Stages of Service Separation
Stage One - Anticipation of Loss
Although you are often aware of a coming deployment months in advance, the anticipation stage tends to begin around six weeks before departure. It can often be difficult for the partner staying at home to accept the coming separation. He or she may find themselves unexplainably emotional; crying at "silly things", such as songs, movies or TV programmes. These times allow you to release pent up or repressed emotions, and are to be expected.
You are both likely to experience a degree of tension, whilst you try to make the most of your remaining time together (visiting family and friends, ensuring the home is ready and spending time together). Equally, you may find that you argue more. The person staying behind may have feelings of resentment or anger at being abandoned, and these feelings may come out in a number of ways. Although certainly not fun, this time is needed. During this period we begin to put some distance between ourselves. This allows us to develop an emotional buffer, or space, to help us cope with being separated. Some find they get so angry with the departing partner that they are happy when they leave. This can result in feelings of further anger or guilt at feeling relieved the departure is over with. Don't beat yourself up about this…it's reasonably normal to have these feelings.
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