Whether your separation results from a planned work assignment or from an unplanned relationship issue, it can be difficult to deal with your emotions during this period. The key to staying grounded is surrounding yourself with positive activity and people. Although your mind may be flooded with nervous and negative thoughts, it’s important to show that you can handle the pressure of separation. Learning how to navigate can even be an empowering experience.
Set ground rules for behavior during your time apart. Outlining unacceptable activities can prevent arguments about your actions and whereabouts later. Establish places, people and situations that should be avoided to remain in good favor with each other. Stay reasonable with your demands and complaints regarding your spouse's wishes.
Stay occupied with hobbies and activities. Avoid obsessing over what your spouse is thinking and doing by staying productive. Pass time by engaging in creative hobbies such as music or painting. Exert physical energy by joining a workout class or exercising with a friend. Don’t use a separation as an excuse for a negative attitude.
Outline plans to communicate. Although you shouldn’t expect to talk with your spouse every waking minute, it can help to know when to expect lengthy communication. Synchronize schedules to ensure the best chances of reaching each other. Take time zone differences and work requirements into consideration. This is especially true during military separations, as locations and workloads may be classified, or unknown. Remember that communication comes in many forms including email and postal mail.
Connect with trusted friends during your down time. Building a strong support system can help you through the separation. Contact friends prior to your spouse’s departure to arrange visits and extended stays. Try to surround yourself with friends that your spouse trusts to avoid negative reactions. Consider connecting with installation resource groups during military deployments.
Focus attention on essential tasks. Keeping up with household chores and bills can give you something to accomplish. Completing your work duties and exercise regimen can also occupy your mind. Avoid neglecting your personal appearance or throwing pity parties for yourself. This negativity will come across during conversations and can make you seem weak-willed.
Make a pact to stay honest and open with your spouse. If separation is due to marital issues, it's essential that both of you work toward a common goal. If one of you is unwilling to make substantial efforts at communicating, separation won't benefit your marriage. Although it may hurt to talk about negative feelings, doing so can clear the air or make divorce a real option.
- Staying away from negative influences and temptation may include altering your normal habits. Don’t give your spouse any reason to distrust your actions during the separation.
- Avoid starting unnecessary arguments or making unfounded allegations during separation. It may be more difficult to find time to talk through issues.
- Avoid lashing out at your children or making them feel like the separation is their fault.