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Thread: Am I being too needy or is he being a jerk?

  1. Fresh Newbie
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    #1

    Am I being too needy or is he being a jerk?

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    Hey friends, I'm new to the long-distance military relationship thing and looking for some community support and advice. My boyfriend is in an extremely intensive training period, we're 1200 miles apart and I'm having a really hard time. I don't know whether I am being too needy or what.

    He has twelve-hour days five days a week, plus homework. That's the thing - how can I complain when I've never experienced something that difficult?? Our relationship currently consists of a phone call almost every day and visits every month or two, which I know I'm incredibly fortunate to have. But I'm starting to get a weird feeling about it. When we do talk, the conversation is normally 75% about him. On his off days when he's chilling at home, it can take him hours to respond to simple text messages. I occasionally send him emails that he literally NEVER replies to - I always have to ask him "did you see my email." I have sent him a few little gifts and a care package, and again, I often have to ask him "did you receive my package" to get him to mention it. I'm starting to feel like he values me listening to him talk about training but chooses to ignore most of my other overtures of affection. When I call him out on these things, he gets very defensive and upset.

    I want to be as understanding and supportive as possible, since we love each other and I know he's doing what he was made to do. Those of you with some experience, help--what's going through a guy's mind at this stage in their military career? Is this a normal level of "I'm consumed by my assignment" or should I be concerned?
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    #2
    Well no one can really say but from experience when they are in tough programs and homework they are just fried.

    My husband went through a tough 10 month school and I would rather have taken a 10 month deployment. Yes he was home but he wasn't there. Friday night was go out and drink night. Saturday was my only real day with him but even than we would still be with fellow class mates or we just didn't know what to do (doesn't help we are in a rural location) Sunday was back to the grind. And being further away makes things more complicated.

    So i can't say which one it is but you are not the first person to deal with something like this.
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    Wow, that's incredible - you would take a 10 month deployment over a 10 month training? I never thought I would hear someone say that, but your story and my own experience make it seem pretty logical. Your story makes me wonder whether I actually have it easier in this case.....having him physically present but not "there" must be much more frustrating

    Did you just ignore your own needs for 10 months and wait it out, or did you find a way to express yourself without stressing him out?
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    #4
    I actually understand preferring a deployment to just a separation, my ex husband and I did LDR a few times during our relationship and his deployment was way easier for me. When he was deployed and didn't have time for me, it was because he was working. When he was at home and didn't have time for me, it was because he had better things to do. That's how it felt, anyway.

    As for your actual post, I don't think you're being overly needy and I do think he sounds a little selfish. Have you talked to him about how you feel and why? I can understand not responding to emails since sometimes things don't really need a response and I'm guilty of that myself. But he should at least be telling you he got your packages without you having to ask, I would feel very unappreciated.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by msjenks View Post
    Wow, that's incredible - you would take a 10 month deployment over a 10 month training? I never thought I would hear someone say that, but your story and my own experience make it seem pretty logical. Your story makes me wonder whether I actually have it easier in this case.....having him physically present but not "there" must be much more frustrating

    Did you just ignore your own needs for 10 months and wait it out, or did you find a way to express yourself without stressing him out?
    I kept much of my mouth shut. I had battle buddies I would meet up with once a week and we would bitch about our spouses. We were literally all in the same pages cause they were fellow spouses in the same class. I ended up therapy due to addition of other issues going on but I also volunteered to help pass the time.
  6. Pour a little salt, we were never here
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    #6
    My first question would be, is he allowed to take his homework home? My DH's tech school was long days with two hours after the school day for homework because they couldn't bring it home. So his weekends were completely void of anything related to school. If he has homework at school, I'd view it a bit differently.
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    #7
    I don't think you're overly needy. While I can understand not replying to emails (I never do when I can text someone), the nice thing to do when you receive a package from someone is to say thank you and acknowledge it. DF and I are long distance right now too. He's in flight school which is also very intense. He is 2 hours ahead of me and goes to sleep at 9:30 his time which is 7:30 my time. It's frustrating sometimes because that's when I actually have time to talk but I also know he needs his rest so I try to be understanding about it. We only text a handful of times and talk every couple of days on the phone or FaceTime.

    Try to give him a little bit of a break when he has some down time. DF studies a lot on his days off, so he doesn't text me back constantly. Or he goes to the beach for an hour, which I encourage, just to get away from school and homework a little and enjoy himself a little.

    Remember, this is all temporary
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    #8
    It sounds like both of you could do better. For example, it seems like email isn't a great communication method for him. So why do you continue to use it? Perhaps you can tell him that since it seems like email isn't great for him, you aren't going to use it except in cases of urgency (or maybe not even then, since it seems like he doesn't check it regularly so it wouldn't be a way to contact him quickly). OTOH, you can perhaps explain to him that you do understand that he doesn't have a lot of time, but that it hurts your feelings when you try to do something nice like send a care package, and he doesn't acknowledge that. And ask if he is willing to commit to trying to do better in that regard. (Or whatever 1 thing is your biggest priority/issue.)
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #9
    When my DH was in AIT he was similar to your boyfriend. In the beginning things were great. We talked a lot, he was energetic and overall happy. Then the 12 hour days started weighing down on him. He wouldn't talk as much, didn't seem interested in what was going on at home, just seemed like he checked out. The stress started to get to him, he had issues with his knee and had a medical profile so he was worried about passing the pt test, he wasn't sleeping well at all cause of the people who would go in and out of the rooms to check that everyone's locker was locked, and he had night watch every few days. I remember having to ask if he got a package I sent. He did, but it never crossed his mind to tell me.

    It wasn't that he didn't care or want to know how I and everyone else at home was doing, it was that he needed to focus. His training had to be put first. I would still inform him of life at home to get his mind off of things, and try to help him destress. He doesn't handle stress well, at all, he snaps easily because that's his way of coping. I had to tell him to not take things out on me because I had no control over what was going on. And that he needed to tell me how I could help him unwind. Whether that meant giving him time to nap, play video games, watch tv, or talk to me.

    The best thing you can do right now is ask him what's going on and try to determine how to fix it. You can't attempt to solve something when you dont know what needs solving.
  10. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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    #10
    I think you sort of hit the nail on the head with your OP that the support that works best for him is being a listening ear during the daily phone calls. I don't think there's anything wrong with him valuing that kind of support more than an email or a care package, but at the same time you have needs as well. If it's important to you to continue sending them, I don't think it's too much to ask that he acknowledge them. I think it's "normal" for someone who's going through a busy/stressful time in their life to maybe neglect to mention things that aren't high priorities to them (email/care package) but it's also normal to make an adjustment when told it is bothering the other person.

    When you talk to him though, I'd avoid assigning motivations to his actions. Don't tell him he "chooses to ignore" you because that's going to make him defensive - you're reading his thoughts for him and telling him why he does what he does, most people won't respond well to that. I'd just stick to facts: you send him emails/care packages and he doesn't acknowledge them unless you bring it up. Ask him if he knows why that is - does he not like them, does he mean to and then forgets later, etc. When you talk about feelings talk about yours and how you feel ("It makes me feel unappreciated when you don't respond to my emails") but again it's going to make him defensive if you do the same to him.
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