I'm A Merchant Marine Girlfriend.

My boyfriend is a merchant marine. This lesser-known subdivision of seamanship functions as an auxiliary unit to the United States Navy. He's going to be working out of Louisiana (I'll be in Florida, where we're both from). His schedule is going to be 28 days on/14 days off. As a result, there isn't much of a point of him getting his own place, so he'll be bouncing back and forth from Louisiana to Florida during his time off. He's also an avid surfer, so this means that he'll likely be spending some of that free time in another country surfing. He wants me to come with him when I can, but this is going to be immensely difficult due to my schedule. I'm currently a graduate student obtaining my master's degree in biomedical research. I graduate from my program in 3 months, and then am applying to medical school. Needless to say, this is daunting. I certainly have enough work ahead of me to keep myself preoccupied, but I sometimes find myself wondering how I'll ever manage to work this out. I know this isn't as daunting as a deployment is, but there aren't really many other people who have significant others whose jobs place them in similar circumstances. Any practical advice?
ave144 ave144
22-25, F
2 Responses Jan 15, 2013

I am actually in the same situation that you were/are currently in and the similarities are uncanny. My boyfriend is also a merchant mariner. He is gone 35 days and home for 7. He has been doing this for 6 months and I'm not going to lie it has taken some time to get use to. I'm currently occupied in nursing School which had taken up most of my time. Being in a relationship like this takes allot of trust, patience and understanding from both people. I would suggest that you keep the communication as open as possible and don't be afraid to voice your concerns or fears. Share in the positives as well and cherish the time that he is home because it does go by fairly quickly. Wishing you all the best!

I don't know what sort of position you're in right now, or if you still are with this person. I too am dating a merchant sailor, he works the 28/14 like you said. He is also into surfing and kiteboarding and really likes going to Costa Rica and wherever else the surf is good. The bests advice I can offer is to stick it out or see if he can secure an even rotation. My boyfriend works for Edison Chouest and was able to secure an even schedule with his coordinator. If not, make the time that you have together incredibly special. Keep in mind that it is just as hard, if not harder for him. He's stuck on the ship without any contact with the outside world at all. He needs someone to support him back at home and to be waiting for him. If you do not think you can handle it, it is understandable. The complete lack of communication makes it difficult for any relationship to thrive. What I told myself was that someone will eventually be for him all that he needs, and I can either be that person or leave him for someone else. In my case, the thought of losing him was completely more unbearable than being lonely... and it will be extremely lonely. The important thing is to be productive while he's away. You mentioned grad school- that's great! But keep in mind that this is his permanent situation. It won't be changing. Either you can handle it as a couple, or you can't. Either way, I wish you all the luck in the world =)