3| The kids act like he’s still gone (or treat him like a guest)
I can’t count the number of times that one of my children has been sitting right next to their father on the couch and will get up and tromp through the house to find me and interrupt my shower to ask for a glass of milk. It’s like when he’s gone they forget that he’s their parent. So, when he comes home they treat him like a guest instead of a dad. They don’t ask him for help – they seek me out instead. They don’t listen to him immediately. And they want to invoke the privileges they get with guests with their dad too. In our house, when their grandparents or aunts and uncles come to visit, my kids always get to wake them up at 6AM. After the last long deployment my husband was on, they tried to pull the same thing with Dad. And that just didn’t fly.
4| Finding intimacy again can be tough
Most couples will claim that post deployment sex is absolutely fantastic. Finding true intimacy can be tough for a lot of people though. If your communication was limited during the deployment, learning to talk to each other and share things again can be tough. Talking through struggles and being open and honest after time spent apart doesn’t always come quickly and easily. Just because your service member is home doesn’t mean you’re connected right away. It can be frustrating to remember what normal was like before and not be able to get back there easily.
Ultimately, deployments aren’t ever easy on a family or a relationship. Reintegration is equally difficult. The struggles that families are facing from the up tempo of the military are getting more notice from leadership, and different branches are stepping up to help families that face reintegration struggles; but it’s still something you have to watch for and continually police yourself if you are noticing difficulties so you can try to catch any problems before they escalate.