For six years, I had a routine of seeing my Joel at the end of each day. Three years ago, he quit his auto technician job and joined the Maritime. Everything that I was accustomed to for years shifted a complete 180. Long months apart, limited time, and minimal days together. It’s not the easiest lifestyle to be in and a lot of sacrifices are made. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are often spent alone. Spouses are away for months and the girlfriend/spouse stays home for months on end and take care of home.
What most people don’t understand is that the spouse who’s away is not the only one who is making sacrifices and constantly making adjustments. They are not the only one who deals with stress or miss ‘home’. Back on shore, spouses/significant other worries for their safety, we get tired everyday, we stress, we make sure all the bills are paid, we make appointments and deal with everyday problems, we eat and sleep alone, and we’re counting down days. There are ways to occupy ourselves, but we can only do so much until the loneliness sicks in again. Most people will say “get out more, socialize, do something”, easier said than done. Sometimes the one person that we enjoy doing things with is not home and it makes it easier to just do our daily schedule until we don’t even notice that we have fallen into a routine.
Being seafarer’s wife can be unpredictable at times and most communication with our partner can be made through technology. We rely on e-mail, texts, phone calls, and lagging Skype/facetime dates. It is no surprise that throughout the day, refreshing e-mail inbox has become the norm and if our spouse takes a dock job, we will constantly keep our phones on us while we wait for text and phone calls. Our sleeping schedule/routine will change because we try to accommodate our spouse’s time zone (eventually our body begins to work with the time difference). It gets a little easier after the first month because we got a routine down, but each job they take does not get any easier. It really takes a toll on you every time you think about the distance, days, and just finding out how exhausting it is to do everyday things alone.
When I try to socialize, I find myself regretting leaving my home and wishing my Joel was there because I realize that I do not have anything in common with others. It is annoying to constantly be asked “When will he be back? How long? Why so long?” because it pulls you back to reality that he really is away for so long. It reminds you that when you go home, he will not be there and you run to the computer to write an e-mail that might not receive a reply for the next two days. It is extremely hard to watch people do their 9-5 jobs and go home to their spouse. So what seems like ‘jealously’ can easily turn into a depressing feeling.
We never do get use to it.