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Looking for Advice and Understanding

milnet

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Hi,

I am pondering on what I am missing here and can't seem to understand so I ask married men or woman in the military who are away from their significant others to recall their friendships with those of the opposite sex.  Did you hang out by yourselves outside of working hours? Occasionally or most of the time?  Would you spend a lot of your time texting or talking to this person alone?  Were they actually just a plutonic friend? Did it come between you and your partner?  What kind of boundaries did you establish if any?  What were you cool with? 

Being a loving civilian working wife at home with a small child my husband has been away for a little over a year now.  It has been tough on both of us but what I can't seem to understand is where does the line of friendship between man and woman cross the line while in the military? 

Example, My husband easily befriends females as he finds them easier to talk to, there is no competing with male testosterone, etc we have mutual female friends at home with whom he used to work with, talk to or hang out with as a group but once home that friendship wouldn't ever extend itself into talking behind closed doors, texting, or hanging out by themselves.  Maybe occasionally but he would tell me about it. 

What is difficult is that I know he needs a friend while away from his family and this female is someone that he works with and lives with in barracks so it's hard to understand when he agrees that if he were to be going out for dinner or getting coffees together while living at home that would be weird.  He is in a situation that is different and that civilians don't understand.  He wouldn't be doing these things if he were at home with me and our child because he wouldn't need to.  He needs a friend and that is all that she is.  I get needing a friend, I even get having her as a friend but is it unfair of me to expect that they wouldn't be hanging out by themselves outside of work while he is away?  Is it unfair to ask that they stop texting each other on a daily basis outside of work?  I don't mean occasionally texting or shooting each other a "Hey what's up" they pretty much text every day or grab a coffee together everyday outside of working hours. 

All my civilian friends say WTF, this is weird and I agree.  It doesn't seem like a "Normal" friendship with someone of the opposite sex but then again I have never been in the military. 

 
If this was a male friend, would you suspect anything is afoot?  I never worked in an environment in the military with a lot of female soldiers, mine just wasn't a trade that attracted them, but at the end of the day, friendship is friendship.  I know and understand that the default response is suspicion.  Close quarters, shared crappy conditions, and common experience can form bonds that are very tight.  Best thing to do is ask straight out if anything is going on, he may not even be aware that anything seems inappropriate to you.
 
You know what...it doesn't really matter if he "needs" a friend or not. If it makes you uncomfortable then talk to your husband about it. It's hard to be diplomatic when you're at home taking care of everything and your husband is out having coffee with another woman, friend or not. Long absences can make small annoyances turn toxic in a relationship really fast if you don't hunker down and talk about it! Have this discussion with the person it involves, not all your friends or your family. My problems with this subject don't so much stem from my husband hanging out with another female friend alone but how he reacted in situations where women would literally proposition him....several times overseas. He NEVER did anything wrong but I was uncomfortable with how he handled the situation - he was too nice - after it happened multiple times, including after she was told he was happily married.  :mad:

I understand how your imagination can get out of control but trust me when I say that talking to your civilian friends will not help the situation. Really think about what exactly about this situation you are uncomfortable with and what limits you think are appropriate. He might not even realize his actions are bothering you or he might have a good explanation that will make you feel better. While you're at it you should consider not just what bothers you but why this bothers you. I am a jealous person, not scary or crazy but there are limits that my husband and I have discussed and are happy with, what is appropriate or not. I know I am jealous because I am insecure, blah blah blah, because I realized that about myself I can reign myself in when I feel myself starting to get crazy or unreasonable. It has helped us both, lol.

Obviously my situation will differ from yours but this is the best advice I have for you. Stay calm. Stay rational. Talk it out.

Cheers!
 
I would echo Kat's comments, you should be talking to him and expressing your concerns to hubby. Likewise with Kat I was not in a trade that had a significant female population but I would never carry on a 'friendship' with a female like your husband has simply for the fact that the optics are very bad. The rumour mill is horrendous, and if he is innocently going for coffee's, movies, shopping with a female friend while away from course the first thought on everyone elses mind would be that they were making the beast with 2 backs. This then gets whispered about, the jungle drums telegraph it back home and next thing YOU know the rumour in your hometown is that he is having multiple affairs with russian broads at swinger parties and gambling the life savings away.

I exaggerate of course, but your husband should be more mindful of your feelings and moreso, the optics of his course/tour/posting friendships. It may be totally platonic, but it will not look so to the peanut gallery that exists on every single piece of CF property.

Anyways, as a married male who spent alot of time away, I never befriended a female on course. Talked to em, sure, joked around in the classroom, sure. But at 1600 or whenever the course day ended so did that 'relationship'.
 
Towards_the_gap said:
I exaggerate of course, but your husband should be more mindful of your feelings and moreso, the optics of his course/tour/posting friendships. It may be totally platonic, but it will not look so to the peanut gallery that exists on every single piece of CF property.

Anyways, as a married male who spent alot of time away, I never befriended a female on course. Talked to em, sure, joked around in the classroom, sure. But at 1600 or whenever the course day ended so did that 'relationship'.

I 100% agree.  There are no secrets in the military.  Whenever I am away from home, I make it a point of never placing myself in a position where anyone could infer that something was up.  Regretfully, our military is very small and me chatting to e.g. some blonde in Borden on course at the Mess will eventually turn into a comment by someone who saw it at some inappropriate time when my wife is present such as "hey, who that that blonde you were cozy with at the mess before that long weekend?"  While the reality might be that I was simply standing alone at the bar and she may have walked in to call a taxi will be irrelevant.  Regardless that my marriage is sound, my wife will be turning to me and ask me "WTF?".  Another unnecessary issue.  There are no secrets in the military and especially now with social media.  "Hi XX.  Saw your hubby on the weekend at Club XX.  Looked like he was having fun....  Hope the kids are feeling better and not throwing up anymore.  You must have had an awful week...."
 
Distance magnifies every conceivable issue.  I know this, so I try to never place myself in any compromising situation (real or perceived).  I do this out of respect for my wife who holds the home front and has the difficult job.  I have encountered many great women in the CF while deployed and on course that I believe would make a great friend, but I do not go there as it will undoubtedly create a problem back home.  I am admittedly paranoid but I take such a path out of respect for my wife.  For someone to befriend a woman while away from home begs rumour and insinuation, and is disrespectful to the home front.  I am not saying he is a cheater, but why bring rumour and doubt into the home?  If I was at home I do not think I would be taking my "best friend Jane" out to dinner alone because I needed to talk and thus leave wife and daughter ta home for the evening.  Just disrespectful. :'(
 
While I agree with the posts telling you to be honest about your feelings and to be wary of rumor mills I have to laugh too! You see my hubby lived with a woman soldier while on IR a few years ago. She had had several unsuccessful house hunting experiences. He had a small place on IR. they were both headed into months of training and a tour in Afganistan. He charged her nothing to stay. She was respectful and kind to him, making meals and stocking the beer. He enjoyed her company and her antics as a younger, single soldier. All together they maybe slept at that place together 30 times in 24 months, due to their operational requirements. Separate bedrooms. They shared meals on those occasions and he gave her a lift to base. Was I jealous? Nope. Too tired, overwhelmed from single parenting and my fulll time job, I guess!

In truth, I trusted my sweetie. I knew he had had hundreds of chances to cheat over the years during all the other deployments, courses, training exercices. I figured this woman was no threat since her prescence wasn't going to suddenly change his ethics. if he was going to cheat he would cheat.

In the end I guess their friendship probably had people gossiping. I was far away and couldn't have cared less what some gossiping people were saying about my relationship.
 
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