Life as a military spouse/partner demands a great deal from us. Our role calls for resiliency and the ability to handle change and juggle a lot of moving parts. These demands are put to the test during deployment.
One of the most challenging aspects of deployment is loneliness. While being alone is a state where we are physically by ourselves, loneliness is an emotional state — a feeling. Oftentimes when our partners are far away, and communication is limited or not available at all, we may feel isolated without them. It is possible to be with others and still feel alone.
There are ways to mitigate the feelings of loneliness that may accompany deployment. Avoiding activities such as drinking alone, escaping feelings through other substances, or using excessive screen time to escape or replace social activities will help. Although these quick escapes and ways to avoid may seem like a good idea, they likely have a negative impact on mood.
Acknowledging that you are in a sensitive place and that you are feeling alone helps us as we are accepting where we are. From this standpoint, it may be easier to make choices that help ease loneliness, such as taking time to care for ourselves, keeping promises we have made to ourselves, and confiding in a friend, family member or professional about what we are experiencing.
Finally, taking time to be with our partners (without them physically present) may help to create a sense of connectivity. Looking at photos, sharing stories about your partner with others, scheduling face-to-face calls if available, writing letters, assembling care packages, and reaching out to our partners’ friends and families are just some of the things we can do. Support is also available through your installation’s Military and Family Support Center and through Military OneSource.