Greek Life is complicated. Sorority and Fraternity members have a lot to deal with through their respective organizations. But let’s face it. Greek Life isn’t the only reason they went to college. They also went for parties, freedom from their parents, the quest for love. . . oh, yeah, and higher education fits in there somewhere.
The quest for love is something that members of the Greek Community struggle with. Because of the demanding schedules and secrecy of their organizations, organizations to which they have devoted themselves for life, not all potential suitors are able to handle life as a Fraternity Wife or Sorority Husband (terms which are applied to all serious relationships, not just ones involving marriage vows). Being the significant other of a Greek is not like having a girlfriend or boyfriend on the newspaper staff or in the Biology club. Greek Life is consuming and life-long.
There are several things to consider when getting involved with a Greek. Speaking from the position of a devout six year Alpha Sigma Alpha sister, I hope to offer you some guidance in this area.
This is a biggie. Check your jealousy at the door. On many campuses, Inter-Greek relations are not only encouraged and necessary but unavoidable. These relations make close friendships inevitable. In many cases, these friendships will be strong and steadfast before you come on the scene. Being jealous of your Sorority girlfriend’s Fraternity friends will get you nothing more than locked out in the cold.
There are some things about your significant other’s life that you are not going to be privy to. Most of these fall under the category of ritual ceremonies and have been kept secret from boyfriends, girlfriends and spouses for, in some cases, hundreds of years. Each organization has their own ceremonies and no other organization knows about them. Rituals are the one thing that every Greek organization keeps completely to themselves. Some organizations have other aspects they cannot share with others. Accepting this is one of the hardest things that Sorority Husbands and Fraternity Wives encounter. Being unable to accept this is far more common. One way to not cope is by retaliating secret for secret. Their lives are full of secrets they can’t tell anyone, don’t keep secrets from them just because they keep them from you. Trust me when I say they don’t keep secrets about their organization because they want to keep secrets from you. They do it because their Brothers or Sisters before them did and they expect their Brothers or Sisters that come after to do the same. It’s the way it has always been.
Very often there are fights. Consider for a moment the amount of time that your significant other puts into their organization, between business meetings, social events, fundraisers and community service/philanthropic activities. Especially if they live in a house, they spend several hours a week, sometimes as many as they do in class or at work at a full-time job, with their Brothers or Sisters. Somewhere in all of that time together, personalities are bound to clash and argument will ensue. Or they become sick of one another’s company after 40-60 or more hours together each week. They will need someone to vent to and that someone will, more often than not, be you. Offer an ear, a shoulder, support, consolation, whatever they might need, but be cautious not to join when your Sorority girlfriend is calling her Sisters evil witches; she might be annoyed with them, even angry, but they are still her Sisters and you may run the risk of turning her frustration against you instead.
This is something for yourself. Make friends with the other Fraternity Wives and Sorority Husbands. You may even form a support group with these people. While your significant others are having a business meeting that may take up to two or three hours of one night each week, you could all go out for coffee or dinner or hit the bars. Who else knows better what it is to be involved with a member of the Greek community than someone in the same position?
The most important thing to remember when involving yourself with a collegiate Greek is that it is a life choice, not a club. And they treat it as such. Members of the Biology club can skip out on a meeting or fundraiser and not care. Members of a Sorority or Fraternity can also skip out – being Greek didn’t strip them of their free will – but more often than not they will do everything that is required of them.
Also, if you are really in it for the long haul, keep telling yourself that collegiates are far more active than alumni and the involvement will lessen after graduation. It won’t stop completely in most cases but you can usually count on 60 hours each week dropping down to four or five. And, that, you should be able to deal with.