Hi! I’m Emily. As well as being a Relationship Counsellor, I am a Royal Navy spouse and live in the countryside, in the South Downs, with my husband and dog. We love walking through the South Downs and other open spaces, as well as discovering new National Trust grounds and properties.
In the evenings we enjoy watching a good comedy with a takeaway, but my guilty TV pleasures are Geordie Shore and Love Island...for professional research purposes, of course! Soon I hope to start volunteering with Naval charity Aggie's as a Pastoral Worker.
How do you occupy your time when your partner is away?
One thing I always do is spend a lot of quality time with my family. I am really lucky in that they are very local to me and are a huge part of my life ordinarily, but I always make sure we plan some different and extra fun things above the norm to do together.
I also tend to throw myself into work a lot more; see my friends regularly; and really focus on getting into a routine so I have a purpose. I try to get a range of different things in the diary to look forward to, even if it’s just once a month. It’s so easy when you are on your own to get into that circular rut of work/housework/child/pet care and not much else - just surviving. I often find it helpful to plan and complete a manageable ‘project’ too, whether that be in the house, garden, fitness etc. Something that adds fun and a sense of achievement - not added stress!
I find that thinking of alternative ways to communicate effectively and feel close whilst apart is absolutely vital. One thing that my husband kindly does for me upon his departure which I find makes a huge difference, is to leave me with a small box of dated cards, letters and small gifts. They tend to be dated roughly every fortnight and I can’t tell you the massive boost it gives me to have something to open from him - particularly if we haven’t had the opportunity to speak in a while. Even if it is just a card that says ‘missing you’ inside, it helps me feel that he isn’t so far away.
What's the best thing about your partner coming home?
I often work during the evenings, so after months apart it’s wonderful to return home (pre-COVID, now I just come downstairs from my study!) to the lights on, curtains drawn and someone to put on my late night dinner - particularly on a cold winter night. Being able to wake up and fall asleep together is the best too. And having another human presence in the house; after months on my own, sometimes my dog chat gets out of hand!
What would be your top tip for military couples who are about to spend a considerable amount of time apart?
Be prepared. Before you part, make sure you give your relationship a bit of an MOT. This might sound simple, but many people don't take the time to assess how or whether they are meeting the needs of their partner until the relationship is struggling. Have a chat when you can still be in the same room; by ironing out any kinks ahead of a deployment or other separation, you will have a much sturdier footing upon which to get through that time apart. Make sure to discuss your expectations from one another during the time apart, too.
About Start Point Relationship Counselling...
Counselling is a process which helps you to come to terms with a problem, with the ultimate aim of overcoming it. Whereas many counsellors are generalists who undertake a broad range of counselling activities, I have always focused exclusively on helping people to deal with relationship difficulties. I am a specialist Relationship Counsellor and my specialisms include working with a sexual focus; working with military couples; and working with clients to help them process historic domestic and/or sexual violence and abuse.
Having trained with and worked for Relate for a number of years, I am very aware of the numerous pressures and difficulties that relationships can bring. In my Private Practice, working with both couples and individuals, I offer a safe, confidential, empathetic and non-judgemental space to explore, and try to resolve, any issues which you and your partner may be facing.