My husband has been in the Navy since December, 2013. Somehow, we’ve gotten lucky and he has yet to go on an underway or deployment, although both are slowly looming closer.
But in the meantime, my closest friends I’ve met since he joined the military have all gone through the hardships of having their partners away. While I can’t understand what they’re going through as of yet, it has been important for me to learn how to be a supportive friend.
Here are some ways how to be there for friends or family while their partners or spouses are gone:
1. Lend a listening ear, even in the middle of the night.
When a military spouse’s partner leaves, so does their best friend—the person they want to share their day with, or go to when they need to vent or cry.
By stepping in, offering to be someone they can talk to, and asking how they’re doing along the way, we as friends can be an important source of support during a difficult time.
Another tip is extending an offer for support rather than waiting to be asked for help. When my friends said goodbye to their other halves, I contacted them and let them know I was there for them instead of assuming they would come to me.
It’s not always easy to reach out, especially when someone’s dealing with sadness or depression, so taking the first step helped establish the trust necessary for friends to let me know when they need to talk.