General Article Military partners need empathy – not pity

Topic Selected: Armed Forces Book Volume: 356
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Emma Long, Lancaster University

Partners of people in the armed forces can feel alienated by stereotypical ideas and notions about what it is like to serve in the military. The “he/she knew what they were signing up for” response is all too common. My research looked at what British army partners go through when spouses return from deployment. It has revealed they often feel misunderstood, uncomfortable and frustrated in non-military company.

Due to changes being made to the military family housing model and personal drives to protect the family from regular relocations, army families are now more likely to be living away from bases and alongside civilians. Therefore, the public needs to be educated about the realities of military life – for soldiers and partners alike.

The current model of the military community is built around the military base. Personnel can live on or near to their duty station, with their families, in Service Families Accommodation. By living in close proximity...

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