Mission Family: Spouses Need In-person and Online Mentors

Has the pendulum swung too far from face-to-face communication among military spouses?

The youngest spouses have been raised on social media, often with an expectation they’ll get what they need online. But they’re finding that’s not all they need, said Corie Weathers, the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year.

Face-to-face mentoring is slowly disappearing, Weathers said in a recent roundtable discussion about bridging the gap between generations of military spouses. She said spouses need to talk to other spouses to gain wisdom from those who have been living the military lifestyle.

When Weathers surveyed military spouses about whether the online community was giving them all the connection they needed, about 75 percent of the 400 respondents said no.

Technology enables spouses in different geographic areas to connect, but many think that isn’t enough. “They’re feeling isolated,” Weathers said. “They’re feeling like they don’t have the information they need. They’re wondering where are the play groups, where are the other spouses” locally, she said.

Isolation can take various forms — and these days can easily be caused by the rising problem of cyberbullying in the military spouse culture. “Our youngest generation was hoping [the online community] would be very supportive, and they’re finding it’s not as safe a place as they thought,” Weathers said. “I’ve heard spouses say: ‘I want to ask certain questions, but I’m afraid if I ask it the wrong way I’m going to get attacked for it and I don’t want to see my face plastered on a cyberbullying website, so I’m just not going to ask it at all.’

“It comes back to face-to-face, and if they’re not getting that, then our spouses are not talking at all,” Weathers said.

Read the rest of the article at militarytimes.com.

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