Ideas on why sin­gles, mar­rieds don’t mix

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINMENT - DEAR ABBY

Dear Abby: I have an an­swer for a ques­tion from “Ex­cluded in the East” you printed on Sept. 24: “Why do mar­ried cou­ples ex­clude sin­gle peo­ple?”

As a sin­gle mother with three chil­dren for 15 years, I made the con­scious de­ci­sion to con­duct my­self as I al­ways had when I was part of a cou­ple. I hosted back­yard par­ties and hol­i­day din­ners and in­vited my mar­ried friends. I ini­ti­ated in­vi­ta­tions for din­ner and a movie.

At restau­rants, I made sure to pick up my own tab. If a cou­ple in­sisted on pay­ing for my meal, I in­sisted on pay­ing the tip and was pre­pared with cash. Why? Be­cause I was mind­ful that some men felt un­com­fort­able about tak­ing money from a sin­gle woman.

If I wanted com­pany for the evening, I drove to their house. Some­times I vol­un­teered to be the des­ig­nated safe driver.

Most im­por­tant, I never com­plained about my ex or vented about the dif­fi­cul­ties of cop­ing as a sin­gle mom. Need­less to say, there was no flirt­ing or in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments. I also avoided lengthy side con­ver­sa­tions with one spouse.

In short, I worked hard to make sure my mar­ried friends en­joyed my com­pany as much as I en­joyed theirs, and it worked!

Laura in New York Dear Laura: I’m glad it worked for you. Af­ter I asked for read­ers’ in­put on the topic, I re­ceived many in­ter­est­ing re­sponses. Read on for a sam­ple:

Dear Abby: I sus­pect that mar­ried cou­ples are afraid di­vorce is con­ta­gious. It could have some­thing to do with the fact that some mar­ried peo­ple are no longer hap­pily mar­ried and they fear if they in­clude a di­vorcee, it might trig­ger a di­vorce. Hap­pily Uncoupled in Ohio Dear Abby: I have been mar­ried for 10 years. A lot of cou­ples ex­clude sin­gles be­cause they don’t want them to feel like third wheels. I re­mem­ber when I was sin­gle feel­ing that way in some groups, and it was de­press­ing.

Mar­rieds also have a dif­fer­ent mind­set than sin­gles, which can lead to awk­ward­ness. It can work, but it has to be the right group.

Mar­ried in the Mid­west Dear Abby: We’re a gay male mar­ried cou­ple. We have many friends — sin­gles and cou­ples, gay and straight — with whom we so­cial­ize, usu­ally at restau­rants.

We of­ten dine with sin­gle friends one at a time, be­cause split­ting the tab is sim­ply a mat­ter of two credit cards. If we’re with an­other cou­ple, that’s two credit cards. Three cou­ples, it’s three cards, etc.

But with five or seven peo­ple at the ta­ble, pay­ing for the meal turns into an ex­er­cise in high fi­nance. Keep­ing It Sim­ple

in Palm Springs Dear Abby: I’m in my early 60s and still sin­gle. I ac­tu­ally pre­fer to be left out of in­vi­ta­tions to eat in restau­rants, go on trips, etc. with my many cou­pled friends. It makes me some­what de­pressed to be with those who have found their mates.

“Ex­cluded’s” friends may be sen­si­tive about this, too. I’m very com­fort­able at home with my menagerie, and I of­ten in­vite peo­ple over -- mar­ried cou­ples in­cluded.

Dog Lady in Birm­ing­ham, Ala. Dear Abby: Cou­ples who tend to ex­clude their sin­gle friends, for what­ever rea­son, need to re­mem­ber that one day they, too, may be sin­gle and over­looked. My dear mom was left out a lot af­ter her di­vorce, and I re­mem­ber how sad it made her feel. An­drea in Den­ver Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at dearabby. com or P. O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

A lot of cou­ples ex­clude sin­gles be­cause they don’t want them to feel like third wheels.

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