Dating a man in the military is never easy, but making those sacrifices can suddenly seem worthwhile when you find the right guy. Particularly around times of employment, you may wonder how you can best be there for your boyfriend as he serves our country. Being a source of support to your soldier involves a little strength and some creative thinking.
Talk to your boyfriend about what he needs from you. Be open about your desire to be there for him, and follow through on requests he may make. For instance, if he explains that receiving regular letters from you would help to keep his spirits lifted, make it a point to pen him notes at least once a week.
Stay away from the TV. Especially if your boyfriend is currently deployed, much of the news is likely to distress and scare you. Do yourself a favor and avoid any coverage about what is going on where your boyfriend is currently located. Allow him to update you instead, as he feels comfortable.
Find ways to seek out humor where you can, suggests Bret Moore, former Army psychologist and author of “Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life after Deployment." Seek out ways to laugh together about how military life has affected your relationship and even the way the two of you interact with others. Use humor to deal with stress when possible.
Create memories while you have the opportunity to do so. Focus on spending time together and embarking upon new adventures prior to deployments and long separations. Take plenty of photos so that both you and your boyfriend can have visual mementos from your times together when his job has otherwise forced you apart.
Remain available for those moments when your boyfriend may need to talk. Listen to what he has to tell you about his life as a soldier. Pay attention to the details and don’t push him to share more than he is willing. Let him know he is not alone by hearing him out and responding with care and concern.
Writer and military spouse Erin O’Neill suggests keeping yourself busy to help get through deployments. Staying indoors and obsessing will only put undue pressure on both you and your boyfriend. Take this opportunity to explore new hobbies and spend time with friends and family. The time will also go by more quickly if you work on finding distractions.
Embrace the military lifestyle. Avoid complaining to your boyfriend about the hassles of his job or ways it has made things more difficult for you. If you want to be with him, accept that his role as a soldier is a part of the package.
- Talk to friends and family if you are having a hard time, leaning on them as you hope your boyfriend will lean on you.
Living in Alaska, Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. She recently released her first book, and holds a psychology degree (with an emphasis in child development and abnormal child psychology) from San Diego State University.
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