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Vicki: Here’s How to Handle Military Separation

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I recently started dating a military man. He is leaving soon and this going to be our first time apart. What are your tips for coping with him being gone? I am in school and I do work a job, but we've always talked every night before we go to sleep. I know we are going to miss each other terribly, but I can't keep having the feeling of wanting to cry every time I think about him. What should I do?

New Military Girlfriend

Dear New Girlfriend,

Being a girlfriend of a military man will mean lots of time apart. This is something you will have to get used to, especially if this becomes a long-term relationship or a marriage.

There are no wrong answers in this situation. However, there are many ways to keep in touch now that were not available to couples even just a few short years ago. When my husband and I were dating there weren’t even cell phones or text messages! Online communications have basically made the post office obsolete.

I think you should continue moving forward with your plans. Continue to work and stay in school. Don’t make any rash decisions like moving closer to be near him. Instead, build a network of support to help you stay positive and focused during his absences. This network should include family and friends, coworkers, classmates and spiritual support.

I think military girlfriends and military spouses need their own “pair of roller skates." In other words, you need to be able to roll in and roll out if you have to. If you don’t have your own skates, there can be a power shift in a relationship that is skewed in the direction of the person who has the most education, the most money and the most resources. Every relationship should be balanced, regardless of who has the bigger career or the most income, or any other factors, but this doesn’t always happen.

So, stay in school, keep your job and let the relationship progress and move forward in time. Stay in touch with your boyfriend across the miles. Hopefully your relationship with him will get stronger. Thank you for writing me and stay in touch!

-- Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.

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