Post Deployment Relationships.
The thought of returning from a deployment is a burden for every Soldier returning home to their family.
PTSD and just the fact of being a way from loved ones for 1 year plus can really have a negative impact on
any relationship whether it is marriage or just a boyfiren/girlfriend as there are many factors to consider.
The Problem: “The heart doesn’t feel what it does not see” or something along those lines. Bottom line is
when the cat is away, the mice will play therefore it takes a great understanding and action on both parts to
keep a relationship strong and vibrant. This is critical especially for young newly wed couples that have not
really been through tough times together. There are far too many cases of infidelity and back stabbing in the
Military and the unfortunate thing is that it is the fellow service members doing the wifes or husbands of those
deployed. Where are the values? We have all read the news paper and the story about the SSG that
returned home on leave and found other people living in his house which his spouse sold after cleaning out
his bank account and moved away with their daughter. There are many more cases that we don’t read about
and some that we see personally as we have to deal with Soldiers and NCOs under our supervision.
A Soldier returning from a deployment can be like playing black jack as anything can happen, no matter how
much the Soldier loves the spouse, the Soldier does not know what he/she is walking into after being away for
over 12 months. One can not expect to get back an just pick up the relationship where it was left at and there
must be time allowed for an adjustment period along with patience and understanding on both parts.
The Soldier is still hyped up and very alert for about 90 days after a deployment this means that the Soldier
is extra alert and aware of his or her surroundings not to mention extremely irritable to any noise from kids,
nagging spouses and ungrateful bastards that just won’t give a Soldier a break. This is no excuse for being
“difficult” by far but it is a reality and an unfortunate side effect of being in an environment that requires
maximum concentration and agility to stay alive.
The Spouse has been forced to make changes in life style as he/she takes on both responsibilities and has
to as we say “suck it up and drive on” these new responsibilities do not come with out cost as the spouse that
the Soldier once knew is no more. The change in life style forces the spouse to become independent and
make decisions on their own and all of the sudden the Soldier being away becomes second nature, this is
good in theory but creates conflict in real life.
Both Soldier and Spouse Have gotten used to being alone and not having to necessarily answer to anyone
with questions like “where you Going?” “What you Doing?” “Why?” even sharing the same bed again can be
a weird new experience even for more mature couples because remember that a lot can happen in 12 months.
The Post Deployment Sex: Don’t expect to get home and have the wife lubbed up and ready to go upon
your re-deployment. You have to, kind of re-establish your romance and try to do all those little dumb things
that you did when you where dating because that is usually what your spouse will remember most.
Reconquering your spouse is HUGE so do it up like if you where in high school, let him or her know that you
care and are there for the long haul because us humans love stability and real commitment.
The Soldier and Spouse Advice: Take things slow and have patience. Understand that your spouse has
also been through hell during your deployment and accept the change in the household. You are not a Drill
Sergeant at home! You are a Husband, Wife, Father, Mother, Son and so forth so don’t expect the world to
change just because you return as you will be in for a big disappointment. Patience and understanding are
big factors in making your post deployment relationship work so keep it together and think twice before you
bite your spouse’s head off because both of you need some space before things get back to normal. If things
get really out of hand then please contact your Chaplin or Behavioral health specialist to address your
problem but please get help as the military makes it available for all service members.