Why Singles Avoid Married Couples
Nothing changes a person more quickly than getting hitched, and compounded on that, having kids. It turns risk-taking, high school quarterbacks who did keg stands every weekend into guys who talk big game but leave the backyard barbecue early. It turns peppy socialites into obsessed mommies that blather on endlessly about their toddler’s messy habits.
Amy Sohn’s NYMag piece ‘Diminishing Interest’ documents the social drawbacks of being young and spoken for:
People can’t engage in irresponsible, hedonistic behavior past an arbitrary age without being labeled losers, creeps, cougars or spinsters. However those whom retract from the party scene too soon also become outcasts. This aspect is less about relationship status and more about being in step with one’s peers.
The issue is that societal pressure, the very kind that encourages marriage, deeply affects married folk, taming some so deeply they’re scarcely recognizable personality-wise.
Being single isn’t about late night partying, it’s about being autonomous. A married person takes on the biases and preferences of his or her mate through a slow osmosis. As an old single friend, this new side that is being introduced might not sit well.
Compromise becomes a stringent code of conduct for both halves of the union, but based on observation men are required to pull back the most. When in his wife’s company, chances are he’s forbidden from doing something trivial, like smoking cigars, drinking too much, or playing video games.
Peppered throughout the article, Amy mentions the experiences of other newly married individuals.
Here’s the first:
Sean relieves himself of personal accountability by attributing his dying social life to being bunched in with dull married couples. Like the author, it sounds like him and his wife aren’t making much of an effort to stay in touch with their friends.
Amy admits to turning down invites which can be the kiss of death for receiving more when you neglect to touch base with those in your circle. This same rule of course applies to singles so the real dilemma appears to be that married people drop the ball on cultivating friendships. They’re either distracted by a hectic lifestyle, feel content with the company of their significant other and see friendships of trivial importance (until bored enough to complain), or have merely gotten lazy.
Here’s the second experience:
Again, is it her status that is the problem or is it her own behavior? Clearly her friends have sought greener pastures because she has made it a habit to push them away. If she doesn’t have time for them they’ll find others that do, giving her more alone time than she can handle. Jennifer’s entitled attitude can’t process that they have no duty to send her token invites when she’s ready to receive them.
Married, Boring and Hermetic
Couples that can hang are in high demand due to their exceeding rarity. Unfortunately in social situations most marriages are plagued with buzz kill elements and dysfunction. You may have chosen your friend but you didn’t choose his wife or her husband. Married folks are usually a package deal. Bring out one, and except all the quirks and intricacies that come with the other, as well as how they relate to each other.
When in the company of their mate, a friend may transform psychologically and somehow come off as inauthentic. Sometimes you’d rather not be exposed to this other side of them. It’s as if you signed up to be in the company of their alter ego, essentially a symbiote, not the free individual of lore you foolishly keep hoping to run into.
In every crowd there’s a dysfunctional marriage that scares the bejesus out of the unattached.
Most common is the brow-beaten, spineless male and his wife whom systematically berates and corrects him. Whatever sexual interest she had for him is now close to nil, and yet she sticks around in a deepeningly hostile state. Her satisfaction now comes from putting her power over him on display. Unless she’s just a miserable person independent of her relationship issues, she’ll be notably charitable to desirable, single men, perhaps subconsciously.
Relationships in which the male is the abusive jerk are tougher to spot because it’s far more socially expectable for a woman to psychologically torture her husband in public than for a man to do the reverse. In this case most of the mistreatment takes place behind closed doors, but the unease carries into social situations. Hints of it may be seen if he drinks excessively. Additionally she’ll be hesitant to engage in activities known to make him jealous or peeved, while hiding the reason for her nonparticipation.
I’m well aware that singles, especially above 30, aren’t high on the friends list for married couples either. Like most types of subtle contempt, it runs in both directions. Married folks wish their own responsibilities on everyone else, as it is supposedly for greater fulfillment. Singles wish their own autonomy on others too, also for reasons of actualization.
–Photo: Kevin Lu/Flickr