Friday, April 23, 2010

An open letter to the married folk

This has become a theme of late: not just from me, but from other single people in my life. It's not directed at any one person and it's not meant to offend. Still, I thought maybe we could just talk about this for a few minutes.

Why do couples always have to sit together? If you're at a party or event where you're going to spend time with other people, why is it necessary that you two sit next to each other? I've been relegated to the children's table sometimes because I'm the odd person out. So just because I'm not coupled, I don't get to talk to the grown-ups? Because, frankly, if I'm just going to spend time with my kids, I could've stayed home!

Appreciate your spouse. Sure, anyone you live with is going to get on your nerves from time to time, I get that, but I know some people who complain about their husband (yes, it's usually the wives) so often that I just want to scream at them: "He's a good guy! WTF is your problem?!?" And frankly, it says more about you if you treat your spouse so disrespectfully. A good rule of thumb might be for every complaint you voice, state at least 2 things you like about your spouse. And if you can't? Well, maybe there's an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Please, please, please don't reassure me that I'll meet "the one." It's just flat-out patronizing.

I can't believe this is still an issue in 2010, but it seems that some women still dismiss their single friends for their significant others at every turn. We know and can appreciate that you want to spend time with your man, and sure, you have your family events and your special anniversaries and all that. We get it, and we're happy for you. You think we've turned "bitter" when we stop being there for you as much as we were, but really, you've conveniently forgotten all the times you've flaked on us. You've canceled plans, you've stopped returning phone calls, and you always want to bring your SO. Sometimes, we just want to spend time with you. Eventually, we just stop trying because you've made it clear we simply don't matter anymore. We wish you well, but we've moved on.

Finally, when we admit to moments of loneliness, it's not an invitation to set us up (unless we specifically say so), it's just something we feel from time to time. Don't assume it means we're crying ourselves to sleep every night, just like we don't assume you want to leave your relationship because of one fight. Be the friend you've always been. Offer your ear, your shoulder, and mean it when you say, "we should have drinks sometime." We'd love to!


Tara R. said...

Thank you for this. Being home all the time now, I relish getting way without my men folk sometimes. I enjoying spending time alone or with my gal pals too.

I'm married, not the second half of a conjoined twin.

MP said...

Well said.

Mary P (Barnmaven)

jenn said...

Thank you. This is exactly what I was trying to say the other day in my rambly, whiny, sleep-deprived post. Very well said. And I agree with every bit of it.

I think I need to print this out and send a copy to every married friend (which would be all of them) that I have. But that might not get the reaction I want. :)

Unknown said...

Holy smokes, I could not believe my eyes when I read that you've had to sit at the kiddie table! That made me cringe.

That said, I have the set up thoughts often (90% of BOTH mine and Colin's friends are single). I have voiced my set up thoughts before and actually, I was put in my place a few weekends ago when he said back, "Why does everyone think that because I don't have a girlfriend, I need one? I am happy! Leave me be!"

So yeah.

I get it.

Thank you for putting this out there!

Have a wonderful weekend xo

Danielle said...

*SMILE* Thats all!!

Cat said...

I don't think I'd stay anywhere where they put me at the kiddie table.

I've listened to countless men complain about their wives (coworkers, friends...) and it never fails to amaze me how "miserable" they all are when they talk, given that they chose to marry that person, then stay married.

Unknown said...

Bravo! I had an in-a-relationship friend email a group of her girlfriends (me included) recently after we hadn't heard from her in months...she told us her boyfriend would be gone for the weekend so she'd like to have a "girls' night." Friend, my every night is a girls' night.

Lifeofkaylen said...

So true!! I am so happy being single and love my life. I'm human though, and sometimes I will make a comment about missing having a man around--that does NOT mean that I want to be told that it will happen for me some day...cause if "it" never happens, I will still be happy with the life I have.
And it's also tiring to invite someone to do something and have them say no because their spouse can't make it--as if you can't hang out with me alone.
AND I miss out on invitations to get-togethers because I don't have an SO, which is also unfair.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pippi said...

I've been asking myself some of these questions for a while now. Trouble is, with me, I have a really hard time meeting new people, and Mark tends to abandon me ASAP and run off to hang out with his single friends. Which leaves me feeling like the odd-man-out single mom saddled with the kids and unable to meet other adults. It would be nice if he'd take a bit of time to help me find a platform before taking off - and when he does move around, acknowledge that HE isn't a single guy by helping out with the kids himself. Just saying.

That said, though, I agree with your take on it. And it isn't his fault that I'm shy. It's just that I don't appreciate him not helping me out a bit, because that's what couples are supposed to do. Right? RIGHT?! Lol.

Anonymous said...

What drives me crazy is thinking you're going to a girls night out and finding out that someone couldn't be away from their SO for just a few hours so brought him along!

Anonymous said...

From a Mom thats been in a relationship for nearly six years now I LOVE this. It is so well said. It is one of the big things my gfriends and I all have in common. Girls Night! Leave the men at home. We already live with them!!

It's really interesting though, because I wonder where I fall on the spectrum. I spent the first four year or so of our relationship putting my gfriends first, all the time. Not out of obligation but because that was honestly where I'd rather be. The past year I've made a real point of prioritizing our Family and Relationship. My friends had a hard time with it at first, but once I explained my thought process to them they were understanding.


Unknown said...

“Why do couples always have to sit together? If you're at a party or event where you're going to spend time with other people, why is it necessary that you two sit next to each other?”

Well, in our marriage, we so rarely get a night away from the kids that we relish any opportunity to spend time together. Because we like one another. A lot. During the natural ebb and flow of an evening with other couples, we will drift apart and come back together. It just happens. I wonder if the married partners that you describe trust each other enough that they can allow their spouse to speak to a member of the opposite sex without being chaperoned.

I do have one rule in regards to our single friends. We do not play match-maker. The one time my wife tried, I made her promise in advance that when the couple broke up (and they did) that the male half of the set-up (my friend) still received priority seating at the holiday table (he was a regular at Thanksgiving and Easter for years) over her sister, the female half of the set-up. My wife agreed. And she kept her promise. said...

I suspect that in couples who cling at least one of them is socially anxious—but it does strike me as a bit dull and pointless when they might both have more fun if they could be individuals... and perhaps this is part of the unconscious snarkiness toward single folks, the need to project incompleteness (or even the dis of both isolation, but also implied lesser development in placement at the kiddie table).

Well said... one only hopes it might ripple out to make a difference. The real point is toward more respect for each other and less judgement—and that's consistent with many of the themes you take up. Here's to hoping more of the world gets with your program.