Can officer and enlisted military spouses be friends? How do the rules that affect military members translate into who military spouses can be friends with? The good news is they don’t. There are no rules about friendship fraternization that apply to military spouses. Phew.
There’s often confusion about how military spouses can mingle with other spouses and service members on the installations. Yes, there are rules about fraternization among service members. And since those rules (between officers and enlisted members) exist, one might be led to believe that those rules apply to military spouses friendships as well. Nope, not true.
When I served in the military, I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the military spouse community since I was also a military spouse. I had the opportunity to be a part of my husband’s military spouse group. And I also was involved in the Key Spouse Program. Being involved in this community was a gift since most of the people I worked with were male. The military spouse groups were how I found my friends.
And there were both officer and enlisted spouses in these groups. I knew a few people’s husbands, so I knew if their husband was an officer or enlisted, but it wasn’t something we talked about. It wasn’t an important part of our friendship and it didn’t matter, since (it bears repeating) there are no friendship fraternization rules that apply to spouses.
Sometimes it may be awkward.
Sometimes, though, it can be awkward to be on different sides of the issue. I did have an instance where when I was in a Bible Study group and a young Airman who worked in my unit was considering joining our group. As this was an intimate group – one where we shared our struggles – and I was an officer in his Squadron I didn’t feel comfortable being a part of that group. But it didn’t end up working with his schedule, and we didn’t have to make it awkward.
Situations like these should be handled individually – there’s no blanket rule. This situation is one where your service member will have to determine on their own. Had it been a women’s only Bible Study it would have been a different situation. But if it was a woman’s Bible Study and one of the Airmen was one of my Airmen, I would have had to walk away from the study. Relationships between military officers and enlisted members can be tricky at times and each person must follow their gut and the advice of others and make the right choice.
But luckily those rules don’t apply for military spouses! When I was still on active duty, I was in a women’s bible study with both officer and enlisted spouses. I never thought about it because for me it didn’t matter.
Today I am a military spouse no longer serving in the military. I am very active in the military spouse online community and at the installation where we are stationed. Rank doesn’t matter to me. In fact, most of the military spouses I know online I don’t even know what branch they are connected to, let alone if their husband is a military officer or enlisted.
Officer and Enlisted Military Spouse Friends? It really doesn’t matter.
I have found that some people I meet through various military spouse groups I have a connection with and a friendship form. And as crazy as it seems even though I haven’t met these people in person they have become friends. And that friendship isn’t based on their spouse’s rank.
Because there isn’t a friendship fraternization rule among military spouses, you can be friends with anyone. Yes, it may change who you can invite over for dinner or double date with. Especially if your spouse and your friend’s spouse are in the same chain of command. But that doesn’t change the friendships that you have.
One of the best parts of military life is the people that we meet and the friendships that we make. And if you are closing off a group of people based on their spouses rank alone, you could be missing out on your next best friend at that next assignment. So put aside the officer and enlisted military spouse friendship myths and enjoy the ride.
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