Here's What You Need to Know About Reintegration
2023/08/10

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You’ve spent months looking forward to this moment: Reunion. After all that build-up, it’s impossible not to have high hopes for a magical moment. And that first hello?

It really is magical. But after reunion comes reintegration -- and while both are exciting, reintegration is harder than it looks. Here are some tried-and-true tips for how to make reunion and reintegration a little easier on everyone. Temper Your Expectations We have no bad news to break to you -- just reality. That first kiss back can be an amazing one, but it can also be awkward. (Nine months or a year of no kissing can do that.

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So while everyone is counting on the magical, storybook return, just try to make sure you’re ready for real life, too. For starters, everyone will have changed. That’s a reality that has taken every military spouse by surprise at one point or another. But an extended period apart -- especially one so emotionally significant -- will change both you and your partner. Your kids will have grown and changed, too. These changes may come as a surprise, and while they may create some tension at first, soon they will become routine.

At first, the giddy excitement of being back together will dominate your reunion.

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Those initial feelings of excitement and anticipation may wear off as you notice any changes in each other. If you find yourself reacting poorly, don’t be surprised: the shock of change may come hand-in-hand with some resentment. Regardless of the challenges, you may think the other had it easier -- after all, one of you wasn’t shot at, and the other wasn’t solo parenting without a partner.

Remember deployment is hard on everyone. That includes your children: while they are delighted to have their family back together, they may openly express their anger at having been separated in the first place.

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All of these feelings are normal. All of these feelings will pass.

Keep in mind that dangerous or long deployments can create their own special toll, as can those during which money problems, communication problems, or relationship and trust issues are present. Be on the lookout for those, and if you think you might fall into this category, consider reaching out for help -- just so you have a sounding board to keep you thinking clearly. 

So how do you maintain that initial feeling of reunion happiness? Match your expectations to reality.

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