Spouse Confessions: I’m Afraid of Reintegration

Afraid of Reintegration

My active duty husband has been gone for well over 1/2 a year. He’s missed all the major holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. He’s due to come home soon. I’m terrified. Not for my health or safety at all, but for our marriage and sanity.

We haven’t fought much at all while he’s been gone. There haven’t been major conflicts, but dynamics have shifted, kids have grown up and personalities have changed some. I wasn’t ever the “meek spouse” that desperately needed him home to accomplish or care for everything.

I’m fiercely independent and proud of it.

I’ve become even more independent in the last year. I’ve gotten involved in base activities and I’ve started a new job and I’ve become very busy.

My personal interests have changed and my involvements outside the house have grown.

Since he left, it’s almost like we’re back to being two very separate or different people as opposed to the Biblical “one flesh” of marriage that we strove for.

So now, I’m scared.

He’s coming home from deployment, so should I be willing to give my things up now?

Where do I draw the line and say “I need this”?

How do I manage expectations when I know things aren’t going to be the way they were when he left?

How do I quell my anxiety so I can just enjoy my husband being home?

Divorce isn’t even a word in my vocabulary, but the last year has opened my eyes to why our squadron has a 75 percent divorce rate. How can a family sustain this deployment cycle year after year?

We’re on year four, and DH told me to expect at least two more. I can’t even imagine who I’m going to be after two more years of this.

Will he know me or I him? We live together only half of our lives. We co-parent only sporadically. He pops in and out of our lives and I’m afraid one of these times he’s going to feel like there really isn’t a place for him, because I’ve had to seal all the leaks of our family up while he’s gone.

I REFUSE to let us sink, but sometimes the patches I put on the leaky lifeboat bring about dramatic change.

My fear is that when he returns, I will go overboard and grant him everything he asks for and work tirelessly to make him “happy and okay.”

…But I won’t ask for that same support from him.

Far too often I keep my mouth shut about the small things, and I’m afraid this time that I’ll do that until I can’t take it anymore and then I’ll just blow.

He gave me a list of things he needs from me for a smooth reintegration, but didn’t ask a thing about what I needed.

He told me he most certainly doesn’t have PTSD so don’t treat him as though he does … But he failed to think about whether I’ve got mom/wife freak out syndrome and have needs of my own that need to be addressed.

He’s been away and expects to come home and be catered to. But I don’t think he realizes that I’ve been catering to my kids ALONE for half a year and am relatively close to my breaking point already. Having another responsibility is daunting.

So, what’s the solution? The only one I can come up with is talking. Talk, talk, and then talk some more.

He’s shared his concerns, so I’ve got to share mine. I’m responsible for speaking up and making it clear that he’s not the only one that has to adjust.

But I’m scared. I’m anxious. I want desperately for him to be home, but I worry so much about the readjustment.

I want to make him happy, but have learned how to find my own happiness and satisfaction and (perhaps selfishly so) don’t really want to give that up. I want my family back together, but I’m nervous about the havoc it will, undoubtedly, create.

All part of military life, I suppose. Certainly not easy, though.

C’est la vie. Bring on the power struggle.

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