All relationships require hard work; however, the long deployments and other uncertainties military couples face are unlike any other LDR or long-distance military relationships. Therefore, it takes more work and more planning to stay in a relationship with a long-distance serviceman or woman.
There is good news! Physical and geographic separation can be good for a couple in the long run. Communicating regularly, along with active listening, is a beneficial way to strengthen your relationship and keep your relationship healthy.
With today’s technology, long-distance couples are so lucky because they can actively communicate throughout the day.
Facetime, texting, and phone calls allow for long-distance communication that previous generations weren’t so lucky to have. Now you can stay involved no matter when the other person is stationed and keep up with what each other is doing throughout their day. The key is communication and understanding of what it takes to keep the spark in the relationship.
Stay Involved in the Details of Each Other’s Lives
If you live together or in proximity, it is easy to know what each other is doing every day, but it is much more difficult if you are in a long-distance military relationship. The key to keeping these relationships alive and well is to share the details of each other’s day; otherwise, the other person wouldn’t know. It’s beneficial (and fun!) to go beyond simple ‘yes’ and ‘sure’ texts.
Details make conversations, texting or otherwise, easier to cling to when it is the only form of communication you have for who knows how long. It isn’t for trust issues, but for feeling involved and like you are a part of your significant other’s life.
If they are going on a training mission, ask who they are going with (and remember their names). If they are meeting a new commander or a new unit, try to remember their names.
By staying involved in the small details, it is easy to know what their day might look like or what they are doing even when they can’t talk. Active involvement in even the tiny things creates a healthy, trustful relationship.
Communicate Regularly Even if You’re in Different Time-Zones
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. It can’t be stressed enough. When your significant other is on deployment, you must remain flexible and willing to sacrifice early morning hours or late-night hours of sleep if that is the best time for your significant other. Maybe they need to stay up for a while to accommodate your schedule.
Prioritizing regular, consistent communication does not mean you both have to stay connected to your phones 24/7 or that communication requires an unrealistic communication schedule.
That would be exhausting in our already tiring lives. But the idea of regular communication just means that both of you know you are on their mind, and you are still thinking of them even when they must focus on other more pressing matters.
LDR lacks the physical touch aspect of a relationship, and because of that, a considerable part of what would keep a relationship going is vital that you find something that works for you. Significant others in long-distance relationships can still meet emotional needs that can still be completed even without physical touch.
Say Good Morning and Goodnight
It is a comforting and emotionally supportive thought when you know they had you on their mind as they were falling asleep and that you are the first thing they think of when they wake up in the morning. Regardless of the time zone difference, it is nice to know that someone is thinking of you in a completely different time zone as your significant other’s head hits the pillow and when their feet hit the ground.
If time and schedule allow, it is a pleasant surprise sometimes to get a good morning and goodnight surprise FaceTime call. LDR makes it impossible to share those moments with people, such as a good morning or goodnight kiss, so a simple text or FaceTime call can keep each other going.
Pick a Certain Time of the Day or Day of the Week You Can FaceTime
Having a set time and date for a FaceTime date is a great way to prioritize your relationship and know that is when you will get to see their face and chat for a while. Of course, plans sometimes do have to change occasionally, but it is nice to have some order in our hectic lives for the most part.
Schedule Designated Time Enjoying Each Other’s Company
You must find time to be on the phone while you drink your evening tea or morning cup of coffee. Maybe you like to FaceTime while cleaning or planning your day. Just as you would if you were in close physical contact, sharing little moments from your day that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see are essential.
Regularly Send Pictures
One of the great additions to modern technology is the ability to send photos of our day quickly and easily through texting, social media, or email. Send pictures of your routine and throughout the day helps your significant other get an idea of what your day looks like and helps them feel a part of your routine when they can’t be there.
Have a Date on the Calendar So Both of You Can Countdown the Days Until You See Each Other
Knowing a specific time and date that you will physically see each other again helps keep the long weeks and months bearable. For example, if you can remind yourself and each other that you will see each other next Tuesday, it makes it easier to get through the week together.
If it is going to be for an extended period before you see each other again, it is helpful to create a calendar for both of you to mark an X for each day you get through and countdown the days to when you see each other next.
Be Open and Honest About What You Need in the Relationship
Not knowing where they may be or what they are doing is difficult in long-distance military relationships. That makes it difficult to form healthy, intimate relationships with your significant other, but both parties must be open and honest about their expectations for the relationship.
Be honest if you also need some downtime and some alone time not on FaceTime or texting. They lead stressful, busy lives as well, and as much as we want to hear from them as much as possible, there are moments when they just need to breathe and destress.
The constant stress and pressure of the job and staying concerned about your relationship together may make it difficult for them to bring up the fact that they need some virtual space.
It is crucial to create an open and welcoming environment when you do get to talk. It is easy to let the pressures and stresses of our life spill into the few times to talk and text, but to make the most of your time catching up together, it is best for both of you to stay positive and talk about the next time you will see each other.
Send Each Other Care Packages
Who doesn’t like mail? What a wonderful surprise to receive a package in the mail from your long-distance lover! Small, simple gestures go a long way in sending each other care packages.
You don’t have to spend much time or money putting together a package for your long-distance love, just something from the heart that says you are thinking about them and want to send something.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Around Valentine’s Day, send a package of their favorite candy and a Valentine’s Day card.
- It is fun to get a festive holiday care package around St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, or Thanksgiving.
- Send their favorite snacks and drinks before a big movie night you have planned. A planned movie night helps anticipate something in the future you both can look forward to and know you will get to spend some virtual time together.
Send a fully customizable Lovebox with a special message from the heart with stickers, photos, drawings, and notes. You can also schedule when you send your messages!
- Send a love note and flowers, if possible, for a date night that you could FaceTime during the night to have a virtual date night.
Send a Lovebox spinny as a perfect way to send a special love note. The spinny is magnetized, so it is ideal if they want to keep it on the fridge.
- A book box is excellent for your significant other who loves to read. You could include a new book they have wanted to read, a bookmark, some tea bags, or coffee to have something hot to drink while they cuddle up with their new book.
These are just a few ideas to keep your relationship going even during deployment. In addition, staying involved with movie nights and date nights, and any other moment that you would prefer to be there to share helps keep you sane. Involvement in regular activities brings some sense of normalcy to your relationship during long weeks and months of not seeing each other regularly.
You Can Do It
Making a long-distance relationship work in the military requires patience and understanding. It requires trust and commitment. LDR is not an easy route, but it is rewarding to know that you and your significant other will be together in the end.
Sending regular care packages and Through honest and open communication and regularly scheduled times to chat and FaceTime, it is possible to keep your relationship strong. The long days and weeks apart just made your love stronger.
5 Tips to Make a Military Long Distance Relationship Work | VeteranAid
13 Pieces Of Long-Distance Relationship Advice From Military Spouses | HuffPost
‘It really sucks at times’: the loneliness of the long-distance marriage | theGuardian