Sunday, October 20, 2013

Guest post from Amy Bird, author of 'Yours is Mine': the Separation Survival Guide

Although I’m taking a little break posting on the blog in order to prepare for my $0.99 Halloween Sale and tour for A White Room, my guest posters are happily still here discuss the insanity of the Navy wife life. I’m so happy and excited to welcome back  fellow Navy Wife author Amy Bird whose nail-biting Navy thriller 'Yours is Mine' is now officially out in the United States and on sale for just $1.60 for October only (and just 99p in the UK)Don’t forget to leave lots of comments and start a discussion on the Facebook group page! Also find Amy at
or @London_writer or

Over to Amy....

Thanks, Stephanie - delighted to be here. This month I thought I'd talk about that old chestnut, separation from your other half while they're away on deployment. Uh-huh, it's the big one. But because this site is all about being empowered, I thought I'd give some positive tips. That way we don't become like my heroine in my novel 'Yours is Mine', who decides to do an identity exchange with another girl to bide the time while her sailor is away, and ends up having to fight to get her life back. Yep, big error on her part...

So, here are my top tips:

1. Make the effort to have regular, positive emails and calls 
Life gets busy, right? And tiring and stressful, and sometimes replying to your other half's emails can just seem like another thing on the to-do list, right? WRONG! Think of it as a conversation, but by email. To make up for the times when s/he might have to lapse into radio silence, try to exchange a couple of emails a week. And if you don't hear from them, try to avoid ranty emails. I sent a 'Hello - remember me?' email once only to find my sailor had been on defence watches and had also managed to slice part of his finger off with a pizza knife that week. Nothing major, but you don't want to feel bad when the reason for silence is explained...

2. Make a code
It's good to know where your other half is when they're at sea, but obviously putting locations in emails is not always sensible. Agree a code of known locations before they set sail, and then your sailor can generally tell you where they are without breaching secrecy codes.

3. Sign-up to newsletters
Sometimes your sailor won't be able to send emails or calls for operational reasons. Often in those periods the ship will send a centralised email to families telling them that everyone is safe and well. It's reassuring to get those, so make sure your other half signs you up in advance.

4. Remind them that the 'different zipcode' rule doesn't apply
In the UK Navy, there is an expression called 'different postcode' (zipcode for the US).  I don't know if you guys have this in the US, but basically some people take the view that because they are in a different part of the world, it is acceptable to cheat on their spouse. It should probably be obvious, but you might want to make it clear that doesn't apply in your relationship. Or if it does, fine, crack on - but just as well to be clear about these things...

5. Live a separate, independent life
Life doesn't end when your other half goes away. It might feel like it does, at first. But you're not in mourning, just living apart. Have fun, do fun stuff, don't put your life on hold.

6. Take up a hobby/ get out there alone
I used to hate it when long Sunday afternoons dragged on when my sailor was away. So I joined a local opera group and I took up writing. Now I have a three-book deal. Enough said.
Plus go to the cinema, the theatre, a sports game - whatever makes YOU happy.

7. Be honest with friends
If you're feeling a bit low or alone, tell people. You don't have to grin all the time. Sometimes you can have a good vent over a glass of wine or a beer. I used just to say 'It's fine, I get used to it.' That is generally true, but sometimes sulking is alright. But only sometimes. If it becomes too often, see the rest of this list.

8. Be philosophical
Sure, it sucks sometimes to have your partner be away for a long length of time. When I realised how long my sailor might be away for at a time, I figured I could either become the most stressed out or chilled out person alive. I've tried to opt for the latter. Doesn't always work. But think of the positives of them being away - you have that time to yourself and it will be so much nicer when they come back.

9. If you have kids, make it a fun time
It's a cool think to have a Mom or Dad in the Navy. It really is - tell your kids that if they don't believe you. Get them to make a project out of the absences - they can put together parcels to send out to the ship, or collate stuff for email or, if they're young, gurgle down the phone. But remember you deserve some adult conversation with your partner too - don't always let the kids hog phone time!

10. Look forward to when they're back and plan stuff
Get over the idea that you have to somehow be 'ready' for your partner to come home. You don't need to have lost those extra pounds or gained a six-pack, or become an award-winning violinist. Sure, that might be a nice treat. But what I really mean is, you are who you are, and that is what your partner is looking forward to coming back to. And don't worry about your 'routine' being disrupted. Sure, you may suddenly have less time for your own stuff, but your relationship is a fun hobby too. Make plans for when your other half returns (but be flexible - ship schedules can change) and plot them out via email. It's good to have something concrete to look forward to.

11. Do not engage in an identity exchange while they are away. I repeat DO NOT engage in an identity exchange! If you don't believe me, read 'Yours is Mine'.  It wouldn't be classed as a thriller or the next 'Gone Girl' if it all went well for the heroine...

And that's it, folks, for this month! Thanks for having me, Stephanie, and good luck with your Halloween tour!

1 comment:

  1. Great suggestions, Amy. My Navy husband is currently in Afghanistan and I requested a daily email so I know he's okay. Sometimes it's just a quick sentence or two, but that's enough. This regular contact puts my mind at ease for the rest of the day and I can get on with work and being a mom.


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

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