.
Hollis: I can’t speak on a situation that I haven’t emotionally responded to myself. I can’t explain my emotions when I haven’t even digested the situation. I’ve always been like that and it’s hard for her to be patient.
Tiffany: Our communication has gotten significantly better. We’re definitely at a place where I’m comfortable with him and how he communicates. I know that we can only continue to get better.
Do you feel like the military puts pressure on getting married?
Both: YES! There are a lot of cadets that have set their wedding dates for the day of graduation.
Tiffany: We both are like, we’re graduating from an institution that not many people graduate from. I do not want my accomplishment to be over shadowed by a wedding. A wedding is not a accomplishment to me. You shouldn’t feel accomplished because you’re getting married. Marriage is something we’re considering to work towards. We know its not going to be picture perfect.
Does school put stress on the relationship?
Tiffany: In the beginning… yes it did a lot, but now it’s not so bad. We’ve gotten a hold of our work schedules.
Hollis: Yeah, the focus is academics. I mean she knows how much work I’ve got and I know how much work she’s got.
Tiffany: We usually try to see each other on the weekends… at least one day during the weekend. Our Sundays are reserved for us to do our work and prepare for the week. Even if I’m not actively working on an assignment, I know thats my day to try to get prepared… even if it’s like babe, do you have laundry or I need to do my own laundry. We give each other that day to prepare.
Hollis: There are cases sometimes that I just need the whole weekend to do school work. Even though you’re given time off to relax, you’re really not relaxing. There is always something to do.
Tiffany: There are some weeks I don’t see him at all and I have to make the effort to be like.. ok I need to go see him. Even walking around on campus, I always get so excited to see him, We’re both smiling at each other because we have not physically laid eyes on one another in days.
What is the key to your relationship being successful?
Hollis: Forgiveness and communication
Tiffany: People just assume we’re good, but we’ve been through some stuff. At the beginning I felt like I was already playing girlfriend before I became his girlfriend, so for me that put a lot of stress on me because I was fulfilling a role that was not necessarily created for me at that point. I recently asked him if I pressured him into anything and he said no. He did what he wanted to do, but the thing with him is that he takes his time with everything.
So, what made you stick around if you felt he was taking too long to make it official?
Tiffany: Hollis is very genuine and that bothers me sometimes because he is so genuine and so caring and people can take advantage of that. People have malicious intent and I sniff it out. So I consider myself as the keeper of his heart. I have to make sure he’s good. He’s a sweetheart, thats more or less what drew me towards him. We were friends first and then ultimately decided we wanted a relationship, so I think seeing those qualities in him that I admire made me wait.
Hollis: I was drawn towards her because I was initially physical attracted to her. A month after basic she hated me for almost four months. I still thought she was pretty, then at a going away party she got drunk and kissed me….
Tiffany: On the cheek, I’m not fast…
Hollis: But when she did that it let me know her feelings for me were still there.
What advice would you have for other couples?
Tiffany: Be flexible. Be willing to meet with your partner somewhere in the middle.
Hollis: Communicate. Make sure you know what you want and why your initially getting into the relationship.
Tiffany: And being in a interracial relationship you have to have the uncomfortable conversations that people don’t want to talk about. Even with his family I’m very vocal about my feelings and my point of view on issues in the black community and black culture. They aren’t familiar with them, but they are willing to listen. We both have to be open. He’s from an area where there are no black people. When visiting and we’re holding hands or kissing we get those looks from people. At first it really bothered me, but now we joke about it and even do a black people count when we go places. He’s always gone out his way to ensure I was comfortable wherever I was and that no one is ever talking to me out of pocket. He is very protective in that aspect.
Thank you Tiffany and Hollis for sharing your story!! 🖤