Air Force, Navy, New Spouse, PCS

New Spouse Forced Separation

There are many reasons why the service member may be away from home. Deployments, TDYs, Boot Camp/Basic Training, Continuing Education, etc. What happens when you, the new spouse, is new in the sense you just got married and have only spent a few days at most apart from your service member? You fly solo. This is one of the hardest things to do whether you have children or not.

Handling a forced separation as a military family is never easy, no matter how many times it has happened to you. But for the brand new mil spouse, it is even more difficult. Depending on the type of separation, you may not have regular contact with one another. No phone calls, emails or even texts. This can prove to be quite traumatic for some, especially the new mil spouse who is “away from home”.

The forced separation can even be you and your spouse receiving orders to a remote military installation or orders overseas. I have a friend who years ago knew she would be moving out of the US after getting married to her then fiancĂ©. Shortly after they married, they PCSd to Japan. Their first child was born there. She was born and raised in Southern California. She knew nothing but her home. Being thrown into a new home and country was difficult for her, to say the least. Her forced separation was not from her husband but from her entire family and friends back in Southern California. When I had met her, not too long after I had moved to Japan, there were times when I would suggest we go in “town” and sightsee and do fun things in Tokyo. Sometimes it was an easy suggestion. Other times, I would have to pull her arm to get her to want to go do something fun. The majority of her time in Japan was focused on Southern California and because of it, perhaps she missed out on some of the fun things.

You see, I tried to keep my friend busy to help pass her time in Japan. I would try to get her involved with our spouse’s group functions, dinner parties, play dates, etc. As hard as it was, she was able to see the beauty in Japan. She used her time away from Southern California to get to know others and make new friendships. She and I even traveled to Guam for two weeks.

At the time I hadn’t totally understood why and how she focused everything on “getting home”. I had been a mil spouse for about 5 years back then so I too was still a new spouse in many ways. I have always been thankful for my friendship with her. She taught me a lot about life as a mil spouse, mostly patience and always finding the good in situations…even at an assignment that was not desirable. For the both of us, it was about making new military friends so that neither of us had to go it alone. We each understood the challenges and rewards of being mil spouses and the blessings living in a foreign country. Today, my home is where the Air Force sends my family. I am ok with it. It has to be so that my family and I find the good in each new “home”. If we dwell on the negatives, the time in that current location will be hard.

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