Long distance tips

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by AWhiskeyThing, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. AWhiskeyThing

    AWhiskeyThing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    *CAUTION: MAY BE LONG*
    So my wife and I are long distance and lately we've been feeling more disconnected. Before we married, we spent a year living together which was an amazing time. It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies and we had a few ups and downs (*cough* meddling exes *cough*) but we worked through things really well. My genius self had the idea of not only enlisting, but joining a different branch from her (I'm army, she's navy) so for nearly two years we've been apart with visits every 3-5 months. At first it was alright, sucked but bearable, but now I feel like we're drifting. We fight over stupid things and in general she's a bad communicator. Like gives me the cold shoulder for a day or two until she can figure her problems out bad. Meanwhile I'm a talker, and I want to know everything so she gets ticked at me "bugging her" about her feelings. She's stressed at home and doesn't share things with me so she's constantly moody, and I'm stressed at work and can't share with her because it makes her get all protective and then give ME the silent treatment because she's mad at my superiors. How the heck do I get her to open up? I know nothing about her day, how my in-laws are doing, our phone calls last like 10 minutes.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    963
    What do you do for fun? You are right about the communication, it is pretty bad. Have you tried maybe playing a collaborative game online? I like the app, "draw something". It is kinda neat. Maybe sprinkle one thing that you think is fun every time you have that 10 minute phone call. It is the things that are good that build bridges between you, not things that you afraid of and want her assurances in.
     
    #2
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
    AWhiskeyThing likes this.
  3. AWhiskeyThing

    AWhiskeyThing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    Honestly I haven't been able to do much for fun, work keeps me busy and I have an injured hip that i recently had surgery on so I'm pretty limited. Stationed in Alaska so most activities are outdoors which is off limits for me currently. I should probably initiate some games, when she was visiting me after surgery we were driving around playing Pokemon go which led to a relaxed atmosphere and I managed to get a conversation about her current stresses out if her. I also used to read a chapter of Harry Potter to her before bed every night (she's never read the books, just seen the movies, which deeply offended me lol) but we drifted away from that because of our time difference but I can try again. Thanks for bringing that up, I forgot how that stuff puts her at ease. I know she loves me and at the end of the day she's an amazing partner and my best friend, I am just frustrated with her bottling everything and don't know how to deal with it when we're apart.
     
    #3
    greylin likes this.
  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    963
    Sending wishes to you for a speedy recovery. Must be something to play Pokemon go in Alaska! :D
     
    #4
    AWhiskeyThing likes this.
  5. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    596
    Does she also think this is a problem? Have you talked about this disconnect with her?

    What you describe is heightened by long distance, but would be an issue even if you were in the same place. It sounds like you fundamentally communicate and seek reassurance in different ways, and need to do some work to make sure you are understanding each other and giving/receiving info and affection in a way that works for both of you.

    Here are some suggestions:
    (a) Are there other ways you can keep in touch besides phone calls? Texts, emails, postcards, etc? It sounds like she's not much of an oral processor/communicator, so keeping these conversations entirely in that medium is putting her at a disadvantage. When my wife and I were long distance at the beginning of our relationship, we talked on the the phone, but also sent each other emails, which ranged from quick notes to longer explanations/apologies/odes. Written communications also give her the chance to think it over and then respond, which sounds like a necessary step for her processing and problem solving.

    (b) Do you have ways to just hang out, long distance? My wife and I used to just keep Skype open while we were working/reading/cooking, or watch the same TV show while on Skype/the phone. It was a way to just be together, without having to talk about anything.

    (c) Reading to her sounds really sweet; I recently read my wife all seven books, and have been astonished at how loved being read to makes her feel. (Now we're reading "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell," and sometimes I'll just read her whatever I'm reading as she falls asleep too.) If it's not practical to be live on the phone, you could also record chapters and send her the files. There are some easy free programs out there (Audacity is the one I've used).

    (d) Do you have other outlets to discuss your stress, besides your wife? It seems like for her, receiving this kind of stress just heightens her stress, and it may be a good idea to seek a support network (friends, family, counselor, mentor) so that you have other places to take it. It might be good for her to do the same. Often in marriages, we have the idea that our spouse is our best friend and sole support, but it's not very healthy. Building up a broader team can take some of the pressure off that relationship as you heal the disconnect.

    I also want to gently suggest that your wife may not be a great communicator, but communication is a dance for at least two. Your wife may perceive your communication skills - always initiating these conversations, pushing her to discuss feelings and issues she would rather keep private - as equally challenging. She may think about her keeping things to herself as independence and self-sufficiency, and your sharing everything as burdening or neediness. (Not that it is! But you can both be the good guy doing your best here, with very different definitions of best.) Rather than locating the whole problem in her skills and communication style, try to shift your perspective to think about the adjustments you both have to make in order to meet each other halfway. This isn't to say you have to do all the work - I think that you as a team have to change up how you support and share with each other, not just do more/less - but that if it's going to work, it's not just about her learning to communicate like you, but for you together finding a way forward that respects each others strengths and needs.
     
    #5
    greylin likes this.
  6. AWhiskeyThing

    AWhiskeyThing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    Lorienczhiu, It was easier when we lived together because I could grab a book and put my feet in her lap, and just chill while waiting for her to open up with what was bothering her. Or I'd chase her out to the gym.
    She's admitted it's a problem but that she doesn't know how let it all out, she's used to keeping it all in and focuses on taking care of everyone else. The reason I get frustrated is that she's like a soda bottle, after so much shaking she just explodes and it's usually over something insignificant that just happened to annoy her that day.
    It seems like lately she hasn't had time or made time for things like reading or Skype, and texts throughout the day have dropped significantly.
    As for venting to others, the co-workers I'm allowed to spend time with are in the same boat so we end up working ourselves into a bitter slump; seeing a therapist is a black mark on our records that prevents certain training and schools we want. My civilian friends don't understand what I deal with, all the politics and controlling.
    My wife has encouraged me to share, my openness and frequent talking is something she likes. The problem is she's at a rank where she could technically interfere, but it would rain Hell on me so she feels that her hands are tied because she can't fix my problems (she's a big fixer).
     
    #6
  7. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    596
    So, I'm going to repeat (b) above: you need to find some ways to "chill and wait" for her to feel comfortable. Often, communicating long-distance is fraught because you feel like everything has to be meaningful. I really would just Skype each other, and then read or work or whatever you were going to do with that free time anyway. If that's something that worked for you in person, find a way to do it at distance.

    It WAS easier when you just lived together. How can you take your successful strategies and adapt them?

    So... set reminders? Discuss a way to make time? Changing up how you communicate is work you need to do together, and if she is n't doing that right now then you should work together to make it happen. (These things are hard and take effort and intention! But it's how you shift the dynamic.)

    Maybe only share things she CAN fix? She wants you to be open, but it also is causing a problem. She could help you with "thinking up scripts to say in my head when X happens" or "ways to remind myself that I'm more than my job on frustrating days." She could solve the problem of "I have nothing in my fridge by sprouts and raspberry jam, dinner rescue!" This fixing-things tendency can cause problems, but it can also be a wonderful asset to help her feel like she IS helping out out and supporting you.
     
    #7
  8. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,149
    Likes Received:
    963
    It is a shame how we treat our military members. Thank you for your brave service! May you and your wife find joy together in the midst of your struggles.
     
    #8
  9. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,390
    Likes Received:
    1,489
    Uh? Is she resentful of the fact that you enlisted in a different branch and are now in an ldr? Or was she 100% cool with things? If she is frustrated and resentful of you all’s current situation, no amount of reading Harry Potter is going to fix the root problem.
     
    #9
    Spygirl likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice