Whether you’re hoping that absence makes the heart grow fonder or fearing that out of sight means out of mind, time apart in a relationship requires work as well as patience. Geographical distance from your mate can cause anxiety, emotional distance and multiple frustrations. As the wife of a military fighter pilot, I’ve been forced to make separation work several times and I’ve learned ways to cope and even thrive along the way. So, if you find yourself in this predicament, here are a few things that I’ve gleaned from detachments over the years.
The Last Call of the Night
Whether it’s 8 p.m. or 2 a.m. in the morning, that last call to bid each other goodnight is important. It’s not about “checking up on one another,” it’s about staying connected and making each other feel special and important. The couples that stay in touch, bridge the gap of distance and keep the flame burning over separations. It’s something I insist upon. It’s something that I need and it’s actually something my husband needs and looks forward to as well.
The Pressure Valve
It’s natural to avoid negative topics of conversation when you’re far away from one another. However, whenever you let feelings of resentment and frustration build up over your time apart, bitterness and anger can build up over time. By the time your partner returns home, a powder keg of surging emotion will erupt eventually if you have refrained from releasing the tension during your time apart. So, discuss your unsavory topics rationally over the phone or Skype, but avoid pointing the finger. Keep it objective and civil then proceed to more enjoyable conversation. It will save you hours of frustration and heartache as well as ensure a more joyful homecoming.
Slay the Green-Eyed Monster
It can be very difficult to avoid jealousy when you’re apart. Unfortunately, enduring a separation with feelings of suspicion is totally unbearable. Take the separation as an opportunity to build trust in your relationship. Strong trust not only gives you both peace of mind, it compels you to be on your best behavior because the trust your mate has in you is so precious. After several deployments and detachments, I can now say the trust in our relationship is stronger than it ever was before he left for the first time.
Send one another photos. Whether it be a sexy pic in lingerie or a funny photo of you and the pups, your man will enjoy seeing what you’re up to and will keep thoughts of you fresh in his mind. Encourage him to do the same. My husband sends me photos of his travels from around the world. He recently told me that taking pictures of his random adventures reminds him how much he wishes I could be there. It’s like he’s carrying a part of me with him, if only in his mind. Send him a couple photos and you’ll be amazed how often he will ask for more.
The Bucket List
Make a list of things you would like to do or accomplish while he is away. Take this opportunity to embrace a new workout routine, learn a foreign language or how to play the guitar, take that weekend trip with your girlfriends that you never have time for and indulge in your favorite hobbies. You’ll not only have ample things to talk about, but you will look and feel amazing by the time he returns home!