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June 14, 2010

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My friends all run from me (the married one). I can't give dating advice with any real credibility anymore and I can't go bar hopping until the wee hours of the morning. But I still invite them all always, all the time, regardless of their current personal relationship standing. Eventually, everyone gets comfortable with it and we just enjoy our time together (as long as they remember to bring me cake (-:)

I find that lots of my friends are single or divorced and since I am married, I am the one that gets "left out". Although since my hubby works so many nights and now we have no children at home we (girls) can enjoy more GNO's.

I could have written this myself. This is EXACTLY my experience. As a divorced/single woman, MANY other women AUTOMATICALLY assume me to be a threat. Because of several really bad experiences, I now am very careful about who I focus on most (has to be the woman, even if I clearly have more in common with the man). It's almost a macabre dance we must do, lest any relationship with them be shoved over a cliff. If the relationship with the woman is important to me, this is especially true. If not, well then, she'll have to deal with it. Thing is, I, too, have a strict rule -- one more instinctive than established -- that I NEVER get involved with married men. EVER. So even married women who are instinctually jealous never ever have to worry about me.

Most of my best female friends are married. I sometimes get invited to couple's things with them, but usually things I'm invited to are bigger events like parties or to girls' happy hours or lunch. Like you, it's a good thing I'm comfortable doing so many things by myself.

What up with this???

Actually, I group my friends into two groups, with kids and without. Single parents or single kidless friends get grouped in there too.
The with kids friends usually get the playdate/dinner invites since Sprite needs some playtime too. The without kids invites usually happen during a Parents Night out or one of us stays home with Sprite and the other joins the friends. I have noticed that couples without kids have basically blackballed us since we had Sprite, forgetting we even existed. WTF? :-)

My very good friend is divorced and we regularly include her in our gatherings. Alot of times it's just hubby, myself, and her. I would never consider excluding her to anything. Of course, you must realize that I have no life, and most things we do at home! It's sad that friendships often hinge on those kind of factors(marriage, kids, social concerns), but I guess they do. The real friendships, I think disregard those things.

When I left my ex, the vast majority of the friendships I had didn't just fizzle out - they were cut off with a razor-like precision. Lots of factors there, but mainly it was that we had such a picture perfect marriage on the outside and my ex did a huge smear campaign (one of his aunts actually spit on me when I met her by accident one day). Two friends stood by me...two. Fortunately, like you, I enjoyed doing things alone and I was never afraid to cultivate new relationships.

Beloved and I spend so much time working that the only social engagements we have include employees and/or clients, so marital status has never been an issue there.

I've never, for a second, worried about any of my divorced friends moving in on my husband. They never would, and quite honestly - I've never questioned that. I have parted ways with one friend who is now divorced. The reason? We would make plans to go out and she'd call and cancel on me (repeatedly) if any guy called with other plans. She did this for years and I grew tired of always playing second fiddle to her flavor of the week. (None of which ever lasted for more than a few dates anyway.) Prior to that, I hosted her for Thanksgivings at our house on the years she didn't have custody of her kids and would have otherwise been alone, etc. In other words - I felt like I was a very good friend to her, but I didn't feel it was reciprocated whenever a man (any man) came into her life.

OK, mark your calendar for our annual Vineyard Potluck/Cape Cod Edition, July 10, 5pm!

We really don't know a lot of singles (unmarried, divorced, widowed) but the ones we do know get invited over regardless of their marital status.

Divorce cooties;). When will people learn?

Overall the issue is a cultural/society issue but I agree that women certainly think about it more than men. Of course you have the double standard thing going on too.

Been divorced and it wasn't this problem that caused much pain. Admittedly I was not divorced very long. In case you are wondering she left me.

I just going to make a somewhat wild guess here (you'll let me know how off I am)
You enjoyed the social gatherings and parties of your married life. Now you would like to be involved in the party planning and partying thing. I think it a change issue and you rightly don't feel it's a change you need to accept.

I don't really know what I'm suggesting (I've never set foot on your island) but maybe it's time for you get off the island more.

Hi Maureen - What an interesting and insightful piece. And you've made me think about the ways I treat different categories of friends. In my life right now the main distinction is between friends with kids and friends without kids and I realize that I do often keep those groups separate when socializing. I usually say it's because I don't think my single or childless friends would enjoy hanging out with a house full of couples with kids, but you're absolutely right: I won't really know until I ask and find out. Thanks for the reminder!

You have captured this experience perfectly. And I've lived it as well, for nine long years. It doesn't happen to men, and I also believe it is largely the women who are doing it to other women, not necessarily consciously.

There may also be other issues that play into the dynamic. Typically post-divorce, women are on shakier financial ground. Suddenly, we can no longer participate in activities the way we used to. It makes others uncomfortable. I get that. It's no less hurtful to be on the receiving end.

As for the simplest of social events and inclusion, in all these years I have only known one exception - a wonderful married woman - who hasn't reflected the norm of simply walking away from a friend, now divorced.

Sometimes I think I enjoy my single friends even more than my married friends, because we talk about things other than being married.

I was just thinking about this today, Maureen. I've been divorced for longer than I was married, and really don't feel like answering 'divorced' when people ask (or when filling out forms, etc.) I just say 'single'. Why should my ex-husband's bad choice define me?
Also, I have been excluded from couples things... it's just weird. And I've had those weird vibes when meeting husbands and wives at the same time (like at school functions).
Anyway - other half and I have virtually no time nor patience for social events, so... it's not really an issue, but I totally know exactly where you're coming from on this post.

I've been on both sides of this, single and married, and I think this largely is a women's issue, and, having taken a few anthropology courses on primates, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a little biological root to natural jealousy. However. Not a good reason to give into it! I also think plenty of people give out signals -- men and women, and it's natural to be wary of those people. But to be wary of those who are not giving out any signals up, down or any which way, then it's either they don't trust their men or they are horribly insecure. Not pretty and a shame. Well, they are the ones missing out on the pleasure of your company!

You would fit it just fine with me and my friends Maureen. For one, we tend to plan as women and only rarely as couples. And even if we invite the husbands, single friends are always included.

I know what you mean.... I feel left out because I am still married and most of my friends are divorced.

I don't have any divorced friends, so I don't know what I would do. I have a friend whose husband is a pilot and whenever I extend her an invitation it is for them as a couple or her alone--whatever is happening that day.

I did have a friend who was widowed. For about a year and a half she continued to socialize with us and other couples. She has stopped, but that was her choice, not that of her friends.

This is a great post, Maureen. Thanks for bringing up an important topic. I remember when my mother was WIDOWED (how dare she!) in her forties how the other couples dropped her like she fell off the planet. Of course, it was the 70s. But I really do feel like we have to be sensitive to these issues. Any of us can have a marriage-changing thing happen any time; we'd like to think our friendships could withstand this stuff.

By the way, I like your new design! Though I'd like your blogroll better if I was on it! (hint hint...)

When I was divorced I did notice a sharp decline in the 'couples invites' - even from my brother and his wife, like they thought I'd be uncomfortable around other couples now that I was the big "D" word. I always had a 'rule' that I would NEVER get involved with a married man - especially since my first husband left me for another woman. No way was I going to be the cause of so much pain. When we invite friends over, I never leave out the divorced friends - especially since I had been there, done that... and just because someone's divorced doesn't change who they are as a person and a friend. :)

When I first got divorced, my friends who I went to high school with and who were all married didn't know what to do with me. They were the least supportive people I knew. I now know they were scared out of their minds. If it could happen to me, it could happen to these friends. You're right, it's time to rethink the way we think and feel about divorcees. There are too many to be ignored. Gone are the days when you'd be at a party and there was one who was drunk and hanging on all the married men. I say if friends don't ask you how you feel about coming to a party where there's mostly couples, you start the conversation. The hell with social norms, "I'm single, hear me roar."

Might it be they just don't like you. Just putting it out there. :-)

Maureen you can talk to my husband anytime and focus on him. I'm MARRIED and I have to watch myself around couples and actually I am NOT very friendly to most men for this reason, they get the wrong idea and women can get the wrong idea too..

I've been separated and divorced and what you say is true although I don't know why you couldn't marry a hollywood hunk. I think you have high standards and maybe remarriage is just not in the cards right now.

I really don't have any qualms about single friends...then my husband has an open door, if he wants to go go I'm not arguing if he thinks he needs to go...it's been 18 years.... LOL

I had friendships fizzle when I got divorced too though, mostly it was for the best.

Being single... well, it BLOWS!

I am not divorced... but I am 30 and have never been married. There is a whole other set of social stigmas that surround that and I'm ready to join the "might be single forever" camp any day now!!!

If I hear "oh but dear why are YOU still single" one more time (from a married person no less) I think I am going to snap. Or "Oh TRUST me... being in a relationship is overrated anyway..." BITE ME!

*ahem*

'Scuse me. lol I believe I have let my bad attitude show through. lol

I am not divorced, but once upon a time I was single and it was hard when I wasn't invited to events where couples were going to be. I wondered if they thought I would feel left out, when I felt more left out not being invited at all. I would think it would be very hard to know how to invite a divorced couple to an event. I guess I would gauge how nasty the divorce was, how long it had been and if I should invite both or not.

I've had friends that were single after I was married. I'll be honest, I didn't cut them out of my life, but they cut me out of theirs and I ended up being the one feeling out of place and abnormal because I was married.

Wow. First thought as I'm reading this: Loaded gun.

You've worded it perfectly, sweetie (as always....)at least for me. My ironclad rule makes me no threat to anyone's marriage...but that doesn't seem to make a whit of difference, evidently. In some cases, the men will still flirt...much to the disdain of their spouses...and somehow, I become the bad guy....go figure.

A divorce does seem to also involve the splitting up of the friends...I guess it's a natural part of the breakup process. I hate the thought of my only social life being in singles bars...and like you, I'm prepared for the distinct possibility that I may very well be DONE.

I'm over here harumphing and indignant just thinking about this. Why leave you out? Like someone said above, it's not like you have cooties or anything? Grrrrr.

I do know that my one friend going through a divorce has been abandoned by some friends and has found it painful. I mean, talk about adding insult to injury! As if she's not losing enough.

Just come move my way, honey. I'll invite you to everything. But then again, you'd have to put up with me, so maybe you should just stay put on that vineyard. ((hugs))

Well if you were down here, you would be welcome anytime. I do have to admit that I'm guilty of drifting apart from my childless friends because we're stuck in the daily grind of schedules/discipline/potty training and they just don't get it. But come on down... we'll hang but you gotta be willing to hang with toddlers.

How interesting and enlightening. Since I'm not single, I haven't really thought about this from the single point of view. Thanks for opening my eyes.

I don't think you're off base at all. In fact I think you're very smart about your actions and feelings. I look at my mom and how she's single. Fortunately for her she's got several other single lady friends in her "active adult" community and couples tend to invite her and other single ladies to events. They almost come as a couple themselves. But I totally get where you're coming from...

Hear, hear! I was stunned at the complete shift in friends once I divorced. At such a lonely, lonely time - you find out who your true friends are. Makes me so sensitive to others in the same situation now.

Maureen - I think we are the same age or close and I, just this summer, will reach the point where I have been not married longer than I was married. My marriage split up 13 years ago January.

I have never thought of changing the way I interact with friends and friends' husbands. I get invited out with my core group of friends - I am not the only single person but may be one of the only single females - all the time.

I didn't worry as much about these social interactions before as I was too busy parenting but now that I have time, I love them. Sometimes, I bring a friend with me. Sometimes, I go alone.

That totally sucks. We don't have too many friends, divorced, married or otherwise, that we socialize with on a regular basis. We have four kids which quite hinder our ability to do so. Also, the husband and I are pretty antisocial by and large. But back when we went out more, our friends were a good mix of single and couples, I don't think it was ever an issue.

I'm sure feeling threatened by a divorced woman probably stems from a lot of insecurity. If someone lacks confidence, I'm sure seeing it exhibited in someone else can be intimidating. Seems like something silly to be willing to lose a friend over though.

this is my story as well. there are so many times when I can just feel a woman glaring at me for even speaking to her husband. I have the same rule about being with a married man NEVER! and yet it doesn't seem to matter. Now that I am divorced, I apparently am willing to sleep with any one. Go figure. Even I didn't know that.

I had no idea how isolated I would be when we split but I was and I very rarely go out with couples. I have about 2 or 3 couples that I know that are fine with me being with them but other than t hat, nothing. No dinners out, dinner parties, lunches, nothing.

Thank God, I now like myself and enjoy my own company. It's been close to 6 years for me and so far it's me and me.

I would rather be alone than make the same mistake again but I do miss doing things like going to concerts and movies on Sat. nights, and traveling, etc. things I'm just not comfortable doing by myself. But again, I'd rather wait. Women live longer than men, so I just have to wait until all the husbands croak. I bet my social life will be booming when that happens.

Pam left Bobby Ewing. Sue Ellen could not have enough of JR. So..

I guess I never really thought about it, cause it has been forever since I was single. Now that I do think about it...I have one female friend that is single, (now that we have quit drinking) she turns down all invitations to bbq's.

I know the seperation of friends from divorce. I pretty much lost them all, except one. But lately I have been getting them back through facebook. He abandoned them long ago.

My experience may be a little different...at least coming from the "married" side of things. I have several single female friends. I love it when they come to dinner parties. They add a sexual undercurrent...which I know sounds like we are throwing "key parties" and we definitely aren't! I'm one of the most monogamous women I know and I expect the same thing from my husband. But, I think singles add something to the mix. The "marrieds" act a little less staid, maybe. I have found that I love to go to dinner with my friend "Mary" when my husband is working late, but I've learned that it can get me into trouble. Not that I act "single" per se, but she attracts more attention because she is, and I don't need that charged atmosphere around me when my husband isn't with me. I've learned to invite her to join us, rather than she and I have "girls" night out. I'm not a big believer in girls night out...especially when married woman are concerned. I just think it's asking for trouble.

So...finally...if you lived in my town, you would be a welcome guest in our home!

great piece. We just invite people. Those who have fun continue to return.

My New Jersey divorce attorney is actually a friend of mine, he told me to keep my head up and to hit the ground running. So I'm going to do just that, even though I was recently divorced I'm going to go back out there and try dating again.

I just got to thinking about all of us women who are married - happily - but whos husbands are not very socialable. This situation also poses difficulty for people who want to invite us out. And if my husband doesn't want to attend the event, then the perception is that our marriage is in 'touble'. Maybe if we are all treated like individuals, which ultimately we are, then non of this suspician and tongue wagging would exist.

I have found that I love to go to dinner with my friend "Mary" when my husband is working late, but I've learned that it can get me into trouble. Not that I act "single" per se, but she attracts more attention because she is, and I don't need that charged atmosphere around me when my husband isn't with me.

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