Pushing Away My Deployed Boyfriend

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 4 months and then he left due to his military duties. He is deployed for 6 months. At the beginning we were fine and dandy but we began to go downhill and I am afraid that I am pushing him a way. I nag and nitpick over every little thing and he feels horrible because there isn’t anything he can do about it. My mentality is “I want what I want, when I want it” therefore, I build up anxiety because he is not here with me.

What can I do to show him I support him, and that Im trying to make us work? because at the moment all I’ve been doing is acting like such a ungrateful, unappreciative, ball of worry.The result is that I’ve changed and he doesn’t know if he wants to continue being with me, he feels that letting me go would make me happier. I know that it wouldn’t because I’m happiest when I’m with him and I know if he were here I wouldn’t be like this. How do you ultimately make long distance relationships work with military men?

A: Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder, as the old saying goes. Sometimes it makes people anxious. Contact with a deployed partner often is unpredictable and intermittent, which means that issues can go unresolved. In between contacts, you may go round and round in your head so that by the time you talk, you have become quite wound up. If that weren’t enough, you know your boyfriend is sometimes in harm’s way, which probably scares you. Put all those feelings into the emotional pot and you can end up being less than wonderful when you finally do get to talk to him. Your boyfriend needs your loving support and you feel awful that you dump on him instead. You are very right to be concerned. It speaks well for you that you wrote for help.

I suggest you look into whether you can access resources from the branch of military your boyfriend is in. Most bases have counselors and chaplains available to talk to military families. In addition, there may be a support group of other military wives and partners. There is something really helpful in talking to people who are in the same situation. Some of the partners will have been through multiple deployments so will be able to give you good advice about how to manage feelings and how to be supportive of your military guy. If you don’t live close to a base, go to the website for your boyfriend’s military branch. Type “help for families” in the search box to find out what resources may be available to you.

You are not alone in your feelings. Military partners and families often have difficulty managing the mix of strong emotions that go with having their loved one so far away and in danger. Take care of yourself and your relationship by getting the support you need.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Pushing Away My Deployed Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/06/pushing-away-my-deployed-boyfriend/