Thursday, May 22, 2014

NGR: A Navy Girlfriend's Outlook on Breaking Up During Deployment

Mindi has been writing a series called the Navy Girlfriend Report or NGR for the last several months. Her reports are meant to give Navy Girlfriends a voice on this blog. They are meant to reveal the successes, failures, and experiences of someone going through this experience for the first time. Finally, they provide insight for Military Wives who read or write here at Unhinged & Empowered, so we can better understand what current Navy Girlfriends and new Navy Wives are going through and provide the support and encouragement they need. This is Mindi's final post with us and we are so grateful to have had her fun and entertaining posts on Unhinged and Empowered. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors. 

By Mindi
A Bonafide Navy Girlfriend
Hello there Navy Girlfriends and Wives! It has been a couple months since I’ve written a Navy Girlfriend Report for you. I wish I could tell you there was a fun and exciting reason for this but I cannot. I am incredibly sad to be telling you that my Navy Boyfriend and I broke up. Stephanie has been a lovely administrator, she has allowed me to take a couple of months to pull myself together and make sense of all the feelings that came with the break up.

Photo By: Fre Sonneveld
Navy Girlfriends, break ups suck. They are awful. There is no way around that. No matter the situation, a break up is not going to be a pleasant experience. I am especially frustrated because I am not mad at him, nor do I have a reason to be mad at him. I have struggled with the fact that I actually feel a sense of relief. 

My Navy Boyfriend is the one who decided we needed to break up. He found himself overwhelmed and unable to resolve within himself how to be successful in his career as a Naval Officer, maintain his personal sanity, and also how to adapt to also being a boyfriend abroad.  He was aware that I was putting in a lot more effort than he was and he told me that he wasn’t making us a priority. Maintaining the relationship was, in fact, his last priority.

He did not tell me this out of malice or to be cruel, he was being honest.  He was coping with living in Japan by creating a new structure to his life and I was not in it.

Navy girlfriends, I want you to know that the Navy is not what broke us up. In the end, what broke us up was his reaction to deployment. It was his coping mechanisms to the demands of his job.  Honestly, he is a selfish person who is not ready to commit to the demands of being in a balanced relationship with another person. I’m not calling him selfish out of anger. He has every right to be selfish and care about his needs and his needs alone. 

As much as it breaks my heart, I am so grateful that he was honest with me about this. I was willing to blame every problem on “the Navy”; I was not holding him accountable to his actions as a result of this. This is my fault. I allowed this trend to exist. Please know, also, this is my perception and analysis of the break up. Lord KNOWS, I have mulled over every detail 1,000,000 times over.

I earnestly believe that he meant every word he said to me before he left the country. I trust that he believed that I was going to be his lifeline when he was in Japan. Unfortunately, though, life happens. That did not turn out to be true. He did not realize how the dynamic would change when he was gone.

Everyone handles break ups in their own ways. I cried, a lot. I have cried publicly, a lot. I have cried in six different dive bars within Washington, DC in less than two months. I have perfected the art of blotting my makeup with a cocktail napkin.

I recently started a new job.  During my first week, the Navy Boyfriend and I made contact for the first time since the break up and I stepped out to cry at a nearby national memorial. After I singlehandedly convinced about a dozen tourists to move to the other side of the memorial, I pulled myself together and thought “what a nice memorial. Which one is this?” That would be when I saw the “Navy Memorial Information Center” sign and started laughing like a maniac and shouting “of course!” over and over. This only solidified for the tourists that I was, in fact, insane.

I’ve been on dates and had a few casual hook ups, because that’s what I do.  Some friends have commented to me that I must be over the experience because I have been on dates. I tell them, no. I am, in fact, still terribly sad. I go on dates to distract myself. It is my recovery process.

The day after we broke up, I boxed up every item that reminded me of his. I call this box “The Sadness Box” and it sits in a corner of my bedroom, underneath a care package that I was going to send to him. The care package actually contains items he really needs. I have not been able to send the package. I am not emotionally ready to go to the post office and put it in the mail. Sending him packages was something I was excited about and enjoyed doing. Now the experience is going to be sad and finalizing. I’m not ready for it.

To be less tragic, I do actually feel a sense of relief that I did not feel before. Since I found out he was going to Japan, I had nearly weekly anxiety attacks. I did not know what to do, how to act. I felt like my life was not in my hands. He, and more largely, the Navy, had the control. I was depressed. Last week, for the first time since November, I woke up and I as happy. I did not have to choose to be happy, I just was. For months, I had what I’ve been describing as an “underbelly of sadness” every day. I had to make the choice to go out and be happy. I am finally in a place where I have found peace within myself.

This is not to say that you cannot find peace within yourself while staying in your relationship. This is purely my experience. It is imperative that you be honest with yourself and your needs. It is imperative that your partner is honest with you about his needs. You both need to be honest with yourselves. If you both truly want to work through the hard stuff, you will. I know, the Navy can create a scenario where it is much harder to have true 50/50 compromise. What I have learned from this, though, is that it is important for you both to be aware of the difference between “this is the Navy” and “this is me”. 

With that, I am signing off. I am so sad to be leaving this community of strong and beautiful women. No matter what you go through, please remember that at the end of the day, you are an amazingly strong woman. You are beyond fabulous and will excel always. The end of a relationship, Navy or not, is hard. You will always persevere.

About Mindi
jaipatoulunivu via flickr cc
I am a 24-year-old Navy Girlfriend who lives in Washington, DC. My background is heavily ingrained in the arts. I have a Bachelor's in Theatre Arts with a focus in technical theatre and management. I perform burlesque as a hobby and have recently started playing with stand-up comedy and figure modeling.
I met my Navy Boyfriend last May 2013. In July, he told me that he got orders to Japan starting in late November 2013. In September 2013, we decided to try and "make Japan work." There's a lot of hope in this girl, while also trying to stay grounded in reality. I've got a lot of spunk and have a tendency to be optimistic and honest to a fault.

I will be writing and sharing my entire journey as a Navy Girlfriend experiencing my first deployment here with you on Unhinged & Empowered Navy Wives & Navy Girlfriends! 

       Hugs & Glitter!



  1. Best of luck in your future endeavors Mindi! Reading your story as a navy girlfriend makes my heart stop. But its also very familiar to me, as my sailor did something very similar before he left. The lines where almost identical. Fortunately in our situation however, we worked through it with a lot of communication and perseverance. I remember the feeling well though. Seeing the one you love transform from the loving boyfriend to the down to business stoic Sailor; it takes your breath away. Thank you for sharing your story and your well thought out insight of what is on the other end. Continue to be fabulous and persevere! :-)


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

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