When my husband and I first met and after a few dates.. he told me he was going into the Navy. I remember being completely terrified by that, if we were to continue being together, I would have to learn to be alone for long periods of time. Our relationship was so new and he was getting ready to leave for boot camp. I wont go into details because that is an even longer story, so to keep things simple and short.. I wasn’t prepared for that life at the time and I was still so young.
As time went on I thought about him often and wondered where in the world he was. As crazy as it sounds I knew he was the one I was meant to be with all along. I just wasn’t ready and to be honest neither was he. When the stars aligned and we finally were able to be together, we had to spend some time apart. He got stationed in California and I was in Indiana. When we got engaged a few days later he had to leave for special training. I have been very fortunate to have him home for a long while now and hopefully for even longer. I wish I could tell you it gets easier but from my own experience and from experience from spouses that have been through this many times, it doesn’t. I think the only thing that changes is that you have been through this before so you know the motions. You know how to be alone and how to handle things alone.. but as far as the feeling you get when they are gone, that doesn’t get easier.
So what can you do to make things a little better? Here are some tips I discovered that helped.
- Go to the store. Pick out a super pretty journal. Write down all of your feelings every day (sometimes I wrote in the style of a letter to him). – I did this and although it might seem depressing, it actually helped me the most! Sometimes it might feel like no one around you knows what you’re going through. Especially if you don’t have any friends that are also military spouses (or friends handling long distance relationships) To be honest most of the time I wrote in my journal I cried but crying is a good thing. It’s important to not hold your feelings in. When I was with him finally, I took the journal and shredded it. Completely ripped it apart. It felt good to do it but some days I wish I would have held onto it.
- Write actual letters to each other! – There was nothing more exciting than getting a letter from him. Unless if it was a phone call of course… or a skype call.. but letters are the best.
- Meditate – not only will this help you clear your head but it will relax you soooo much. I use the Calm app and there are so many different sessions to choose from… anxiety, emotions, even if you can’t sleep they have sleep stories designed to help you get some good rest!
- Do things “together” – if you are both into books then read the same book, if you are both into movies or a tv show then watch the same one. You can even do these while on the phone or during a skype call.
- Have your own adventures – I know doing fun things without your significant other isn’t the easiest but it does help make the time go by faster than sitting at home.
- Take up a new hobby – This is the perfect time to find something new that you would love to do! Maybe your artsy so you want to start drawing (I did that a lot) or maybe you want to start a book club, maybe you want to be a blogger? Those things are fun and also time consuming.
- Come up with a list of things you want to do together for when you are finally together again! – this would be a buildable list that you come up with through the whole time you are apart. As fun things arise, write them down so you can enjoy it together!
- Connect with others going through the same thing – this helps on so many different levels. Not only do they get how you feel but you can help each other get through it together (now lets not be weird and don’t go seeking attention from the opposite sex, that is how bad things happen, hopefully everyone is smart enough to know that).
- Get into shape – Working out is a GREAT way to deal with stress or just to stay busy! Plus I’m sure your significant other would be happy to see you looking healthy too! Get a gym membership or use the one on base. Some gyms offer classes like spin class that might be more up your alley if you aren’t comfortable with the machines (not sure if on base gyms have anything like that but I know for sure off base gyms do).
- Volunteer! – Helping others is such a great feeling! If you love animals, see if any shelters need help, or your church, maybe even babysit if you enjoy kids, or a dog walker! They are so many opportunities to volunteer and you get to make new friends in the process.
I hope this helps you! I know it can feel like you are so alone but I promise you, you aren’t!