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Feeling disconnected

justmakingthebest's picture

I haven't seen DH is about 6 weeks (with the exception of 1 day that he was able to come home) and it's still a little while before he will be home.

Being on a ship, we can't talk, all we have is email. He has been under a lot of stress during this time with what they have going on board. Plus add in drama with SS18 and the baby, stopping college funding, finally stopping CS and writing that last check before the end of the month. Our communication has just sucked.

I have been under a lot of stress too with my bios, BS17 got his college apps in at the last minute- KILLING ME with the procrastination. DD16 has had a softball injury and something is going on with her kidney which is left over from her ATV accident that almost killed her AND she has her plastic surgery for her breast reconstruction next month so we are seeing ALL the doctors ALL the time. SS23 has just been...special... here lately. Plus I work full time, pay 1/2 the bills and volunteer as an Ombudsman which I usually clock around 60 hrs a month dealing with all of that. 

Things with DH and I have always been easy. We communicate well. We support each other. It has just always been good. But right now it feels strained and distant and I hate this. All I can think is in a few months he is leaving me for 18 months. Is this going to be my life? Are we going to survive? Because if something isn't fixed, and I don't know what it is that needs to be fixed other than he needed for freaking retire 4.5 years ago like he promised when we got married, we aren't going to make it. I can't keep doing this. I don't want to be alone and there is nothing I can do to stop what is happening. 

I never wanted to be a MIL spouse again. I did it with my kids dad for 10 years. I told DH I wasn't interested after we went on a couple of dates. "Oh, I have one more shore tour and then I retire. Easy day."- Then I fell in love, then I accepted that he wanted to continue in his career. Now I regret it all. 

Ok, that's my vent. It feels good to get it out because I can't say this  to anyone I know in real life. 


advice.only2's picture

Sounds like you guys are in your “preparing to separate” cycle when a military personnel and their spouse get ready for them to deploy.  It’s a whole thing, I read an article on it once and it was very interesting.  Not sure it I saw it on military times or just out in the civilian realm.  I know this isn’t your first rodeo, but if you have been out of the mindset for a bit you can forget that this is normal.  I know you both have a lot on your plate right now and it’s scary, especially with all that is going on in the world.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, once he is deployed then it’s just the countdown to your visits and his return.

justmakingthebest's picture

That is true. 

With my ex, he was always gone. It was weird when he was home so we really didn't go through that after the first deployment right after 9/11. 

Dh and I have spent time here and there away before but really the most is like 2 months and over the last 8 years it hasn't been that often. Usually its a night or a few days here and there. This is a big one. I think I'm just too old for this shit. That's why you retire in your late 30's. It isn't supposed to keep dragging on forever. LOL

la_dulce_vida's picture

I have no experience with what's it's like to be a military wife. I already don't handle long separations from my partner very well.

I'm just wondering if there was a way for you two to "date" via email. Maybe it would help if at least once a week, you wrote love letters to each other. You can tell me to bugger off. LOL

justmakingthebest's picture

Once he really leaves I will do letters and care packages. 

Email kind of sucks. A lot of the time it gets held up before it's sent off ship so you aren't really talking in real time. With world events going on like they are coms go on lock down a lot too- so it's just going to suck. There is no other way to describe it. It is what it is, I'm just in my feelings today. 

ESMOD's picture

Blah... that just sounds like a whole lot on your plate... and all I can say is.. keep your chin up.. it will all go by before you know it.. and you ARE strong enough to weather this storm.  

I might also look at backing away from things that aren't key to moving your life forwards.. maybe the volunteering? unless it gives you a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.    And.. don't be afraid to enlist help where necessary.. from your EX for your joint kids for example.. he can be virtually on your son's behind for his applications and other things.


justmakingthebest's picture

Selfishly I don't want to give up my volunteer position. I get info before anyone else and have a direct line to the command. 

And my ex... well... I can't count on him to do things that my kids need. It just is what it is. I'm back to doing things on my own. I'm just emotional about it today. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

in longer, he will get more money per month? I know the longer you are in, the more retirement you get, but it does cap at a point so I am just wondering his reasoning of not staying true to what he told you when you met. 

I am sorry, that sounds really difficult. I never wanted to be a military wife either so I am very thankful that DH was wanting to separate from the marine corps and followed through with that in the timeline he had told me. 

justmakingthebest's picture

He made rank and has one more look to progress again. Then he can go on to do other things- if we are lucky a CMC tour. But, it is all sacrifice. There is more money each year and the difference in retirement between him retiring when he could vs. what he will is about 15K a year so that's not a small sum over the next 40 years of our lives. 

NotYourAverageStepMama's picture

my DH there does come a point where you basically cap out and the additional years do not make a difference. At least he is gaining something by staying in for your future, but it is definitely a sacrifice and at the cost of other things.

grannyd's picture

Just like you, Sweetie, to worry about everyone else in your orbit and feel guilty for considering your own feelings. You are such a good person and one of my favourite members on StepTalk; I hate to read of your sadness!

Eighteen months is one helluva long time to be away from one’s spouse. When my own DH was travelling for 3 weeks in Mali (not my cup of tea), I was absolutely miserable and cried a lot. I could not have endured a year and a half of his absence. Because your DH 


‘… needed to freaking retire 4.5 years ago like he promised when we got married, we aren't going to make it. I can't keep doing this. I don't want to be alone….’


It’s understandable, that you’re feeling lost and resentful, a condition made worse by all of the stress currently stopping at Chez justmakingthebest and I’ll bet the farm that your DH is hating the prospect of being without YOU for such a long time. If the relationship feels ‘strained and distant’, it’s because it IS! 

My dear, you’ve weathered many a storm, recalling your daughter’s horrific, nearly fatal accident. And BTW, I’m so glad to hear about the upcoming reconstructive surgery! My sister had it done after her mastectomy and it had a powerful, positive effect on her self-esteem. I hope your ex-husband is covering the costs since his lack of oversight was at the bottom of that tragedy.

I’m tempted to say, “You’ve got this!” when you’ve proven to be a stalwart in so many difficult situations but I do realize that you are not feeling very stout-hearted at the moment. In closing, I’m going to quote my husband, 

“She is evaluating everything from inside the box. She needs to step out of the box, look at the big, impersonal picture, be objective and present the facts to her husband. Retiring and forgoing the additional $15,000 a year would be a small price to pay for the future of her marriage.” 

My DH can be a bit of a ‘Rags’ in that he is a pragmatist extraordinaire. Maybe he’s right?





justmakingthebest's picture

Thank you for all your kind words!

I think that both of us would not have agreed to this had we known then what we know now. Originally when he agreed to the orders it was only supposed to be a 5-6 month deployment and then he would come back stateside. Well, the Navy being the Navy- changed after HE signed to extend and there is nothing we can do about it. We have to ride out this contract.

We will be ok. I'm going to meet the ship in one of the South American ports, probably meet again in CA and then a few trips to Japan. But we all know that a few days/ couple of weeks if I'm lucky, isn't the same as a day to day real marriage. This is just hard and not being in control of our own lives just makes it harder.

Rags's picture

extended work related separations in our 29+ year marriage. There is no polishing this turd. It just sucks.  Neither of us like it.

The longest was 9mos but even that had a number of weekend visits where either I flew home or she met me somewhere.  The main burden of life was on her during those times. It is on you now.  

We have had separations of 4-6mos 3 times and too many 2-8wk separations than I can recollect.  Usually when I was on an Expat assignment or extended project business trip. (USA, Taiwan, Korea, China, Mongolia, Belgium, Italy, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Morocco, Canada)  She has had a number of several week long trips of her own in her career.  Fortunately we were together for 8+ years for the extended duration Expat assignments. Which we did after SS-31 launched at 18.  

SS just was reassigned Stateside after 5yrs in Europe.  He is 13.5 years into his Military career.  He and I will retire at about the same time.  Me for good, him from the Military.  

I still feel bad about thise times.  SS was pretty young for several of our work related apart times.  

While $15K/YR sounds significant, when you convert it to monthly then consider that a solid $6figure base salary private sector or follow on Gov't job is entirely possible if he retires and continues his career outside of the Military, it is entirely pragmatic for him/you to seriously consider him putting in his papers.

My last role I had a number of former Sr. NCO military retirees who worked for me. Between the retirement and disability elements of the pension payments they were collecting well into the $70-$80K range. Those on my management team were making in the $125-$140K/yr range base salary, could get up to 25% per year in bonus, and were maxing 401K contributions (getting the company matching) and accruing their Social Security points.  These were people in their early to late 40s who spent between 20 & 30 years in the Military.   When they retire at the end of a 20-ish year private sector career they will be at least triple dipping on retirement. Military Retirement (with disability if they qualify), $1Mil+ in 401K investments, and full Social Security benefits.  A quick SWAG on their final retirement income puts their annual income at ~$60-$75K for Military/Disability, ~$60K/yr in 401K RMDs, and  Social Security at ~$40K.  So, an annual total retirement income of approciamately between ~$200K/yr and ~$215K/yr.  Retiring now and putting the rest of his career time into private sector opportunities makes the potential add of $15K/yr pretty much materially insignificant.  Keep in mind that this is just what his income represents. Add yours to that and .... the additioanal ~$15K/yr he could get in Military retirement is even less materially significant.

Of course you and he together are the ones to hammer this out.  But... IMHO, I would not choose to be away from my bride for any number of extended deployments for something like $1250/mo in retirement. Not when a combined retirement marital income is in the several $hundredK/year range.  I would rather have my time with her now... and in retirement. It makes no sense to give up now for later when the numbers don't add up. Take now, and later.

I would.

Thank you, your DH, and your family for your service.  Family serves too when the Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman serve.

Take care of you.

Give rose


justmakingthebest's picture

I think if we knew then (when he agreed to these orders) what we know now, he wouldn't have done it. 

It was not supposed to be this way which is why we agreed on him accepting. And I did agree to the orignal terms the detailer had sent. The Navy changed it's mind though and thats were this is so hard. But, you having a son in the AF know, orders are orders- not requests, Once you are under contract, you're stuck - unless you do something shady or criminal of course. Which my husband would never do, Too much integrity for that and I would lose respect for him as well. 

Rags's picture

Like your DH, my son would never go counter to his agreement with the USAF.  Though he does have some challenges blending a personal life and his service, our son does not have a mate or kids to consider.

Your respect for your DH tells it all.  He would not dishonor himself, you, or the Navy.  I am sorry that you are struggling right now.  

Enjoy your visits to his ports of call.  Time flies. It will be over and you will be at his retirement ceremony before you know it.  Then... time to have fun learning how to live together full time.



Harry's picture

You are part of it all.  The family's also do there part when SO is out defending there country.