Ask the Milies: Fraternization?
by Kerry-Ann Ellington, Ask the Milies
When it comes to fraternization, how am I included? I've heard there is no rank among spouses, but is it fair for me to befriend someone who my husband can't?
Fraternization is a tricky one. I'm not the type of person who likes to be told who I can or cannot befriend or someone who pays attention to ranks. I consider myself a pretty open and friendly person so if I meet someone and think they're nice enough to be friends with, I'd hate to have to pay attention to the rank of their husband. However, it can cause conflict for your husband at work.
Here's how my husband explained it to me from experiences he's seen with other co-workers: Say your husband is an E8. He's expected to deal with straightening out E5s and below, if you befriend a wife whose husband is an E3 or E2, it can cause conflict at work because the husband who's an E2 or E3 may not want to respect or look up to the E8 husband anymore. It'll take that much longer for work to get done the way it should be and on top of that, the ranking system is constantly in play in the military so if there's an event and you're hanging out with the wife of the E2 or E3 your husband will be put in an awkward position with his superiors if they see you doing that.
Is it fair? I don't think so. Sadly that is the way it is and this is what I've been exposed to for the past 10 years. It also depends on your husband's preference. I'd suggest you ask your husband what his preference would be about it and see if you guys can reach a compromise.
As wives we already compromise so much of ourselves to love and support our military men, so I don't think it'll be a problem trying to find a compromise in this situation.