Home from Deployment


The readjustment to ‘normality’ after a Service person has been away from home for a long period of time can be difficult. The returning person can upset routines that may be in place, or a partner may feel undermined at giving up control of things they have managed perfectly well during the deployment. Homecomings from theatre can be especially difficult as Service personnel may bring home unpleasant memories, or feel that their family has ‘had it easy’ and wouldn’t understand what they have experienced.

Just as you got yourself ready for their departure, you must also prepare yourself for their return. Knowing what to expect, and having some plans for how you will deal with issues that may occur will help to minimise any stresses and strains of readjustment.

Prior to returning home after a deployment with a formed unit personnel will go through a period of decompression. This normally comprises a formal break away from the operational theatre followed by a period of return to work within unit before taking post operational tour leave. This process is designed to place individuals into a formal, structured and, most important, monitored environment in which to begin 'winding-down' and rehabilitating to a normal, routine, peace-time environment in order to reduce the impact of post operational stress.

Usually, it can take a few weeks for things to get back to normal, and the key here is communication. Talking through any negative feelings and giving yourselves time to reacquaint should ease any problems, but every couple will find their own way and get there in the end.

Relationship support

Whether married, living together, in a same-sex relationship, separated, divorced or single, the RAF Benevolent Fund has joined up with Relate to provide a bit of extra support in the form of different confidential ways of offering relationship support:

  • Free online Building Stronger Families course
  • Relationship counselling sessions (up to six free sessions either face to face, over the telephone or through a web-based live chat facility)
  • Mediation support for couples who have agreed to separate (to agree future living arrangements, child maintenance, property and money)

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