5 Things To Do When You Haven’t Heard From Your Sailor

alone back view beach calm

Refreshing your email every three minutes? The mind tends to wander when there has been a lack of communication from your sailor at sea. I have experienced this many times. Each person has a different response – you may have begun to feel anxious, sad, mad, etc. Here are a few ways to combat these feelings:

First thing to remember is that emails are not a guarantee just a bonus (more on emails here). Email can be interrupted by SO many things. Port calls are a moving target (more on those, too).

Find a buddy

Find a fellow spouse or significant other who also has a sailor deployed ideally with your sailor or a fellow submarine lover to commiserate with. It’s always nice to have someone say “I feel the same way! I just wish we would hear from them!” I have been the person who has received many emails and lets my buddy know everything is still ok and I’ve also been the buddy who asks “Hey, have you heard anything? I just need to know everything is ok.” Side note: I would have an honest conversation with your buddy if their sailor is deployed with yours regarding discussing when you receive communication. Do we want to share every time we get an email or just when the other asks? Sometimes it nice to have a friend who is emailed more frequently, especially if you do not expect regular emails. Sometimes it may result in feelings of jealousy, sadness, anger, or more. Hence the importance of conversation around sharing when you hear from your sailor. Try to honor your needs and respect the needs of others.

Attend a FRG meeting

Family Readiness Group meetings often include an ombudsman update. The ombudsman is the liaison between the command and the crew’s families. Ombudsmans receive messages from the command that include updates regarding crew morale and ongoings, which are wonderful to hear! It also allows you to connect with those who are “in the same boat”. An excellent way to find a deployment buddy is through attending FRG meetings and events. Most FRGs also have Facebook pages that provide opportunities for meet ups and share the events calendars.

Find something new to fill your time

The time we get to spend with our sailors is precious as we have these extended periods without them, however finding new hobbies or activities is helpful to thriving while they are away. This could include volunteering to help with the next FRG event, taking up baking after binge watching British Bake Off, finding a local hiking group, seeing what your local MWR has to offer for free activities. Take a look at The Submerged Life’s duty station bucket lists for Groton and Oahu or things to do tag which includes a variety of activities at the various duty stations for inspiration.


If you’re missing your sailor and your brain is running wild with questions and concerns, try recalling the happiest memories you’ve had with your sailor. Watch you wedding video. Look at pictures from your first trip together. Listen to old voicemails. Read old cards. Recall those sweet or funny phrases that your sailor says frequently that make you smile.

Try your best to think about the positive

Stewing over a lack of emails or previous negative phone conversations can lead to future ugly conversations with your sailor. Write down all those feelings and thoughts so they are out of your head. It can be in a form of a letter to your sailor if they are things to discuss in person or just simply to be written down to shred or burn to allow yourself to move on so the next time you have a chance to speak with your sailor it can be a more positive experience for both of you.

Bonus advice as it suits your relationship with your sailor:

Before they deploy, have your sailor write letters or cards for you

Letters, cards or even post-it notes. Stagger the messages throughout the deployment, this way when you’re having a tough time in-between communication periods you have something to focus on.

Discuss expectations re: boat communication before they leave

It’s best to establish expectations of the frequency of communication via email or phone calls/ video chats when they are at sea or during port calls. Each person has different wants and needs. Some sailors want daily email others don’t. Be honest but also be realistic to what the underway responsibilities entail for your sailor and their comfort in sharing while they are away.

How do you cope with no communication? Comment below!

2 thoughts on “5 Things To Do When You Haven’t Heard From Your Sailor

  1. When I heard that due to only having one computer for the crew to check emails, many incoming emails are dumped due to overload, I.e., 3,000 emails to process. So your sailor doesn’t get what you sent to the boat. That frustrates me. Low morale needs emails from home to help lift their spirits! When I complained, some spouse’ responses made me feel like I was a hovering, worrying mother… I try to send one or two emails a week. The last thing I want to do is jeopardize the boat’s position. If it means silent and no emails, I understand. No news is good news. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but what choice do we have? Their mission accomplished and their safety are priority. Glad we have each other here for support.

  2. This is my first experience with our son being underway. I gage correspondence based on him. When he emails me I respond right away. One time I sent an additional email because it was something I knew he would want to know. I try not to be they helicopter mom. I try to let him be the man he wants to be but also hear him saying “your mom, I expect for you to text or call whenever you want”. This was in response to my apologizing for all the texts and calls I asked for after boot camp.

    I also remember our oldest sons response (he too is Navy) “mom, I may not respond to your texts every day but please know that when I get back to my rack every night it’s nice to know someone at home loves me enough to reach out everyday”

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