If you date a man in the military, there is always the chance he will someday have to deploy overseas. That means you will not see him for months, even a year or more. He might be able to make a brief visit once or twice during his deployment, but otherwise his absence is complete. If you care for one another enough to commit to a relationship during that period and thousands of miles from one another, understand that challenges lay ahead.
1. Build a Strong Relationship First
The stronger you become as a couple the more likely you both can endure a long-term separation. Honestly and completely sharing your feelings, thoughts and worries makes you both aware of the strengths and weaknesses each has to overcome to make it work. By listening to one another and working through or around potential problems, you become stronger as a team. That team mentality will make your relationship strong enough to cross the void in time and space while he is gone.
2. Plan for Deployment
Sit down together and develop a plan on how the two of you will stay in touch. Make expectations of one another clear, and iron out any potential threats to the relationship. Clearly understand the range of possibilities and be honest about them. Issues of trust are the greatest threat to a couple's security during long separations, and it's important to talk about them.
3. While He Is Away
Staying in touch is vital to maintaining the relationship. If the two of you have planned on how you intend to do that, follow it. Digital communications are great, but try to take the time to send letters and small gifts to one another. Be honest and open with him, but avoid negative news and information that he can do little about. If he is in a combat role, the stressors he is experiencing are far beyond anything most people can imagine, and he will need to draw from your emotional strength and care. That may take a toll on your own happiness. Be sure and take time for yourself, and that includes good physical and emotional health.
4. Preparing for His Return Home
Depending on what he has been through overseas, your boyfriend will need a period of readjusting when he comes home. This might become difficult for both of you. If you have stayed in touch and been honest with one another, you should have some idea of what to expect. Be patient and loving, but also be firm in looking out for your own happiness, and certainly do not tolerate any abusive behaviors. Be especially mindful of any serious issues he may be having with readjustment, and be prepared to urge him to seek out help. He might need your help knowing where to go.
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