If you’re just joining us at Powered by Sass, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.
I assume you’re reading this because your SO was deployed and now they’re home. First thing’s first, congratulations to both of you (and your family) for making it through the time apart and cheers to reuniting! Secondly, what happens now that they’re back and you’re sharing a space and life with them again?
Let’s chat about it.
Reintegration and reconnecting is a huge part (and potential problem) with military life and relationships where frequent travel/time apart is involved. From what I’ve read and experienced, it can be a challenge, not welcoming your partner back into your arms, but welcoming them back into your living space.
Sounds odd, doesn’t it?
Hear me out.
While they were away, you adapted to a completely new schedule and way of doing things.
I know I did.
You know how you like the dishes to be organized in the dishwasher, you know where you like to keep the remote for optimal Netflix browsing without having to reach too far (on the sofa arm rest and not on the coffee table), and you know that if you leave an unopened box of Thin Mints on the countertop, they’ll remain unopened until you open them.
So, what gives?
What do we do once our people are back home, aside from have them take out the trash so we don’t have to do it?
It’s important to remember that you lived with them before, so you can live with them again. You just might need to have a few heart-to-hearts about how exactly to do it effectively and happily.
Tips for Reconnecting & Re-Integrating
Your Household and Lives Post-Deployment
- Communicate. This one is huge, and if you and your SO aren’t huge communicators, it’s time for you to become huge communicators. I won’t ever try to change a person, but this is the exception. While your SO was away, things changed in your space. Normal. No problem. They also had a completely different lifestyle while they were away too. Maybe they had shared living quarters? Maybe they didn’t care about tracking mud through their barracks and have grown accustomed to little things here and there that could be of a slight annoyance to you. Talk about it. Once they’re home, sit down and chat about your expectations and ways to make this transition smooth and comfortable for the both of you.
- Be patient. It’s going to be a challenge re-adapting your new lifestyle with that of what previously existed, but it isn’t impossible. Personally speaking, I am not looking forward to those 5am alarm clocks. But they will happen. Instead of waking up in a fit of rage, I am going to take a breath and remember to be patient. Remember that neither one of you are trying to annoy the other on purpose. You’re just readapting to being in the same living quarters again. Patience, grasshopper.
- Distribute tasks and shared responsibilities. Did stuff break as soon as your service member left? Why does that always happen?! As soon as my guy left, I had to call the AC man, reset the breaker box, and take a late night trip to the vet with the dog who ate five pounds of dark chocolate at a Rover. Five. Pounds. Needless to say, some days were hard. Sit down, write up a list of stuff that either broke or that you’ve been carrying the weight of and share it! Your SO will be happy to be of help to you, especially since you were holding down the fort while they were gone.
- Inclusion. Did you pick up a new hobby while your SO was away? Maybe you went to a new gym class or meet-up or found an awesome documentary you really want them to watch. Share it with them! Include them in your new interests, and have them include you in their’s as much as their TDY/deployment rules will allow. Which brings me to…
- Decompress. A lot might have happened while they were away. To you. To them. To their friends. We don’t know. It’s very important to take some time to decompress as a couple, and even solo if it’s needed. Ask questions, but be prepared to not have all of them answered either out of not feeling like it or it going against their rules as active duty service members. Be there for one another, but also be understanding. If you find yourself needing extra help for you, your family, or your SO during this time, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. There are people out there who can help you, and they’re free! You can find resources at Military OneSource or at your base’s family readiness center. They’re there to help you.
- Honeymoon. My favorite part. The part when you focus on your love for one another, because isn’t that what brought you together in the first place? If you can get away for a weekend, even if it’s close to home, do it! If you can’t, be a tourist in your area. Go on dates! Go on walks! Have a delicious home cooked meal with red wine by candlelight! Fall in love all over again with your person and cherish the moments you have together.
Reconnecting and re-integrating your lives post-deployment can be difficult. As strange as it is to say, you can almost dread it because it can be a lot of work.
Remember to take it slow and day-by-day. Everything might not go back to normal overnight, and that’s okay, but it will get there. If you’re feeling stuck, try these tips and tricks!
Happy homecoming to you and your family. Cherish it!
It sure is a happy one on my end (his reaction is so sweet, isn’t it?)!
Question of the Day!
For my military friends, do you have any tips/tricks for how to reconnect post-deployment? Have any of these worked for you?
For my non-military friends, do you or your SO travel for work often? How do you stay connected and keep the romance alive from a distance?
Share with me in the comments below!