After the Presidential Election of 2012 ended with the re-election of the president, the American public’s attention was drawn to the shocking resignation of CIA Director, David Petreaus. FBI investigators had uncovered the details of an illicit relationship between Director Petreaus and the author of the former general’s biography. This investigation has recently broadened to include U.S. Marine Corp. General John Allen, the top United States Commander in Afghanistan. The distinguished careers by both men may be in jeopardy.
According to a recent Yahoo News article published from Jennifer Peltz of the Associated Press, there is a relationship between, “adultery, the strain of separation and the stress of war.” These pressures within the confines of a military marriage and their families is the result of multiple deployments and the significant periods of time that spouses have spent apart. Sometimes the passing of so much time away from one another, becomes intolerable. For active duty members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp, who have served faithfully in remote locations all over the world, there has been a cost to the American Military Family. While the U.S. Armed Forces has sacrificed the most during the past 10 years, military spouses and children have also suffered immensely.
During the recent military hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in which Brig. General Jeffrey Sinclair was charged by a military prosecutor for sexual misconduct among other charges, it was the statements of the general’s wife, Rebecca Sinclair that drew the most attention:
“I am not condoning anything, and I’m not excusing my husband’s infidelity. I’m not saying that just because we’re on this deployment cycle and because of the war, that causes infidelity. I’m just trying to understand it, and I’m trying to get conversations started so that people can look behind and see the bigger issue.”
When child psychologists examine and evaluate parents and children who have all been involved in these kinds of cases, it becomes evident that multiple deployments, have had and likely with continue to have devastating consequences to families. There is no way to repair this kind of damage. Children are living in environments where they are constantly reminded of what it is like to have a parent away for protracted periods of time.
Children are also exposed to their parent’s anger towards one another when one partner has been unfaithful towards the other. In several cases, I have seen parents keep their children away from military homecoming festivities and ceremonies on post, because of the level of hostility that one parent may have towards the other. The list of paybacks and counter moves using the children as ploys only increases the odds that children of these kinds of families are going to grow up in dysfunctional home and will themselves be dysfunctional as adults.
What we have witnessed since the outbreak of the “War on Terrorism” is an erosion of the military family as an institution. While Military personnel often times return home to an empty house and are disconnected from their spouses and their children, they have had no choice in following multiple deployment orders. The Family Courts are left to try and clean up and put some order to the destruction of the family, often times in a less than favorable manner.