Cope with a military relationship
Edited by Ephraim, Charmed, Eng, Maria Sharon Ubando and 19 others
Civilians who have boyfriends or girlfriends in the military may need coping strategies to deal with the military tours that last months, and the lack of communication that is often part of these long-distance relationships. This often-complicated relationship has no hope of success unless the love between the two of you is strong. There must be complete trust in each other, and patience...a lot of patience when the trauma from battle or training (PTSD) is creating emotional chaos between the two of you.
Because of these challenges, a military relationship can be stronger than a civilian one, because the bonds that are forged in the midst of such hardships tend to be strong and true. The key is patience, strategic planning and following these steps:
- 1Develop a strong connection with each other before his/her deployment. Bonds are built with trust, intimacy, and honesty. If fidelity is part of your agreement, while often spending years apart, then make sure that is a decision you make together. Stipulate how you will contact each other, whether it be by emails, letter or videos and how often and stick to that agreement. Always be affectionate and do not miss opportunities for physical affection while it is still possible to be with each other. This helps build the kind of intimacy and trust needed to maintain a long distance relationship.Connect.Advertisement
- 2Make definite plans for your future together. If you don't make these plans, you are leaving the door open for both, or one of you to see other people. It's a good idea to outline an action plan that is agreeable to both of you. Decide how you will live your life after your partner gets back from his/her tour. Talk about where you will live, what jobs you will get, whether or not you will buy a house and whether or not you will start a family. It's also a good idea to get a promise ring or get engaged to cement your commitment to each other after your partner returns. Your chance of happiness is stronger if you believe that everything will be fine.Plan.Advertisement
- 3Be optimistic and don't focus on worst-case scenarios. When your partner is leaving for the military, or being deployed, it is essential for both of your state of minds that you only focus on the positive, the future you will enjoy together after his/her time serving your country is over. Try not to obsess on the possibility that death could separate the two of you permanently, or that your last dinner together before he/she leaves could be the last time you see each other. This creates drama, uncertainty and a feeling that it is futile for the two of you to continue with the relationship. Realistically, it's a good idea to make sure that all of the paperwork is in order, so in the event of the most devastating news, you are properly informed. In the event he/she is killed or missing in action, and that he/she has put together a living will.Be Positive.
- 4Expect there will be times when your loved one doing military service will be unable to communicate with you regularly, and often for stretches of time, not at all. If you do not hear from your beau, it's important not to take the long silences personally. Your partner is not avoiding you, but simply following the rules regarding contact with friends and family. You may not hear from him/her for months during the typical two to two and a half year military service period.[[File:Militarymarriage.jpg|center|frameIncommunicado.
- 5Occupy yourself with friends, hobbies, self-improvement, projects, charitable work or an additional job. Once their partner leaves for military duty, many people find themselves facing a huge void in their life where the relationship used to be. It's up to you to stay busy while your partner is absent. You will also have to be more self-sufficient and emotionally secure. Reassure yourself that you can handle anything in life that comes your way, with or without him/her in your life. This will increase your confidence, make you more attractive and likely improve your financial situation, so your partner will come home to an amazing person with a significantly improved lifestyle.Keep Busy.
- 6Expect personality and attitude changes in your partner. Basic military training is meant to modify the mindset of the person who enlists. They may seem more formal and distant, and you may notice changes in their speech, body language and the way they make decisions. Most people seem tougher and less empathetic after going through basic training. Your partner may also feel stressed or traumatized by training or the tour, so be emotionally prepared for perplexing behavior and a different attitude toward you, and life itself.The Military Changes a Person.
- 7Deal with any depression or loneliness promptly. It's normal to feel down after you lose a partner to anything, and some people don't hear anything from or about their partners for months on end. You might find yourself going through the same feelings that people experience after a break-up; such as anger, resentment, grief and the denial of your present situation. Do not hesitate to reach out to family and friends if you are feeling emotionally unstable. It is also important to stay emotionally connected to your partner and not plague him/her with your frustration and insecurities regarding the situation when he/she contacts you from a faraway place. They have enough to deal with there. You don't want them to experience feelings of abandonment, betrayal or loss from you.Feeling Blue?
- 8Make the time you do spend communicating with each other online, or on the phone matter. When your partner is in the army, communication is very limited, so when it does happen, you can make it really count by prioritizing your feelings and saying what is most important first. Stay away from petty concerns or worrisome issues and focus on your relationship, declarations of devotion and talking about your future together.I Love You From Here.
- 9Make the time you and your partner spend together "on leave" count. Military personnel are granted a certain amount of time to visit their family. Do things that you enjoy doing together, and be sure to show him/her plenty of physical affection and love. No matter how stressed out you feel about being separated, stay positive and don't spend that precious time immersed in drama. Soldiers, sailors and air force members who are preoccupied with emotional matters, do not fare as well when they are sent to war. You want them to return to their military assignment revitalized, strengthened and feeling loved by you. Make this time together a time when your partner feels safe.Together at Last.Advertisement
Hopefully, the above steps will give you a better understanding of your military partner and the coping mechanisms needed to deal with a relationship that is suddenly a long-distance one.
- 1 Questions and Answers
- 1.1 Does going away to the military change relationships?
- 1.2 Is it harder for the person who leaves, or for the one that stays?
- 1.3 My boyfriend just left for basic, and I'm scared that he'll leave me, please help?
- 1.4 Here are some ways to cope with a military boyfriend:
- 1.5 My partner has been Posted to Canada, and I'm struggling to deal with the separation.
- 1.6 How to deal with my boyfriend leaving soon?
- 1.7 My boyfriend wants to come on leave, but admin is asking for money. Is this normal?
- 1.8 How can I get over or put aside the sadness I'm feeling knowing I won't see my significant other for a long time?
- 1.9 How do you help your partner in the Air-force with depression?
- 1.10 How do I know that we are going to last when he leaves?
- 1.11 Should I stay with my girlfriend after enlisting?
- 1.12 How to cope with boyfriend joining the Air Force?
- 1.13 My best friend is going into the army.
- 1.14 How should I plan for the future?
- 1.15 What can I do to make missing him a little easier?
- 1.16 I am newly dating an Army Master Sergeant and struggling with his schedule as far as communicating with me, is it normal not to hear from them in a day. Or what is the longest I will not hear from him?
- 1.17 My boyfriend of (almost) 2 months just broke up with me and I'm not sure what to do?
- 2 Comments
Questions and Answers
Does going away to the military change relationships?
Yes, all relationships change when one party goes away, which often happens when you are in a relationship with a military guy. It becomes a long distance relationship, and you don't get to see each other very often. This is likely to either make you miss your partner more or decide to find someone else who'll be around. This is one reason why some partners break up before going into the military - so it will not be unfair to the party left waiting.
The answer is yes; going away to the military will change relationships. Generally speaking, when a person first decided to join the military, the person's decision may have a positive or a negative effect on their relationship. Below are some positive and negative effects on relationships, when one of you goes into the military:
- It strengthens trust in each other (if the couple truly loves each other).
- It makes them miss each other, resulting in a deeper relationship.
- It makes them appreciate and relish the time they spend together.
- The situation creates conditions for each of them to make new acquaintances, which may lead to new relationships.
- It gives the couple enough time to re-evaluate their relationship and reconsider new or old relationships.
The positive and negative effects stated above are some of the most common effects of your partner joining the military. Inevitably, either for better or worse, it will lead to changes in the couple's relationship.
Is it harder for the person who leaves, or for the one that stays?
It is not right to try and make judgments as to who has more difficulty when someone leaves. A military relationship is challenging both for the person in the military, who constantly has to leave for assignments, and the person left behind. While the challenges may be different, it does not make one of them easier.
Challenges Encountered By The Person Leaving:
- Homesickness. This is the longing for familiar things and familiar people, constantly imagining the good things happening at home without you there. At times, this can be a debilitating feeling because it nags at you constantly, yet there is not much that you can do to address it, except to go home. Going home when you want to, is not an option, especially in cases of long-term assignments.
- Worry for the safety of the person left behind. You tend to wonder what's going on back home. Will the person you left be able to take care of him or herself against dangerous factors?
- Will your partner find someone else in your absence? This is the thing that is probably foremost on every military person's mind, in his/her lonelier moments.
- Being in an unfamiliar place, outside the comforts of home. Aside from missing home, the fact that the person leaving is actually the one to get assigned to a place that's dangerous and challenging. He/she has to be the one to make adjustments such as to the environment and the people around him. He/she has been thrust into a place that always poses some level of risk and danger.
- Every goodbye feels like it might be the last, and this makes it so difficult to leave.
Challenges Encountered By The Person Who Stays:
- Staying in a place you used to share with someone you love; and you'll always be reminded of him/her. It can be torture having to stay in a place where in the past, you constantly saw him/her, only to realize a few seconds later that he's actually not there.
- Worry for the safety of the person leaving. This is particularly difficult for those left behind by military personnel because everyone knows of the high level of risk that they face in many assignments. Try to resist obsessing about the inherent dangers.
- Being in a familiar place, yet getting the feeling that something (or someone) is missing. While it may be more comfortable being at home and interacting with the same people and being in a stable environment, the piercing feeling that someone is not there can be challenging.
- Being in charge of everything left behind. This is the truth in military relationships. When your partner leaves, you are in charge. Bills, plans, kids, mortgage, and insurance - it's all in your lap. This is more responsibility than you may have bargained for.
It is hard for both people in this situation. No one has it easier. It is always a challenge, but the challenges are different for the person being deployed, and the person staying behind. The person behind will be a little lost in their environment without their loved one, while the person leaving will be in a new environment filled with dangers, without their loved one. Both of you will have time to think about the other, and it will either lead to a breakup or a much stronger bond between the two of you.
My boyfriend just left for basic, and I'm scared that he'll leave me, please help?
My boyfriend is gone for Navy basic training. We've been together for 5 months, but our last conversation before his phone got taken away wasn't too good. It was about staying together when he leaves. He said we would try. But before that said he wasn't good with long distance. What should I do
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You need to stay as calm and positive as you can. You need to remember that he will be leaving everything and everyone behind (by choice, yes) but that doesn't stop him being worried or scared to leave. The best thing for you to do, is to be supportive, let him know that you will be there for him now, during and when he gets back. As long as you know you've done everything you can to let him know that you're there for him mentally and physically, then you know you're doing the right thing. Don't let his change in behavior worry you, as that is entirely normal.
Here are some ways to cope with a military boyfriend:
- Before your boyfriend leaves, spend more time with him so he can feel how much you love him and he will know there is a person waiting for him.
- Let him know that while he's away, he can call you, text you, email you any time he has the opportunity. Communication is vital.
- Tell him how much you love him. Let him know you are worried about him but don't stress him with dramatics. Make sure he knows you will be there for him, and he can talk to you about anything. Give him the opportunity to tell you he's afraid or concerned, or unsure - because he will probably be feeling those things. He needs to know whatever emotions he's feeling; he can talk to you about them.
- Cook his favorite foods before he leaves, and cook them again and make it even more delicious when he comes back.
Both of you must stay strong and loyal to each other. If he is with you, show him how much he means to you. Treat time with him like it's the last day you'll spend together. Be prepared for changes in his behavior before he leaves.
My partner has been Posted to Canada, and I'm struggling to deal with the separation.
My partner was posted to Canada 5 weeks ago. Before this, we had only been apart a week at a time. I am now finding it extremely difficult, and I'm questioning if I can cope with him being away for such a long time. Any support? Much appreciated.
Unfortunately, it takes time to adjust to a long-distance relationship.
- Schedule Skype date nights with him where you both are on Skype, and you watch the same movie together as if you were sitting in the same room.
- Contact his local barracks with an inquiry into spousal support groups. If they do not have a group, ask if there is someone who can mentor you.
- Make a list of things that you have always wanted to do, but haven't had the time. Put one of those things on the calendar each month that he is gone, so you have something to look forward to. Most of us have pins on Pinterest of things we have never attempted. Now is the time to check out those pins.
- Start a blog about being in a military relationship. There is a very popular blog called Happy Fit Navy Wife and she has posts about sending care packages and surviving deployment; posts that encourage other women. Take a page from her and start your own blog. Write a daily update even if it's two sentences on how you are feeling. Post pics of meals "for one" and give the recipe.
- Helping others is a great way to get over something you are dealing with and a blog will help you feel less alone and give you purpose, while your partner is away.
How to deal with my boyfriend leaving soon?
My boyfriend leaves soon for the Army, and it's one of the hardest things I have dealt with and the thought of it and him leaving and everything. I have tried: Just not to think about it. I think it was caused by: Just the thought of my boyfriend, whom I love, is leaving.
Separation is always miserable at first. Follow the steps in this article on how to deal with being in a military relationship and read some of the answers in the QnA section for ideas on what to do while he is gone.
You will be able to cope with him leaving. The first few weeks will be tough but then you will settle into a routine. Have guidelines before he leaves for communication so you will have something to look forward to throughout the week.
My boyfriend wants to come on leave, but admin is asking for money. Is this normal?
Well my boyfriend wants to come home on leave. We had sent the admin £200 to sort the paperwork out and tickets we received plane tickets in an email. Now they are asking for £1500, which they didn't mention before. I have tried: I sent £200 to sort paperwork but I explained I haven't got £1500. I think it was caused by: Not sure
I am unsure of what country your boyfriend's military serves, however, if money is requested, they usually take it out of the soldier's pay or tax return. Plane tickets were provided for him, so if it is not a scam and he does owe money. He should be able to still come home. Leave has to be granted by superiors within his rank and this would have been done before plane tickets were issued.
How can I get over or put aside the sadness I'm feeling knowing I won't see my significant other for a long time?
I have a girlfriend in the Military.
Most of the tips above will apply to you as a boyfriend. Plan a vacation for when she returns and focus on making it the best vacation ever. Not only will you have something to look forward to, but you will also be occupied. Look into taking educational classes, and maybe join some group activities to meet new people.
How do you help your partner in the Air-force with depression?
My fiancé was sent to a new base. So far, he does not like it at all. He's having a rough time, and all of this stress is leading him to start doubting his capability to make me happy. His job seems to be making him feel useless. I have tried: Tried with gifts, giving him his space, giving him time to think it over, and begging him to accept help. I think it was caused by: His new job and how much responsibility involved with his duties.
As fiancé of a depressed person, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Seeing your fiancé stressed out and feeling useless can send you into a downward spiral without realizing it. Do not walk away from things you are interested in. Inquire in your area if there is a support group for spouses dealing with their partner's depression. Perhaps seek therapy for yourself and discuss the benefits you're receiving from therapy with your partner. Statistically, men view depression as a sign of character weakness. They'll often refuse help from a professional, as they don't want the confirmation of a depression diagnosis. This would be doubly true of someone serving in the Military. If your fiancé is unwilling to see a professional, ask him to take an anonymous online depression questionnaire. There is an online video called Real Men, Real Depression from the National Institute of Mental Health. One of the stories on the video features an Air Force Sergeant. Often when people see a peer in the same situation, it helps to highlight issues that before were unrecognizable and makes them more likely to get help. Get literature on depression and underscore areas you see that your fiancé is dealing with. Leave them around the house. Sometimes seeking help becomes a battle of will between spouses. The depressed person will feel the only thing they can control in their life is saying no to help. Offering hope on a regular basis is critical. Do not sympathize with your fiancé's negative utterance and thoughts. Instead, offer them a positive view of the same situation. Leave notes around the house saying how happy he makes you, etc. Start a tradition at mealtime that you both list three good things about your day.
How do I know that we are going to last when he leaves?
We have been dating for almost a month, but it's getting serious. We both want to stay together, and he wants us to last through it all, but I'm scared we won't. I have tried: Talking to him about it and praying that we last. I think it was caused by: I don't know.
It is tough when you start a new relationship and then the person leaves. You both want this relationship to work and consider this an opportunity to get to know each other better through phone calls and letters. The tricky part will be handling the loneliness, but you can find social interactions with friends or binge watch a bunch of Netflix to distract you.
This is the first test to see if you can handle being in a military relationship. It takes a particular person to handle months of deployment and the fear that the person they love may never come back. You can do this, but you will have to be strong. As your relationship grows, and if you do eventually become married, there are support groups on bases that help people cope with a spouse's deployment.
If your relationship does last, it will be built on a very strong foundation.
Should I stay with my girlfriend after enlisting?
I've been dating my girlfriend for five months. However, I recently enlisted and I am afraid of the distance and distractions I will face during our time apart. I have tried: I have talked to my significant other about leaving and we both seem conflicted, not knowing whether to stay together or not. I think it was caused by: My choice of enlisting
You made the choice to enlist and hopefully, gave her the courtesy of weighing her opinions about you enlisting. 5 months is a good amount of time to settle into a relationship. If your relationship was strong, to begin with, the long distance will be difficult but bearable. You can ask that she stay with you during basic training. She'll probably agree to that. After basic, you will have a better idea of where you will receive further training and perhaps can decide then whether or not to continue the relationship. The separation during basic training will solidify whether this relationship is strong enough to withstand the Military or not.
How to cope with boyfriend joining the Air Force?
My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for 7 years, and he is joining the Air Force. He is distant from me; I don't know how to deal with It. I have tried: Giving him support, making some funny jokes, being positive - and it does not seem to work. I think it was caused by: He thinks it's better for him so he can focus.
You are doing the right thing by offering your support. His distance, emotionally, from you, is probably the insecurities he is facing with such a dramatic life change. If he thinks the Air Force will ground him and give him better focus, then the positive thing is that he is trying to self-improve.
Give him reassurance that you are proud of him and will be waiting for him when he returns from training exercises. During his time away, send one letter a day, even if it is small talk, so that he feels included in your life still. This will be a big adjustment to both of your lives so perhaps it is time for a more serious talk about a permanent future for this relationship.
My best friend is going into the army.
My best friend is about to leave for the army, and I'm not sure how I'm going to cope without him. I have tried: I've tried to talk to him about it, but he shrugs it off. I think it was caused by: I don't think he wants to talk about it.
Feelings of being left behind can damage a friendship but if you work on dealing with your insecurity, your friendship will last. Best friends do everything together so it's normal that you feel left out and alone regarding his decision. The best thing you can do is offer your support and not spend the rest of your time together making him feel guilty for his choice to join the Army.
How should I plan for the future?
Hello, I love my boyfriend soldier but I also love my job and family and city. I want to be with him but I don't know how to cope with the fact that being with him will mean that I may have to leave everything I know and love. He will be in job training for another 5 months in Texas, which is where I live. We are 5 hours away from each other now but we are certain that when he finishes job training he will have to deploy. He's in for 5 years. Should I stay in Texas and try to move on and be friends and support him, or should I follow him and try to make it work for love. HELP! I have tried: Talking, face timing.
If you really love someone, you would follow him to the ends of the Earth. This does not mean that you need to completely uproot your life. If he wants you to move closer to him, perhaps start with small weekend trips and then make a final decision. If he is going to be deployed, it is not wise to make any future plans until you know for certain if he will be deployed, and to where. This way if you stay, you won't have to find new employment and housing while being separated from your support structure. Your decision should be made with him, though, since you are both planning a future together. Deployment can change a person and even those left behind can experience permanent life changes. It would in the best interest of both of your lives, to do nothing life-changing until he comes back from deployment. Love never makes a relationship work without other ingredients. You have to feel happy where you are and he needs to understand that, or the relationship is doomed.
Eventually, after deployment, if you want to get married then at least during deployment you can make plans for a wedding. Once you are married, submit your name on the housing list for the base he will be assigned to. Perhaps looking towards the future with him will help you make your decision, but for now, there is no need to move unless he finds out he is not being deployed.
What can I do to make missing him a little easier?
I'm just having a hard time. My boyfriend left for the air force and is currently in tech school. We don't get much time to talk now that he started school, and I miss him a lot and I am having a hard time dealing with missing him.. I have tried: Tried distracting myself with other things. I think it was caused by: Just thinking too much about our situation
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I am newly dating an Army Master Sergeant and struggling with his schedule as far as communicating with me, is it normal not to hear from them in a day. Or what is the longest I will not hear from him?
Is it normal not to hear from my new partner in a day, he is in the army?
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My boyfriend of (almost) 2 months just broke up with me and I'm not sure what to do?
He's in basic training now. He said it is hard for him to deal with the stress of the military and having a relationship. I understand where he's coming from. I know when he gets stressed he pushes people away (he tried to do the exact same kind of thing the day he left). I just don't know what to do cause I really do want to help him. I want to be there for him and help him get through this. . . I decided to give him a week to think things through and sort of calm down. I don't know if this is the right thing to do. I want to show him that I can deal with the stress of a military relationship. I know it is going to be tough but I want to help him. I really really do. I guess my situation is different because we've just broken up. The article mainly covers how couples who are currently together can handle the situation. I'm trying to salvage whatever kind of relationship I can out of this. I have tried: I've tried to message him but I know he's stressed out cause he's becoming distant. I had a meltdown after he said he didn't what to do. I spammed him with messages begging him not to which only made him angry. He snapped saying he didn't want this. I haven't messaged him since Saturday (today's Monday). I think it was caused by: I think he's under a lot of stress, he's sleep deprived, malnourished, tired and probably many other things.
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Categories : Military
Recent edits by: vc, mlasalle13, Katiec