Armed forces have a duty to serve their country and are ready to deploy at any time. When you’re in a relationship with someone in the military, this can be difficult. These months apart will put the strength of your relationship to the test. It will not be easy, but there are several options available to you. Plan ahead of time for deployment by establishing expectations. While your partner is away, communicate with him or her as much as possible. Try to keep yourself busy and look into ways to cope emotionally in the absence of your partner.
Method 1: Outlining a Strategy
1. Begin discussing your deployment strategy. Before the deployment, you and your partner should sit down and make a plan. You’ll need to discuss how you and your partner will manage your time, seek support, and cope during deployment.
You and your partner must work together to devise a strategy for dealing with the situation. This entails focusing on the mission, seeking support from other soldiers or military officials, and managing stress while deployed. This entails fostering support at home, staying busy, and managing feelings of stress or anxiety when communication is limited.
Try to keep the conversation as open and honest as possible. You should both feel free to express your feelings about the impending separation, good or bad. When faced with a long separation, feelings of jealousy and insecurity are normal.
Make time to talk to yourself. Spend some one-on-one time at home communicating with each other. Hire a sitter for the night if you have children so you and your partner can talk.
2. Make a plan for emergencies. In the event of an emergency, you must have a plan of action. How will you communicate with one another? Who should be on call at home in case of an emergency? These are the questions you should be able to answer prior to deployment.
If you’re staying at home, be aware of the quickest way to contact your partner. You should also have someone on call, such as a friend or family member, who can assist you in the event of an emergency while your partner is away.
If you’re leaving, make sure your partner knows how to contact you if something happens to you. Discuss with your partner how you will provide support from a distance in the event of an emergency at home.
3. Discuss when and how often you should communicate. During deployment, it is critical to lay the groundwork for communication. You and your partner should have a strategy in place for how and how often you’ll communicate.
There are numerous communication options available during military deployment. Although a phone is not always available, e-mail, instant messaging, video chat, and regular mail are all options.
Setting aside a single day of the week to try to talk via phone or video call may be beneficial. If your deployment is relatively routine, you may be able to predict when you will have access to a computer or phone. You can make a commitment to call or video chat at a specific time during those days.
You should also talk about what to do if communication is difficult. There may be times during deployment when access to telephones and computers is restricted. Discuss what to do during these times. You can, for example, agree to use snail mail if necessary.
4. Make a support system for both of you. You want to ensure that both you and your partner receive emotional support while on deployment. Prior to the start of deployment, it’s a good idea to assist one another in forming support networks.
Other soldiers or military members may provide assistance to the departing party. You might also want to discuss other people with whom you can communicate over long distances. In addition to your partner, you most likely have close relationships with friends and family members. You should be able to rely on these individuals for assistance during deployment.
If you’re going to stay at home, you and your partner should decide who you’ll lean on. Discuss the family and friends you’ll have while your partner is away. You may find that your partner’s friends and family members can also help you during your deployment.
Method 2: Deployment Communication
1. Determine your partner’s love language. It can be difficult to provide assistance from a distance. Understanding your partner’s love language can help you determine the best way to make him or her feel secure. A person’s love language is the way that person feels most supported and cared for. Different types of support and comfort work best for different people.
Words of affirmation are preferred by some people in order to feel loved. Statements such as “I miss you” and “I love you” are beneficial. If your partner appears to rely on words, try writing long letters and e-mails expressing your love.
Words aren’t as important to some as actions are. People may feel supported if their partner expresses their concern through kind gestures or sends gifts. If your partner prefers actions, you can send him or her care packages, video messages, or gifts on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, some love languages are more difficult to cater to from afar. To feel secure, some people prefer physical touch and quality time. This creates a problem during deployment. You can try to help by telling your partner how much you miss his or her touch and how much you wish he or she was with you just to watch television together on a rainy night.
2. If at all possible, send care packages. Send care packages to your partner’s deployment location if you are able. A care package is a thoughtful gesture that can make your partner feel more secure.
Include photos, treats, and sentimental items. Be inventive. Include a funny card or note if your partner has a sense of humour.
It’s also fun to send “coupons” for when your partner returns. “Free for one good back rub,” or “Free for a fancy dinner out.” This will give your partner something to look forward to when he or she returns home.
Before sending out a care package, double-check military regulations. Certain items may be prohibited during deployment.
3. Text miscommunication should be avoided. During deployment, you and your partner may spend a lot of time communicating via e-mail and text messages. Miscommunication can be a problem when there are no verbal cues to help a person read emotions. It’s easy to misinterpret text, misinterpreting benign words as angry. When face-to-face communication is not possible, work on finding ways to ensure that your partner understands you.
Before you send an email or text, take a breather. Read your words and consider how they could be misconstrued. Could you interpret this message as angry? Frustration? Jealousy? If so, see if you can reword it or add an emoticon to make it clear that this is a friendly message. “I couldn’t sleep without you last night,” for example, could be interpreted as resentment, as in “I’m disappointed you’re not here.” Instead, you could write, “I miss and love you so much that I couldn’t sleep last night without you. 3”
On your end, keep in mind that you can never be 100 percent certain of intent when communicating in writing. If you receive something from your partner that makes you angry or upset, remind yourself how common miscommunication is in these situations. Allow some time to calm down before returning the message and politely requesting clarification if necessary. As an example, “I, too, miss sleeping next to you. To be clear, because I know it’s easy to misread e-mails, you’re not upset that I’m gone, are you? Just double-checking. :)”
4. Keep each other up to date on daily events. Hearing about each other’s daily lives will make you and your partner feel more connected. When you have the opportunity, share day-to-day happenings, even if they seem silly or trivial. Discuss your trip to the grocery store or who you met at the gym. This will give your partner the impression that he or she is present with you.
5. Find innovative ways to provide long-distance assistance. Staying in touch via e-mail, phone calls, and texts is a convenient way to do so. However, try to be inventive as well. If you come up with creative, unconventional ways to communicate with your partner while on deployment, he or she will feel appreciated.
Make a scrapbook to show your partner when he returns, detailing what happened while he was gone. Scanned images of the scrapbook should be sent to your partner.
Send your partner snippets of songs or movie clips that have sentimental meaning for the two of you.
Make use of smell as a memory aid. Because smell is strongly linked to memory, sending your partner a small container of a shampoo you use can serve as a small reminder of you.
From a distance, we read the same book. This will make the two of you feel closer and provide you with something to talk about when your partner returns.
Method 3: Keep Busy
1. Maintain a journal. While your partner is away, journaling can be a great way to process your thoughts. If you’re deployed, you can easily keep a journal. Write in a journal a few times a week, chronicling your feelings and thoughts about your partner’s absence. Share some of the most heartfelt sections of your journal with your partner when you and your partner are reunited.
2. Investigate your own interests. While distance can be difficult, it can also provide opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth. While your partner is away, use this time to pursue your own interests and passions. Participate in a book club. Attend a cooking class. Start a new hobby, such as running or knitting. Make the most of your alone time to learn more about yourself and your interests.
It may not be difficult to keep busy if you are deployed. An especially active deployment should keep your mind occupied. Some deployments, however, are less hectic than others. While it may be difficult to join a cooking class while deployed, you can consider solitary pursuits. You could practise reading and writing, for example. Try to learn more about subjects that interest you by reading books about them in your spare time.
3. Find a support group. You and your partner should both have access to healthy support networks during your separation. People are social creatures by nature, and even if your partner is no longer present, you will require people to whom you can reach out.
If you’re being deployed, don’t be afraid to get close to your comrades. Discuss your struggles and stress with them, as well as how you’re dealing with your long-distance relationship.
If you’re staying at home, contact friends and family. You should also contact your partner’s family and friends. Spending time with people close to your partner can help you feel connected to him or her even if you are not physically present.
4. Maintain a sense of perspective. While your partner is away, it’s critical to keep things in perspective. Have friends and family members you can talk to if you are feeling frustrated or afraid in the absence of your partner. If you know someone who has a military partner, this person may be able to help you keep things in perspective. While this is a trying time, keep in mind that it will not last forever. Keep in mind that things are only temporary, and your relationship may improve once your partner returns.
If you’re deployed, some of your comrades have most likely left partners at home during their deployment. Talk to your fellow soldiers about how you’re feeling and ask for advice on how to cope. Some soldiers have most likely been deployed multiple times and may be able to offer you advice on how to keep things in perspective.
Method 4: Emotional Management
1. Resolve any issues on your end. In a relationship, distance can cause a lot of insecurity. Distance can exacerbate feelings of insecurity or trust if you already have them. Look for ways to address your own insecurities.
Talk to your partner and others about your insecurities. While you should not be accusatory when speaking with your partner, it is acceptable to express your insecurity. A little reassurance can help a lot.
Examine your own trust and insecurity issues. They could be the result of a previous relationship. Try to understand that, while it’s natural to be concerned when a partner is away, a lot of anxiety may be unfounded.
2. Accept that personal development will occur while you are apart. You and your partner will be slightly different when you are reunited. There is a significant amount of time that the two of you did not share, and you may have become more self-reliant as a result. Accept that when your partner returns, your relationship may not be the same as it was before. This isn’t always a bad thing. While you’ve both changed, it’s possible that it’s for the better. After seeing the relationship thrive from afar, the two of you may feel more secure in it.
3. Have realistic communication expectations. Communication will be difficult at times. Make an effort to understand this fact. It’s possible that you won’t hear from your partner for a few weeks. Have others you can turn to for support and care during these times.
4. Seek professional assistance if necessary. Long-distance relationships can be extremely stressful. It’s natural to feel insecure, but if the stress becomes too much, consult a therapist. A qualified therapist can assist you in working through your insecurities and discovering better ways to cope with distance. You can find a therapist by asking your regular doctor for a referral or looking into what your insurance covers. If you are still in school, your university may be able to provide you with free counselling.
Creative Commons License