Reader’s Request: Redeployment

Hey friends! How’s your day been? Has anyone enjoyed Indian food yet today? :)

So I’ve received quite a few requests asking for tips when your husband/boyfriend/fiance comes home from being away for a long period of time. I know that many of you are military girlfriends/wives or are in long distance relationships, so hopefully this post will help ya out :)

When they come home, it’s quite possibly the best feeling in the world. There is NOTHING like it and is one of the very few times in my life that I’ve cried happy tears.

coming home (2)

After the fanfare, going home, making up for lost time (heh heh), it can actually be a little challenging. You’re used to being alone and doing your own thing. He’s used to being surrounded by dudes, under a lot of pressure, and doing the war thing. For some people, it’s easy to pick up where you left off, but for many, it can be a big transition to get back in the swing of life in your household.

Here are some of my tips:

1. Be patient. It takes a little while for things to settle back into your old routine, so it’s important to be patient. He’s may have seen things that he cant even tell you about, and you’ve had the stress of holding the fort down while he was away. Make sure to be patient with each other and respect the fact that you’ve each been through a LOT, in very different ways.

us (4)

2. Let him sleep. He’s just been through an intense pace for a long period of time, no days off and lack of sleep. The past two times the Pilot came home from deployments, he was SO sleepy. Usually, I’ll try to wake up him to hang out with me, but right after deployment, I let him make up for lost zzz’s.

sleepypilot

3. Find ways to make him feel involved again. He probably wants to get back into the routine too, so don’t feel like you have to keep doing everything that you have been for the last “x” amount of months. You’re used to doing everything alone, but your helper is back! Let him take out the trash, do the dishes, and other things he used to do before he was deployed.

dogs

4. Spoil him a little. When the Pilot comes home, we have many nights of his favorite dinners, planning fun things, relaxing and I’ll make him a few massage appointments. I’m excited to bring him with me to acupuncture this time, too! Usually, the Pilot takes ungodly long showers (like more than 30 minutes…sometimes he’ll fall asleep in there). When he’s been home for a while, I’ll go in the powder room and yell “The EARTH!! The earth! You’re hurting the earth and wasting water!”, but during his deployments he only gets 2 minute cold showers. When he comes home, I let him shower for as long as he wants ;)

mesa grill

5. Communicate. It’s always important to be communicative with how you’re feeling in all relationships. Being stressed out and bottling it up is so not worth it. Now, instead of having to rely on Skype or G-chat, you can talk face-to-face. If you’re having a hard time with re-assimilation, there are a lot of resources for military families. Military One Source will authorize up to 12 free counseling sessions through a local therapist. If you need it, take advantage of it!

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Have you ever had to be away from the one you love for a long amount of time? Have any re-assimilation tips that I didn’t mention??

a-10

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll see ya in the AM with a video post :)

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. Hey, I noticed that you buy those seaweed snacks from trader joes. Just wanted to let you know that if you have access to an asian market, they sell large sized packages for about the same price. They also offer the non roasted, unsalted versions in big sheets. These are perfect for using as wraps as they don’t break and crumble as easily as the roasted kind. You can also roast them yourself over a stove burner. So easy! Just FYI!

  2. Gina! You and other military wives/spouses are also heroes in my book! You hold down the fort while our military service members are protecting our country and fighting for our freedom!
    I loved this post! I know I mentioned on another post that I am a counselor who works with service members (mostly National Guard) and your tips are perfect and spot on!! A majority of the counseling I do is for post deployment and reintegration issues..communication is a biggie!
    I also do a lot of educational session/trainings once the service members are home for 30 and 60 days – I’m always looking for creative ways to present “reconnecting with your spouse/family” and not kill them with powerpoint slides!
    Hmmm…any thoughts???
    I am excited for you and the Pilot! He’ll be home soon!
    Best, Lisa

  3. Thank you for this post! My boyfriend isn’t deployed right now, but he’s in Ranger School (5 more weeks to go!) and I feel like this is training for BOTH of us to deal with deployment in the future. My biggest fear is that I’m getting a little bit too independent and used to doing my own thing. We’re PCSing together for the first time in May, so it’s nice to see that it’s possible to find a balance between military life and personal goals. You’ve been a really big inspiration and such a positive example for me through my journey this past year, so I appreciate how willing you are to share your own experience with readers.

  4. this post seems like it would be so helpful to someone in your situation! i hope the pilot get homes safe and sound….and btw that picture of viesa laying on him is so adorable, she’s looking right at the camera!

  5. My husband is active duty air national guard, so in the 5 years we’ve been married, we’ve been through some tough deployments, and we usually plan some kind of big dinner like Melting Pot for when he gets back, it gives us something even more special to look forward to and then a really fun date to enjoy each other’s company. I know you can’t wait for your pilot to get home, I know just how you feel :) I’m excited for you!

  6. This was a really great post with awesome tips. I swear you make ME miss the pilot lol I can’t wait for him to come home to you :)

  7. Fabulous post Gina! You did us military wives proud! I would definitely second the patience. And I did learn that if he acts weird in the beginning, just be patient with him and everything will fall back into place.

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you- that’s a huge compliment :)
      you’re totally right… sometimes they act a little weird when they get home, but it goes away pretty quickly

  8. My boyfriend is not in the military but we have such different schedule that we never really see each other, as he works at the airport. I work during the day, and am also in grad school, while he works in the evenings and nights, and does not have off weekends, but rather tuesdays/wednsdays (occasionally going on trips, with his free flights that he gets). I am usually all by myself on Sunday and Friday nights, unless I hang out with friends. And it is really rough. I am having trouble finding things to do on my own. I planned to have every saturday a kind of date night, because its the only night we really have time to relax together. instead of going out each saturday though, i look up a new recipe that i have never made before and make it for us for a romantic little night. really helps to try something new, and its fun!

  9. Thank you so much for this post. My man is in the beginning stages of joining the army and it is great to learn what other army wives think and how they deal.

  10. my dad was navy (and i’m kinda sad i didn’t end up with a sailor, haha), so this post was nice to read.

    made these today – i’m sure you’ve had something similar, but i vouch for awesomeness (just use black beans instead of kidney) and it sounds like it’d be right up your alley : http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Addictive-Sweet-Potato-Burritos/Detail.aspx

  11. Gina, what a loving wife you are. The Pilot is lucky to have you. This post put a lump in my throat. Wishing you and the Pilot a wonderful reunion. Take care – Linda

  12. What a fantastic post. I adore my long distance boyfriend and am mostly happy any stretch of time we get together, whether its hours, days, weeks, or months! But you nailed it on the head about being in your own routine.

    When he first goes away, and you first miss him, you focus on getting your routine down to a science, seeing your lady friends, getting the bathroom to yourself, blah blah blah. I remember getting ready for a wedding with him on one of his trips back home and I got easily annoyed because he was hogging the mirror and space and in my small room trying to fuss with his hair! I have makeup to worry about, Mister! haha. But I quickly realized how silly my frustrations were.I spent so many nights on the phone with him, wishing more than anything I could share my space with him! I’ve found that those “adjustment” moments can be easily lightened with a laugh, and a heartfelt hug and kiss. In an instant we both are reminded how lucky we are to have this or any time with our love.

  13. You have truly made me appreciate what military men, women and families go through. Thank you so much for your blog. I found this post really, really moving. Hug.

  14. I just found out that my long-distance boyfriend (we’ve been 3,000 miles apart since September 1) will have to wait another few months to move to be with me, so this post is particularly poignant. I know it will be worth it in a long run (we’ve been together for 6+ years, and he keeps telling me these months are “a drop in the bucket” and to just hold in there), but it’s so hard now. Last time we did a LD stint, it was almost awkward being back together!

    Anyway, I agree with you and others: It’s important not to overload at first, and to just enjoy each other’s company instead. I am SO looking forward to living your post when he and I are back together! Thanks for the post :)

  15. I have the utmost respect for military wives. I can’t imagine. Great post.

  16. Gina my dear, I don’t know how you manage to be so amazing. You are a fabulous military wife and inspiration to all. I definitely don’t understand your situation, I’m only 17 and still live at home (haha) but I’m still moved and impressed my your deployment posts. You and The Pilot are the definition of adorable. P.s. The picture of Pilot and Viesa is so cute. :)

  17. Ben takes the longest showers too! I always try to get him out ;)

  18. um, I just have to say THANK YOU for protein ice cream. I finally tried it tonight with almond milk, my chocolate truffle protein powder, and frozen blueberries…heaven. I could eat that everyday, and it’s healthy for me!!! I can’t tell you how excited I was about it.

    On another note, I tried to find Sun Warrior protein at Central Market today but they don’t carry it. Is it only available online? Or maybe I need to find a Whole Foods around here?

  19. My roomie’s hubby is deployed, and I have learned SO much from watching her. I plan to show her this post sometime… he won’t be home till August and she’s having a pretty rough time right now. Do you have any recommendations for those of us who are living with or close to a military wife on how to best be there for them?

  20. Hey Gina–sorry if I missed it but I was wondering how did you decide to try out acupuncture? I thought I remembered reading a while ago you hated needles and, as a future licensed acupuncturist, I’m interested in what caused the change of heart (or maybe you just really don’t like the giant hypodermics ;) )

    • Fitnessista says:

      my homeopathic doc urged me to try it, so one day i was feeling brave, went and LOVED it. i think a lot has to do with the atmosphere of the place i go to- it’s a community setting, so you’re being treated in a big room with lots of other people. there are comfy recliners, dim lights and beautiful music playing

  21. You’re an amazing wife, hottie…great post. Ha, my long showers are no longer secret. It’s the place I can think without having to do anything else. I cherish that time ;) Adjusting back to living at home is always at least a little challenging, but if anybody out there’s having issues with it, please talk to someone. You or your spouse don’t have had spent time in the Korengal Valley or Fallujah to develop isses with the experiences there. Please, talk to somebody and so you can move on and enjoy the happiness that’s you’re due.

  22. You’re an amazing wife, hottie…great post. Ha, my long showers are no longer secret. It’s the place I can think without having to do anything else. I cherish that time ;) Adjusting back to living at home is always at least a little challenging, but if anybody out there’s having issues with it, please talk to someone. You or your spouse don’t have had spent time in the Korengal Valley or Fallujah to develop isses with the experiences there. Please, talk to somebody so you can move on and enjoy the happiness that you’re due.

  23. Some of my very best friends here in Hawai’i have had their hubbies on deployment time and time again, and having them home always takes an adjustment and reacquaintance period. Your tips are great and really honest!

  24. oooo, i hope this post means that your reunion with the pilot is in the near future! (fingers crossed for you!!!)
    i am not a military spouse, but your comments ring true because my husband goes on long solo hikes every year – 3-6 weeks at a time. your tips work for our situation, too. it does take a period of reintegration when you are back together again.
    thanks, gina!

  25. Thanks for this post, Gina. While this is not something I’ve ever had to deal with directly, a man that I am currently talking with has done three “special trips” as he calls them, to Afghanistan, so this post was interesting to read for me.

    Thanks for your little bloggie. It really is an inspiration (and all the pink makes me happy :)! )

  26. Great tips! I think the hardest adjustment I’ve seen is for my brother in law who is Army special forces. It is so hard for him to readjust to not living on some remote mountain top with a crazy beard. He’s leaving again in a couple of weeks for a year and I’m sure his wife would appreciate your tips! I’ll pass this on to her :)

  27. Gina, I admire you and other military wives so much. My husband was away for one night last week and I missed him so much… then I remembered what you ladies go through for months at a time. I love how inspiring you are for other wives like you, and the rest of us!

  28. I also am a military wife-
    I notice one thing specifically about my man when he comes home that hasn’t been mentioned: his personality is much more aggressive and harsh, he angers faster, he has a shorter fuse… All of the other girls I know with a military man experience the same thing. It’s just the stress. He’s not aiming it at me, so I just ignore it and try to spoil him a little more than usual and soon enough he mellows back into his perfect self in no time. I think it comes from living on ‘the offensive’ for so many months. Also – living with just other men probably contributes to this too – they get gruffer. My sister, who is also a military wife notices this about her husband when he returns from deployment also, it is really hard on her because she takes it personally…

  29. I think it’s important for those of us back home to remember that they’re busy while they’re gone, whether they’re deployed, doing their one weekend a month or whatever. They can’t always call, they can’t always text and they can’t always email. We should be grateful for the time they do have to contact us but not pressure them. They’re under enough pressure!

    And one that I’ve struggled with personally, is that just because one of the other guys has the time to talk for an hour each night doesn’t mean my man has the same. They’re in different units with different tasks/jobs/superiors.

  30. This is a great post and I’m sure it’s going to be really helpful for some people! My boyfriend is considering taking an internship that would put him a few hours away from our home. NO WAY the same thing as a deployment but I’m a little nervous about the possibility.

  31. great post, Gina!

  32. …BE PATIENT! It won’t be the same as neither of you are the same people you were before the deployment. That’s OK. Take time and appreciate who you are now, together.

    Don’t rush into spending every waking hour catching up with family, friends, etc. They missed him for the past year+, they can wait an extra few days. Cramming it all in just adds to the stress and makes it very un-fun very fast.

    Don’t be offended if you hear things like ‘It was easier there’. It probably was. There was an easy routine with no housework, no demands outside of work, and very straightforward to-do lists (get up, do job, eat, sleep, wash, rinse, repeat).

    Appreciate that he is home and you are together, even when the little things get annoying and frustrating. Together and working through it is SO much better than apart :)

  33. “THE EARTH! The Earth!”- That was awesome :). Great post! I especially think emphasizing the availability of counseling sessions is KEY. Most people have this “We can do it ourselves” mentality, when counseling would help so much, and so quickly, so you can get past things and back to love <3 <3. Utilizing these things is wise, not weak!

  34. Although my boyfriend is not in the military — I wanted to let you know how much I loved this post — It’s an amazing reminder to ALL of us how much these men and women sacrifice day in and day out. You are a rock for your husband and you are both unbelievable warriors. Your tips are so beautiful and kind — things we can remember to incorporate into our daily lives with all of our loved ones. xoxo

  35. Great post! I think you’ve covered everything very well.

    My husband is in the Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2009. Without going into too much detail, I’ll say that my husband dealt with road clearance (i.e. bombs) in Iraq. As a result, he witnessed fellow soldiers die and was also bombed several times himself – one time in which he was injured and saved a fellow soldier’s life as their vehicle was engulfed in flames. I didn’t know many details regarding this until he came home – he tried to protect me from reality while he was over there. So I’d also suggest to anyone going through this to be prepared to hear things you weren’t aware of. Also be prepared to support your soldier as he is dealing with the emotions regarding things that happened over there. I think they try to hold their emotions in until they’re home. So you may see your soldier finally dealing with things (emotionally) that happened over there. My husband experienced nightmares for quite a while (as did several of his buddies). I tried to be supportive and always willing to listen – without being pushy and trying to make him talk. I feel very lucky that my husband got past the nightmares fairly quickly. I know for some, it isn’t so easy. I’d also say to watch out for signs of PTSD or anything else that may need medical help.

  36. What an awesome post!! My hubby isn’t in the military but I do have a cousin that is in the coast guard and he is gone a lot…and I know how strong his wife is…I definitely respect and appreciate all the military does for us and for their wives who are their number one supporters!

  37. you are a very strong woman who truly inspires me. i am so amazed by your ability to deal with a husband being deployed. i’m in the beginning a minimum of 3 years (most likely 5) of long distance for my schooling, and that is hard enough. and you inspire me, and remind me it can be done :)

  38. WOW. Roomstar, I can’t tell you how moving and sweet this post is. I was really touched by it, and my gosh, the pilot is a lucky man.

  39. It’s been years, but that picture brought it all back. My dad was in the navy and we’d wait for him to get back from Wes-Pac. The drama, watching the ship come in, watching the guys get off, looking for your *guy*! The excited shrieks and tears and all of it. Just the joy of being able to hug the person you love. :)

  40. Gina! Thank you so much for this post. My boyfriend just got back from deployment at the end of July, but when he is home he is stationed 1,200 miles away. I’m having a hard time dealing with the distance and the minimal communication. We were just reunited this week and he’ll be out here for another week. Its been amazing having him here. I have become very independent with him gone, but I feel like I am more needy now that he’s home, than I was when he was away. I’m trying not to overwhelm him, but is it wrong that I want to spend every moment with him while he is here? I’m giving him his space, but I want more time. Should I just continue giving him space and letting him decide when we get together? Thank you again!

    • Fitnessista says:

      so glad your boyfriend is home safely!
      i know EXACTLY what you mean about feeling more needy when he’s home. it’s tough, but he may be readjusting to normal life still and need some quiet and down time. it’s probably not that he doesn’t want to hang out with you, but is drained. so i’d just make sure to let him know you’re excited he’s home and you can’t wait to see him again, but let him decide?? hope this helps a little and i totally understand how you’re feeling!! xoxo

  41. VeganDebra says:

    Do you have any advice for military wives that do not look forward to their husbands coming home? Some other military wives tell me that they hate when their husbands come home because the men never stop being angry. Aside from counseling I do not know what to tell them. I know I miss my alone time when my husband gets back, so I wonder if that is part of it or if they just need to learn to adjust to each other again.
    Thanks for #funpage this… my hubby get back soon… this was perfect time to read.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’m so excited for you that your hubby will be home soon!
      that’s tricky because even though i know the adjustment is challenging, i always look forward to him coming home. but then again, he’s really amazing at separating the things he’s seem over there with his home life
      anyone else have tips?

      • MrsStarbuck says:

        I would recommend to them that they seek the assistance of their Key Spouses of unit Family Readiness Group. It’s tricky- PTSD shouldn’t be ignored and can take many forms, and you’d hate to jeopardize the servicemembers career by asking their commander, but the Key Spouses group should be made up of experienced spouses who can make suggestions, get resources or tap into the expertise of other service members anonymously. Above all- counseling. And if the servicemember won’t go, the spouse should go alone so they can deal with their frustration. They are never, ever alone in this.

  42. MrsStarbuck says:

    Sadly, I’ve seen quite a few military marriages end after years and years of stressful, prolonged deployments. The best tips I can scrap together (fresh in my mind since the hubby just returned from 7 months away) is to be proactive- both parties should be proactive realize that each person is enduring an equally hard “assignment”- one is away and performing dangerous, tiring missions and the other is at home trying to do the job of both partners. Respecting the role each of you play goes a long way when it’s been a rough day. The second is to be humble and don’t be ashamed to take advantage of the free counseling available from places like http://www.military.com (really- up to 12 sessions absolutely free). Hubby and I went after his first 5 months away right after we were married and the counselor pointed out that of course we were struggling- we were trying to act like nothing had changed when we had both been forced to make new habits and a new life during the time we were separated. Sometimes that impartial, confidential, 3rd party can give you that levity. Never, ever feel like you have to go it alone. Mission ready- family first :-)

  43. My fiancé is going to be home in May. Already reading these posts and feeling the butterflies! I hope we can adjust as well as you and the Pilot have!

    I hope that you have a happy new year, and good luck with your move, Gina!

    xoxo
    Amy

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