Although it is an inevitable part of military life, separation from your spouse is never easy. Rather for a few months or a year-long deployment, the time can crawl by during a separation, and your days are often filled with worries, fear and loneliness. However, there are things a military spouse can do to feel better during a separation.
Many military spouses are living on a base in an unfamiliar area, often far away from their hometown. This separation from their family and friends makes it even harder when their spouse goes away for training or war. There is no reason to feel alone during a spousal separation, however, as there are many sources of support available for military spouses.
Make friends on base. Chances are, there are many other military spouses on base that feel just as alone as you do. Many military wives (and husbands!) form support groups and strong friendships to bond together through this trying time. Having a group of friends to have a weekly brunch with could be just the support you need to feel normal.
Seek counseling. Every branch and individual base is different, but there are free counseling services available for military spouses. Talking to a counselor and getting your feelings out can often make this separation much easier.
Find an online support group. There are many articles, forums and support groups online written by military spouses, for military spouses. You might find that chatting with a friend who is across the country might be just the support that you need.
Making It Through The Separation
Don’t let yourself go. It is easy to let your appearance and your house go during a separation, since your spouse isn’t there to see, but it is important not to let this happen. If you don’t look your best, you won’t feel your best either, and that can be detrimental to someone who is already so emotionally stressed. Even if it’s hard or seems pointless, continue your daily routine. Shower, shave, fix your hair and makeup, and dress nicely, even if there’s no one around to see it. It will make you feel better than you think.
Stay close to your spouse. Wearing your husband’s favorite T-shirt to bed or spraying your wife’s best perfume on her pillow are small ways to keep your spouse close to you during the deployment. Write letters to your spouse every day, detailing the events of your day and your feelings during the separation. Don’t be overly negative, but don’t try to pretend that everything is okay when it’s not.
If your spouse has Internet access, try an online video chat, such as Skype. Of course it isn’t the same as a face-to-face interaction, but seeing visually that your loved one is alive and well will give you some peace of mind.
Consider volunteering, getting a part-time job or going back to school. Getting involved in productive activities will help keep you busy, and will be beneficial to your well-being.
Don’t Worry About Finances
During the trying time of your separation, you already have enough to worry about: taking care of your home, your kids and yourself without your other half. You shouldn’t have to worry about finances too. The United States military makes an effort to properly support military spouses during deployments and other separations. Along with your spouse’s usual pay grade, you should be eligible for separation pay. If your spouse is in a dangerous area or at war, you may be eligible for hazard pay. During any separation, spouses are guaranteed their home. If you live off-base, your Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) will continue as usual while your spouse is deployed.