Today as I sit by my accommodation window, I cannot believe I’m actually here. Everything still feels fresh and new like the first time, nothing has changed. The vast blue ocean, clear skies, crew in their uniforms and of course me…the water baby ( as I call myself) sitting at the window still fascinated by waves and flying fish…staring into the never ending shades of blue. Things have not changed. It’s so calm and peaceful out here, no traffic, no pollution, no deadlines just a lot of peaceful time with my husband and the ocean. This makes me wonder about the months I spent without him.
The longest we’ve been apart is 7months in 2016 with 1 or 2 calls per week of 1-2minutes each. That period was a testing phase for the both of us and I never wish to go back to that time again. 7months of depressive eating, loneliness and a whole lot of double thoughts why I ever got myself into this. I lost a lot of weight even with the excessive eating. Food delivery apps became my best friends. My friends and colleagues started to worry. The only silver lining to my dark cloud was that 2minute phone call. What was worst is that my husband was feeling everything twice as hard as I was. He was without internet and away from any sort of communication from his family.
We switched to writing emails. I would send him mails 5/6 times a day and wait for his replies the entire day. I’ve never used my Yahoo mail that much in my life! Long distance in not meant for everyone and anyone. I’ve been away from home since the age of 18 for studies. Visiting parents once a year made me strong enough to get into another long distance relation. The strength my parents gave me during college worked like magic when I was away from my husband. Their teachings and motivation from college times got me through my isolated days of married life. But those were the days that shaped us today. And this is how I thought of addressing the issue of dealing with long distance relationships especially when you don’t know how long this duration is going to be. 3months? 6months? 9months? or more? A lot depends on your living situation too. Staying with in-laws has its own challenges as staying alone. Unless you are a happy loner then things is still easier to manage. Loners somehow have this amazing power to be satisfied by spending time with them.
The best way to keep yourself sane is by finding something you like and committing yourself to it.
It can be a hobby or a job. Getting into a job would be the best suggestion. You meet people on a daily basis and the mind is always occupied with your projects and targets. In 2016 I was lucky enough to have a manager who was a queen herself. Her husband worked on oil tankers. So it was very easy for me to talk things out with her and plan my leaves and work from home. Getting into a job would be the best suggestion as its a little demanding and tends to keep you busy through the months. Once the husband returns a long planned vacation is always refreshing. You can always get bored of a hobby, in other words hobbies can be short-lived, however jobs are binding and you cannot quit that easily unless you have prior planning. If one doesn’t have the acumen for a 9-5 job then getting into social service is also an option.
Follow your passion. If you have any hobbies follow through and make something out of your passion. For example if you like painting, take up a home project and paint a wall in your house. Get creative! Do glass painting or abstract art, do something you’ve never done before. If you like dancing take up dancing classes at your home.
Learn new dishes. Cook, bake, barbeque! Learn something new.
If you’re feeling depressed talk to someone, talking always helps, it can be your best friend and your family member. If you don’t want to open up to someone known, seek professional help. Someone will always be available to hear you rant about your separation anxiety.
Last and most important…learn to be comfortable without your husband, because this is a very demanding profession and we know that things won’t change unless our sailors plan to take-up on-shore jobs. Which means sailing can either be a long term or a lifetime thing. We must learn to get used to being away from them and be supportive of their career choices. After all we did marry them for the love of their profession too!
Hope this article will be of some help to the merchant navy wives and to the girls who are engaged to sailors or are in a relationship with a sailor.