Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why It's Normal to Be Jealous When Your Sailor Visits Port and What to Do About It.

One of the feelings that comes with cruise and drives me to a point of tears is my jealousy that he gets to travel the world while I sit at home and save money. To pile on the misery, I feel guilty for feeling jealous because it’s not like he’s on a luxury cruise – he’s on a flight carrier, putting himself in the way of danger for our country.

Still . . . he’s been around the world, way more than once, and I never go anywhere. I’ve never been farther East than Texas, and I think Texas is considered a part of Western USA.

photo credit: Justin van Zyl via photopin cc
To make things worse, he and everyone else on cruise have these outrageous self-set budgets for ports. Is that acceptable? Well they have been locked up on a ship working, literally, seven days a week and something insane like 20 hours a day for months and only get a short time in port. . . . So who am I to say, no you can’t spend that much doing the one thing you get to do outside of 24/7 working. Further, by going on these cruises they make extra money, so who am I to say, no you can’t spend a little extra even though your hard work is pulling in twice as much income?

It doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal even as I write it, but usually, families try to save that extra money and money in general during these deployments, so they can use it for something together when he gets back, i.e., a vacation or a new car or maybe even just paying off some det. Either way, the wives have usually bunkered down with the help of cruise anxieties like the hermit-effect and deployment OCD. We usually sit around our houses waiting for him to get home and sometimes we don’t even push ourselves to get out and do anything so we can save even more money. That’s our sacrifice for the cause. Sometimes we even think, why should I go out and spend money without him? I’d rather wait and do that fun stuff with him when he gets back.

Then port happens and we go through the port madness! Port is always an unpleasant experience for wives – I know it is for me. I sit around in my house feeling jealous that he gets to see Hawaii, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Guam, China, Dubai, and sometimes these guys even get to see parts of Western Europe like France, England, and Italy. Hello – JEALOUS!!!

Plus, I worry. Oh boy, do I worry. What kind of trouble could he get into in those places? Some of those places have scary black market liver theft stories, corrupt police rumors, human trafficking, go to jail for chewing gum, Sailor/America hating, or just the average tourists are great targets for muggings. Plus whatever scary ‘what if’ I can think of. So, I’m sitting around, worrying, not going out, not spending money, feeling jealous and then . . . I see the bank account and how much money he spent in port.

photo credit: charliebarker via photopin cc
This is a recipe for cruise wife freak out! I actually feel betrayed, sometimes. I feel like all my staying in and being bored and lonely to save money was a waist, and even more, I can’t go out now, not after he spent that much! Why is he willing to spend so much without me when I wait to do everything with him? He’s out there having a blast in another country, enjoying life, not worrying or thinking about me, he’s with his friends, and I’m here, alone . . . with the dogs.

So what’s the solution? My advice? Ummmm. I don’t know. I freak out every port!

Well, I don’t have tested advice, but I have an action-plan for myself. First off, I’m going to try to put myself in his shoes and understand that yeah it’s a lot of money all at once, but technically he doesn’t spend much of anything for the rest of the time he’s out there. Additionally, even though he spends a lot in ports, we always still make lots of money while he’s on deployment.

What about the jealousy and port madness? Well my action-plan for that is incorporated into my overall cruise action-plan, which is to force myself to go out and do stuff, even to spend money – not a lot, just enough so I don’t feel deprived for eight months. I’m even considering traveling to the East Coast for a writer’s conference. I’m hoping that by actively not isolating myself and fending off the hermit-effect, I will overcome this jealousy and guilt that drives me crazy during cruise.

Feel free to try it with me, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
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Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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  1. this is not my first time visiting your website, the last time I visited was when my husband went on first deployment and I had hard time dealing with the separations and being all alone. I survived that but ever since then I always live in the fear of him will be deployed again anytime, I survived that, and now I am going through the stage of being jealousy of him able to visit ports , seeing different parts of countries and I am here alone, always have to clean up the mess he left for me before he goes on the de Loyment, I swear and curse when he just took off and left me huge pile of mess, dirty laundry throw on the floor, garbage everywhere around where he usually sits where he was home. So I start to clean and feel glad that he's gone for a while, so I don't need to serve him 3-4 times a day for food and pick up after him constantly. And have to deal with my loneliness, family is few countries away from where I am, friends are hard to find which I choose to stay away from hanging out with some military wives because how much of the dramas they like to pull and passing rumors for everyone they've known. I keep my life to myself and just have a couple friends that will have time to meet up every once a while. I'm start to plan up my daily life, but mostly nothing much because like you said, we want to save money. I used to think that I wanna wait up for my husband to do everything we can do together , but now I know I will do a lot without him.
    I don't like to hear how he and his shipmates go into port and all they do is getting hammered, and he babysits them. And how some women seeing them in uniform and hit on them even he's wearing a wedding band on his finger. And told me how he went to sex store in Japan and grab a fake boobs and felt like mine...( jeez...!) and went to the restaurant with a lot of girls dressed up like maids and all look cute, so when I started to talk about my most recent trip to East coast, he felt uncomfortable, you see that on his face, he doesn't like to hear where I have been but he hasn't and he wish he can go with me but he didn't. Although he's not reacting like how I am, I told him I am not interested in how everyone's got trashed and get in trouble, although he was the only one who didnt( according to him.)
    He's been doing all the cocktail party sails lately. And he said I should be proud of what he does, I do for him as a solder, not as a cocktail server. It really upsets me when he sounds all happy while he gets to port and start to brag about it and ppl get so jealous and think he's so lucky to see all the things and do different stuff, I am too but mainly because I am the one who has to stay home and keep everything running as normal and he could jus took off and left everything behind for me to take care of.
    I don't think he understands how it feels unless one day it was me leaving for some kind of works trip to other country and he had to stay home as a housewife and handle everything on his own and stayed here all alone like I do.
    And now I am fine being alone but I am not fine with everything else, it makes me wanna give up my marriage a lot of times even he's like the only man that I have most happiness with ever, this anger doesn't help, and I am so tired of whining or feeling angry like it. :'(
    I understand they are on work trip and bla... but ppl not in my shoes won't understand what I am going through ... I keep on reminding myself he's not on vacation, he's working... and I am glad to find out that I am not the only who felt this way.

    1. Hi Sophe,

      Iʼm so sorry you are having a hard time. I understand because I have felt similar on many occassions. Itʼs normal to get frustrated and annoyed with these kinds of things, we all do, but the line that many people miss is the line between deployment frustration and ongoing resentment. Resentment builds and builds and turns little things into really big problems in a marriage. For me and my husband, when we got sucked into a resentment black hole, we needed counseling to get out of it.

      Communication is very important but sometimes if resentment builds too much, it can completely break down the communication process. I donʼt know if this is what you are expereincing, but if you are concerned to the point of sometimes thinking about giving up your marriage, it might be worth it to talk to one of the counselors at the fleet and family center. If your husband is deployed, you can start this on your own to get your feelings and thoughts straight. I highly recommend getting help when you get to a point that you feel stuck in your marriage. My husband and I have gone to counseling a couple of times and doing so has really been the key factor in escaping that stuck angry and bitter state.

      I can understand your desire to avoid military wives because sometimes they can be instigators, but many of them are just normal women just like you trying to survive this very intesnse lifestyle. My main point is to not isolate yourself. I used to struggle to make friends and I discovered that the best way is to join some activity that has a social component, like a book club or a painting class, etc.

      Just remember that itʼs okay to feel frustrated and angry about these things and that we all have similar struggles – my husband had a pile of laundry the same height as our bed for years – lol. Some of that stuff, he grew out of and some stuff heʼs worked on and I hav my things drove him nuts too.

      Then also just remember that if you are worried that these feelings are causing serious issues in your relationship, there is no harm in going to someone to help you sort it out and learn productive techniques to resolve the issues.

      I hope things get better soon and I am wishing you and your Sailor all the best.

      Stephanie Carroll
      UE Founder and Author

  2. Thank you! Stephanie, now I am glad to know I'm not the only feel this way!


I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

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