Intimacy and Warrior/Lovers
By Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.
Soldiers are brave and courageous. If your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend is in the military you are brave and courageous too. We owe you and your warrior/lover our thanks, appreciation and support. I readily agreed to inaugurate Sinclair’s new Better Sex Military Corner by writing this Intimacy and the Military article. I’ve appeared in several Sinclair sexual health videos including The Better Sex Video Series. In my work as a relationship therapist I’ve assisted many military personnel and their partners. This article gives you simple tips to help keep the fire burning while you are apart.
Thanks for your service. Please share your comments, experiences and ideas by emailing my Sinclair email DrLori@SinclairInstitite.com. Visit Dr. Lori’s web site at: drloribuckley.com.
Military Intimacy Tip: Be creative.
Frequently send fun, and playful care-packages. Even in a war zone, boredom can be a problem. Ask what your spouse or friend needs to fill time such as books, DVD’s or long letters or emails from you. Do they need batteries, beef jerky or toilet paper? Dress up your package and include an “eyes only” surprise for your lover. Keep in mind WHERE your loved one is when including sexy pictures or hot letters. Many soldiers remain connected via computers and phones. Pictures may be best sent to a hard drive instead of a paper copy. When in doubt, ask your warrior/lover what works best and what she (or he) would like. When in doubt ASK (one of my most frequent pieces of advice). After asking be sure to LISTEN.
Military Intimacy Tip: Write love letters or love emails.
Any communication from home is a “love letter”. Every communication sends many messages (support, encouragement, care). Don’t be intimidated by writing. Start describing where you are as you write your first words. Describe the time of day, where you are sitting especially if it is a shared space, a place your warrior/lover knows. Be specific. You can’t be too specific in letters or emails from home. Details help readers “see” what you see and experienced creating connection. Details are sexy and loving. Details help create connection.
Military Intimacy Tip: Concentrate on presence not absence.
You miss your warrior/lover and they miss you. You get it and they get it, Don’t dwell on things that can’t change. This can be hard advice to understand. Your warrior/lover may be a long way from home, but he is in your heart, mind and thoughts. Instead of writing about your unhappiness about being alone, describe the things you’re looking forward to when your loved one returns. When you describe something that happened today use supportive language such as, “I could hear you saying….” Or I can’t wait to do this or go there with you. . Sometimes you will act just like your warrior/lover. Tell them you caught yourself sounding or acting like them especially if it is in an area where you’ve moved closer to their way of thinking (lol). When you feel your warrior/lover’s presence and communicate details distance seems shorter as time collapses a little.
Military Intimacy Tip: There are no fights in a war zone.
This seems strange advice. There are no relationship fights so important they should be continued or started at distance. Distance is hard enough and war is impossible. It can be stressful to be together after a long separation. It is stressful to leave again. It is doubly stressful to leave to return to or enter a war zone. Ever notice you aren’t really fighting about anything? Noticed what you think you are fighting about and what she thinks don’t match? Fights between loving couples happen. Ask for a time out. Take a break if emotions run too high. Reflection and time help provide perspective. You or your partner can get in touch with what is really at issue. When in doubt take a time out. Works with children and adults ?.
Military Intimacy Tip: Be Honest.
Cancer patients often experience new clarity. Facing one’s mortality as a possible reality instead of an easy to avoid abstraction focuses a mind. Soldiers face mortal danger. Just like cancer patients, you may notice your warrior/lover’s outlook and philosophy change. Honesty is always a good idea in any relationship at any time. Understand your warrior/lover may not enjoy relationship games you played easily before. Stay open to what is happening now and honestly share what you are feeling.
Military Intimacy Tip: Communicate thoughtfully.
Distance makes communication harder, colder and easy to misinterpret. It is hard to be subtle in an email. Don’t ONLY communicate via email. Break out a pen, sit down and write a letter without perfect penmanship, spell check and cut and paste. Can there be a greater sign of love in our digitally savvy but potentially distant times? Distance is overcome by careful loving effort.
Let your loved one know you can’t wait to see them. Tell them about positive things you’re doing and the things you’re looking forward to sharing together. If you use digital media use emoticons to create context. We hesitate to suggest emoticons because over use is easy. Silly is easy to create with smiley faces, but a few emoticons can help clarify a sentence or thought. Emoticons share your emotional state, something email and computers have a hard time doing. Digital media starts cold, so emoticons and special symbols you share may help your digital communication warm up.
Military Intimacy Tip: Be trusting.
Being apart requires trust. Trust can decay over time. Nothing gets old faster than a distrusting partner. Maybe people shooting at you gets old faster, but having a distrustful partner is a turn-off. Want to be a 6,000 mile turn on? Trust your partner on all fronts and don’t let your trust decay. Make up your mind to be trusting. It takes courage, but it’s a lot easier for you and your partner.
Military Intimacy Tip: Seek support from family and friends.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t avoid social activities. If you have well meaning friends or family who have that pity look on their faces and constantly ask “How do you do it?” Tell them you appreciate their concern. Let them know you and your partner are doing fine. Enlist them. Let them know how they can help. Best way to quiet down busy body friends is give ‘em a job. Keep intimate details between you are your warrior/lover. Keeping secrets promotes trust creating a special world only you share. Everyone doesn’t have to know everything all the time despite what media and social networks promote ?.
Military Intimacy Tip: Grow.
Your relationship can grow becoming stronger, deeper and more rewarding despite the distance. Humans are resilient. You have greater capacity for courage, love and devotion than you know. Stress cripples some and can kill relationships. Decide your relationship will become stronger while your warrior/lover is away. Act on your belief and follow simple military intimacy tips outlined here and your relationship will grow. You have my thoughts and support. My contact information is at the top of this article. Please share your warrior/lover relationship tips.
Dr. Lori Buckley, Psy.D., CST.