Communication Woes

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Communication Woes
11
Thu, 01-27-2011 - 8:07am

I promise not to come here just to whine/vent, but right now I need to and I don't want to vent to him....

I know others surely can relate and I guess I just want to hear that. He has been gone now for a week and a half. I know, I know...I have a ways to go. There were a

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2005
Thu, 01-27-2011 - 8:47am

I feel your pain!

Tricia

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2007
Thu, 01-27-2011 - 9:30am

Big virtual hugs to both of you.




iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2005
Thu, 01-27-2011 - 7:13pm
While I can't specifically relate to the aspect of him saying he would be on and then him not being there, it definitely is difficult adjusting and dealing with spotty internet connections or lack of phone availability. While Nic was deployed, not a single time were we able to SCHEDULE being online. Because he never knew when he'd have down time to be able to get online or make a phone call, and the majority of the phone calls I got (which total was like 4 I think) were because I was begging him to please call so I could hear his voice, and were at least a month apart from each other, lol

Hang in there though, vent here often, cause talking to people who know what you're going through and have BTDT are the only ones that are truly going to be helpful in getting you through it
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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 01-27-2011 - 7:27pm

Thank you so much for the support, ladies. I'm sorry that any of us has to experience the frustration of not being able to get in touch

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 01-29-2011 - 5:00pm

GRRR! GRRR! GRRRR!!!

I know I am writing on my own thread, so this is probably akin to talking to myself (geez, maybe I should get a blog...or a diary), but I need to vent AGAIN and since it's about the same thing...here I am.

So, SO and I got to chat a little bit the other morning (crappy connection, so it was frustrating, but it was something). We agreed that yesterday we wouldn't schedule a chat (one of us has to miss sleep in order for this to happen basically...and he needed his sleep and I wasn't available at the other time). I had an educational conference to attend today and we arranged to chat afterward (which is right in the middle of my day and I had things to do, but I decided to cram things in later to accommodate). So, naturally, after looking forward to it all day...I get here and...NOTHING...for an HOUR. Grrrrr! He planned to get up extra early so we wouldn't be rushed (the ONLY time we can talk this way is on a weekend day). Eventually I got a "hey, are you there" IM...before his gmail light went out in about 30 seconds. Since then...nothing. Still, I waited another entire hour. He now has to be at work in 8 minutes so I know our window has closed. It's just so damned frustrating!!!! Tonight, he MIGHT be able to get on for a few minutes here and there, but my sisters are coming over to have dinner and hang out and I feel rude having my computer open and on, waiting for a random email that may not come....and the likelihood of being able to chat at all is minimal anyway....so MAYBE we can try again tomorrow (if he isn't tired now bc he got up 2 hrs early, and I'm SURE he has been up, being frustrated too, for the last two hours). It is just a waste of time. I was in

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 01-30-2011 - 10:24am
So last night he got to pop on to email me, but not long enough for me to get in a reply. We had agreed to try a call again the same time later today so I wouldn't have to wake up in the middle of the night. Then I woke up randomly in the middle of the night...stomach hurt, all PMSy, etc. I popped online since it was close to his getting off work time...and he saw my message and told me he'd be back in 20-30 mins. An hour later...I was still waiting. Apparently, he was trying to fix their connection. Now I had been up for two hours in the middle of the night (mind you, haven't slept well last several nights and we have yet to have a decent conversation since he's been over there). I apparently lacked the enthusiasm I was supposed to have at 5am...ughhh...I DID want to hear his voice and I was glad to be able to talk, but was sleepy and annoyed and I guess looking for some comfort/commiserating. We chatted a bit about usual things and then the connection cut out AGAIN. He was able to call me back...but ugh..I just snapped. My frustration level was high. He tried to continue the chat. Asked me what was wrong. I told him I was frustrated. Thus began the downward spiral. It did not go well.

To sum it up, I KNOW he is trying his darndest..I know this.I know he has little faith in me since I have pretty much always freaked out after he left before...always convinced I can't do this again(until I do), convinced he won't ever commit to me and I'm wasting time. It's stressful everytime. For both of us. And I know he doesn't need that. I don't need that.

I realize it's ridiculous to wig out over a dropped call, especially once he was able to get the connection back, but the feelings fo frustration are SO real and the complete absence of emotional support overnight is just SO hard to adjust to. I miss him physically, I miss having things to look forward to, (date nights, etc.), I miss just being with him, TALKING (I am a talker, and quality time is my love language for sure). I feel so EMPTY for a while when he goes (and to some extent the whole time he's gone- like a piece of me is missing). It is just so emotionally hard for me to adjust to. I also know I have an abandonment complex. I had a traumatic break up with an XH, so I realize there are some triggers here. Everytime he leaves, I feel it...it's like a black hole. Like he's GONE and I'm grasping at straws to hold onto the connection. I have been trying really hard to fight it. And I thought I was doing well. The thing is, I love him so much and I just can't seem to adequately express that to him in a positive way, you know the squealy "eek, I'm so happy to hear from you" (even though I am)...when I finally get to talk to him, it's like all my frustration and holding in of feelings just bubbles up and if there is one more annoyance (dropped call), I just can't take it. And he gets very upset when I show disappointment or frustration. Takes it totally personally and then he starts to say things about what a negative person I am and how he doesn't need to hear all about my frustration when he's trying his best. It just always leaves me feeling worse about myself, about my miserable failure to be the calm, collected person I want to be...and just makes me feel so inadequate and unappreciated/unloved, etc.

Intellectually, I GET it. He just wants me to smile and he is trying to get me off the negative so I don't dwell. I KNOW he's working hard, I KNOW he's doing his best, I really, sincerely DO appreciate everything he does and it's NOT his fault the connection is bad, etc. I KNOW this. But it's not MY fault either. :( And I just needed to vent to him a little today and I guess hear that HE is frustrated with it too. He's a glass half full person and I know he doesn't like to dwell, but the emotional side of me just feels like it's not very difficult for him to be without me over there and it stings that I struggle so much with it, while to him it's just business as usual. I know this is partly just his personality. But I always feel insecure in wondering if he just doesn't miss me all that much. I NEED some verbal reassurance and some of that "I understand. It sucks" validation from him. But, at the same time, he needs me to smile through it and sound happy to hear from him and appreciative of HIS efforts. We can't seem to strike a balance. When one of us gets emotional, the other follows in the same vein and it just goes bad.

We ended up having a very frustrating conversation. I kept wanting to escape from it, feeling myself pushed to the edge and unable to deal with it. Yet, that didn't work either (and isn't terribly practical the ONE time we've been able to talk uninterrupted on the phone). He got angry. I got more upset. So we spiraled. And I just ended up sobbing. He went to bed late...our drawn out convo cutting into his sleep...and us both just feeling insecure and annoyed/frustrated at each other. I generally walk away from the emotional tug of war feeling like he doesn't even LIKE me, much less love me and I'm a big, stupid idiot for getting so upset and worked up about someone who barely registers that he doesn't get to see me for four and a half months and when he does notice, doesn't really mind it much. Shrug.

Mostly, I just feel hurt...like I get emotionally left out to dry. I admit to being emotional and sensitive and I KNOW he wishes I would be less so...but the effort of holding that part in so much sometimes just gets to me. I realize sometimes I'm not being rational, so it's not that I'm saying I want to change myself bc of him and what he says...It's that I think he's right to an extent (where he is concerned- I value him so much, and I fret a lot about losing him....yet what I do in response to that just pushes him away)....but I still can't help the way I FEEL. I just DO, you know? I just need to figure out a way to cope better. The disappointment of crappy connections and missing time with him is SO huge to me...I know he bounces back much better and I wish I could too. Is there something I'm missing? How do you deal with it? Is my personality just not suited to this kind of life? Is it just a mental thing....I need to get back in the game and suck it up somehow? If so, how?

I know I don't want to throw in the towel. He has been really trying and he did some things this last trip home that made me feel so much more secure in his intentions and I do know that he loves me. He took me on an amazing trip for my bday, he made it a point to spend a lot of time with me and he was just generally HERE, and CONNECTED in a way that meant a lot to me and made me quiet some of those doubts in my brain that keep me worrying through the long months away. He really made me happy.

But I know he has doubts and a lot of those are related to how I act when he is away and how I handle my emotions in general with him. To be fair, sometimes he can be kind of insensitive and block headed, so it's not all on me, but I do realize to some degree that my emotions get the better of me with regard to him and I want to have control of that and be confident in my ability to handle his absence or whatever I perceive to be a slight on his part (that may not be).

I don't know what I'm looking for exactly. This is a nice forum to vent, even if nobody reads it...but maybe someone has tips on how they deal with the lack of communication and the change in their relationship that inevitably occurs. Or am I the only one who has such limited opportunity to communicate and feels this level of frustration?

I really think I CAN do this and give him what he needs, but how do I do that while still getting enough of what I need? I am willing to sacrifice some, but I know I can't accept too little to keep me happy. How did you find a happy balance in your own lives? I'm struggling with this. I don't want to be this stressed out, crying mess. He is a good guy, he loves me, he's trying his best, and he doesn't deserve this. He needs to sleep and do his work and be able to look forward to talking to a happy me. I don't want him to worry about who he is going to receive on the other end when he goes through the trouble to call. But, what do I do if I AM stressed and frustrated? Avoid the calls? Take more deep breaths and plan out my opening lines? I don't know....I feel like I'm failing miserably and I don't want to disappoint him this way. I do not want to hurt him again. I want him to know I support him and I can be a big girl and handle it when he's away. I always calm down eventually (so sometimes the lack of communication is probably good, as it keeps me from saying things that would otherwise upset him), and I think I'm very rational when I'm not being emotional. But how do I not let those emotions rule the day? I want him to accept and love me for who I am and I can't help but feel let down sometimes when I feel he's not listening or supporting me when I need him...without his judgment....but I also know he deserves me to be at my best more often than I am giving him right now....so how can I do that? I feel like such an idiot for the long, frustrating conversations that go nowhere when I really just want to cry "I miss you" and get a big, emotional HUG...you know? What I am doing is NOT working for either of us.

Can anyone offer some suggestions? What do you do when you are losing it and you know you're about to have a meltdown? How do you keep positive through the difficulties each deployment brings?

Thank you to anyone who made it through or offers a response. And if nobody does, that's ok too, I guess. It's really nice to have a place to let it all out...so thank you for even being here.
Community Leader
Registered: 07-07-2008
Sun, 01-30-2011 - 11:30am
I'm sorry you had a bad conversation. I know those ones suck and I know how it feels to be just waiting and waiting to hear from them.

I responded a bit differently than you do, so my reactions to finally getting phone calls or IMs was a bit different. For me, whenever I wouldn't hear from my DH for an extended period of time, I'd worry something was wrong (like he was hurt or worse), so when he finally would get in touch with me, I would be so relieved that he was okay that I would end up bawling like a baby just because he was okay. My husband traveled quite a bit during his last deployment, so we had many times when we wouldn't know when we would get to talk again.

Our basic schedule (when he was at his normal spot) was that if he wasn't on by a certain time (like 2 or 3 hours after he got off work) then I would figure he wasn't getting on for whatever reason that day. I tried to just focus on the fact that there are a lot of reason he couldn't get online or call and not take it personal. In the year he was gone, there were times he didn't get on because of communication black outs, the internet being down (either due to sand storms or the satellite breaking), working late, just being really tired and going straight to bed, and his computer breaking (about 3 months into the deployment, it sucked!).

To help keep me from missing him, I set every number he ever called from with a special ringtone (one that would wake me up even in my sleep). When I went to sleep at night, I slept with my laptop in the bed next to me and set the notification for IMs to a really loud song so it would wake me up as well. That way, I could go to sleep and get the sleep I needed and still get woken up to talk to him when he was able to get on. I also had it set up that emails and IMs would go to my cell phone when I was away from my computer so that I wouldn't miss them.

At the beginning of the deployment, I wrote on my calender each time that he called, that way I could look at the calender and see that it wasn't as bad as it was in my mind. I also started writing in a journal to help get rid of my frustration.

The beginning is really hard because he has to get settled in over there and you have to get readjusted to him being gone. I hope you feel better soon. Try to focus on the good stuff and remember that it's only temporary!
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2005
Sun, 01-30-2011 - 11:31am
First of all, you are not the only one that has dealt with limited communication. It seems like everyone right now has pretty good, regular contact, so you may be feeling a little left out with that, but it is not usually the case around here. When Nic was deployed, he was gone from March to December (he deployed with rear detachment so he didn't have the full 12 months). In that time, I can count the number of phone calls I got on one hand. I can also count the number of times we were able to get his webcam to work with his internet connection on 2 hands. I heard from him MAYBE twice a week at best, but usually no more than once a week and sometimes went 2 weeks without talking to him at all.

Now, as for what I did. I emailed him every single night. It was the last thing I did before I went to bed at night and I told him everything about my day. All the little things I would have told him had he been there, no matter how insignificant. If I had a really tough day and was emotional and missing him, then I sent 2 emails. One that was upbeat, positive, and about the day, without mentioning how badly I missed him, then a second with a subject line that I missed him and a short email about how much I did miss him and all the little things I missed. I did this because 1. the daily emails made me feel closer to him, because even if he couldn't read his emails but once a week, he was being told all the things I wanted him to know, and he appreciated being included in my life even when we weren't able to talk. I know Mel also emails her hubby a lot, I think every day like I did but I'm not 100% positive. 2. I did it in multiple emails because I didn't want him to associate all the daily positive things with the "I'm sad, I miss you, I wish you were here" stuff because if he was having a tough day, too, I didn't want him to read it. I wanted him to wait. And the subject line of my email helped him know the tone of my email and whether to read or skip that one.

You say you miss things to look forward to. Well, it isn't *that* long of a deployment. Meaning, you are close enough to the end already that you can start planning things for when he comes home. Go ahead and start thinking about that first date, or maybe a vacation. Send him emails about it, make plans together when you are able to talk, or plan it as a surprise, whatever you would like. I'm not sure how it works with him not being military, but can you send packages? If so, plan a package. Valentine's Day is right around the corner so there is all sorts of lovey things in the stores you could use. Mel has done some AWESOME care packages ;-) and there are all sorts of suggestions on the web for things to include. If you keep yourself busy with things like that, it will help. Not only are you busy but they will make you feel closer to him, and maybe even excited about the homecoming instead of dreading the time between now and the homecoming.

When you aren't feeling so down, when you're having a good moment or a calm day, make a list of all the positives about your man and your relationship. All those reasons that you need and want to keep your emotions in check when you are able to talk to him. Keep it next to your computer, or wherever you talk to him most frequently, so that when you start getting upset, you can physically look at the list, read a few things off, and take a deep breath to remain calm for the conversation. If you need to fall apart when you hang up the phone, that's a different story, but while you're talking to him, hopefully that can help you stay positive. Nic tells me I'm a negative person all the time, but nobody else in my life has ever told me that so I really think it's just the difference in our personalities. Totally non-related example: our new house has a fireplace. I've never had a fireplace in my life and have NO idea how to use one. It hasn't been looked at by anyone to determine if it is clean or if the thing at the top (see, I don't even know what the heck the technical term for it is!) is even open. He wants to just buy one of those cleaning logs and light it and see what happens, but I'm too worried about smoking out our house and want someone to look at it first. Because of this, he calls me a Negative Nancy. So anyways, just keep in mind that sometimes what he perceives as negative may not be negative to others, but do keep his opinion and feelings in mind.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-28-2005
Sun, 01-30-2011 - 12:49pm

I feel the pain and here is what I've done to help me out.

Tricia

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2011
Mon, 01-31-2011 - 2:27pm

I went through a peroid last deployment where I was terrified to leave the computer bc I wanted to talk to him so bad.

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