Friday, March 25, 2005

Relationships during a deployment

Tuesday, I met with my old friend that I mentioned a few posts back. Her journey to Germany was therapeutic on the one hand, because she wasn't confronted with daily reminders of her husband’s death, but on the other hand it was extremely bittersweet, as they had planned on meeting in Germany on his R&R from Iraq.

She was visibly grieving, wearing his watch which was too big for her tiny wrist, his wedding band on her right thumb, and his dog tags hidden under her shirt. Her engagement ring, designed by her husband, sparkled on her left hand and was almost taunting with a reminder of all what could have been.

We compared notes about how to deal with a deployment (which I found eerie, as all my complaints could never come close to her current sufferings), and she said that they had got into a stupid argument on their honeymoon about politics, and once he left she started to let go of the little things.

That is something I have also encountered with my boyfriend's deployment. During a deployment, your relationship becomes extremely concentrated on the one hand, and extremely superficial on the other. For example, I tend to be antagonistic, just for the sheer pleasure of having a heated discussion. (I can hear the shocked gasps…*sarcasm*) My boyfriend and I are thus perfectly matched, as, superficially, we don’t agree on much. I can actually remember having a conversation with him once on the telephone where we were ramping up over something (I am sure it had something to do with the November 2004 elections) and he got so exasperated that he said: “Can we stop talking about politics?” So, I conceded…then there were a few moments of silence, so then I launched into a new topic: “Feelings!” And I asked him to express his feelings for me. After two torturous minutes he asked me in the cutest voice: “Can we talk about politics again?”

Anyways…with 15 minute phone calls, and the occasional quick email, that whole aspect of our relationship is gone…the whole intellectual intercourse part. It’s something I miss, and it is hard to let it go. And I have come to accept that just because we don’t talk as intensely as before he left, it doesn’t mean the relationship isn’t there anymore. Like the more physical aspects of a relationship, that will just have to wait until he comes back again.

I have been fighting against windmills like Don Quixote. I can write him longer letters, but he doesn’t have the time or energy to answer them all. Yesterday he flew for over eight hours, and had a two hour stop at a FOB. That makes for an extremely long and tiring day, where I have to accept, leaves little time and brain energy for challenging discussions. I have a lot of angst about this year, because I know, that no matter we do, we are going to be different when he comes back, it won’t be how either of us expected it. We will both have expectations which will have to be adjusted to the reality of the situation. I have been stressing myself out, and probably my boyfriend (although as he so kindly puts it: he isn’t prone to the emotional swings that I so frequently fall victim too).

However, now I am beginning to accept that our relationship, although different and out of its element, isn’t going to flop and die like a fish out of water (I love metaphors). Instead, it will adapt, WE will adapt. And we are offering each other the only thing we can right now: mutual support while we watch the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter.


Blogger Sue said...

It is funny how you adapt. I wish for those long, involved conversations too, but am just happy when I hear his voice for a few minutes. Too short for any words of major significance, and often I hang up thinking of a million other things I meant to say. This week has been crazy, as I know he's moving bases and I haven't heard yet. I know it's because it's likely he hasn't had a second to himself, but it does make things challenging!

1:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home