I’m mar­ried, but I pre­fer to at­tend wed­dings alone

It’s a treat to have un­in­ter­rupted ‘me time’

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - ANNA LANE

Ev­ery year, usu­ally co­in­cid­ing with the bloom­ing of the jacaranda trees, wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions be­gin to ar­rive in my mail­box.

The hand-let­tered en­ve­lope is al­ways ad­dressed to Mr. and Mrs. Lane, de­spite the fact that it’s vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed that I will be at­tend­ing alone.

I’m not the typ­i­cal sin­gle guest one finds at a wed­ding.

First of all, I’m mar­ried. Se­cond, I ac­tu­ally pre­fer go­ing alone. Judg­ing by the plot lines of dozens of ro­man­tic come­dies, one would as­sume that at­tend­ing a wed­ding with­out a date is ev­ery woman’s worst night­mare. While I can un­der­stand the value of this as a story arc, I be­lieve that at­tend­ing a wed­ding solo is far su­pe­rior to go­ing with a date, even one to whom I’m mar­ried.

And it’s not be­cause I’m in the throes of a di­vorce or mar­ried in name only; I’m hap­pily hitched to a lovely man and have been for over a decade. How­ever, this lovely man hap­pens to run restau­rants, which al­most al­ways pre­cludes him from be­ing my es­cort to wed­dings or any other event that falls on a week­end, hol­i­day or any day other than a Mon­day.

For most people, sched­ul­ing a wed­ding on a week­end makes the most sense. But when your fam­ily’s liveli­hood de­pends on Satur­day night’s rev­enues, you ei­ther learn to en­joy go­ing solo or cede hav­ing a nor­mal so­cial life al­to­gether.

I didn’t set out to be­come the type of woman who at­tends other people’s life events with­out a date, but grow­ing up an only child was ex­cel­lent prepa­ra­tion. From an early age, I learned how to en­joy my own com­pany, and I never had a si­b­ling to help dis­pel the awk­ward­ness of new sit­u­a­tions. My in­de­pen­dence, at times a point of con­tention in my past re­la­tion­ships, has served me well in my role as a restau­rant wife.

I also find it more pleas­ant to at­tend wed­dings alone. It’s not that I don’t en­joy the com­pany of my hus­band — I do, tremen­dously — but after 10 years of mar­riage to the same per­son, it’s a treat to have un­in­ter­rupted “me time.” There’s a dis­tinct plea­sure in hav­ing a ho­tel room all to one’s self.

I also ap­pre­ci­ate not hav­ing to cut my own en­joy­ment of wed­dings short be­cause my hus­band is bored or doesn’t like danc­ing the ho­rah. I’m able to rem­i­nisce with old friends with­out feel­ing anx­ious that my spouse isn’t “in” on our per­sonal jokes, and I can’t tell you how many in­ter­est­ing people I’ve be­friended be­cause I wasn’t stuck in­ter­act­ing solely with my date. As for the dreaded “sin­gles ta­ble,” I’ve learned from ex­pe­ri­ence that it’s by far the most en­ter­tain­ing place to sit if you’re in­ter­ested in hear­ing juicy tid­bits about the groom’s sor­did past.

Go­ing solo is not with­out its un­com­fort­able mo­ments. I’ve yet to at­tend a wed­ding where I haven’t re­ceived a pity­ing look from the bride and groom, or a pointed ques­tion about my mar­i­tal sta­tus from a well-mean­ing rel­a­tive. I un­der­stand their cu­rios­ity: it’s un­usual to find a mar­ried woman at­tend­ing any­thing (es­pe­cially a wed­ding) alone.

I do find it in­ter­est­ing that go­ing to an event with­out my spouse in tow al­most al­ways in­vites people’s dooms­day sce­nar­ios — di­vorce, sick­ness, even death — rather than the as­sump­tion that I’ve made the choice to show up alone.

I al­ways re­spond po­litely and re­mind who­ever is in­quir­ing that my spouse is work­ing. But maybe I’m do­ing people a dis­ser­vice by not be­ing en­tirely truth­ful. Per­haps I should tell the bride and groom the real story: that I know they can’t be­lieve it now, in the flush of new­ly­wed bliss, when they only want to spend time to­gether. But in a mat­ter of years, they’ll tire of the con­stant to­geth­er­ness. The shine of mat­ri­mony does wear off, and as your re­la­tion­ship grows and changes, you no longer have the need (or the de­sire) to do ev­ery sin­gle thing to­gether.

One day, per­haps, when they, too, are sad­dled with a house, kids and a busy job, they’ll wish for alone time. That will be their light bulb mo­ment, when they’ll re­al­ize that I re­ally did en­joy go­ing to their wed­ding on my own — mainly be­cause I went back to my ho­tel room and slept di­ag­o­nally in a king-size bed with­out be­ing in­ter­rupted by snor­ing.

Now that’s what I call mat­ri­mo­nial bliss.

ELEC­TRA-K-VASILEIADOU, GETTY IM­AGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Go­ing solo to a wed­ding is not with­out its un­com­fort­able mo­ments, Anna Lane writes. Be pre­pared to en­dure the in­evitable pity­ing look from the bride and groom, or a pointed ques­tion about your mar­i­tal sta­tus from a well-mean­ing rel­a­tive.

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