Deployment: Stay or go?
Published: March 19, 2011
Many spouses agonize over whether to move closer to family during deployment. One reader struggling with that dilemma allowed me to share her question with friends on the Spouse Calls Facebook page. It garnered some good advice from spouses and active duty members alike. Here’s the question followed by a sampling of the answers.
I’m living overseas with my husband. He’s going to be deploying this summer. I’ve been contemplating whether I should move back to the States during his deployment or stay here. I have been away from my husband once before because of deployment. He was here in Germany before he deployed, while I stayed in the States with family. It was extremely hard for me at home because I felt alone. No one truly understands my lifestyle. I feel right now I should stay here in Germany so I have the resources while he’s deployed. Is there any advice you can give me?
The two of you are joined at the heart and life by a common purpose: Standing for freedom around the world. That purpose must drive your decisions. Unless you share in the purpose of his deployment, you will end up resenting the time apart, and the loneliness and heartache of being apart will serve no grander cause. It may even cause bitterness.
— Nancy Adams
Stay in Germany. The heart and location of the purpose the two of you share is in his unit in Germany. Make yourself a part of that unit while he is gone. It may take diligence and humility on your part, but they are your “family” in this noble purpose. If you do that, you will find friends like none you have ever known.
— Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Scott Adams, Air Force Reserve
Sounds like you’ve answered your own question and would like reassurance of your decision, so here it is: You’re right. You should stay where the resources and other spouses are. You know firsthand what happens when you stay with family. They love us, but they simply can’t (be expected to) meet the needs of a spouse/family of the deployed. The suggestion to make yourself a part of the unit is excellent advice. Even if all you do is show up for a few activities now and then, it will help you and help them to get to know you and that you’re there.
— Diana Hartman
I stayed at the base unit while my husband was deployed many times. Both my husband and I developed relationships while we were apart that enriched our lives. I would’ve rather had my husband with me all 30 years of his career, but I would not replace the friendships I developed while he was away, nor he his. Get involved with the unit. You may find you will soar in ways you never imagined. The chapels have support groups and the family center has excellent resources for deployed members’ families.
— Debra Young
I have deployed twice, and my wife made different decisions each time. The first deployment she lived around family (in the States) and the second she stayed at our assignment. She has said she was definitely happier and coped better during my second deployment. As much as we love our families and they love us … (they) can be the cause of the greatest hurt and disappointments. Trying to deal with that on top of being apart from your spouse is too much for one person to handle. Choosing to stay where you are while your husband is gone sends the message that you truly support the career he has chosen. It felt good for me knowing that my wife was still at home maintaining our home life instead of living a temporary life without me somewhere else.