Saturday, January 1, 2011

Advice I Wish Someone Would've Given Me Years Ago....Not That I Would've Listened Though.

I'm gonna start out by saying that I, by no means at all, claim to be a relationship expert nor am I gonna say that I have mastered the skills of surviving a deployment. Mind you this is not my first deployment and I am sure it will not be my last but I feel as though I have grown a lot since our first one. These are just my personal thoughts, feelings, and advice on what has helped me.

Friends by far play the most important role (minus family) in keeping you sane while your loved one is away. I have different types of friends who all help me in their own individual way: married, married/dating in the military, in the military, and single. The one thing they all have in common is they all respect my relationship and are there for me when I need them. The most important thing to remember is to surround yourself with people who don't have to necessarily understand what you are going through but they respect it. That leads me to people who understand what you are going through. I cannot stress enough how much it helps to have a good support group. Find people that are going through or have gone through the same thing you are (see sidenote #1). As much as I love ALL my friends, it can be very frustrating at times trying to talk to some of them about how I am feeling. If you have never been in love with someone who is fighting a war on the other side of the world, it's hard to relate to someone who is. When I am upset because I finally got to talk to my husband for the first time in a week and the connection is horrible, the LAST thing I want to hear is "Oh that sucks" or "Yea I know I was so upset when my s/o called me after he got off instead of on his lunch break today". Although I know they mean well, it's just not the same. Bottom line, friends are awesome. Don't shut them out. Well I don't suggest ever shutting them out but especially not during this period of your life.

Keep yourself busy. Find a hobby, start a project, join the gym, take a scrapbooking class, anything to keep you busy. I have found that since I joined the gym and started taking Zumba classes that I am less stressed, I sleep better, and am less frustrated. A good girls night is great also. There is nothing better than making cookies, drinking wine, and watching movies with your favorite group of girls. Although I love a nice hard drink now and then, drinking and partying is not the best way to keep yourself busy. I wouldn't suggest taking to the bottle to keep your mind off of things. Drinking masks problems temporarily but it doesn't solve problems or make them go away. Plus in some cases it can cause even more problems. I'm not saying don't drink while your s/o is gone, I'm just saying don't let your occasional nights out turn into asprin and bloody mary's as part of your daily breakfast.

Feeling anxious? Angry? Frustrated? Sad? Forgotten? It's all normal, I promise. Deployments are emotional rollercoasters. It's kind of like permanently PMSing. One minute you are happy and enjoying life and then next you are bawling your eyes out. 6 years and 3 deployments later, I STILL cry when I even see someone in an army uniform. You miss them. Of course you do, you are in love. So cry, let it all out, don't be ashamed to shed some tears. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It shows you care, as you should. As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I am just flat out angry at my husband. I'm mad he left me, I'm mad I have to do everything on my own, and I'm mad that I can't call him when I have a bad day. Give me a break, I'm human too. But when he calls me and I hear his voice and I see his face, it all goes away. I know he didn't want to leave me and I know it breaks his heart to be so far away just as much as it breaks mine. Up and down emotions are completely natural, but I suggest not taking them out on your s/o. Talk to him and say how you are feeling but don't blame them. They are fighting a war out there, the last thing they need is to be fighting a war with you also.

Sidenote #1: Having friends who are going through what you are is AWESOME but don't forget that everyone is different and situations vary. Just because your friends s/o calls her on Skype every day does not mean you should be mad that yours doesn't. Different jobs, branches, locations, and ranks mean different schedules, different amounts of work, and different availability.

For now these are, in my opinion, the most important pieces of advice that I personally would give to someone who is currently pushing through a deployment. If I think of more along the way, I will write about it.

Just remember what your s/o is fighting for....and what you, as a couple, are fighting for also. 

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