Cheering Up the Lonely: Dealing with your Spouse Being Away

This week marks the official "Cheering up the Lonely Day" (July 11), which is a day many military spouses can relate to. It can be a struggle to adjust to having your spouse away; I call it "fighting the funk". What can we do to help one another cope with loneliness when our spouses are away?

Here are some of my favorite ideas to help someone else:

  • Make them a meal. It is hard to be motivated to cook a meal when your spouse is away! So, offering to bring one to a friend who is a bit lonely will not only be helpful but give them a reason to have company for dinner!
  • Send snail mail! Getting a handwritten letter expressing how much you care about your friend and write words of encouragement! (Even an email or Facebook message could work!)
  • Ask them to do an activity like, going on a walk, hike, playing a game or even go bowling! Physical activity is proven to be good for your mind and well being as well as your body!
  • Plan a movie night in with a comedy and popcorn. Laughter is the best medicine for sadness!
  • Leave a care package on their porch, whether it is a homemade treat or a pretty scented candle, your act of kindness will make them smile!
  • Give a gift card for a treat or a task that their spouse, who is away, normally takes care of. For example, a gift car or voucher for a manicure or pedicure, day at the spa, car wash, maid service, babysitting etc.
  • Most importantly, be a good listener to your friend. Sometime all they need is to talk about their feelings!

Here are some of the ways you can help yourself cope with loneliness when your spouse is away:

  • Reach out! Call a friend or family member just to talk. Communicating with people you care about will cheer you up.
  • Offer to pet sit or consider adopting an animal. It is amazing how therapeutic pets can be!
  • Sign up for a class with a friend! Whether it is to continue your education or participate in a hobby, it will get you out of the house and give you something to look forward to on a weekly basis.
  • Participate in installation supported events. Never forget that fellow military families have been through the same situations and are a great place to reach out for comfort and support.
  • Plan a potluck dinner with other military spouses whose loved ones are away. This way, you can enjoy each others company and not worry about making dinner!

Please share how you cope with loneliness and how you encourage others to stay positive while their spouse is away. I am no expert in this area and have just begun to deal with goodbyes, so all suggestions would be appreciated!


New Member
Please stay involved in things you did before the deployment. Utilize your friends, allow them to be a blessing. My husband is out but I went through many deployments, one especially hard time was right after 9/11, my birthday was the next month, a few friends from church, decorated my class room with black ballons I turned 40, and we enjoyed the party the whole day. Allow friends to do things! When you want to bake or something like that fix the same amount and take it to another lonely person to share. CHURCH was my most help. Write daily just like you are together. Sometimes I did emails, and sometimes I had to do snailmail. Especially when kids are little, it keeps them connected to the family.
Briana Hartzell USAA

Thank you for your wonderful advice deenles4ever! Letting others help you can often be the hardest thing, but it makes the most positive difference!