My marriage had been over for at least a couple of years when I had an interesting conversation with a married friend. We were discussing a new TV show about two divorced people and their budding romance.
"He's so good looking," I confided, referring to the actor in the lead role.
"Yeah, right," my friend agreed. "Like a guy that looks like that would be divorced and available in real life."
And we laughed.
But I couldn't get her comment out of my head. What was she actually saying? That only average or less than average looking people get divorced? That a good looking person would never be on the market for long?
I know she didn't mean to be insulting. But did it not occur to her she was talking to a divorced person who was herself "on the market?"
And while I'm not expecting to date a Hollywood hunk, I've yet to rule out meeting someone that might actually be physically attractive, at least to me.
Let's face it, society is often at a loss over what to do with divorced people, although why this is, I'm not entirely sure; there are certainly enough of us.
There were several friendships that fizzled out when my marriage ended. Part of me understands this. People that used to deal with us as a family or a couple suddenly had no idea what to do. Still invite both of us to a party? Invite only one person and potentially wound the other?
Or maybe do nothing and just let the whole relationship die a silent, never-to-be-discussed death?
Many people choose that last one. It's easier I guess, but disappointing. Hurtful.
Yet just as hurtful are the newer relationships, the ones where people have only known me as a single person yet, whether consciously or not, neglect to include me in plans that feature mostly couples, plans they wouldn't think twice about including me in if there was a guy in my life.
Are couples really that much more fun?? I've heard people say that they weren't sure a single woman would be comfortable at say, a dinner, with mostly couples.
Well, my reply would be: extend the invitation and find out. Or better yet, ask them straight out how they feel about it. Recently a friend did just that, ask me if I would be okay being the only single person at a dinner party. I was grateful for her honesty.
I've been "single" now for 13 years. At this rate it's entirely possible I may remain so for the rest of my days. If I wasn't comfortable going somewhere by myself, it'd be a really lonely life.
It's tricky to be a single middle-aged woman. I have to be hyper-aware of how I talk to other women's husbands, and I am always conscious of being observed, judged even, on an entirely different playing field.
Which is ironic, because the rule in my mind about married men is ironclad, and I am without question the least of any married woman's problems.
Although I consider myself reasonably attractive, looks aren't really the issue here. It's been my experience that there is no divorced woman hideous enough not to be considered a threat in the eyes of those married women who are insecure in either their marriages or themselves.
I confess, I wish the door could be blown wide open on this, that married women could express their feelings or fears, and divorced women could shout out, "Hello! I'm out here. I'm still a viable social human being. And not just on Girls Only nights out."
I keep saying women because I do believe, at its heart, it really is a woman's issue. We are the social secretaries of our marriages, our families...the world.
What do you think? Am I completely off base?
If you're divorced, are you regularly included in the plans of your married friends? And if you're married, do you see your single friends under different circumstances than you see your couples friends?