Ask Wendy

How Can I Adjust to My Partner Coming Home From the Navy?

July 11, 2017
adjust to homecoming
Hey Wendy,

I'm after your guidance. My partner is in the Navy and away for several months at a time. It's really challenging when he comes home as after the initial excitement of seeing him there seems to be a pattern of arguing for a few days.

It's like he comes home and wants to be the boss again when I have been managing everything while he is away. How can we adjust to being together again without arguing as it seems crazy to argue when we don't have a lot of time together as it is. Please help!

Sandra W. - Salt Lake City, UT

Hey Sandra!

I’m responding under the assumption that you two have agreed on him leading the family and playing the role of the boss – as in, him being a bossy-pants is something you both consented to when you got into this arrangement. Because if he’s bossy or controlling, and you don’t like him to act like that, well then, that’s an entirely different column.

Your experience is not at all uncommon, and the dynamics of the situation will happen every time. We women are adaptable, and we become what’s needed. When the guard is off, we step up and become the protector. You can’t just expect yourself to flip a switch when he steps off the airplane if you haven’t been planning for it. You need time to shift. Days to transition from being the guard on the post, to handing him the baton when he walks in. So you can slip on your housedress and comfy socks and let some of those pesky accountabilities go because isn’t having less to deal with the real perk to having someone else be the boss?

Share this column with him so you two can put your heads together on a plan that will help you shift. One idea is two days before he gets home, he texts you sexy messages like, “Your man is on his way, girl. I can’t wait to take charge.” Damn! Right??? Oh, you don’t like being called his girl? Okay, use different sexy language then, but that shit would work for me. Two more texts like that before he returns can act as prompts for you.

Next is your part. When you get those texts, literally start mentally and physically preparing for him to be back.

  • What do you need to start letting go of?
  • What do you need to hurry up and handle before he gets there?
  • What do you need to pay attention to?

Is there something that you can change into before arrival day that changes your mood or outlook?

The good news is this is all mental. And when you’re intentionally working at a mental shift, it will change everything. I know. I work from home. So Dave sometimes texts me to tell me he’s coming home because if he doesn’t, he’s coming into a home where I’m accountable, distracted, and I haven’t shifted into the woman he chooses to live with – I’m the worker-bee with a gazillion accountabilities. So I know the struggle is real, and you two can work in partnership to have a lovely reunion instead of a battle over who’s the boss.

Good luck!!

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