If you’re a veteran, grew up in a military family, or have a spouse in the military, you face many challenges and struggles. TheHopeLine supports veterans and military families on their healing journey, and we’re here to help as soon as you reach out.
Military Relationships Can Stay Strong
If you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or parent in the military, your relationships can last, and they can stay strong and healthy. A military deployment does not have to signal the end of a relationship. Nevertheless, it’s good to be aware of the following unique challenges your relationship may face, and to have the support you need to face them with courage.
- Isolation: Because of the distance and limited communication involved in deployment, feelings of abandonment can surface for you or your partner in the military. Keeping those feelings in perspective and developing healthy coping strategies will help make the time apart more bearable.
- Mental or Emotional Illness: Due to the high-stress nature of military service and separation, many military members and their loved ones develop struggles with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are many organizations with mental health resources tailored to military families.
- Addictive Behaviors: Addiction can develop in relationships when you or someone you love is deployed or dealing with the aftermath of military service. If you are at risk for addiction, or need help breaking free from addictive behaviors, TheHopeLine is here to help you make a plan for sobriety and find a treatment program that meets your needs.
Knowing the risks relationships face when someone is deployed or coming home from military service, you can make a plan to overcome together.
Tips for Healthy Relationships During Deployment
Here are some suggestions for building healthy relationships while you or a loved one are deployed:
- Be honest about your feelings. Talk about how to handle housekeeping, financial, and family matters, and make plans to communicate regularly so that you continue to make decisions together. While mail and email may be limited, it is still an option. Commit to doing the best you can to use the methods that make you feel the most connected.
- Share what’s happening on a day-to-day basis. While sadness is a part of deployment, keeping things from one another for fear of making each other sad can exacerbate feelings of disconnection. Share what’s going on in your day-to-day life. There may be some details about deployments that can’t be disclosed, but there’s still much that can be shared about the people around you and what your daily responsibilities are.
- Keep a journal. This will help you process your feelings, and may be a good source of sharing and relationship-building when you and your loved one get to talk.
- Send care packages. These are a great, tangible reminder of what you share, and remind deployed service members that they are not alone. Think of ways to make each package creative and fun.
- Stay active in things you enjoy. Have outlets and activities to keep you busy outside of the time you’ve planned to communicate with your loved one.
While it’s perfectly normal and understandable to acknowledge that you miss one another, return as often as you can to trust, affirmation, and gratitude. Praying for one another can also be a great encouragement to both your hearts when times get tough.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to cope with the challenges of deployment, TheHopeLine offers confidential support for military families, service members, and veterans. Request a mentor or live chat with us today.