Dating a military man differs a little from a civilian relationship. It's difficult to make long-term plans; he might just be on another continent on your wedding day. The stress involved in uncertainty can add additional strain to a relationship, but you can combat it by embracing the positive aspects of your partner and the relationship, and using outside sources of support to make it through your time apart.
Talk and Trust
Whether you're cuddling on the couch or you are thousands of miles apart during a deployment, communication is the key in a military relationship. Share as often as you can and talk openly about problems and issues when they arise to foster the development of trust. Your boyfriend might not be willing or able to discuss many facets of his work, so trust is a vital component in the relationship. However, while your boyfriend is away on deployment, try to keep your conversations upbeat; don’t hide areas of concern, but don’t dwell on the negative either. Since you can’t be certain when or how frequently you can communicate while he’s away, you don’t want days or weeks of stress and negativity hanging between you until the next phone call.
On Your Own
You've been spending every evening together for half a year and then suddenly he's been deployed overseas for months. While enjoying quality time together is an important aspect of a relationship, maintaining your independence is essential, because you might suddenly find yourself on your own for date night, every week for months on end. Focus on your own well-being when you find yourself with a substantial amount of “you” time. You can look for opportunities for self-improvement through academic upgrading, extracurricular activities and healthy lifestyle changes to nurture your emotional health while your partner is away.
You can make the times you spend apart easier to bear by establishing a network of support. While your boyfriend is away, turn to family members and friends for support. However, don’t neglect these relationships after your boyfriend arrives home. Join a military support group for wives, girlfriends and significant others. The military's Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) offer family support meetings, plan fun events and can keep you in the loop about what's going on overseas. You can join an online support group for military wives and girlfriends if you prefer.
Keep in Touch
Even though you might be thousands of miles apart, you can stay connected with your partner throughout each deployment. Talk on the phone whenever you’re able, but remember that there may be days or weeks at a time when he has no access to a phone. Write letters during the silent periods to keep him updated about family, friends and what’s going on in your life while he’s away. Make sure your partner knows you're thinking about him by sending him a few goodies every now and then. You can fill a care package with his must-have shower stuff and baked goodies, or send him photos of you and the family, video clips, a mix CD or a thoughtful love note.
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