Five Stages of Pre-Deployment Military Spouses go Through

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I’ve watched a lot friends who are military spouses go through deployment. I have seen how differently each one deals with the news of an upcoming deployment and how they deal with the pre-deployment stress and emotions.

Right now I am in that pre-deployment stage. While thinking about this the other day, I realized there are about five different stages military spouses seem to go through before deployment. This isn’t anything official, but just a few things I have noticed over the years. Military.com also talks about this pre-deployment cycle if you are looking for more info on it!

5 Stages of Pre-Deployment Military Spouses go Through

5 Stages of Pre-Deployment

Here are the five stages of pre-deployment, starting from the moment your spouse gets his orders, right up to him leaving for deployment.

1. Denial.
Your husband comes home with orders and tells you he will be deploying. You think:

This is a joke.

He’s just kidding right?

There is no way he got orders… again. 

Nope, there must have been a mistake. 

There must have been a mix-up.

These are really for someone else, I just know they are.
2. Disbelief
After your husband assures you that it’s not a joke, you move on to the next stage. You think:

I can’t believe this is happening.

How could this happen so soon?

Why did this happen to us?

I just can’t believe it.

Maybe this is just a dream…

*pinch* Nope, definitely not a dream.

3. Anger
Soon your disbelief turns into anger. Of course you are looking for someone to blame so you blame him and  you blame the military. You think:

I hate the military.

I hate this life.

Why did he choose this?

Why is he leaving me?

He can’t leave me like this.

I can’t do this on my own.

We will never get this time back again.

I will never get past this.

4. Sadness
Then your anger turns to sadness. But not just sadness, it turn to tears. You think:

I can’t do this.

I don’t want to do this.

I don’t want to be alone.

What am I going to do?

What happens if something goes wrong?

What if there is an emergency?

I CANNOT do this!!

5. Acceptance
But in the end, you slowly move into acceptance. You know it’s happening whether you want it to or not. You think:

Ok, I can do this.

I don’t want to do this, but I can do this.

We are going to make it through.

Let’s get this going.

The sooner he’s gone the sooner he can be back.

You get your count-downs ready, make all your plans, keep busy, and you do it. And you do it well. Because you are a military spouse and you can get through this!

What do YOU think? Do these stages of pre-deployment sound familiar? Did you go through any of these prior to a deployment? Which ones?

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  1. The stages of grief are true for anyone going through a hard time!! I am just now in the acceptance stage with Stephen's medical condition. Thanks for the comment about the tubes! He has had 5 ear infections before these, and the others went away with the antibiotics. Not sure whats going on this time. Thanks for praying for us!

  2. What amazes me is that no matter how many times we go through this and no matter how many times I've read pre-deployment info, memorized the stages, I still feel these same feelings.

    I focus as hard as I can on the MOMENT, not the unknown. I focus on the happiness I feel and push back the foreboding.

    May your arms and your spirit be strong during your pre-deployment to push away the dread and only feel the joy.

  3. You are spot on with the stages! My husband left 4 months ago for his deployment and I went through the stages before he left, after he left, and again after his R&R. I think I'm finally getting back around to the "I can do this" stage.
    I will keep your family in our prayers. Stay strong!

    Stopping by from the Milspouse Roundup!

  4. I was SO fortunate that during my hubs' deployment I had our wedding to plan and I was back home with all my best friends. Otherwise, that would have been a hard 8 months without him! I always try my BEST to email him the details of my day, no matter how boring they might be to me, because he says it helps him feel like he is here with me and he loves that. That, and whenever we did get to talk, I made sure we focused on positive things. Too many couples fight during those precious 5 minutes and I did my best to always be encouraging and uplifting to him. They go through a lot and they don't want their 5 minute connection with home to be discouraging. Hang in there and know that it will end eventually and you can cherish your time together 🙂

  5. These are the exact stages I went through when my husband came home and told me we were going to Fort Drum, which was #19 on our list … after EVERYONE told us that we would DEFINITELY get something in our top 5 because of his year in Korea. The anger stage lasted the longest!

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