Ms. Vicki: Why Are Military Wives So Cliquish?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Why are Army wives so cliquish? They are the worst.

My husband had been on active duty for six years, since he was commissioned, and I'm not kidding when I say that the wives worry about what rank a person's husband is before they decide to befriend you or not.

If it's not about rank, then they don't want to be your friend because they already have their clique of friends -- and no one is allowed to enter the golden door.

I'm on my third duty station with my husband, and being the new kid on the block doesn't help.

There are many cliques in my neighborhood revolving around different issues. These wives focus on who has the smartest kids or the most athletic kid, and who is the military "power couple" on base. Keep in mind that everyone wants to be friends with "the power couple." It's like something from a Hollywood movie script.

I need your advice to help me deal with this madness. I love my husband, but I don't like military life, living on post or military wives. I simply refuse to start acting like "them."

I know I'm the outsider and I get it. I have one child, not seven children. I don't homeschool, and I don't sit around at home all day on my duff. I'm educated, I'm an entrepreneur and I've started my own company.

Ms. Vicki, sometimes I think the cold shoulders I receive are intentional because I'm not like them.

-- Please Help the Misfit

Dear Not Fitting In,

Well, I don't think you're the misfit, and I don't think you should look at it like it's "us against them." Military spouses are a very diverse group of women and men; all have varied interests, talents and experiences.

I can't deny that cliques do exist. I have experienced many. I have experienced cliques in the civilian community too. I have always been good at rolling by myself when I have to, and that's OK.

It makes no sense for grown women and men to give someone the cold shoulder and intentionally omit you from a group. That's being mean and nasty. If I can take you at your word and believe that you are telling the truth, then here are my quick tips for you and others who find themselves in this situation:

First, every military base or post is different, with a different culture. You need emotional support too. That's paramount. You may not find it on the installation, so look in the outside community to make connections with others. Perhaps you can find a club or a business organization where you can connect with people with similar interests.

Second, consider living off post. This way, you can avoid many of the cliques. However, remember that cliques are outside the gates too.

Third, consider spiritual and religious support. Having a church family and supportive people in the community really helped me over the years, and I still have great friends that I made over the years.

Last, it's important that you keep in touch with your friends that you had before you became an Army wife. Plan get-togethers with close friends and close family who love you and enjoy being with you. Do this often.

In the end, it's important for you and your husband to have a strong connection and maintain great intimacy. Don't let this become an issue that causes you to isolate yourself from your husband and others.

Let me know how you are doing when you can. Keep in touch.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Family and Spouse