This is a bit more of a personal post. I began thinking more when someone emailed about Tim and I’s relationship and how we dealt with deployments so far. It’s not a secret he leaves often and once we get into a semi routine that routine is normally broken. Without fail this has happened every single time but that is the nature of the military community.
We are not relationship experts by any means. We do what works for us and makes us happy.
Am I upset, hurt or defeated that routine and plans are often changed at the last moment?
No, of course not.
Am I constantly learning about myself and my relationship?
Of course, who isn’t?
When we graduated college, Tim also commissioned into the military. I knew this would happen. This had been his plan all along (way before he met me). I didn’t have the experience to deal with the deployments, long distance relationships or the stress that came with it. We talked a lot and I was prepared as I could be for the scenarios. I have always found in running and life that I learn the best by experiencing something.
In running, experiencing the bonk of my first marathon. I had read many articles about the last 10k, but the experience taught me the most.
In life, experiencing the transition from college to real life and my first job. College prepared me for a lot but my first job prepared me even more.
In our relationship, experiencing the first deployment. We had prepared the best we could but the first deployment taught us the most.
Experiencing the first big plans changing (when I moved 1700 miles from VA to TX only to be told we were moving 2000 miles, 6 weeks later.
It wasn’t a secret we deal with multiple deployments and quick changes to routines and schedules. We both knew if our relationship would work out, we (especially me) would need to learn to be flexible. I’m not looking for sympathy because I honestly I love my life and am happy with it. I could not imagine life any other way.
Throughout college I was more routine and organized than anyone. I had planners to plan my planners. I was a very strict scheduled person. When I went to my first job (T and did long distance for a year), I stayed very organized, planned and routine. Fast forward a year and it made sense for me to move to Texas. Tim was essentially told that he would be living in Texas for 4 years. He didn’t have the option to move, I did. So I moved 1700 miles to Texas.
About a week later, I got my first dose of reality. After driving 1700 miles down to Texas, we got word we were moving to New Jersey (2000 miles the same direction…or 300 miles from where I started).
This was not in my plan. My plan was to move to Texas and find a job.
My plan was not to move to Texas for 6 weeks and move to New Jersey.
That was my first dose of reality that our relationship couldn’t be planned. We could not plan every moment of life. We had to take things as they came. We had to “go with the flow”…a phrase VERY foreign to me.
Here are some things that have worked for us:
- Making sure we take time for each other. We aren’t always together and there is no guarantee that a date night that was planned will stay planned…we do make the time to share the moments we do have together.
- Communication. It’s important to us (even if we aren’t together) to make an attempt to communicate. Does this mean texting each other every minute of the day? Absolutely not…but attempting to talk when possible is important.
- Trust each other. This comes a lot with being apart…we trust each other. Even if we don’t talk daily, we know our relationship is strong. We know when we are back together, nothing will have changed. It is an absolute great feeling to know that. It’s a feeling I haven’t had with anyone else.
- I have touched on this before but having separate hobbies and activities. When plans and schedules change such as a sudden deployment. I have other things to fall back on. I have a job I love, friends and family that care for me and hobbies that I get enjoyment from. Tim also has the same and I think having a few separate hobbies keeps our relationship strong. That being said also having hobbies we can do together keeps us very strong.
These are just personal thoughts about what works well for us. I could not imagine life any other way anymore (and gosh I cannot imagine being a very strict and routine person anymore).
Questions for you:
Are you a very routine and scheduled person?
How do you and your significant other make time for each other?