Reuniting after long distance can be a tricky transition. Especially when you haven’t done any planning.
After a sweet honeymoon period (that lasts anywhere from two minutes to two weeks, in my experience), reality returns.
It can be hard to readjust to accommodate someone else in your daily life. Even if you love them dearly.
So what can you do to make it easier?
Here are four steps you can take to prepare for their arrival. While also creating a comfortable environment for the transition.
Here are the steps to take when reuniting after a long distance relationship
1. Adjust expectations
Expectations are so important.
The more you understand your own and your partner’s expectations the more patience you’ll have with each other and the better you’ll be able to communicate.
So talk about expectations. Think about what hidden and obvious expectations you have, then communicate these clearly to your partner.
No one will do this perfectly, but trying goes a long way.
2. Take the reintegration class for spouses and significant others
If your partner is in the military, most commands/squadrons/ships have a Deployment Brief before they leave and a Reintegration Brief when they return.
It helps set appropriate expectations for that command.
For example, can you expect your sailor to have some time off? How can you ease the transition to having Daddy back for your kids? If it’s not going well, what resources are available to you for extra help? Find out at the brief.
Need more? Check with the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) for classes, counseling, and other assistance.
3. Keep your community around you
When your partner returns, it’s tempting to hole up with them and soak up all the time together you’ve missed out on over the past nine months.
Don’t overdo it.
This is a situation where getting back into a normal routine, complete with regular friend activities, is extra important. You need to remember what normal feels like; friends can help. And doing some “normal” things like hanging out with friends can dial down the intensity of being back together a little.
Don’t be discouraged if the high of a reunion is followed by a jarring low a couple weeks later. It doesn’t mean your relationship is a huge mistake. Ease the reunion transition by communicating expectations, taking advantage of available resources, and leaning on friends and family who have been there.
You’ll get through it!
4. Create a relaxed atmosphere
First things first, you’ll need a clean room to work with. Dust and clutter don’t exactly inspire a relaxed or romantic mood.
After vacuuming the floors, sweep the surfaces with a microfiber cloth to get rid of dust. Next, put all your things into their rightful places. As for the clutter that doesn’t really belong anywhere, place it in storage boxes. You can keep them on display, hide them under your bed, or find a place for them on a bookshelf.
Scented candles are the best starting point since they also look incredibly romantic in a dark room.
If you want the scent of your choice to quickly spread across the room beforehand, go for a plug-in air freshener. It does its job a lot faster than a scented candle and you still get a lot of fragrances to choose from.
Don’t leave it on for too long, though, or the smell will become too overwhelming.
As for what smell to choose, floral scents like rose, jasmine, cherry blossom, or honeysuckle are generally considered to inspire romance. Additionally, men are thought to be attracted to sweeter smells like vanilla or orange.
Ready to reunite?!
If your mind is still running through a thousand hypothetical scenarios around who the transition will turn out. I have two things to so…
- This is normal.
Working through these steps will help to remove some of the uncertainties your mind can’t help but think about.
For the rest, we recommend joining our free support group for long distance couples. There you can ask questions and get great advice from others that have had to navigate reuniting with their partner and what they did to make transitioning to a ‘geographically close’ relationship easier.