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Thread: Feeling every single mile between us

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    #1

    Feeling every single mile between us

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    DB and I have been together for over a year now, and we've been through three deployments together. We're long distance too - with about 700 odd miles between us. I go to school in Nashville, he's stationed in Florida. We've seen each other maybe about 7 times, ranging between 4-11 days at a time, so I'm no stranger to airports or countdowns and all the fun stuff that comes with LDRs. It's a lifestyle for me now.

    But for some reason, I've been seriously down in the dumps about the distance. Normally, when I leave him, I might cry in the airport or on the plane, but life moves on and I just wait until I can see him again. But for whatever reason, when I was coming back from my trip to see him during MLK weekend, I spent the entire next day just crying and laying in bed. I had never felt every single mile between us as much as I did that day. He's about to leave for his fourth deployment, so maybe it's knowing it'll be a minute before I see him again that's really getting to me, or maybe I randomly developed separation anxiety, or maybe we've reached different milestones in our relationship that I've just gotten more attached. Who knows? All I know is that distance really really really sucks. This isn't my first long distance relationship nor is this relationship new, but for whatever reason, I'm just not coping as well with it as I have in the past.

    So my question to everyone is this: how do you all cope with the distance? Where do you find comfort? My friends, as darling as they are and as hard as they try, just don't get it. And there's really nothing worse than trying to explain how you feel and getting looks of pity.
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    #2

    yep.... sucks.

    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitease View Post
    DB and I have been together for over a year now, and we've been through three deployments together....
    He's about to leave for his fourth deployment...
    So my question to everyone is this: how do you all cope with the distance? Where do you find comfort? My friends, as darling as they are and as hard as they try, just don't get it. And there's really nothing worse than trying to explain how you feel and getting looks of pity.
    Well, I try to think of it differently. It isn't pity, it is their awareness that there is nothing they can say that will really help. Friends can distract you from those feelings of sadness but they can't fix it. Some can sympathize, few can empathize and the best are smart enough just to listen.
    Here is one thing that may help - if all your friends know of your relationship is your sadness, they may not understand why you stay. Try to also share with them the good parts, speak of the great times you share together and the ways you make the LDR work. Speaking about the "up side" will help them understand your relationship better so they can be more supportive and will remind you why you are with him.
    I try to do that when DH is deployed but I must say, the time before he leaves is the worst for me. I get into the rhythm once he is "there" a few months and then the months do pass quicker but the knowledge that he is going to the unsafe place.... that part I truly hate.

    Since your DB is about to go on his 4th deployment in under 2 years I take it your DB has fairly short deployments? If so, focus on that part and maybe make a plan for what you will do when he is back.
    I agree with you... it SUCKS.
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    Wow. Four deployments in just over a year? How long is he typically gone?

    I guess I found comfort when we were LD or when he is deployed or traveling in just living my life. It's important to be a whole and complete person on your own. So do that. I spent time with friends. I relearned how to play the piano (badly, but I got further than I ever did in my forced childhood lessons), I organized my closet and installed a closet system, I worked out and got serious about eating healthier. I learned about finances and set up some financial stuff for us.

    Also, be careful about dismissing your friends because they "don't understand". If your friend had a baby and you have no kids, you don't know exactly what she's going through, but you can still be a great source of comfort and support for her. You don't have to have walked in someone's shoes to commiserate about their blisters and maybe even help them put on band-aids. If your friends don't even try to support or understand, they are probably pretty crappy friends, so maybe one of the thins you can do to add to the list like mine above is seek out new friendships. If they are good friends, they will understand, though you may have to explain some things. And if they accuse you of talking about it too much, consider that they may actually be right. If you are dwelling on it or obsessing or unable to talk or think about anything else most of the time, that's not healthy.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    Wow. Four deployments in just over a year? How long is he typically gone?

    I guess I found comfort when we were LD or when he is deployed or traveling in just living my life. It's important to be a whole and complete person on your own. So do that. I spent time with friends. I relearned how to play the piano (badly, but I got further than I ever did in my forced childhood lessons), I organized my closet and installed a closet system, I worked out and got serious about eating healthier. I learned about finances and set up some financial stuff for us.

    Also, be careful about dismissing your friends because they "don't understand". If your friend had a baby and you have no kids, you don't know exactly what she's going through, but you can still be a great source of comfort and support for her. You don't have to have walked in someone's shoes to commiserate about their blisters and maybe even help them put on band-aids. If your friends don't even try to support or understand, they are probably pretty crappy friends, so maybe one of the thins you can do to add to the list like mine above is seek out new friendships. If they are good friends, they will understand, though you may have to explain some things. And if they accuse you of talking about it too much, consider that they may actually be right. If you are dwelling on it or obsessing or unable to talk or think about anything else most of the time, that's not healthy.
    I think this is definitely number one in terms of dealing with any relationship, particularly a LDR. Being in a LDR for me was also about having an end-point. Do you guys talk about the future? Do you have a timeline or plan for being in the same city, or at least closer to each other? A few years ago I was in an LDR where we had no game plan beyond the next visit, and honestly it was miserable and unfair to both of us.

    On another note, I'm really curious about the 4 deployments in a year. Can you elaborate on that? (obvi while respecting OPSEC and PERSEC)
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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeHappens View Post
    Here is one thing that may help - if all your friends know of your relationship is your sadness, they may not understand why you stay. Try to also share with them the good parts, speak of the great times you share together and the ways you make the LDR work. Speaking about the "up side" will help them understand your relationship better so they can be more supportive and will remind you why you are with him.

    Since your DB is about to go on his 4th deployment in under 2 years I take it your DB has fairly short deployments? If so, focus on that part and maybe make a plan for what you will do when he is back.

    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    Wow. Four deployments in just over a year? How long is he typically gone?

    Also, be careful about dismissing your friends because they "don't understand". If your friend had a baby and you have no kids, you don't know exactly what she's going through, but you can still be a great source of comfort and support for her. You don't have to have walked in someone's shoes to commiserate about their blisters and maybe even help them put on band-aids. If your friends don't even try to support or understand, they are probably pretty crappy friends, so maybe one of the thins you can do to add to the list like mine above is seek out new friendships. If they are good friends, they will understand, though you may have to explain some things. And if they accuse you of talking about it too much, consider that they may actually be right. If you are dwelling on it or obsessing or unable to talk or think about anything else most of the time, that's not healthy.
    He's typically gone anywhere from 2-4 months, with maybe a month or two in between where he's back at his home base. They're shorter, but they're much more frequent. It always feels like he's consistently gone, because we're always preparing for the next deployment. It really gets exhausting.

    I probably should have explained my friends a little better, and I apologize for that. They are a really great support and I don't dismiss them or their efforts to make me feel better, nor do I just only show the tough parts of the relationship - I'm pretty good at including them in all aspects of my relationship, from the nice to the ugly. I totally understand that my situation is unique and new to them, so I don't blame them for not "getting it". But I also know how hard it is for them to just listen to me vent or cry and not have a response in return (especially since most of them have a very "gotta fix the problem" personality). At this point, I'm not really sure what response I want from them (or anyone really) but maybe to just be heard or validated. I've been doing my best to keep busy with school and work, but sometimes the downtime just gets a little more lonely. I've also oddly found a lot of comfort in watching "long distance relationship advice" videos on YouTube, as silly as that sounds!

    Thank you both for your input! I appreciate it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitease View Post
    He's typically gone anywhere from 2-4 months, with maybe a month or two in between where he's back at his home base. They're shorter, but they're much more frequent. It always feels like he's consistently gone, because we're always preparing for the next deployment. It really gets exhausting.

    I probably should have explained my friends a little better, and I apologize for that. They are a really great support and I don't dismiss them or their efforts to make me feel better, nor do I just only show the tough parts of the relationship - I'm pretty good at including them in all aspects of my relationship, from the nice to the ugly. I totally understand that my situation is unique and new to them, so I don't blame them for not "getting it". But I also know how hard it is for them to just listen to me vent or cry and not have a response in return (especially since most of them have a very "gotta fix the problem" personality). At this point, I'm not really sure what response I want from them (or anyone really) but maybe to just be heard or validated. I've been doing my best to keep busy with school and work, but sometimes the downtime just gets a little more lonely. I've also oddly found a lot of comfort in watching "long distance relationship advice" videos on YouTube, as silly as that sounds!

    Thank you both for your input! I appreciate it.
    What does he do? He sounds like a loadmaster with that kind of schedule.

    Right now I'm focusing all my energy into keeping my mind occupied. Usually I have school and work to focus on, but right now it's just work. So I find odds and ends to do around the house; a big thing for me is projects. For example, I wanted a chalkboard calendar for the wall, so instead of buying one I made one. I want new end tables, so I'm finding the plans and taking the classes to be able to build them. Doing stuff like this not only lets me get everything exactly the way I want it, but I save money and kill a ton of time lol. I'm also reading a lot and spending a lot more time with my friends than I normally do.
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    That must be soo hard

    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitease View Post
    He's typically gone anywhere from 2-4 months, with maybe a month or two in between where he's back at his home base. They're shorter, but they're much more frequent. It always feels like he's consistently gone, because we're always preparing for the next deployment. It really gets exhausting.
    That has to be beyond exhausting.
    I do hope he is not in the more "unsafe" places - maybe that is some comfort.
    Maybe you can do the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" approach. Start out the conversation with "I am not looking for solutions here, I just need you to listen for a few minutes and let me vent". You should probably word it better than that, but you get the idea.
    It works pretty well with men, not sure if it will work with your friends, but thought I would throw that out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeHappens View Post
    That has to be beyond exhausting.
    I do hope he is not in the more "unsafe" places - maybe that is some comfort.
    Maybe you can do the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" approach. Start out the conversation with "I am not looking for solutions here, I just need you to listen for a few minutes and let me vent". You should probably word it better than that, but you get the idea.
    It works pretty well with men, not sure if it will work with your friends, but thought I would throw that out there.
    It's similar to the ship schedules in Japan. Sometimes they are gone for 90+ days, sometimes two weeks. And sometimes they are home for two weeks and others 2-3 months. Both have their pros and cons, but overall, I actually prefer it to longer deployment cycles. It's way more unpredictable which is super annoying, but it means the stretches of not seeing on another are generally much shorter, too. There are just more of them.

    OP, I agree with telling your friends what you hope for, once you sort it out yourself. "I just need to vent for a minute, and I need a friendly ear. I know I'm going to be okay, but I'm just struggling a bit today so can I unload for a few minutes? DB is....".
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolina View Post
    What does he do? He sounds like a loadmaster with that kind of schedule.

    Right now I'm focusing all my energy into keeping my mind occupied. Usually I have school and work to focus on, but right now it's just work. So I find odds and ends to do around the house; a big thing for me is projects. For example, I wanted a chalkboard calendar for the wall, so instead of buying one I made one. I want new end tables, so I'm finding the plans and taking the classes to be able to build them. Doing stuff like this not only lets me get everything exactly the way I want it, but I save money and kill a ton of time lol. I'm also reading a lot and spending a lot more time with my friends than I normally do.
    I have no idea what a loadmaster is, but he's a tanker pilot! I don't really have much experience with the Air Force (or the military really) prior to dating him so I'm not really sure if having these short, frequent deployments are considered "normal". I've been looking into starting new hobbies too, but sometimes it can be a little bit of a struggle to actually start them. I'd look at something and be like, oh that'd be fun to do, and then just kinda... let it sit. But hopefully this deployment I'll actually get something done!

    Quote Originally Posted by LifeHappens View Post
    That has to be beyond exhausting.
    I do hope he is not in the more "unsafe" places - maybe that is some comfort.
    Maybe you can do the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" approach. Start out the conversation with "I am not looking for solutions here, I just need you to listen for a few minutes and let me vent". You should probably word it better than that, but you get the idea.
    It works pretty well with men, not sure if it will work with your friends, but thought I would throw that out there.
    It really is exhausting. At first it wasn't terrible, but I think after the second one, the both of us were kinda like, "for real, again?" Because he's also got TDYs in between the deployments so it literally feels like he's unreachable at all times. He's a pilot too, so he's in the air like, 85% of the time so when he's buried deep in work, I already know not to hear from him for a long minute. That's a really good suggestion! It's worth a try, since I know they're trying to make me feel better. Maybe I'd find some comfort in just venting.

    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    It's similar to the ship schedules in Japan. Sometimes they are gone for 90+ days, sometimes two weeks. And sometimes they are home for two weeks and others 2-3 months. Both have their pros and cons, but overall, I actually prefer it to longer deployment cycles. It's way more unpredictable which is super annoying, but it means the stretches of not seeing on another are generally much shorter, too. There are just more of them.

    OP, I agree with telling your friends what you hope for, once you sort it out yourself. "I just need to vent for a minute, and I need a friendly ear. I know I'm going to be okay, but I'm just struggling a bit today so can I unload for a few minutes? DB is....".
    I've never experienced a long deployment, but I would imagine preferring that. It just gets really tiring having him come back, scramble for a quick trip to see him, only to get orders changed, only for him to get TDY'd or have his deployment moved up or delayed - our entire relationship is constantly shifting around so it'd be nice to experience even a little bit of stability. I'm definitely going to try talking to my friends like that. I think they'd be more receptive (and feel a little bit less pressured to give advice) if they just knew I'm just a sad girl who wants to vent to a problem with no possible solution at the moment.
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    #10

    communication

    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitease View Post
    It really is exhausting. At first it wasn't terrible, but I think after the second one, the both of us were kinda like, "for real, again?" Because he's also got TDYs in between the deployments so it literally feels like he's unreachable at all times. He's a pilot too, so he's in the air like, 85% of the time so when he's buried deep in work, I already know not to hear from him for a long minute.
    Do you at least get to talk to him or video chat on occassion? When my DH is deployed, and it has always been places where I can't go meet him (and there are no visits during those long months) we are able to email and internet video chat/call (when it works). I know those types of communication don't equal being able to wrap your arms around someone but any form of communication beats none.
    I know when he is flying he can't exactly call, but can you two talk after he is off work?
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