13 Ways to Deal with Valentine’s Day During Deployment

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Valentine’s Day can be a tough time for military spouses and significant others… especially during deployment. It seems like the whole world is celebrating love, but yours is thousands of miles away. What’s a military spouse to do?

Enter thirteen military spouses who have been there, done that. I reached out to a network of amazing women and asked them to share what gets them through a deployment Valentine’s Day. And they answered with some phenomenal ideas, tips, and stories.

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1. Remember the reunion

“Eyes on the prize, my sister! The reunion the two of you will experience soon will far surpass any Valentine’s Day dinner ♥️ Nevertheless, it’s hard to be apart. I love doing a Valentine care package – helps to ‘take care’ of your other half while they’re far away. Just shipped mine today!” – Laura

2. Pal around with your gals

“Go on a date with a girlfriend! Do something fun that will keep your mind off Valentine’s Day (in other words, avoid going to dinner at a popular date night restaurant!). I remember going out with my best friend while my husband was in Afghanistan, and it was special because despite living in the same city, we didn’t see each other as often as we would have liked. The holiday prompted us to make the time to get together!” -Stephanie, Poppin’ Smoke

3. Dial down the stress

“Do what you want to do about the holiday. Maybe that is buying yourself some chocolate, maybe it is inviting friends over for dinner, or maybe doing something fun for your kids. Don’t overstress it.” -Julie, Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life

4. Be your best Valentine

“Be kind to yourself. Often when things get stressful, we can be our own worst enemy. Negative self-talk does not serve you well. If you wouldn’t talk that way to someone you love, you shouldn’t talk that way to yourself.” -Lacey, The Military Money Expert

5. Make a recording

“Encourage your spouse to make a United Through Reading recording at a site near them or on our app! And then watch it :) ” -Jessica, United Through Reading

6. Get Skype savvy

“I have two [pieces of advice]: open the care packages on Skype or FaceTime in real time on that day and have a Valentine’s Day girlfriend party at home while spouse is deployed. No reason to be alone, celebrate with the spouse online and then meet real true friends for girls party at home. It works great especially for when many friends’ spouses are deployed.” -Patrizia

7. Know your triggers

“Avoid social media and romantic restaurants if seeing other couples having a date night is a trigger for you (it can be for me too!) It’s only one day and it too will pass.” -Becky, Brave Crate

Celebrating Valentine's Day without your loved one this year? Here are 13 ways to do that without staying inside, under the covers, and crying all night. #military #deployment #valentinesday #vday #ldr #longdistancerelationship #longdistance #relationship #milso #milsos #jomygosh #milspouses #milfam #militaryfamily

8. Lift your spirits

“The thing I’ve found that helps me the most is to not be alone on special days you’d normally celebrate together. It’s tempting to stay home and mope, but do something with friends or find a social event and go, even if you don’t feel like it. It will lift your spirits and help it feel festive!” -Emily, Profiles in Pride

9. Know what’s best for you

“My daughter and I had a favorite brunch spot when [my husband] was deployed. We went every Saturday as a ‘countdown’ till he came home. It became a special spot for us. So on Valentine’s Day, I ordered take out from there. Then we brought it home, and I put everything on ‘fancy’ Valentine’s Day plates (by fancy, I mean the dollar hotspot plastic plates from Target), and we drank out drinks out of champagne flutes. It was a really fun memory. Afterwards, I put my daughter to bed, and poured myself wine and watched romcoms. For me, I knew staying in was the better option. Going out on Valentine’s Day and seeing other couples would just put me in self-pity mode. So bringing the Valentine’s Day home was the best thing for me.” -Hana, Semper Ag

10. Get a babysitter

“Consider doing a babysitter swap with another parent. You watch their kids on Valentine’s Day, then they watch your kids while you go out with some friends on a different day! It lets you plan a special event or Galentines outing without having to pay for childcare, and is a much-needed distraction for a deployment holiday.” -Lizann, Seasoned Spouse

11. Read together

“My husband and I have decided on a book together. He will take his with him and I will have mine and we would plan days while he is gone to read a chapter ‘together.'” -Brianna, advisory board member of Military Family Advisory Network

12. Figure out the gift situation

“Communicate clearly with your spouse about gifts. If you want flowers delivered, ask for flowers. Save both of you from additional emotional stress and clearly communicate expectations.” -Evie, InDependent

13. Don’t let PCSing get you down

“In a cruel twist of fate, your deployment Valentine’s Day may fall on the flip side of a PCS and you haven’t quite figured out who your people are yet. If Murphy intercepts Cupid this year, let’s focus on self-love instead. You owe it to yourself to start exploring your new surroundings and ‘I’m new here’ is the perfect intro for just about any venture out.” -Kellie, Millie

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