My boyfriend is deployed in Afghanistan and is pushing me away

So, my boyfriend is with the Marines and he is currently deployed in Afghanistan. We've been together for almost a year now, and he told me straight away when we met that he was going to deploy. Even before he actually left, he started to act weird once the dates for the deployment got clearer. He told me that he wanted me to try to go through the deployment with him, but on the other side he was afraid that I might get hurt emotionally. He also suggested we could end the relationship and stay friends, and if I were single when he came back we could try to pick it up from where we had left it. Needless to say, I was not happy with that suggestion and said I wanted "all or nothing" -- and to try to go through this with him.

During the first weeks of his deployment, we talked to each other on average every 2 weeks by Skype. Sometimes it was very brief, sometimes we got to talk for an hour. But then almost 2 months ago, I started extensively traveling for work and he didn't get in touch with me at all. When I got back to my regular lifestyle, 6 weeks had passed without notice from him (I had sent him mails, but no reply). I started to get very anxious, and to send him mails inquiring what was happening.

So some 2 weeks ago he got on Skype one evening and he told me that he felt overwhelmed with all the things he had to figure out about his coming back, and that he felt all what he would want to put into a relationship was "not there at the moment," that he felt like he couldn't make any promises or keep those he made, and that he wanted me to "give it a chance" if I met someone because I deserved more affection and attention than what he could give me. I was shocked, and I asked him if he was saying that we're through. His answer was: "That is not what I am saying but I feel I am falling apart. And I said from the beginning this would be difficult."

I really don't know what to think. People tell me that emotional upsets and detachment CAN happen during deployment. But the way in which he said certain things really hurt me. I feel belittled in my efforts to stick with him and let down in that I trusted him that this was a serious relationship for him. Ever since that conversation I have not heard from him, I am suspecting (though not sure) that he gets onto the Internet time after time but he doesn't make any effort to talk to me, not even to let me know if he's alright. He actually told me that when he gets online, it's only to deal with the stuff he "needs to do" and he is trying not to "waste his time." Which of course I heard as talking to me means for him wasting his time. I know that he is in a serious situation, and I am trying to cope, but some of the things hurt me so badly that I have no idea if he actually wants me there at all or not. And it does make me feel stupid for sticking with this because I am faithful and try to preserve my emotions for him, and he is pushing me away :( Any thoughts?

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Most Helpful Guy

  • He is probably trying to focus on things and not be distracted by the relationship which could be fatal. Sounds like he likes you enough to encourage you to move on if you wanted to because he's not sure how good a boyfriend he is when he's not there both physically and emotionally.

    He probably misses you and the more he talks with you, reminds him of what could be and that is very distracting and probably causes him to be more emotional. Sometimes its just easier to block things out and deal with it later...

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    • Thanks for your reply! I do try to see it like this ... rational ... but sometimes emotions get in the way of thinking (or other way round) and I feel so terribly let down. On top of that, I am of course worried about him, and I am never sure if I am doing the right thing. Before he left, I asked him what other gfs/spouses do to support their men and he said "usually cheat or break up." :-/ wasn't particularly helpful!

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What Guys Said 3

  • I hate to say it but just tell him to kick rocks. He sounds like a jerk and I wouldn't doubt that he is just saying all that because he wants to get laid in the next four years.

    Break up and get back together in 4 years if you happen to be single? That doesn't sound like love to me

    You might have lucked out, you can find a man who treats you like a princess instead of a nuisance. Also, there's a good chance he will come back really nutty, the Marines I know are totally different after coming back... more violent and generally moody, but mentally they end up snapping over everything.

    I made this track, it's on soundcloud. I hope you like it, it's a bit of a commentary on the war in Iraq and how nutty the guys act. Hopefully he won't see any combat, but there's a reason they are over there.

    I hope you find a nice guy. Marines get paid to kill people and not get killed. It'd be awful if you wait around for him and he gets blasted, especially when you already know he wasn't committed really.

    I mean honestly what else can you do? He said he didn't want to be with you, if you ask him back it will kinda hurt you to be with someone who wouldn't stick around.

    GodSmack - Voodoo... The Joy Formidable - I Don't Want to See You Like This... Iraq War Veteran Jon Michael Turner Repents and condems U.S. actions in Iraq. link

    Honestly you want to stick around someone that will kill other humans? I wouldn't even want to live anymore if I killed someone, and it's a pretty valid assumption that if there is a heaven then anyone who assists in the killing of other people probably won't be there. That stuff isn't allowed in heaven, I hear.

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    • I pretty much agreed with you right up until that last bit. Just thought I'd share that with you.

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    • You sound really cool and I admire your integrity. A joke 4 u:

      A man is deployed overseas in a middle eastern country. He gets really horny after being cooped up with no women around. After a while he tells his boys "man I haven't seen a woman in weeks" and they say, "Oh we just use the camel" really? he says. "Im not doing that." Finally its 2 much so he uses the camel. The fellas hear moaning and laugh and point. "I thought you said to use the camel?" "Yeah, to go to town and meet a woman."

    • Haha, people are entitled to their opinions man I get that, but if you haven't been over, then you are un-informed about the war and should hold your opinion concerning its prosecution to yourself. If you want to speak in an informed fashion about it then man up, sprout a pair, join as a grunt and go over so you can see for yourself, have people try to kill you and see if you still have your libber, high minded ideals. You and the rest of your I'll so back in your air conditioned homes in your comfy arm chairs and Monday morning QB the people who fight, bleed and die to keep those fanatic nut jobs from killing any more American civilians. By the way, the Marines aren't the only ones trained to kill, the Army controls the vast majority of the battle space in country, and the Marines, just like the Army have Infantry that are involved in the real combat, but hey you keep watching CNN and hollywood movies, they seem to have made you a real expert.

  • he's got priorities and unfortunately it doesn't' seem like you are one of them. it's hard to hear but not unreasonable considering all that he has to deal with on a daily basis. a relationship is probably very very difficult at this time since there is so much going on. I don't think he is "pushing" away but rather is just coping with life the best he can.

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    • Thanks for your answer. I am trying to see his point of view but realize that I am not able to cause I don't have that experience (nor would I really want it, to be honest). That's what makes it hard. I do understand he has serious stuff to concentrate on...and I agree he reasonably should have coming back safe & sound and making sure his men do as well as his priority. I am just getting a lot insecure when it comes to him saying such stuff about the relationship.

    • i understand your concerns 100%. I think the position you are in is unenviable because on one hand you absolutely don't want to not be supportive but you do have your own feelings and concerns to worry about.

      i consider service, especially active service, to be one of the greatest sacrifices a person can make. I guess that requres the ultimate sacrifice on your end as well...

      good luck

  • I've been deployed both as an Infantryman and a security contractor. What is his MOS, his job over there? If he is a grunt then he is probably just emotionally calcified as the shrinks put it, due to the fact that he is in actual combat. BUT, since over 80% of people who deploy are NOT in actual com a and never fire their weapons or get shot at or he's an explosion even then its probably not that. If he's a POG (person other than grunt) and is trying to pull the PTSD shit then he's full of crap and you need to ditch fake ass. Chances are pretty good that the guy is just a dildo and is banging some barracks whore in between his trips to the chow hall and movie theater on a big ass FOB (base) while he makes up BS war stories or listens to the grunts talk about what they've done so he can try to bull shit everyone back home and act like a VFW hero. A lot of POGs are like that. Or he may have met some other bitch online and that's why he doesn't want to use his net time talking to you. Sorry for the hard reality check honey, but that's probably the real deal. Dump this ass clown and get someone else. Now, if he really is Infantry, then you just need to be there and support him, understand that he is a different person now, and will never be the same guy that left. Don't expect emotions or sharing from him, don't introduce any drama into his life, he will have enough to deal with. Having people try to kill you daily, being with friends as they die horribly and taking another human's life, no matter how much they deserve it, changes a man. If you are not up to this roller coaster for the next little while, then just walk away honey. Chances are though that if he is not Infantry that he and his supply butt buddies will come back with fake ass stories and fake ass PTSD trying to draw disability and praise for stuff they didn't and weren't man enough to do over there. All the way around, you are probably better off to walk. Sorry.

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What Girls Said 4

  • More and more frequently, I am hearing about couples and families who experience this kind of detachment after deployment. First of all, I really hope you try *not* to internalize the situation by thinking you made a mistake by staying by his side or that you could have done something differently to prevent him from feeling this way. Of course, I have no idea what he's experienced in the past few months or what he is thinking now, but his attitude/outlook as you described sounds like he is experiencing a lot of mental and emotional distress. He may be in a lot of pain from his experiences in Afghanistan, or maybe he just has general doubts about his ability to come back and resume normal life as a civilian, but it sounds like he's shutting down emotionally and he's trying to protect you in the only way he knows how. He probably doesn't do a lot of genuine communicating or expressing his emotions with his fellow soldiers, which could be a reason why he's coming across as rude and dismissive of you.

    There could be a lot of explanations for his behavior, this is just my guess because I've counseled a few couples that experienced a similar distancing/detachment after deployment. Either way, I think you should be aware of how hard it can be for the soldier to leave and then come back, and know that you did the right thing by giving him your love and support at the time.

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    • Thank you very much! I try not to beat myself up or ruminate over things but I will say that I get insecure at times. When he is curt and cold with me I don't really know how to react, it drags me down a lot (since I do all the waiting and worrying as well). I am a bit scared as well how he will be when he comes back and if he will still want to see me then.

  • I seriously think that its hard for both of you, I'm in a similar situation but to be honest I think he has to focus on fighting and making sure everyone is safe. he probably does want to talk, but has no idea what to say. if he didn't want you to stay, he would broken up with you. I think he is confused about what the right thing to do is. fight for you or his country. I hope your work things out.

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  • I am on the same situation right now. I’d like to know if what happened? :(

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  • Hi there. I have been involved in military life all of MY life, so I hope my answer can help you (and my current Boyfriend is military and we've gone through numerous deployments over the past 7 years)...So, what you're going through is very normal. Because this is a new relationship, your man is struggling with trying to focus on the mission before him as well as figure things out between the two of you. For one, I have to say that the position he's in could be very dangerous for him. He's in a place that requires him to be 100% focused at all times, and if he's stressing himself out over the relationship, his mind is not where it needs to be. Second, because of his job and where's he's at (and all of the uncertainty that goes along with deployments), he may be concerned with becoming too close to you if, heaven forbid, something were to happen to him. That may explain why he's been thinking about you meeting someone else and saying that you "deserve better". My suggestion would be to make him feel as comfortable as possible. Reassure him that you're there for him, no matter what. Let him know that you will wait for him and you'll be there for him during the deployment and also when he gets home. And make it clear that you want him to focus on the job at hand and not worry too much about you. All of the questions he has can/will be answered when he gets home. One thing we (spouses/signifigant others) are taught pre-deployment is that we have to take care of home so that our loved ones can focus and keep themselves safe. We are reminded, at each deployment, to keep stressful details to a minimum when we talk to our loved ones. If they are focused on bills, relationship problems, issues with the kids, etc., how can they protect themselves from the enemy? And sometimes, on the rare occasions that we do get to speak to our loved ones, they may lash out at us. We shouldn't take this personally. They may have had an extremely stressful day. They may have had incoming fire. They may have have a buddy get wounded. They may have been given orders to go on a stressful mission. All of these things can happen and they can't talk to us about it, so the natural reaction is to lash out. And, as the people who love and care about them, many times we're in the line of fire when they do.

    Sorry for going off on a tangent. I know how stressful and confusing it can all be. But the two of you CAN make it through. Like I said before, just reassure him. Try to make sure that he knows you're there for him, no matter what. The less stress he has, the better the chances that he'll come back to you safe and sound.

    And also, please don't take offense, but for security reasons, it's best not to ever mention where your loved one is at. Just saying they he/she is "deployed" is enough. OPSEC is something you'll learn (even our kids have to be taught what can/can't be discussed). But it's to protect not just your loved one, but also yourself. Good luck!

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    • All this stuff she said- there you go. My last Boyfriend was military- Marine Corps Infantry. He deployed about a million times and every time he was gearing up to head back out he'd act all funky, too.There's no right or wrong answer here, I don't think. He has to do whatever he needs to do to get through this sh*t without losing *his* sh*t. And just so you know, when my Boyfriend got out of the Corps, our relationship sh*t the bed.He couldn't handle civilian life and being a regular guy doing regular stuff.

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    • Oh I see, thanks for enlightening me :) But here it gets complicated due to the special billet my boyfriend has for this deployment. I think I can't really go into that though without giving away information that I really can't share here. I know this sounds ominous, it probably isn't (for all I know) but I don't know how to put it into correct words here. I would agree though that military life (including even prior to deployment) IS a new world for me in its entirety! Way to learn yet.

    • So he told you his "super secret squirrel billet" but told you that you can't tell anyone right? Classic. A favorite move for POGs. "I'd tell you but I'd have to kill you" is BS. If it really were that secret then he wouldn't even tell you. Especially not in any form that wasn't face to face due to OPSEC. I know I probably seem to be harping on this but I am just establishing his character and a pattern of deception here. If he is filling you full of shit about what he is even doing over there then he is probably lying about a lot more and is just using his fake ass ninja status to cover up the fact that he is cheating on you. Best of luck honey.

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