Military Life

6 Tips for Surviving the Constant Goodbye of TDY

On a recent summer day, I encountered a handsome man at the airport…one I hadn’t seen in what felt like years.

One I hoped to see more often.

We exchanged shy glances at the baggage claim, exchanged a few words, then said reluctant goodbyes. Alas, time worked against us and prevented anything further. I was arriving home from my flight while his was just leaving, so we enjoyed the few moments granted to us.

True story.

The sad part about it is that the mystery man was my husband—who was leaving for yet ANOTHER TDY while I returned from a trip to visit extended family. Honestly? I was delighted to cross paths for even a few minutes, since he’d been on the road the entire summer.

We literally did a “Tag, you’re it!” at the airport terminal.

When you’re faced with a long deployment, advice and encouragement can be easy to come by. In fact, people will often come out of the woodwork to commiserate, offer help, or barrage you with unsolicited advice.

But when your active duty spouse is home…then gone….then back home….but mostly gone…you become well acquainted with a “not really deployed, but not really here either” military lifestyle vibe.

What to do when frequent TDYs mean your spouse lives away from home more than he or she is under the same roof as you?

Well, for starters, after a few months of this back and forth, it can begin to wear thin.

Let’s just get that out of the way. There’s no beginning, no end, and you’re not sure when “normal” (whatever that is) life will happen again.

But having dealt with this particular challenge for many years now, there is a point of reckoning that comes into play. A “this is my military life and I’d better figure out how to deal with it in some sort of constructive way” moment.

So I assume that you’ve reached that point and have decided it’s time to figure out how to make this work. To you, I offer my humble recommendations.

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