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Supporting Single Service Members Through a Breakup or Divorce4 minute read • Jan. 27, 2023
It can be hard to know the best way to support your service member through a breakup or divorce, particularly if you live far away. Fortunately, there are many ways you can be there for your loved one, from quick check-ins to guiding them to programs and services to help them be their best selves.
Ways to support your service member
The end of a relationship can bring out a range of different emotions. It’s hard to see someone you love struggle, but you can help your service member get through any rough patches and focus on the future.
- Reassure your service member that what they’re feeling is normal. Ask them what kind of support they need. If they are open to receiving it, share your own experience with getting over a breakup and what you found helpful in getting your life back on track.
- Let your service member know you’re thinking of them. This can be anything from quick check-in texts or calls to handwritten notes or cards. Reaching out will let your loved one know that you care about them and are there if they need to talk.
- Be on the lookout for unhealthy coping behaviors. It’s easiest to fall into harmful habits during tough times, like a breakup. Learn what to look for and how to reach out for help.
- Encourage your loved one to practice self-care. Physical activity and a healthy diet can help improve mood. Nurturing their own needs can help your service member reconnect with themselves and focus on their own happiness.
- Help your service member focus on their well-being. Ending a relationship means going from “we” to “me.” This can be painful, but it can also open them to new experiences and opportunities for self-discovery. Talk with your loved one about their hopes for the future. Encourage them to set a goal or two and discuss ways they might reach them.
Resources to help your service member get over a breakup
The Defense Department offers a range of free resources to help service members live their best lives and reach their full potential.
- Free, confidential non-medical counseling can offer your service member personalized support and strategies to cope with the breakup. Non-medical counseling is available through the installation’s Military and Family Life Counseling program and through Military OneSource. Your loved one can schedule an appointment with a Military OneSource counselor by calling 800-342-9647 or through live chat. Your service member can also request a chat-based appointment online. International calling options are available for those who are stationed overseas.
- Free Military OneSource health and wellness coaching is like having a personal cheerleader to help your service member through this life transition. The health and wellness coach can work with your loved one on making a plan, focusing on results and reaching their goals — and in a way that fits their schedule and personal preferences — by phone, video or online chat.
- Peer-to-peer specialty consultations connect your service member with a professional counselor with firsthand experience as a service member or spouse. Sessions are free and confidential.
- Morale, welfare and recreation is the military’s network of support and leisure programs for service members. It provides recreational opportunities both on and off the installation. Your service member can connect with others through MWR activities and programs and even get discounted tickets for sporting events, attractions and travel.
The end of a relationship can be rough, but with your support and the many resources available through the Defense Department, your service member does not have to go through it alone.