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Thread: Wife of an Officer?

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    Wife of an Officer?

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    My boyfriend plans on enlisting over the summer and getting married after getting settled. He also plans on getting a 4 year degree and becoming an officer. I suffer from pretty bad social anxiety and I heard that wives of the officers have to participate in all their activities or their husbands careers don't go far. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If it's true does anyone have advice for dealing with that?
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    #2
    I wouldn't say that's necessarily true, though enlisted wives are often encouraged to participate things too. I've FRG stuff, bake sales, what have you, and my husband is enlisted. He's going officer though. The army can't make you do anything you don't want to do, you didn't sign on the line. But, like a lot of civilian jobs, sometimes the spouse is invited to take part and it can make your SO look good.


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    #3
    You don't have to do anything. I've been on both sides (E & O), and you can be as involved or uninvolved as you'd like.
    The days of the 1950's style military are (for the most part, at least in my experience) over.
    Most of the command wives I've met in recent years, have been professional women themselves.

    I'm probably one of the least involved spouses I can think of at the local level because I'm working. I will occasionally go to events when I can or want to, but it's not a big deal either way.

    At least in the Marine Corps, the only time I've heard the command "care" about a spouse is when whatever is going on at home starts to negatively impact a Marine's performance at work. Other than that? Not much.

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    Ive been to all of about 2 events with my wife. And she is near the top.
    Nope, you don't have to do a damned thing. You are not expected to act in any special way. You are not expected to be a role model. In fact, as long as you don't get arrested, and are not a total cunt to anyone, the military doesn't care about you, nor will you have any affect on his career.
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    #5
    The only times I've known this to be a problem is when the officer is pushing the spouse. Talk to your boyfriend, set boundaries and expectations. In my opinion, it is shitty of someone to marry a person they know to have anxiety or is introverted or just doesn't want to participate and then expect them to. It can be a total non issue as long as he agrees to respect your wishes for level of involvement.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Banirawr View Post
    My boyfriend plans on enlisting over the summer and getting married after getting settled. He also plans on getting a 4 year degree and becoming an officer. I suffer from pretty bad social anxiety and I heard that wives of the officers have to participate in all their activities or their husbands careers don't go far. Can anyone confirm or deny this? If it's true does anyone have advice for dealing with that?
    Has he met with a recruiter yet, gone through MEPS, and gotten a ship date? Since he's not actually IN the military yet, and he plans on trying for officer in 4 years, then I wouldn't even stress it. A lot can change in 4 years: he may decide to get out, he may not finish his degree by then considering he'll be working full time (if he's active), and he may not get into OCS. And a lot will chnge with you: you're 18 now, so still young, and you may be a lot more confident so social situations may not even be an issue by then. Honestly, I wouldn't stress something that far into the future.

    To answer your question though, you can be as active in the command as you want to be. DH is E and the only events we show up to is the mandatory ball and mandatory family fun day. I don't volunteer or participate in the spouse group (I tried and it wasn't for me), and the only reason I go to the mandatory events (mandatory for the service member) is because they're generally held on the weekend and I want to spend time with DH. If they weren't mandatory then we'd probably never go. His career is doing just fine because he does enough socializing at work.




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    #7
    Completely not true. Once he gets to be a senior officer (probably O4 or O5, depending on what job he's doing, so that's probably 10+ years commissioned) there can be slightly more pressure to do those things, but in the end, plenty of spouses even at that level do nothing and are perfectly fine. I've seen squadron command spouses (O-5 command) do nothing more than show up at the Christmas party, and clearly their husband's did just fine professionally. It will only hurt him if you are a problem, not if you are simply absent.

    The level of expectation from others, which, again, you can ignore, also depends on location. Usually overseas there seems to be more requests of your time. But it is your time, and you never have to give it.

    Also, I'll point out that he's a long way from enlisting, and many things can happen to stop that, and even if he successfully enlists, getting a commission from the E side is very competitive and it takes plenty of people years to do so, and plenty more are never able to manage it. So you and he need to be prepared for him not to commission. There's an old adage that if you want to be enlisted, enlist. If you want to be an O, that's a terrible approach. It works for some people, of course, but once they have you as an E, they can simply keep you there if the stars don't align. If his goal is to be an O and he won't be happy if he never commissions, he should not enlist. if he'll be content being enlisted but hopes to commission, then going in as an E might be a sound decision. But assuming he does get accepted to enlist and does make it through boot camp and does stay in and does get selected for commission and does make it through OCS, then he'll spend years as a junior officer and if he promotes and if he stays in, then *maybe* you get to a point where your spouse-peers are somewhat involved. So you are a long, long way, and a lot of difficult and competitive steps from this being an issue. And when it is, *you* decide, perhaps with input from your DH if he has strong feelings about it, how much or how little you want to do.
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    #8
    I think it depends on his job. You might have to go to dinners and events if you were married to a general (or high ranking officers) for sure but like pp said most women have their own jobs now and you don't need to be seen as eye candy on your man's arm anymore. Most of the time just seeing a ring on their finger represents that they're a stable married man anyways. They understand now women have careers of their own. If anything you'd only have to go to major events.... Probably.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by tofuface View Post
    I think it depends on his job. You might have to go to dinners and events if you were married to a general (or high ranking officers) for sure but like pp said most women have their own jobs now and you don't need to be seen as eye candy on your man's arm anymore. Most of the time just seeing a ring on their finger represents that they're a stable married man anyways. They understand now women have careers of their own. If anything you'd only have to go to major events.... Probably.
    This is simply and 100% not true. Bad information.

    Spouses never have to go to anything. We a civilians. There may be dinners or other social events that are required for the service member, but they do not, can not, and will not require anything of a spouse. And there may be people who expect you to attend events or fill certain roles, but you are free to opt out. The higher one's service member gets, the more there will be some expectations, but it is always possible to defy those expectations.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by idratherbehiking View Post
    Has he met with a recruiter yet, gone through MEPS, and gotten a ship date? Since he's not actually IN the military yet, and he plans on trying for officer in 4 years, then I wouldn't even stress it. A lot can change in 4 years: he may decide to get out, he may not finish his degree by then considering he'll be working full time (if he's active), and he may not get into OCS. And a lot will chnge with you: you're 18 now, so still young, and you may be a lot more confident so social situations may not even be an issue by then. Honestly, I wouldn't stress something that far into the future.

    To answer your question though, you can be as active in the command as you want to be. DH is E and the only events we show up to is the mandatory ball and mandatory family fun day. I don't volunteer or participate in the spouse group (I tried and it wasn't for me), and the only reason I go to the mandatory events (mandatory for the service member) is because they're generally held on the weekend and I want to spend time with DH. If they weren't mandatory then we'd probably never go. His career is doing just fine because he does enough socializing at work.
    Mandatory ball and family fun day? Neither one sounds like fun if they are a forced to go event.
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