Military Nesties
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For those with a Deployment under their belt..

Hi! I have introduced and reintroduced myself a couple of times on this board and haven't had time to keep up with the board much in the past year or so...but I have a question and I thought you ladies would have some good insight.

 Just to recap I am a military wife, DH is in the Ohio Army National Guard and has been deployed since the fall.

 The problem I am having is, our friends....we are lucky to live in the city we are from and love and we are around friends and family, but unfortunately the "friends" we have are all civilian and don't understand the military life.  I can't fault them for not knowing much about the Army but they have been pretty poor friends since DH left and I am starting to get a little bitter.  I have not heard from many of our friends and I have pretty much fallen off the map. I know they all have their own families to care for, but is it that hard to pick up the phone and check on someone?  I get annoyed seeing some of their minor complaints on facebook and all their "woe is me" about the little stuff like..their husband having to work on a Saturday!  I guess I am feeling a little alone and I am kinda bitter that these people have not been a good support sytem.

What have your experiences been? Have you been ignored by old friends when your spouse deployed? Did you forgive them or forget them when Dh got home? I would just like to hear another opinion regarding this situation. TIA.

-Melanie

Re: For those with a Deployment under their belt..

  • Have you tried contacting them?
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  • We're in the middle of our first deployment as well and I've had similar problems. I've pretty much chalked it up to be that most people just don't "get" it. Some friends are really great and are constantly checking in, while others just go about their lives. I can't really fault them for it though, most just don't have a clue as to what military life is like and that's not really their fault. I don't think they mean anything by it-- it's just not on their radar. Also, phones work both ways! Give them a call!

    As for people complaining.  I get that it's frustrating to see people complain about their husband having to work late or whatever, but I think it's important to remember that life is not a contest of who has it worse. For them, what you consider minor, is their reality. I know it gets annoying, and I know it can be like a kick to the stomach at times but focusing on it is only going to make you feel more bitter about it. Just try to focus on staying positive!

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  • Yeah..I tried a lot before the Holidays and tried to organize a girl's night last month with little success. I am to the point now where I just want to say it "screw it". I wasn't really looking for much just a simple," hi how are you doing? We're thinking about you."

    I understand that they will never fully understand how hard a deployment is but it is a big part of my life right now and a simple acknowledgement would be nice.

    I have been very blessed with a job where I work around others who are/have experienced deployments and I have only known these people for a couple months but I feel that my coworkers are much more supportive then the friends I have had for years. It's just an interesting place to be in right now..and it's hard to imagine being good friends with these old friends once DH returns and everything goes back to being "normal"

  • image Killer Cupcake:
    Could they just be busy, or awkward, or not know what to say?

    Probably a little of everything! I guess it's not that I am mad at them...I am just noticing this shift of friends and I am gravitating to a different support system then I expected and it makes me sad and I guess when I have needed these friends the most they aren't around and I wonder how this will effect the long term.

  • image Agape.:

    I have been very blessed with a job where I work around others who are/have experienced deployments and I have only known these people for a couple months but I feel that my coworkers are much more supportive then the friends I have had for years. It's just an interesting place to be in right now..and it's hard to imagine being good friends with these old friends once DH returns and everything goes back to being "normal"

    I experienced your issue as well during DH's deployment (he was my boyfriend at the time).  I was in my final year of college, and even though I was busy and had tons of friends around me, none of them really knew quite how to handle my sadness and change of mood.  I bolded part of your post because THAT is the most important thing - you HAVE people around you that understand.  I had a coworker whose DH was on deployment with mine.  We spent a lot of time together and got to know each other and now we are extremely close.  Some friendships may end or not be as close as you'd like, but it is important to concentrate on what you DO have...and that is people that support and understand you.  It doesn't matter how long you've known them.  Good luck!

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  • I have the same problem. My Fiancee and I are dealing with our first deployment. We were dating when he first left and got engaged on his mid-tour leave. I had friends who constantly said they'd be there if I need anything and to call whenever. I tried calling or texting or fbing them. It doesn't always work. I've come to realize that a lot of them just don't know how to handle the situation. They don't know what to say most of the time. I have had some friends who are military wives and are great to stay in touch with, and some haven't even dealt with their own deployments yet. That, so far, other than 2 or 3 really close friends, have been my support and my sanity. (The other military wives live in other time zones and at least 1,000 miles from me sadly.)

    Take a deep breath and ignore their "woe is me" fb posts. I feel the same way you do when reading them about my friends. Especially the one friend who has a military boyfriend who is not deploying and won't again before he gets out. Try contacting them, plan a girls night. If no one answers or TRIES to do something on a different night, don't take it too hard, but don't stick around waiting. If they can't be there for you when you are alone and need them most, they don't need to be around when your other half is home. Good luck!

  • When DH deployed last, we were engaged then, and it was really hard on me at first. I stopped contacting my friends for awhile, but after I got out of that little phase, I had a few friends who were there for me. They aren't military wives or girlfriends, but they tried to understand. Stick with those good couple of friends and they'll help get you through.

    There will always be those people who compare business trips or long nights to deployments. Just ignore them and continue on with life. You'll have to deal with that for the rest of your time spent with the military. 

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  • I had a very similar experience with my friends. I'm not a "let's make everything about me" kind of person, so I didn't complain to my friends about DH being gone. But deep down, I wondered why my "best" friends never even asked how I was doing without DH for 2 years (on my own with a toddler and a preschooler). It would have meant a lot to me if they had asked how I was doing, maybe even asked if there was anything they could do to help. It wasn't until DH came home that they asked "Yeah, how was it with him being gone?" and I said "Uh. It was horrible. Thanks for asking." My one friend said, "Really?! We had no idea."

    I guess the moral of the story is that if you really need support from your close friends, you probably need to make the first move. Call them on a really difficult day and tell them what you're going through. It will probably help them understand where you are coming from.

    I think it can be really easy to get bitter about this, but you can't always assume a friend will understand what you are going through. I hope that you will find a way to get the support you need, and that you won't let this embitter what are probably your oldest and closest friendships.

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  • I'm going to be brutally honest here--you need a reality check.  Yes, it's really nice when other people check in on you and ask you how you're doing.  I love it when my friends randomly call or e-mail out of the blue to find out how we're coping with DH's deployment.  I do NOT, however, let my life revolve around the fact that he's gone.  I don't talk to people about it, don't get resentful when I hear friends talking about their husbands' work schedules (because, like it or not, having a spouse away for any amount of time can be difficult, and people are not required to walk on eggshells around me because mine happens to be away for a year), and really don't let myself lose friendships because the people I love have never been in my shoes. 

    Lord knows that deployments are rough.  You're making things harder on yourself, though, by getting so worked up about some things that ultimately don't matter.

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  • image Killer Cupcake:
    image NSL:

    I'm going to be brutally honest here--you need a reality check.  Yes, it's really nice when other people check in on you and ask you how you're doing.  I love it when my friends randomly call or e-mail out of the blue to find out how we're coping with DH's deployment.  I do NOT, however, let my life revolve around the fact that he's gone.  I don't talk to people about it, don't get resentful when I hear friends talking about their husbands' work schedules (because, like it or not, having a spouse away for any amount of time can be difficult, and people are not required to walk on eggshells around me because mine happens to be away for a year), and really don't let myself lose friendships because the people I love have never been in my shoes. 

    Lord knows that deployments are rough.  You're making things harder on yourself, though, by getting so worked up about some things that ultimately don't matter.

    I agree 100% with NSL here.  

    I agree too. One thing that we all have to remember is that we chose this life, and people who married regular M-F types didn't. Their perspective is totally different. My sister's boyfriend recently went to SE Asia for a few weeks for business. She really missed him, and she kept saying she was being silly, but she wasn't! People have a right to miss their significant others, and it is incredibly narcissistic to think they shouldn't talk about it because we chose a different life. That's something I think is really important to think hard about every time we get bitter at a friend. I'm not saying you're a bad person, we've all done it, but we need to check our narcissism. 

    When people hear that FI is deploying soon after our wedding, I get sympathy, which is strange to me, and I brush it off, because I'm so excited for him to go, because he is. It's a Pollyanna tactic, but it genuinely works.  

    I've seen a lot of military surprise homecomings. It wouldn't work on me. I always have my back to the corner and my face to the door. Looking for terrorists, criminals, various other threats, and husbands.
  • I agree completely with the previous posts.  Also, you need to let your friends know if you need them.  Every person is different and their needs are different.  I wanted my friends to just keep going with life as normal and not to call me and ask how I was dealing with the deployment.  I didn't want to talk about DH deployment on days I was doing good and that was when it seemed they always called.  I finally told them not to ask unless I called and was needing the support.  If you tell them what you need and want life will be easier for you.  You can't expect them to know or understand unless you make the effort to communicate to them.  Good luck with the deployment.
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  • Thanks for all the great input ladies. I am a little embarassed on how my concern came across. I guess may main point was I am dealing with a shift in friendships while DH is gone and I am kinda sad that the old friends I had are growing apart.  But I did need the sort of "suck it up" input because you are right...we signed up for this, I support what he is doing and at the end of the day I am lucky to have his love and support and he mine.

    I sincerely appreciate the support and perspective you ladies bring.

  • I definitely understand where you are coming from.  I felt the same way when my husband deployed; however, now that my husband is home I see things a little different.  My husband is now in the Reserves and each month when he leaves for his weekend drills....I miss him like crazy. 

    Like one of the poster said earlier, we can't compare the length of how long our husbands are gone compared to theirs.  For them, that is their reality and when their husbands have to work late or is gone on business for a few days, that for them is not what they are used to. 

    While my husband was gone, I felt like it was my friends who should have called me and checked on me; however, I now realized that the telephone works both ways.  I can't "expect" them to call me as I know they lead busy lives; however, getting a call out of nowhere would have been nice.

    Although, since DH has been home for some time now, some of the friends I thought were friends are no longer in my life.  I've moved on (not due to them not calling) and have found that it took too much effort to have to "maintain" my friendship with those I've grown apart from.  I'm now much happier and don't feel that burden.

    Good luck and if ever you need anything, we are here!

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