One of the things the sucks the most about deployments, besides the obvious distance, is the lack of balance. Hell, that imbalance exists even when the soldiers are BTG in garrison. There isn’t a wife that could be more understanding of the obligations and responsibilities of the Army. I spent more than my share of time in boots so I know that Army demands come before everything, even family. I understand that, I accept that, I fully support that. But I also know that soldiers can get overly used to that, to being the center around which the rest of life revolves. 90% of the time, that is how it needs to be and that’s okay. But then there is that other 10% of the time, when it doesn’t need to be that way and it shouldn’t be. And therein lies the imbalance.
Like I said, even when he is BTG, he is gone more than he is home. Between the long work hours, there are the long TDYs, the field exercises, and all the other random things that come up from time to time. So out of necessity and continuity, it falls to me to take care of pretty much everything that is involved with keeping a family afloat, regardless of whether he is deployed or in garrison. And that’s okay. It is a lot smoother and more efficient since I am the constant in our family. But there is a down side, too. Because I do most everything for him and for the family, it makes it that much easier to take me for granted. And that is when the lack of balance becomes an issue. He is gone so much that I don’t think he really realizes the sheer amount that I do, the real heap of responsibility that I have. He says that he does, but the fact is that by the time he is here, all that I do is done so he never really gets a real grasp of it.
It’s easy for a soldier to forget sometimes, that the rest of life is important, too, even if it doesn’t come first in the day to day. They get so used to being the center of the family because of the Army and it’s demands that they forget that there are times when they need to stand down and put others first. And, unfortunately, that has been an onging issue for us. He tends to take me for granted to the point that I am not even on his radar screen. He is so used to me taking care of everything that it doesn’t even occur to him that sometimes I might need a little something myself. While it is good that he knows he can trust in me to take care of everything, sometimes he gets a little too used to it. That imbalance, however bad it can be in garrison, just gets worse when they are deployed.
Yes, they are deployed and there is a whole different set of dynamics that go along with that for him. But, deployed or not, you still have responsibilities as a husband. And the fact remains that I ask very little of him. Sometimes it feels as if, even the little I do ask, is too much for him. And, frankly, that hurts. I realize that it is a bit of a hike to get to the MWR to get on a computer or to call me, and I don’t expect it every day. But, without readily available net connections in his living area, he is completely lazy about making that effort. Again, I don’t expect or need constant communication. But he knows I am going through a rough time right now. I got a message to him Wednesday, and he went to the MWR to call me. When he got there, he discovered that they had changed the rules and would no longer allow soldiers in PTs inside. So he went back to his living area and borrowed his FSR’s sat phone the other night, he told me he only had a few minutes because it wasn’t his phone. Okay, that’s fine, I understand. There was too much going on for just a couple moments, so I told him that. He told me he would try to get someone to log him on the net so he could get on Facebook chat, & if he couldn’t he would call me the next night (last night). That right there chapped my ass. He knew I had something going on. But it wasn’t important enough to him to throw on his uniform and go back to use a phone. If he could conveniently get on in his area, fine. Otherwise, my problems would have to wait. He got on FB, and we talked for a little while, with a good portion of it with him giving me shit for his own misinterpretation of something I said. NOT what I needed at that time. We got cut off, and I haven’t heard from him since. That was Wednesday. He knows I was having a hard time, but he has made zero effort to communicate with me. It is one thing to know that I am a strong woman, and for him to have faith in my ability to deal. But, strong or not, that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t need somebody, even if it is just to listen. And that somebody should be him, deployed or not. The other guys manage to get to their wives with far more frequency than I would ever expect, so at some point the excuses don’t fly and it begins to feel like neglect.
And this is where the imbalance becomes even more. When they are halfway around the world, you don’t want to argue with them. But there is a fine line between wanting to avoid conflict and turning yourself into a doormat whose feelings don’t matter, and a resentful doormat at that. Just because he is deployed doesn’t mean that life stands still, that my feelings don’t exist, that I cease to matter as a person. But then there is that tiny little voice in the back of my head that says “what if it’s the last time I talk to him?” and I know that I don’t want that potential last conversation to be an argument. So instead, it gets bottled up and it festers and you feel more and more like you are unimportant.
It just doesn’t seem quite right that I always have to put aside my feelings for fear of getting into an argument about it. I guess I feel like I should be able to tell him how I feel without it getting to that point. It’s frustrating and it just makes me feel even less appreciated and cared about. I feel like his deployment has caged me, and, frankly, sometimes it seems like being deployed has become an easy excuse for a lot of things when it really isn’t a legitimate excuse.