I was very excited when my husband decided to reenlist for shore duty, mostly because that meant NO DEPLOYMENTS. He would be tied for three years to a command that wasn’t on a ship, he would have no deployments, no underways, no late nights working on things that broke on the ship. It seemed like a dream come true and was perfect since we had only been married for six months before he reenlisted. It even ended up being in Norfolk so we didn’t have to move again. Everything seemed to be going my way.
Until I realized how much was changing for me. Our relationship from the start was based on a foundation of long distance and time apart. We started flirting on Facebook messenger during his first deployment way before we even went on our first date (which I had to drive up to Norfolk to even go on). Even after we got married, there were weeks and months of underways as well as duty every sixth day, so it didn’t feel like much had changed. How were we going to coexist together without these Navy-required breaks? Could we deal with so much togetherness when we had only known distance? We had been looking forward to this day for years, but were we really prepared for it?
As it turns out, I wasn't as prepared as I thought. I am a very independent person, who needs time and space alone to recharge and just be. I never realized how much time I truly had to myself living alone in my apartment for years (typing this makes it seem SO obvious, but this took a while to realize). Not only are there no nights away, but the Sailor gets off hours before me AND gets up after me. Not really what I imagined when we got engaged.
So what did I do? First, we had to learn even more about communicating with each other. Things that a married couple should already be learning (or know!), we started six months later. Living with someone else and seeing them nonstop will of course cause small fights or tension. I have learned to ask for time by myself. usually the Sailor goes out with some of his friends and leaves me the house. Or I’ll go upstairs and do something crafty in my newly furnished office/craft room, and he will stay downstairs and watch tv or play video games. He doesn’t seem to need as much time as I do; however, he does have a couple hours every day after work that I’m not home. He’s also a much more charming and sociable person than I am, so I think that has something to do with it. He thrives on social interactions, and I prefer more quiet nights.
The adjustment from sea duty to shore duty has been hard. Having this much time together is different, but a different that I can get used to. It has been almost a year, and I think we are getting into a bit of a rhythm. We always need work, just like any relationship. It’s just a matter of realizing how changes will affect you and your partner and what you can do to ensure both of you are okay.
Any of you had spouses on shore duty? Was it difficult for you to adjust?