Wednesday, December 31, 2014

7 Ways to Cope When Your Sailor Stops Sending Email

I'd like to commend our Navy Girlfriend guest contributor Elise because she has been going through one of the most difficult experiences any Navy Girlfriend, Boyfriend, or Military Spouse will go through, and that is the unanticipated, unannounced, without known reason, complete and sudden drop off of all communication. This experience is common to some extent, but not all will experience it for anything longer than two weeks at most and those who do are not always at the distinct disadvantage as the Navy Girlfriend or Boyfriend is because she or he cannot reach out to the same people spouses can can. Elise has been patient and understanding to a level I cannot even comprehend being capable of in this situation and for that I commend her. 

Also check out: 

Seven Coping Strategies when All Communication Stops
By Elise
A Navy Girlfriend with Cred

Hello, Goodbye by The Rik Pics via Flickr cc
My boyfriend has been overseas for about six months now and currently my head is clouded with a billion questions and concerns, as its been several weeks since I've last had contact with him.

It’s really your worst nightmare, not hearing from the one you love. Ticking the days or weeks that go by while your head comes up with a million irrational scenarios. Meanwhile, all you can do is wait...and wait...and wait.

As my waiting continues, I’d like to share the seven coping strategies I've adapted, to endure these last few weeks thus far…
Try to be understanding:
Recently I started Menare from Mars and Women are from Venus. In this book the author explains the differences men and women handle and cope with stress.

As we know our military men/women are always under tremendous amounts of pressure, especially if they are in a hostile environment. This has been a great tool in allowing me to look beyond myself to gain perspective.

 Everyone copes differently; some will shut down and distance themselves to focus on the task at hand. While others may want to escape through a hobby or with friends to let off some steam. I am not one to judge or say how another person should or shouldn't behave in a situation when I don't know the stress or pressure they may be under. What I can do however is try to be understanding and sympathetic to the person I love and their individual needs.

Surround yourself with support:
I am extremely thankful for all the wonderful people in my life who are willing to listen to me babble the chaos that rattles around in my noggin and invite me to crash on their holiday plans in attempt to keep me occupied through all this.

Most of my friends don't necessarily understand this life but support me through the highs and lows regardless.

Mil SOs, like Stephanie and my other girlfriend (wife of an ex-marine) who do understand what I am going through, help me to realize that I am not alone. These may be all new experiences but at some point or another there has been others who have felt my same frustrations, fear and sadness in a similar situation. You will find many of them here and at the Unhinged & Empowered Facebook Group.

A friend very honestly reminded me that these instances are the reasons for blogs and support sites geared towards parents and significant others of military members. Thousands of wives, girlfriends and fiances around the world are glad to share their struggles and support, because they recall when they also needed someone there for them through the difficult times. 

Sometimes you will find that one person who isn't nice but remember that there are plenty of others out there who want to be helpful. Don't be afraid to reach out. After all, we’re all rowing in the same boat. (Pun intended ;-D )

Have faith:
Love, Faith and Strength by Chetan via Flickr cc
Love is such a difficult thing to explain. It’s not something seen. Its felt. Describing the contents of your heart or your lovers to someone else is nearly impossible.

As a devoted Christian, I live a faith based life. Believing in the things I cannot see or touch.

This is similar in a long distance relationship. Largely your relationship becomes faith based. You learn to trust in what your heart tells you. Believing in the unseen.

When your faith is tested remember, no one knows your significant other like you do, and despite other people's opinions, you know their heart, their fears and their promises.

Keep that faith in him, and each other.

Keep Calm and Carry On:
I read on a Navy Wives support site that a popular saying in the military is “no news is good news.” Although it’s a lovely motto, it’s hard to grasp when it’s your loved one you haven't heard news of.

Dwelling on the things we can't control is destructive. Try focusing on what you do have control over instead. Keep busy. Write letters, show yourself some love, and support your significant other even if they can't currently show you the same support in return.

Also, I removed a few pictures around my room of my boyfriend and I together. I found when looking at them it only invoked the tears and worry. Taking those photos away, indulged me to regain the control of my emotions, without them literally staring me in the face. Some may view this as a bit extreme but in a situation like this, you need to do whatever works for you without being self-destructive.

Get some beauty sleep:
Tossing and turning through the night, attempting to calm my restless thoughts is exhausting. especially if I have to work in the morning. I become moody and emotional; needless to say I'm not the most pleasant company, ha ha. Knowing this about myself, I sought some help from a non-habit forming sleep aid

It makes my eyes heavy enough to drift off into a peaceful sleep, but not too heavy, to where I am groggy or unable to wake up if I need to. The next morning I'm rested and ready to take on whatever the day may throw my way.

Don’t take it personal:
Once you can drill this into your head, I promise it gets easier.

Remember that his or her silence is not vindictive or a personal attack to make you feel miserable. Refrain from filling in the blanks in attempt to understand the unknown. Again, focus on what you do know; your love, the love he has for you, the plans you have made and the memories you've shared together.

The last I heard from my Sailor was a text that read “Hey babe, I can't talk, I'm in a bad mood. but I just wanted to say I love and Miss you...” He went on explaining some irritation with something at work and ended with “I love you!” Those are the words I keep ringing in my head when I feel down.

Rosie the Riveter by SBT4NOW via Flickr cc
Find your Joy:
As frustrated, worried, and upset as I may feel, there is one thing not even this silence can take away from me and that’s my joy.

Joy is something that can't be given or taken away. It comes from within yourself. Once you can accept who you are and everything that makes you terrific, that’s when joy comes.

I am not perfect. At the end of the day though, I am happy with who I am and what I have to offer.

If you don't know if you have this, do some research. There is a lot out there about how to find inner joy. Here is one article on The Huffington Post. An important this for all Mil SOs is to be happy and secure on their own because they can't have their significant other at all times.

If you know your worth, it is impossible for anyone to sell you for less than what you are, or make you feel any kind of way, other than fabulous.

 About Elise

Hola! I am a God fearing 28 year old single mother who lives to love, and loves to live. My journey started almost 2 years ago, when I met my boyfriend online. Despite the hour and a half distance we made it work! I grew up in a patriotic home, but I didn't know anything about the military lifestyle, this was all new to me. He however, had been in the Navy for 12 years upon us meeting. About 6 months into our relationship we found out he was to be transferred early overseas. That is when I quickly grew accustomed to the demands of the service. Any plans to move in together were put on hold. We continued our long-distance relationship in anticipation of him leaving.

He’s only been gone a few months and we have at least 22 to go… Its been a roller coaster of emotions. During this short time I can certainly relate to the feeling of being unhinged. Coping with these emotions would often be followed by disappointment for allowing myself to be affected and seemingly weak. Its very lonely, which is what encouraged me to reach out to the internet. Given that we had never shared a home, it has made sleeping alone a little more bearable. It also gives me something wonderful to look forward, for when he returns home.

When I'm not holding down my man or my household, I work full time in the medical field serving others. My son is diagnosed with ADHD and has a mild intellectual delay; it poses its own challenges but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love to learn and ask a lot of questions! I am outgoing, expressive and a bit feisty. I've still got a long road ahead and a lot more to learn, but I am hopeful of the outcome!

1 comment:

  1. This is all great advice. Knowing your own worth - that's gold! Hang in there!


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

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