We are pleased to announce a bursary scheme for current and former Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel.

The new funding is to provide face-to-face, telephone and online counselling for relationship issues.

Individuals or couples can access support by contacting 0300 7729682

Says Relate counsellor Veronica Beckett ”Issues can arise when partners work away from family, and subsequent problems put a strain on family relationships.

She goes on, “Anxiety can start before the actual parting as the deployment date looms. If a family member is ill, about to have a baby, or to get married, the leaving partner is left feeling uninvolved.”

“The partner left at home will have to cope alone with problems concerning the children, ageing parents, and general family wear and tear. Support from friends and family brings a closeness that might be resented when the leaver returns home.”

Social media and the internet can help couples keep in touch, but facebook , instagram or texts can easily be misinterpreted. Distance communication is not always helpful, the boundaries of being there and not being there can become blurred.
Because body language is so important, and since there is an immediacy of response, face-to -face time is always a better means of communication.

From experience , Relate knows how important it is for couples – no matter how different their situations might be – to react and listen to one another’s news; how there needs to be a two-way conversation.

When partings are a regular feature of lives, couples can build their own way of re-uniting. It might be that it suits one couple to meet each other without the children at first just to have a little private time together.

For others, being all together again is what they’ve dreamed of and the children very much want to see Mummy or Daddy straight away. The reuniting can also be the most difficult part. Both parties have high expectations of one another and what it will be like.

One partner’s speech bubble goes: “ He/she can take over for a bit, I’ve looked after the kids on my own for 4 months”.

Meanwhile, the other partner thinks, “ That was a really hard tour; I’ll be glad to come home and put my feet up”. Understandable from both points of view, but a lot less problematical if you have negotiated in advance what is going to happen after a long absence.

It is helpful to talk about the expectations you have of the homecoming; too easy to “ idealise it” and then be disappointed when the reality does not meet those expectations.

Says Veronica ”At Relate we often see couples who are struggling with the interchange of their roles. When the ‘home partner’ is alone house, finances, family, social life etc rests squarely and solely on his or her shoulders. If a returnee begins to take over certain things or comments on how things have/have not been done, this can, not unnaturally, lead to resentments.

“Equally, if the ‘home person’ has started a regular night out or hobby, it might involve contact with people whom the returnee doesn’t know or care for. It might appear that they have a “new” life that does not include the partner who has been away.

“In short, the roles have to be renegotiated and re-defined.. And this is how Relate can help – thanks to the new bursary.

“Here at Relate we understand the disruption of family routines and how they can impact on people. Often, communication or lack of it, lies at the heart of the problems. There are undoubtedly difficulties in being apart and that is why it has been recognised that this exciting new scheme will help couples come to couple or family counselling. Relate also sees people individually.

A loved one returning home safely should be a source of joy and excitement for the whole family. Absence should, after all, make the heart grow fonder.

Relate has always had the counsellors to help . Now it has the cash, too thanks to Royal Navy Royal Marine Charity (RNRMC).

Please contact Relate in Devon on 0300 7729682 and tell us that you wish to take part in the bursary scheme.
For further information, go to

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