Send them notes and letters; not just emails. We are so fortunate to live in a connected world, but there’s something extra special about a handwritten note that will not only make your SO’s day, but it will keep them going throughout the deployment. Those beautifully written cards will be referenced when they’re scared, missing you, and feel alone. Think about the reasons you love your partner in crime, and carve it into a piece of paper for them to treasure forever.
Remember that this experience doesn’t just differ from couple to couple, but it also is very different for your partner than it is for you. There are different ways it’s harder on each of you. Be gentle and patient; they are likely trying their best to hold it together every single day you’re away.
Skype, Snapchat, and send pictures often. These, like the letters, are things your significant other will be waiting for. They’re the moments you can use to connect to one another and feel close. Nothing compares to having you home, but a picture is the closest thing to being there with one another since they get to see a little moment of your day.
I hope you’re getting lots and lots of care packages from home. You deserve them, especially since you are likely not in the nicest of living situations. Try to send a few packages back home to your loved ones, too. They certainly understand that you are overseas for a mission, but it also feels so great to feel cared about and knowing that your loved one is taking time away from their busy schedule to think about you.
Deployments are one of the most difficult things this life has to offer, but if you’re with the right person the heartache you feel during them is completely worth the joy of an entire lifetime. Stay safe, connect at any chance you get, and thank you for the sacrifices you are making. I know they’re not easy in so many different ways, and I am so proud to know so many people fighting for justice and equality.
I strongly believe there is someone for everyone in the world. No, that doesn’t mean I think that everyone should — or will — be in a relationship or get married, but I do believe if you want to have a romantic partner there is someone out there who will be a good fit for you.
There are so many amazing examples I’ve seen of people who thought they would never find true love because they were too quirky, too sick, too old, too tall, too short — the list goes on. I would like to argue, though, that the only thing that would ever really hinder someone from finding true love is being too picky.None of the other “too’s” are going to deter every single person in the world from dating you.
Something to remember in the world of online dating and infinite choices is that nobody is perfect. You will never have a partner who has every single quality checked off on your “list,” or who doesn’t sometimes get on your nerves, but that’s normal. The most important thing to remember is that if your relationship is overall a really big asset to your life, the little annoyances you sometimes have are so tiny in the grand scheme of things.
Luckily we aren’t all attracted to the same kind of person. That would make life pretty boring, and the journey to find love way too competitive — kind of like an ongoing episode of The Bachelor. People have different “types” that they’re into, and just because you are rejected by one person doesn’t mean the next one who comes around won’t like you.
I don’t know why it takes some people longer than others to find a partner when their heart is ready. Sometimes I think it really is because dating is a numbers game. The more dates you go on, the more people you meet, and the more likely you are to find someone you really click with. Other times, I think people get in their own heads about dating and can take things too seriously too quickly. I know how hard it is to want the beautiful, loving relationship that you picture in your head, but remember that love and trust take time to build and you can’t force things.
Writing people off without getting to know them is another thing that can really hurt your dating life. Whether it’s because you don’t think you’re good enough for someone or because you don’t think they’re the right fit for you, sometimes it can be really beneficial to give people who have the important things in common with you a chance. When I first became single my motto quickly became “It’s just a date.” By having this attitude I was able to chat with guys, get to know them, and give them a chance. If you really dig deeper into my own life, did it make sense that I went on a date with a soldier who was getting ready to leave for a long deployment? It doesn’t seem like an ideal situation — especially for someone who isn’t keen on doing long distance — but going on that first date with Robert and giving him a chance was one of the best decisions the best decision I have ever made. Seriously, I could not have known two Octobers ago that going out to a little Italian restaurant with someone I met online was going to be a life-changing moment for me, but it was, and despite all the hard times we had during the deployment he was worth every single one of them. Giving this cute, funny stranger a chance gave me one of the most important things I have in my life — us.
Regardless of how dating has been for you, the only way you can find what you’re looking for is by putting yourself out there and trying again. I hate heartbreak so much, but the great thing about loving and losing the wrong person is that you are another step closer to finding the person who is right for you. Hearts are fragile, but they’re resilient and can heal, even when it feels like they are smashed into a million different pieces. Hang in there, and be gentle with yourself.
I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to touch base to welcome Robert home from his deployment, but I understand. I figured this was a really farfetched dream, but I also know that if you never ask for something the answer will always be “no,” so I had to try.
Before embarking on this project, I didn’t know a lot about you. Robert is a huge football fan, but I don’t keep up with sports news very much. I wanted to let you know, though, that you have a new forever fan. Through trying reach people who might be able to help, creating YouTube videos, and doing interviews with a few newspapers in Foxboro I learned a lot about you. I followed a million different New England Patriots fan pages as well as Tom Brady ones, so I read articles as they popped up on my Facebook page. I have been really impressed with your good sportsmanship and attitude, as well as your kind heart.
One that particularly touched me was the letter that you wrote to a family who just lost their young son in a tragic event. As soon as I read it I felt so incredibly thankful that you were able to give someone with such an enormous loss a small sense of comfort. I know that having you at the airport with me would have been nice, but I think the letter means more to that family than you or I could ever even imagine, and seeing that article meant even more to me than a response to my video. I feel blessed that God gave the world someone like you who is not only incredibly talented, but also incredibly kind, humble, and generous.
I now understand why Robert likes you so much, and I am proud to call myself not only a converted New England Patriots fan, but a Tom Brady fan as well. The world needs more Brady’s, and I hope other people will see that act of kindness and follow suit.
God bless, take care, and GO PATRIOTS! I am so excited to cheer y’all on in the Super Bowl this year.
This was the header in my email to Robert today. I’ve been doing a countdown since the day he left, and we are finally down to one.
I don’t even think I can put into words how excited I am for tomorrow. I am tearing up just thinking about it. This year has been so hard. My heart has felt heavy with worry and from missing my guy. I hadn’t ever experienced some of the feelings I had this past year. My long distance relationship with Robert was unlike anything I’ve ever had with another person. On one hand I trusted him 110%. He could go for any stint of time without messaging me and I knew without a doubt he was being faithful to me and that he still thought of me every single day. I knew the entire deployment that Robert’s heart was still with me, and that he would give anything to be home with me as soon as he could. This was definitely new, as in past relationships I’ve been with people who haven’t been as invested in us as they are in a job or in traveling the world.
On the other hand, though, I hadn’t ever felt the intense ache of wishing I could do anything and everything to make someone safe and protect them for such an extended period. The only feeling I can kind of relate this to was when I was with another significant other and he was dealing with a lot of stress from work that I wished I could take upon myself instead. With Robert, though, I just prayed as hard as I could that God would take care of him, and I knew that I wanted to take any bad things away from this deployment and take them on for myself. Clearly this is not possible, but I am always in awe of the love you feel for someone when you want to take away their pain or suffering. This is likely only a very small fraction of the way Jesus felt with us.
Anyway, I honestly cannot believe I’m going to be seeing him tomorrow. Not on Skype, not in a picture, and not online. IN PERSON. What?!?! This is so crazy. I really can’t contain my excitement; I’ve wanted to tell everyone I talked to today. I told people when I was in line at the store buying red white and blue balloons to take to the airport, I told the lady at the craft store when I got supplies to make a sign, and I announced it to any stranger who would listen. I even felt like getting pulled over due to a lack of vision in my car from the balloons wouldn’t be so bad — it would just be another opportunity to tell someone about the exciting day I had planned tomorrow (Just kidding, I’m not insane. But seriously, I don’t think many people can empathize with just how excited I am!!!!!)!
I will close with saying that I don’t know whether I’m going to laugh, cry, or freeze when I see Robert tomorrow. I don’t think it will feel real. I’ll do my best to tell you what it’s like getting to hold him again, but I’m pretty sure it will be indescribable.
When I tell people that my boyfriend is deployed, they are often very kind about it and tell me to thank him for his service, then go on to ask about our relationship a little. Honestly, our communication has been surprisingly good under these strange circumstances and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime to do a long distance, long term deployment with. This doesn’t mean the deployment was ever easy, though.
One thing people often don’t really understand is how much waiting you really have to do, and how much your heart can hurt from missing your person. Worrying about how they are doing never really comes to a complete stop until they’re home — and depending on the circumstances if they are still enlisted and able to be deployed there’s always a little nervous flutter in the back of your heart.
As I’ve mentioned before, this was not part of my plan. I never in a million years thought I would date someone in the military, much less fall in love with someone who was leaving on a deployment. Before I met Robert I vowed my next relationship would be simple and that the furthest I wanted to be from a boyfriend was a short drive away. Maybe I would date someone in the city, but no more long distance for me. God must have laughed when He saw what I had planned in my own mind. He probably smiled, too, when he saw Robert send me that first OK Cupid message, and is certainly too kind to rub it in my face that I was wrong about the direction my life was going in — again.
I’m honestly really surprised I didn’t cry very much the past 10 months, as that was always what I thought long distance was supposed to look like. Now I know what a healthy and unhealthy love looks like, and realize that even when things get really hard with someone you don’t need to feel upset all the time. I definitely had my share of lonely nights and a small amount of tears shed here and there, but I would be concerned if my heart didn’t miss someone I care about very much.
One primary mode of communication is Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceTime when Robert has a good enough connection and a little bit of privacy. This is a screenshot he took one day. I’d definitely consider my “ugly cry” along the lines of Kim Kardashian’s, but even my little sniffles like this could probably hold a candle to Kim’s signature look.
The reason I want to share this photo with you is not to show off how puffy or red my face gets when I’m upset (Though I do think I might outshine Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in that regard), and I certainly don’t want you to picture this the next time I talk about a tearful goodbye. The reason I think this is important to share is I am almost DONE with this incredibly tough stage of a relationship,but a lot of other people aren’t. I think the women who are left behind often get overlooked, as we are still safe and sound at home. Our hearts don’t feel really safe until the moment our soldier is home, though.
I encourage you to check in on friends who might be going through this. Not only the soldiers, but also the ones they leave behind. It is HARD being the one at home with the same schedule, but having a gaping whole in our normal social life (and I’d be willing to bet I have more support than many other women do). Hugs, coffee dates, cards, and then more hugs are more appreciated than you could ever know. Even if you have never been in this position before, I think most of us can relate to missing a loved one. Deployments just add a sense of danger to the mix, as well as long stretches of silence, and a generous dose of uncertainty.
I am fine, (That picture was from about halfway through the deployment — when it felt like forever since I saw Robert, and still forever until I would see him again and I was just having a rough night overall) but remember this message every time you meet someone who’s significant other is deployed, and give them some extra love. Soldiers give up so many comforts of a nice home, normal meals, and safety to fight for our country. We should all be so proud of them. The mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends of soldiers are all sacrificing so much as well. I can think of so many other people who I’m sure also had an incredibly difficult time with Robert’s deployment, and he’s just one person on his team. When you take the entirety of the military and add their friends and family to the mix, there are thousands of people sacrificing for each and every deployed team out there. Remember to be kind to them, and know that just because someone has a wonderful person to love, it isn’t easy when they go on this long and tiring journey.
Today’s lesson: It never, ever hurts to be kind to everyone you meet. Life can be so hard sometimes, but often even a little smile can brighten someone else’s day. I know there were so many moments I missed Robert and couldn’t do anything about it, but the kindness of a stranger made my heart feel a little more at ease. As my favorite Bible verse (1 Peter 4:8) says, “Above all, love each other deeply…”
As I mentioned, Robert and I met when neither of us really were looking for a relationship. We had one of those instant connections, but a few things that came up on our first date — namely that he was leaving for a deployment six months later — that made me think we wouldn’t really go much further.
After our first date, though, he texted me saying what a great time he had and that he wanted to see me again. I felt the same way, so we went on date after date until I finally realized his deployment was right around the corner.
When we first met I didn’t want a relationship, but by the time Robert was leaving to go overseas I had decided he was the only guy for me, and that I was going to do the 9-12 months of long distance with him, even though I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult. The day Robert left was easily the hardest goodbye I’ve had to say to anyone. The next ten months have been incredibly difficult, as I’ve missed him every single day, but he’s also put my heart at ease with how much I trust him and through the actions he shows that I am still a priority in his life — even from over 6,000 miles away.
It feels like a lifetime ago since he was here, but I haven’t wanted anything else since he’s been gone. I miss going on dates, but only with Robert, not in general. I miss having my partner in crime around, and I miss laughing at his goofy jokes, but I know the wait will be more than worth it.
I’ve been trying to think of the perfect way to welcome him home since the day he left, and this is it (Please watch the 30 second video and help me rack up views!). Here is my “THANK YOU” video to everyone who has watched and shared to try to make this happen. I appreciate it more than you know, and whether or not we can make it happen I know Robert and I will be the two happiest people in the world in January.
(I know I am incredibly goofy, but I am actually excited to have found something that makes blogging a little easier on the days my arms are really killing me and nobody is home to help me write!)
My friends who know Robert know he’s not crazy active on social media; he definitely doesn’t have a blog I can go to and read about all of his thoughts and feelings when I miss him (And in a lot of ways I’m glad there aren’t two of us who pour our hearts out to the world — that might just be a little much in one relationship, ha!).
I was missing him a little more than usual last night and did what any millennial would — I went to his Facebook page to feel like I had some sort of connection with him while he was away at work. We don’t get to talk a ton except during my mornings or afternoons, so nighttime is a particularly difficult time for me.
I smiled at the pictures I’ve come to know so well, and teared up at the one of us the day before we had to say goodbye. Then I saw something really strange on his page. He had written a Facebook status on Thanksgiving expressing gratitude towards his friends, family, and coworkers, but included this little line in the middle of it:
“I can’t believe the holiday season is here… It was over 8 months ago that I left Virginia, but the time has gone by quickly.”
What. The. Heck?!?!
IN WHAT WORLD HAS TIME GONE BY QUICKLY?!
I flash back to February when we said “goodbye” to our weekend visits. I barely even remember what it’s like to see someone outside my family that regularly.
Then I think back to March and saying goodbye in Richmond. Okay, I’ll give him that, the emotions are still raw from watching him leave at 4:30 in the morning. I still can’t go back to that day without feeling really torn up about it. I am certain deep down to my core that the day we said goodbye in Richmond is exactly what leaving for a deployment is supposed to feel like. I remember walking him out to the bus, holding his hand and feeling tears dance right behind my eyes, but holding them in as best as I possibly could until I was able to run back into the lobby and break down. I remember feeling the way Kim Kardashian must when she does her signature “ugly cry” in front of everyone in the hotel lobby. When the man at the front desk asked if I was okay and came over to try to help me feel better, he put his hand on my shoulder and had a look of pity in his eyes I didn’t recognize because I hadn’t ever earned it before. This was the first time I showed that much of myself to a stranger. I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized in that moment that I was now one of the people I had always felt bad for in the past. I was someone who had to watch a loved one leave to serve for my country, and I had someone to worry about for the next ten months.
I think back to Baltimore in April and the two precious days we had together after we thought we wouldn’t see each other again until January or February. I remember that day so well too, but it feels so long ago.
As does the first week of him being gone and the many little moments I’ve collected along the way where I’ve tried my hardest to muster up just enough strength to keep pressing forward, even when I feel like my heart might not be able to handle another day of everything a deployment has to offer. Missing him often feels kind of the same day-to-day, but I can think back to several particularly difficult moments. Pulling my car to the side of the road to cry, attending weddings and events as the only couple-less one of our group, and spending many chilly fall evenings in my PJs by myself wishing I had a snuggle buddy to name just a few.
Time is such a funny thing, and though it’s seemed very different to each of us, we both have experienced the exact same amount of time apart. We’ve also been blessed to spend the same amount with each other; it just somehow never feels like enough to me.
I’m hoping we’ll get lots of time together when he’s back. Time is easily the most valuable thing I own, and I love spending it on the people I care about most in life. I may hate deployments, but I absolutely love my soldier.
I have a journal that I write in every day of the year. It asks me a different question every day and it’s been really fun seeing the different answers I have each year — I’m always surprised to find how much I have grown in 365 days.
Last year I wrote “my Macbook Air” as my most valuable material possession. This year without skipping a beat, I wrote “Robert’s dog tags.”
His dog tags are special to me for so many different reasons. First, they remind me of our time in Richmond at his deployment ceremony. He was packing all of his bags and turned to me with a smile and handed me his tags. I looked at them and thought they were cool, then he asked if I wanted to keep them. I teared up; I hadn’t ever had a boyfriend who was so excited to give me something of his before. I had asked for a sweatshirt or two, but never wanted to be too pushy about stealing a guy’s stuff.
Another reason I love them is because they were the dog tags he got when he joined the military 8 years ago. They’ve been through a lot of training and adventures, and I feel like I have a piece of him while he’s gone. When I first got them I proudly jingled around the house until I picked up a pair of silencers. Robert has given me some beautiful jewelry, but this is by far my favorite piece.
They’re something I keep safe next to my bed and fall asleep with in my hand at night. I know it’s weird holding onto two pieces of cold, clunky metal, but to me they’re a lot more than that. They’re a little piece of someone I love very much. It almost feels like a friendship bracelet, as I have these pieces and he has his own pair with the same information on it.
I read the material I already know by heart when I miss him; seeing his name and numbers makes my heart warm. Wearing the dog tags make me feel strong and like I can handle just one more day. When you’re doing a 9 month deployment that’s all you really can do. Take each day as it comes to you.
We only have a few months left, but they feel like an eternity. I’ve been a pro at long distance relationships for awhile now, but this is different. Going on a deployment isn’t for the faint of heart, but being left at home for one isn’t either. I have so much respect for military families, and keep all of the soldiers and their loved ones in my prayers now.
Thank you to those of you who risk your life or the life of a loved one for this country. You are amazing, and the reason America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. God Bless.
You tell me not to worry about you and that you’re safe where you are — that’s cute.
If I didn’t worry about your safety I would worry about our relationship. You are in a country I would not be allowed to travel to even if I wanted to. I follow world news like I never have in the past. I pray every single day for you, and life has never felt quite as fragile as it does right now.
The days without you go by slowly, but the months feel even slower. How are you not home yet? Most of the time I am awake you are sleeping or at work. You don’t always have Internet, so I try to distract myself when I haven’t heard from you and do all I can to stay strong for you. In my old relationship if I had gone a day without hearing from my significant other but he was active on social media I would be angry. With you, though, it’s the biggest relief. It means you’re safe. I feel secure in our relationship, even from thousands of miles away or a few days of silence because I know you still care for me, as I do for you.
Even before we met I cried happy tears when I saw videos of soldiers’ homecomings. I still do, but now I just can’t wait until that is finally us. I wonder what it must feel like to have your soldier finally home; I don’t know if I can even handle that much excitement. The past 7 months that’s just been a dream of mine. Have you ever won the jackpot in the lottery? Your homecoming will be even more exciting than that. Most people never get to have a day filled with such pure joy and relief. I would choose having you home over any amount of wealth the world could offer.
I’ve learned that you can’t take time with someone for granted, and I know I’ll be able to appreciate you even more when you’re home again. Right now our love is hard and hurts my heart, but one day the word “deployment” won’t bring the same kind of anxiety and sadness. Instead, it will be something I can say we conquered — together.
I love you. Be careful with my heart and stay safe.
I’m absolutely amazed at the way my heart has been feeling. As soon as I got out of my last relationship I was excited to take time to myself and then eventually find someone in the area who I could see as often as I’d like. I wasn’t going to be in a long distance relationship anymore, and I would be able to experience what it was like having someone I loved in the same area as me.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will.
Today I teared up because I miss someone in another country. I fell in love far sooner than I would have “liked,” and never in a million years thought I could feel this way about another person.
This long distance has been different than my last relationship, though. He is so perfectly attentive and I don’t feel like we are emotionally apart, even though we can’t see each other or even talk as much as I would like. I miss our dates and playing games together. I miss people-watching and I miss him goofing off to make me laugh.
I think of him every time I see an F-150, and I listen to Brad Paisley in the car now. I carry a piece of his heart everywhere I go, and I feel proud of him when I see an American flag waving in the wind.
I’m focusing on myself and am fully working towards my own personal goals, but I cannot help but be excited for December. I feel like a teenager again with a countdown on my phone and a name scribbled throughout my journal.
This is love in its sweetest form.
Today’s lesson: Sometimes love is having all the feelings all at once. Your heart feels like it’s about to burst, but in the best way you could ever imagine.