Dating someone from any branch of the military can be difficult. Things can only get more complicated due to travel, communication, relationship pressure, and attempts to understand your world. Does your partner or fiance belong to the navy? Maybe you're just starting to date, or maybe you're away from him for the first time because he's on duty or on commission. If you learn to communicate effectively, help your partner with separation, and help yourself with distance, all of this could make a difference.
Method 1 of 3: Communicate effectively
Step 1. Ask about how to communicate with him
Your sailor likely has many ways you can communicate with him, or maybe he only has a few. Learn about the different methods of conversing with your boyfriend and determine which one should be used in each situation. You may have more than one email, one for civilian use and one for military use. They may also have an email and phone number that you can reach out to. Talk to him about the most effective way to communicate. These are some possible aspects that you should take into account:
- If he has a phone number, it could be one that you should only use for real emergencies, or one where he can only call you but not receive calls.
- You probably only have access to your military mail, particularly if you are on a ship and your connection could be bad.
- Correspondence (such as handwritten letters and supplies) could take a much longer time to reach your sailor.
Step 2. Know their language
You may start to notice that your sailor uses words, phrases, or abbreviations that you don't understand. Belonging to the army generates its own change of culture and language, in addition its different branches have dialects that are different to some extent. If he says something you don't understand, ask him what he means or find out for yourself. Learning the military language will help you and your sailor communicate more easily. You might hear words from the following categories:
- military terminology such as "base plan" or "choice of weapons systems (weaponeering)";
- naval terminology such as "breaststroke", "radar" or "tack";
- nautical terminology such as "capsize", "quartered" or "squall";
- different types of vessels, such as a boat (a marine vehicle smaller than a ship), a ship (a larger vessel with which you travel across the ocean), a cargo ship (a ship designed to carry cargo) and a submarine (a warship designed to operate totally submerged for long periods of time).
Step 3. Write frequently
Staying in communication is an important part of maintaining your emotional connection and dealing with time spent apart. Write to your sailor frequently and collate letters, emails, and supplies. It is not necessary that all communication be extensive; However, if you communicate more constantly, it will be easier for you to be aware of each other's life. If there is a greater distance between their communications, they will know less about each other's everyday experiences and the feeling of not being connected with each other may intensify.
- The frequent communication required to maintain a long-distance relationship could develop a stronger bond than an ordinary in-person relationship.
- They may have different abilities and opportunities to communicate frequently due to schedule constraints. Try not to get discouraged. Your boyfriend's schedule could be busy and he may feel exhausted; however, you probably enjoy knowing what is going on in your life and at home.
Step 4. Follow the rules
There are rules about what your sailor can talk about or even post on social media, and some of them apply to you too. Determine what the rules are for your seafarer and his posts by asking him to provide the guidelines. Also, if your boyfriend is in the US Navy, you can find out from brochures and instruction in the Operations Security method provided by the Naval Operations Security Support Team (NOST). If you are communicating via social media, email, or even by phone, you should protect important information as much as possible for security purposes. In general, you shouldn't post the following information about your boyfriend:
- location and displacement;
- marine companions (such as their names and ranks);
- dates or times of flights.
Step 5. Respect the fact that she may not be able to tell you everything
Like the rules you must follow about what you say to others, your seafarer will likely have to follow some rules about what he can and cannot share with his family. There is a large component of security inherent to what service members do in each branch of the military. If there's something he can't tell you, trust that he's not doing it to hide it from you, but because it's part of his job.
Step 6. Keep in mind that your communications may not be private or trustworthy
It's hard to deal with unreliable communication methods and schedules that could get in the way. Also, talk to your sailor about the process that the communications you send him will go through before they reach him. Find out if they need to be screened or searched, and consider who might see what you send. This will allow you to determine which photos to send if you want to include some, or what to put in a supply pack. Ask your sailor the following:
- Will they open the packages before you receive them and check them?
- Will they open the letters before you receive them?
- Does anyone check the emails?
- Is there something I shouldn't do or send you?
Step 7. Take care of any conflicts that arise. Even if you don't see your partner on a daily basis, they might still have problems from time to time, and they will need to be fixed. The most effective way to resolve a conflict remotely is to talk about it openly and try to work out a solution together.
- For example, if you are upset with your partner because he has not called you at the agreed time, you will have to tell him how you feel directly. You could say something like, "I feel sad that you didn't call me when you said you would."
- Then you will have to listen to the reason why your partner did not call you. You could have a valid reason, or you could just have been forgotten.
- To resolve the conflict, you could suggest a solution, such as choosing a more convenient time for her to call you.
- Pay attention to phone cues that your partner might be upset about something, such as staying quiet or being less talkative than usual. You could approach this problem by saying something like "You are quieter than usual, are you sad or upset with me?"
Method 2 of 3: Help Your Sailor
Step 1. Encourage your sailor as much as you can
It will be a stressful time for both of you. You can help your sailor cope by listening and encouraging him. Without your encouragement and support, your sailor could become overwhelmed by the obstacles they face together. If you are supportive, he can refocus, move on, and hopefully bring you back in the future when you're struggling.
- Talk to him about how proud you are of him and what he does.
- Mention the pride you feel in saying that you are the "girlfriend of a sailor."
- Remind him of everything he has accomplished so far (boot camp, training, and other obstacles).
- If you are concerned about the relationship, tell him how difficult it is, but that you will be much stronger as a couple by getting through it.
- Help him come up with a detailed action plan for whatever problems or goals he has.
Step 2. Stay focused on the future
There are likely to be days when your sailor loves what he does; however, there may also be days when you are sad. On days when things are a bit more difficult, remind him of what he does for both of you. If you're dealing with a commission or trying to get through boot camp, make plans for what you want to do when your boyfriend gets home. If you're waiting until their next leave, have a nifty countdown to the next time you can see each other.
Step 3. Be flexible
Your seafarer's ability to communicate with you or go on leave may vary without prior notice, depending on their commissions, command, or duties. The ability of a member of the military to take vacations or go on a trip differs greatly from that of civilians. Likewise, they have limitations related to the places they can go, where they will stay, or how much free time they will have in a certain function. Try to stay flexible to help with the stress levels and expectations of your relationship. These are some examples:
- If you are on commission, keep in mind that the duration of this commission will depend on where you are, the type of boat you are on, and your assignment or command.
- Your command may have a radius of several kilometers (or miles), which you will not be able to pass.
- You may have to perform your duties for a specified number of days in a row, which means that you may not have a Monday through Friday work week.
- The possibility of seeing it, the time you can see it or the place where they can meet may vary depending on the status of their relationship (married, engaged or boyfriends).
- His command could be carried out on land or on a ship.
Step 4. Put yourself in their shoes
Both of you will get through this difficult time, so you'll need to change your perspective and imagine what she might be going through. It is difficult to be without your sailor, but remember that he is not with you or with those close to him either. You will likely need to be away from your family and friends (who are not listed) and will only be able to communicate with them to a limited extent. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you:
- develop empathy;
- decrease irrelevant discussions;
- help you communicate better.
Method 3 of 3: Help You
Step 1. Stay in touch with your family
This could be difficult if you've just started dating; However, if you've been dating for a long time, you probably already feel comfortable with them. Staying in touch with their family will provide you with another source of information, but more importantly, you will have access to a support system made up of people who understand how you feel.
- They may be just as sad as you, or they may struggle with similar feelings. Everyone could benefit from depending on each other a bit and supporting each other during this difficult time.
- If you are not married to your seafarer, you may have a little difficulty obtaining information about him from the navy. For this reason, if you stay close to their family, this can be a good source of information that you may not yet be able to easily access on your own.
Step 2. Find a community to connect to
Other sailor brides are likely to be the group of people who have the best understanding of what you're going through. Look for an online community or a local one, if they are available in the area where you live. When you network and make friends, use these new friends for support. They may be able to give you some advice or have the same concerns and fears as you. You will notice that these friends will be your greatest strength.
- If you don't know where to start, use social media as a Facebook page dedicated to loved ones of seafarers.
- Also, in the US there are non-profit groups like Give an Hour.
- Communicate with other girlfriends or couples through your sailor's shipmates.
Step 3. Stay busy
No matter how much you think of your sailor, you must also continue to live your life. Try not to sit around waiting for a call or email. Keeping yourself busy looking for a hobby, sport, or job task can help you do something active to relieve stress and anxiety.
- Learn something new, like a language or play a musical instrument.
- Pick a new sport or activity to get in good shape, like running or rock climbing.
- Spend time with friends, play games, go to the movies, or just go out and have fun.
Step 4. Be patient
You may feel like your sailor has to "do a lot of things in a hurry and then wait." Try to be patient with the navy and your sailor, as they may be frustrated by the same things you are. If you are patient, this will help your relationship and will also increase your happiness. Be much more patient with the following:
- Exit permission. Getting off leave is a process that requires time and approval. So if you are one of the lucky few who can plan a vacation or a trip, having everything planned and having them all could take a little longer than you would like.
- Mail. It may take longer than you'd like the mail to reach your sailor. As you can imagine, the mail you receive will take longer than regular mail, particularly if it is on a ship. If you are abroad, it could take up to a few months. Keep this in mind when sending supplies or letters.
Step 5. Communicate what you feel
Know that there will be times when you feel frustrated and sad. Avoid the urge to hide it from your sailor. It is vital to your relationship that both of you are open and honest with each other. You may be afraid to talk about things like doubts and fears, but he may feel the same way, and both of you will feel better for talking about it. There are good and not-so-good ways to communicate your feelings, so use these tips to help.
- Try not to blame him. Instead of saying something like, “I'm upset that you never write to reply to me!” Say, “I feel very frustrated with our situation and our schedules. I just wish I could talk to you or know more about you”.
- Use first-person phrases when talking about how you feel. "I feel that we are distancing ourselves or that we are not as close as before."
- Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation. “I know this is a nuisance for both of us, and we may not be able to do anything about it. I just think it's important that you know what I feel. "
Step 6. Stay committed and faithful
It can be difficult to do this when you are in a long-distance relationship. Problems with jealousy, trust, and commitment can crop up on both sides. You can avoid this potential ruin to your long-distance relationship by frequently discussing your feelings with your sailor and discussing their commitment to the other person and the relationship.
Step 7. Find ways to cope with loneliness
At times, you may feel very lonely while your partner is away. This is a common reaction to your situation, but it is vital that you look for ways to calm your loneliness.
- You must spend time with your friends and family. Don't isolate yourself from other people. Try to plan some frequent walks with other people every week so that you will stay connected.
- If you are invited to an event that many couples will attend, you could bring a friend as a "couple" so that you will feel less alone. For example, you could ask the girlfriend of another sailor to accompany you to a marriage.