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
Buy Her Book A White Room!
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 www.stephaniecarroll.net and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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