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My boyfriend is in the Navy and goes away all the time

Community Member


My boyfriend is in the Royal Australian Navy and goes away frequently. He never goes on long trips such as 6 months at a time, but goes away more frequently on shorter stints for example, he will be home 2 weeks then away for 3 weeks etc. These trips have been happening all year and are starting to get the better of me, it's emotionally very tiring to always miss him. I suffer from anxiety and it is triggered when he is away although I am unsure what the actual trigger is. He doesn't really understand why it gives me anxiety, I don't know how to explain it because I am unsure myself. All I know is that it hurts, and I feel hopeless and very alone. At times I feel I don't have the right to have those feelings and should focus on being supportive, he sees other sailor's girlfriends cope better and wonders why I cannot.

Just wondering if anyone else out there is in a similar situation, and how they might cope, or their feelings on the situation. Or if anyone has any advice as to how to cope better it would be great.

I love him very much, he is an amazing boyfriend, and I hope to marry him one day. Though I'm unsure whether I'm truly cut out for being a sailor's girlfriend.

4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi and welcome to these forums.

Reading your post, I get the impression that anxiety is your major hurdle. Loneliness accentuates feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.This is often enough to trigger anxiety.

It seems also that your bf doesn't understand what anxiety is all about. Most people are unfamiliar with the condition. They often think it is due to some flaw of personality, do not take it seriously and end up doing/saying unhelpful things. A good place to start would be to inform him. Where relationships are concerned, honesty is the way to go. Written information is available. If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you can order info resources (Get support). These booklets are free.

Meanwhile, keeping yourself occupied and distracted during his absences is the way to go. Nights are usually more difficult. Acquiring a pet has helped many people but it is not for everybody. Perhaps a friend could be talked into sometimes staying overnight ?

Are you on a medical plan for your anxiety ? If you are, taking your partner along to one of your appointments would be helpful. If not, talking to a GP yourself would be wise. It would also answer your own questions. There's no need to struggle alone. With the right help and support, anxiety can be managed.

I also suggest you navigate the anxiety section of the forums. You will find that many are living with the condition. Knowing how others in similar situations cope is always helpful. Many caring, supportive people interact via the forums...not a bad way to spend lonely times.

Community Member

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

My best friend's boyfriend is in the army, and she has talked to me about how it's hard when he's away. She usually manages, but has nights where she feels lonely. She doesn't suffer from anxiety, but still misses him a lot. Starwolf has wisely advised you to get some information on anxiety for your boyfriend. It is important that he understands what anxiety is and how it affects you. When you are feeling alone and anxious, calling a family member or a close friend could help. I told my best friend that whenever she needs to talk, she can call or message me 🙂 My best friend actually moved interstate to be with her boyfriend. She met a group of army wives/partners there, and she has social catch ups with them regularly. Is there a way for you to spend time with other partners of men in the Navy?

The fact that you love your boyfriend so much and really want to be with him long-term means that you have the motivation and the will to be a sailor's girlfriend. Seeking help from a counsellor about your anxiety could really help you as well.

It would be great to hear back from you 🙂

Best wishes,


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi SailorsGirlfriend,

May I add my welcome and also say thanks for letting us know you're feeling lonely and that your BoyFriend's work triggers your anxiety. I think I'm a bit like you. When I am with someone and they go away I miss them like crazy, to the point of almost being debilitating. I've been working through it but it's a difficult thing.

Starwolf and SM have amazing suggestions. Helping your boyfriend understand anxiety and also connecting with other defence community families is great.

There's some information on the website here about supporting someone with depression or anxiety. The info is a great start to help explain to your boyfriend. From the menus at the top or bottom of the page "Supporting Someone" then "Supporting someone with depression or anxiety"

I also jumped on the defence website and found this link


Given that however, you've found a great community here who understand anxiety and the effect on others so please don't be afraid to ask questions or just write when you're feeling lonely or anxious.

Hope to chat soon.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi SG welcome.

I was in the air force then other work particularly night shift which can give a partner similar symptoms at night, being left alone.

Also I've worked on Army bases.

What is of comfort is realising that when partners of defacto or married service persons miss them, they are often residing on bases and have each other to keep company.

The defense services is like a big family. They look after each other. If you were to marry this fellow then eventually you'd be living on a base. You'd make heaps of friends and you'd be more comforting to him as he would be doing what he enjoys. Of course if and when you had children you would be much busier. For the time being, as above, keeping yourself busy is important as is educating yourself and him on anxiety.

Read many if the threads on anxiety.

Hope all goes well in the future. Sounds like you have a nice guy there.

Tony WK