THAT Military Spouse: A Hermit Wife’s Rebuttal
The other day, I stumbled on a hilariously accurate post by JD Collins on her site, A Semi-Delicate Balance: Don’t Be THAT Military Spouse: 7 Kinds of Toxic Spouses to Avoid. It’s a few years old, but timeless, in my opinion.
Reading through the list, I found myself nodding along, agreeing with every one of her stereotypes and then my eyes locked on #6: The Hermit Wife. She nailed it.
JD had me pegged (well, mostly) and reading through the comments of the post, I’m certainly not alone. So, I thought I’d offer a rebuttal of sorts for all of us Hermit Wives.
You won’t find the Hermit Wife socializing at command functions or attending official spouse meetings, which is part of JD’s gripe. You think she’s being rude and stuck-up, when, really, she might be introverted, shy, or slightly intimidated at the thought of “putting herself out there” among aggressive All-About-The-Military Wives (#1 on the list).
She has friends, but they don’t live at her new duty station, and she might be incredibly lonely. You think she’s being rude because she stares at her phone. Well, she stares at her phone because her friends live in there, on Facebook groups and in her text messages. It’s her connection to the people who get her.
She has interests outside the military and maybe has friends at work or through her kids’ friends. Just because she doesn’t prefer to have military friends doesn’t mean she’s rude, it’s just her choice.
You don’t see her at the Command Christmas Party? How dare she stay home. What if she hasn’t found a trusted babysitter at the new duty station yet and is simply home with her kids for the night. Maybe she really wanted to get dressed up and participate in the white elephant gift exchange, champagne glass in hand, with her husband’s co-workers. But without child care, it wasn’t possible.
Maybe she’s grieving the loss of a community that supported her at the last duty station and she hasn’t found the energy to start all over again.
Cut her a little slack.
I speak for Hermit Wives everywhere when I say, she’d rather get to know someone one-on-one than work a room at a command function, desperately searching for her new BFF.
If she is your neighbor on-base, I’ll bet she’d appreciate someone stopping by to casually introduce themselves. She’s probably not as rude as you think. Not one-on-one. Look her in the eye and ask her questions about how she’s doing and when she wants to grab coffee together. And if she still refuses, she fits into another category, which I’m not sure made this list!
Hermit Wives, I know it’s hard. I know you hate command functions. I know you’re lonely. I know your friends live in your phone. And if you have found support and community in the civilian sector, rock on, sister. Good for you.
But if you are truly searching for a friend and don’t know where to start, might I suggest starting with one person.
Who is that spouse of your husband’s co-worker that seems cool and you’re sure she’d like you if you got the chance to connect? Get her number and ask her out for a sushi lunch. That’s all. You can do it. Who’s that other mom you keep eyeing at the school pick-up gate? Ask her if your kids can have a playdate.
You can continue to stare at your phone and act stand-off-ish, of course. But loneliness will eat away at you and face-to-face friends are the key to surviving this military life.
So, while this list of stereotypical military spouses was meant in fun, it’s also an eye-opener to the categories we might be drifting towards and how we are perceived by others.
Hermit Wives, I know we’ll continue to struggle to “put ourselves out there”, and we’ll never be the social butterflies in any room. But, that doesn’t mean we’re allowed to be rude to those who try to befriend us because my goodness, we need friends! Let’s crawl out from under our rocks and start small, with one person who seems easy to talk to. Before you know it, our Hermit badges may start to fade.
Just look out for the Drama Wife. Seriously, JD had it right, she knows way too much.