Fraternity Presidents get a lot of glory. They have the coveted position that most guys either seek or fear. Despite the title, however, the guy at the top of the frat gets a ton of praise for basically just making sure their chapter doesn’t burn to the ground. Literally and figuratively. But behind every man is a strong woman. And behind every great (or even shitty) president, is his First Lady. And let me tell you…it sucks.
About a year ago my boyfriend got voted president of his fraternity and I couldn’t have been more happy for him. I stood by his side as he found out he got the position, and I kissed him publically when he was finally ushered in the top spot. I’d hold his hand at the events and I smiled at his philanthropies for years, so it was only natural that the day he became president, I immediately started being called “First Lady.” Now I’m not going to lie, even though the name didn’t come with any real responsibilities, it was a bit flattering. Every time I ran into a brother I was greeted as First Lady. I had people to drink with, hang out with, dates for my sisters if they ever needed one, and people knew who I was without me knowing them.
I was dating a Greek politician, and life was good.
When he first took over the fraternity, it was pretty smooth sailing. He got busier and busier, but it was nothing too bad. He was in and out of meetings, had to send a few emails, what you would usually expect. It wasn’t until fall rush when I started noticing the real difference. After class, my boyfriend would head straight into a meeting with the chapter, advisor, or Exec board, and I wouldn’t see him for hours. Days even. Weekends would be spent with him on the phone with nationals and then right after he got off the phone, he would send emails. Despite the constant checking of his phone and Gmail, the meetings and phone calls weren’t even the worse part.
On Welcome Weekend, he had to stay on his front porch guarding the house from any drunk people trying to come in (they have a dry house). Which meant I was there for moral support. He had to be sober at many socials, date parties, and formals. And if he didn’t have to sober, he still have to be coherent enough to make sure that nothing bad happened. Which in turn, meant that I was sober as well to be supportive. Recruitment stressed him out, socials stressed him out, a pledge went to the ER under his term and I’ve never seen him so stressed in my life. The mental and physical toll it took on him was astronomical. And again in turn, his stress made me really stressed. Worse than that? It made our relationship stressed.
I would watch him sit there pulling his hair out because of an email or a fine his chapter faced. He had to report to nationals about everything, whether he wanted to or not. And he always had a stressed and worried demeanor whenever there was a social, pregame, formal, or date party. And that demeanor wouldn’t leave him until he knew every single brother was home safe. He was in a constant state of stress. On top of all of that, he had school, work and somewhat of a social life. So much for a fun time in college, right?
It was hard for me to watch him go through this constant state of distress, which also took a toll on our relationship. Whenever he got stressed, I got stressed and worried, which in turn made him more stressed. We fought because of it, we spent less time together once he got elected, and we wondered whether it would work out for us.
In the end, I’ve learned a lot from dating a fraternity president. I’ve learned to be selfless. To be there for someone. To be understanding. Despite the stress and the exhaustion, I am so proud of all that he has done, and I know this will open great doors for him. For us. But when the day comes that he passes the torch on to his successor, I’ll be happy to shed myself the title of “First Lady” forever..