Find my previous posts on dating someone in the military here:
- Dating Someone in the Military: On Making New Friends
- Dating Someone in the Military: What We Don’t Always Tell You
- Dating Someone in the Military: What I Didn’t Know, But Now I Do
I remember when I first heard about TDY.
For those of you who don’t know, TDY stands for “temporary duty.” There are so many acronyms in the military, it can be hard to keep up. I’m still learning. LOL. That means “laugh out loud.”
When my boyfriend told me about TDY, my first thought was, “Okay, so they move you guys every 2-3 years, you’ll most likely be deployed for 1 year, AND they temporarily assign you somewhere that could last up to 6 months? WHAT ON EARTH IS THIS TOMFOOLERY?“
It was a long first thought.
Felix and I have been together for almost a year and a half, and this is our first experience with a TDY. He was temporarily in Alabama for a training earlier in the year, but we were still long distance at the time, so it didn’t really count. Plus him being in AL actually made him closer to me in New Orleans, so we got to see each other often!
This time, however, we are apart. Still in the same state, but not close together. For the past couple of months, Felix and I have been together every single day. Yes, we have our own jobs and don’t see each other during the day, but in the morning and a night, we’re together. So not having him here, even for four days, was an adjustment.
No dude around.
Just me and the pets.
A little bit more quiet time.
Another unsettling bit is that I know this is only the beginning of temporarily living apart, and that is hard to swallow.
What happens if he’s deployed and he’s gone for six months? A year? What happens when the next TDY is for four months instead of four days? The thought alone makes my stomach churn.
What happens when he gets his PCS (another acronym meaning Permanent Change of Station) orders, and what if they come earlier than expected? Do I move with him? Do girlfriends do that? Do I stay in DC? Move back to New Orleans? What do I do? What is this life? Where do babies come from?
Sometimes I forget how uncertain this lifestyle is.
Sometimes I get spoiled to seeing him every night by 6:30pm and having the weekends together and fancy trips to Ireland and Saturday morning strolls to the farmer’s market.
Sometimes I forget how quickly it can all change.
Though these past four days haven’t been miserable, they’ve been different, but like they say in the award-winning, all-star cast, best Canadian “TV drama” of all time, Degrassi, “whatever it takes, I know I can make it through.“
“If I hold out (if I do), I know I can make it through.”
I’m beginning to think this song perfectly describes my relationship with trying not to eat the ice cream in the freezer.
Here’s how I’m making it through my first TDY:
- Maintain a similar schedule.
Wake up around the same time you did when your SO was home and keep a similar schedule as you did too. For me, this means early morning workouts, blogging time in the morning before I head to work, taking an afternoon walk with the dog, preparing meals, etc. It helps you have a sense of normalcy, even if you aren’t normal in the least. #me
- Check in with your SO as often as possible.
Felix and I text throughout the day as it is, and just because he’s away doesn’t mean this has to change. Google Hangouts is also another alternative in case your SO can’t access their phones throughout the day for whatever reason. FaceTiming is also a great option to try to do daily if you can. Thanks, technology! *thumbs up*
- Keep the trust.
Getting a little serious here, but if anyone knows about trust issues, it’s me, and it has nothing to do with my current relationship. Sometimes its easy for feelings of distrust to surface when your parter is away. What are they doing? Who all is there? ARE THE GIRLS PRETTY? I HATE THEM. I’ve had all of these thoughts before. The awful phrase of “What happens at TDY stays at TDY” doesn’t really help either, and if you ask me, those who look at TDY as a way to act out and go crazy are absurd. Dump ’em immediately. And if it’s you that acts a fool during this time apart, dump yourself. Trust your partner. Yes, they’ll have fun during their time away. They’ll be seeing familiar faces and there will be socials and gatherings, but they’re there for work first. That’s their primary focus. Also, they love you and you’re a badass rockstar woman/man, so don’t forget that just because they’re away.
- Have a girl’s night.
Sometimes it can be a little awkward to declare a girl’s night in an apartment you share with a man and two dude pets. Let’s be real. Use this time to have a friend over to hang out and chat with, or, if you’re me, carve pumpkins, drink beer, and watch the third Presidential debate with.
- Do everything your partner typically frowns upon while you can!
For me that means not making the bed, leaving my shoes out, throwing my jacket over the backs of chairs, painting my nails in the living room and not cleaning up the mess until the morning after. It’s so liberating! MAKE A MESS! BE GROSS! Also, you can eat their snacks and blame it on the dog and they will never, ever know.
The most important thing to remember is that TDY is temporary. You can do it. They can do it. Time will pass and they will be back home asking you to make your side of the bed and questioning where all of the kettle corn went.
Until then, enjoy your time watching your favorite TV shows, eating your favorite takeout, and *drinking wine with breakfast without judgment.
*I don’t do this, but it seems great.