Your Partner is in the Military – Whether you’re dating or married to a military service member, it’s important that you support them in every way you can. That’s especially true when your partner is deployed, which can be difficult for a lot of couples.
Communication is a critical aspect of relationship health, and military couples spend more time away from each other than most civilian relationships. This can make it even harder to keep up with one another.
1. Find a seasoned military girlfriend/spouse
Whether you’re in the military or your significant other is, it can be difficult to navigate the lifestyle. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a seasoned military girlfriend/spouse who has been through some of the same experiences as you and understands the ins and outs of the job.
One of the best ways to do that is by finding a military support group in your area or at the base. These groups offer social support and help military couples navigate the ups and downs of their relationship in a safe, supportive environment.
These groups can also provide you with important military life information that you might not have found elsewhere, like the latest news and updates. These resources can also help you stay informed about military events and issues that affect your service member and your relationship in general.
The best part about these groups is that they are often run by military spouses who know the ins and outs of the military life, so you can feel confident that what they’re telling you is accurate. They can also offer a wide range of helpful military resources, including money management and relationship support services, which you might not otherwise be able to find in the same place.
Some of these groups are geared specifically to military spouses, while others are open to all types of military couples. Some even offer online dating tips or relationship coaching for couples in the military. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn about your new life in the military. You might just be surprised by how many other people are going through the same thing you are!
2. Look for social support
A strong social support system can help you feel calmer, less anxious and better equipped to handle stressful situations. It can also boost your immune system and increase your resilience to stress and illness.
To build a supportive network, look for people who share your interests and experiences, as well as those who are willing to listen. Creating a small group of friends and acquaintances who will be there for you through all the good and bad times will be key to feeling more connected and happy.
Military spouse groups and programs often offer a way to connect with other spouses who are going through the same thing as you are. These groups can be found through your installation’s Family Readiness Group or a quick online search of local organizations.
Regardless of where you find your social supports, be sure to check in with them regularly and let them know how they are doing. They want to be helpful and they want to know what will work best for you.
When it comes to your social support, make sure that they are genuinely caring for you and that they understand the challenges of being a military spouse. They may not be able to help with every issue, but they can certainly give you the support you need during this transitional time.
Emotional support is when someone provides emotional validation for your feelings and concerns. This can be as simple as a friend or loved one listening to you talk about how you are feeling and asking you how they can help.
Informational support is when someone explains to you how to deal with a situation or gives you advice. It can also include providing services or goods you need, such as bringing you groceries when you are sick or taking you to an appointment.
3. Prep for long periods away
As you get closer to deployment, you and your partner will need to figure out how to cope with long periods of separation. There are a number of ways to stay connected and build a strong relationship during deployment.
One of the best things you can do to prevent isolation is to make plans. Whether that means going out to lunch with your mom or signing up for an art class, it’s important to have things to look forward to in your life. Having something to focus on other than loneliness is essential for mental health and can help you stay positive during long periods of separation.
If you’re a couple, try creating two photo albums to page through together over the phone or write letters that include pictures of your favorite memories. This can help you connect during periods of separation and will also give you something to talk about when communication breaks down.
Another way to stay connected is to communicate openly about your feelings and fears. This can also be an opportunity to discuss your expectations and needs for your service member, as well as how you want to meet those needs.
The most important thing is to be honest with each other about how you feel and what you want for your relationship. Being vulnerable is an important part of the healing process and it can help you build trust in your relationship.
Once your service member is deployed, it’s important to stay in communication and establish a regular schedule of emails, phone calls and video-chats. Often, this is the only way you can keep in touch with your service member while they’re away. This is especially important if your service member is in an area that doesn’t offer email or mail services.
4. Connect when you can
Whether you’re just starting your military relationship or have been together for years, deployments can put a strain on your relationship. But luckily, there are plenty of ways to fight for connection even when your partner is deployed.
Start by making sure you have an open and honest discussion about how you will communicate while your partner is away. You may want to set up a call or email schedule. This way you can both feel like your time is being utilized effectively.
You can also consider using social media to connect with others who are dealing with similar circumstances. Many military communities are incredibly supportive and can be great sources of support.
Finally, make it a point to stay in touch with your partner as often as possible. If you have access to the internet, you can use Skype or another video chat app. This is particularly helpful if your partner’s unit has access to the Internet at their base.
The key is to remember that while your partner is focusing on his mission, he is still your partner and that he loves you as much as he loves his unit members. Rather than getting frustrated, try to focus on what’s best for your family and how you can work together to help your service member get back into his routine.
When your partner comes home, they’re likely to go through a honeymoon period that can last up to a few weeks. This can be a time of excitement and relief for both of you. But you’ll also need to readjust to your new normal, and that can be difficult.
5. Know that they need your support
We tend to hide our feelings, so it can be hard to know when someone needs your support. But, if you notice that they don’t seem like themselves, are spending more time on negative habits or are drinking more, then it may be time to offer a hand. Even small gestures like taking them to a movie or running errands for them can make all the difference. Just be sure to set boundaries, so they know you’re not trying to take over their life or fix everything for them. This will help them feel more comfortable and less alone. Good luck!