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Dating a Man on Deployment

by Lucie Westminster, studioD

You finally have the perfect man in your life, but his recent deployment may be placing a strain on both you and your relationship. According to Sean C. Sheppard, Jennifer Weil Malatras and Allen C. Israel from the University at Albany, even though a man's deployment can vary in both type and length, its psychological effects on those left behind are significant. As someone who loves him, you will inevitably be affected by his departure, but you can deal with this less-than-pleasant situation with the help of others.

Have Realistic Expectations

Realize that dating a deployed man can be difficult. It's hard to spend what might be lengthy amounts of time away from each other, sometimes with limited opportunities for contact. Because you are dating a man in the military, dealing with deployment will likely be a situation that will occur again in the future. However, only you can determine if this way of life is something you can handle for the long haul. The initial period of time after the deployment may seem like more than you can handle as you adjust to his absence. While you will never truly get used to his absence, as time passes, it may not be as hard on you as it was at the beginning as you build up a support system and a new routine.

Seek Support

Seek support from those around you. Because you may feel more alone without your man by your side, surround yourself with friends and family. They can reduce your anxiety and provide healthy distraction during this difficult time. Call your girlfriends and organize a women's night out to dinner and movie and take your mind off of the situation. In addition, consider reaching out to your boyfriend's family because they are likely experiencing the same sense of loss you are currently feeling. Join a support group for friends and family of deployed troops. According to The National Military Association, organizations like the YMCA, Red Cross and USO may offer groups in your area.

Communicate with Your Boyfriend

Stay connected with your boyfriend while you are away from each other, if at all possible. Doing so helps you feel emotionally connected during a time you may not be physically close in distance. According to the Utah National Guard, utilize both the Postal Service and the Internet to stay in touch with your boyfriend, but ensure you have the correct addresses before he leaves on assignment. Technology may help you feel closer and allow you to see your boyfriend via a webcam and video chatting, even though he may physically be thousands of miles away. Care packages can help him feel loved and a part of your life, strengthening your connection as you show him you care.

Combat the Stress

Reducing your own stress level helps you better deal with the difficult situation at hand. This allows you to stay strong for your boyfriend while he is away from you and his own family and friends. One way of doing so, according to Mayo Clinic, is through exercise, which may reduce your feelings of stress due to the release of endorphins. Head to the spa for a day of relaxation or invest in a massage, which Mayo Clinic states can reduce the anxiety you feel while he is away. In addition, take up a new hobby like crafting or cooking to help pass the time during his deployment.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.

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