Fitting In

Posted on | June 15, 2011 | 10 Comments

When you are married, you fall very easily into the realm of “marrieds.”  You have dinner with your married friends.  You make plans to meet up as a foursome, or a six-some.  You can have married male friends without it being awkward or uncomfortable for anyone.

Then, in an instant, your world spins around one too many times and the part of you that made you a twosome falls away, split off from your whole. Leaving you alone. And when you stop reeling and reaching for the half that isn’t there, you realize that this married life you’ve been living, with these married friends, is no longer yours to live.

Now that I’m starting to emerge from the fog that’s been my world for the past two months, I realize that everything is different.  Is it still okay to have lunch with your married guy friends?  Is it acceptable to invite a couple over for a dinner party?  Is it acceptable to invite anyone over for anything or have you become the person that makes everyone else uncomfortable?

I find that I feel sort of awkward and poorly clothed around people these days.  It’s as though my sense of security was twisted into the ring I wore on my finger and when it was removed, I was stripped bare and shackled… a chain without a ball.  I wonder if there are conversations behind closed doors about whether it is okay to leave me off the invite list because everyone else is a couple.  I wonder if people can tell just from being around me that I’m only half here, half alive, and half of a whole.

I’m trudging through this unfamiliar territory, trying not to think about how things would have been different “if only…” and trying to focus on what I have… but it’s hard.  It’s hard when almost all of your friends are married.  It’s tough when almost all your friends are co-parenting with a live in spouse and don’t know what to say to you when you are on the verge of your sixth collapse in five days. 

Let me be clear, I am not complaining. I’m just laying it out there.  You know that scene in Bridget Jones where she has dinner with all the married couples? That’s how I feel.  Like the whole world has paired off and is now staring at me like I’m some foreigner who has descended upon Earth to abscond with someone else’s husband.  It’s curious. It’s strange.  It’s so very unfamiliar. 

I don’t think I realized how much security marriage afforded me.  I felt okay about going out in public without make up because… I was already married.  I felt okay about going to the gym even though I wasn’t the smallest person there because… I had a husband.  And now I feel just awkward and unsure.  Part of it may just be the American culture; women my age are “supposed” to be married.  We’re supposed to be “off the market.”  Marriage is the norm and it makes people uncomfortable when a woman is running around without a husband.  (Maybe just in the South?)

I am trying to embrace this new life.  I am trying to embrace the fact that I am the alpha and omega of parenting for my sweet little boy.  I am trying to embrace the fact that I am no longer shackled to a man who did his best to drown me in my chains.  But make no mistake, this is a married woman’s world that I am living in…

And I am not sure where or if I fit in anymore.


10 Responses to “Fitting In”

  1. Heather
    June 15th, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    I can’t necessarily relate to being the single one amongst married people (I was the first among my friends to get married, have kids, etc…), but I can say that it is very doubtful that you would be making your other friends uncomfortable just because you aren’t a part of a “couple”.

    Almost all of my closest friends HAVE gotten married, all except for one (who I have known since we were 6 and 5 years old). When we hang out all as a group, it’s just about a bunch of individual friends hanging out, not units of two. We don’t necessarily sit next to our spouses if we have dinner out, we sometimes do different things… it’s about friendship and having a good time, not coupling.

    Now, sometimes I know my friend feels left out if she is the only single one. I know sometimes she feels like a 3rd or 5th or 7th wheel, but we never look at it (or her) that way. We try to be sensitive to it (i.e. not rub couple-y things in her face), but really it comes more down to how secure SHE feels than anything we can do/not do.

    I think when you have healed a bit more, and feel better about yourself (because you are AWESOME, has anyone told you that today yet?), you can hopefully just be yourself with your friends, and I’m sure they will be happy to have you in the circle, single or not. 🙂

  2. Betsy
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    I can relate 100%. I was the first of my friends to marry and I was the first to divorce, after being with my husband for 18 years.
    I have had to make a very conscious effort to stay included with my married friends. They do feel awkward about picking sides, but you will need to assure them that they don’t have to. You will have to be the one to arrange nights out, as your married friends just don’t understand how desperately lonely you are now. Keep looking the future, and you will get through this.

  3. Mary
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    I have a single friend who comes solo to every thing we “married folks” plan. It’s refresing to have something else to talk about besides our kids, work, etc. She is exciting and bright and I love when I see her. Having couples over is a great idea, but not just one, invite a few couples over. Maybe just one day they will suggest bringing a friend, cousin, brother to meet you.

  4. Kerri
    June 15th, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    on the southern thing, in my experience (grew up in new england, lived in philadelphia and NYC until i was 30, now live in nashville), it is MUCH worse here. we have so many friends up north who aren’t married, don’t want to get married, are gay and can’t marry their partners, etc. that we’re often the only married people in our social gatherings. but around here, kids marry SO YOUNG it makes my head spin. graduate from college, get married the next week seems to be the equation down here, which would raise serious eyebrows where i come from. but that’s just one person’s experience. hang in there!

  5. IdahoGirl
    June 15th, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    I have to agree with Keri about it perhaps being a Southern thing. I also agree with Heather (she must be smart, she and I share a name!) – I doubt your married friends are looking at you that way – and I do think a lot of it is how secure and comfortable you feel.

    In my life, I’ve been the singleton amongst all the marrieds and I’m now married with a husband that works nights and is not the social animal I am. Consequently, I find myself at group events by myself a lot. I find it doesn’t really matter which boat I’m in, it’s all about how comfortable I feel with my friends – never about how they feel about me.

    I also live in a very socially liberal area. In Seattle, you’re just as likely to have friends that have children and are not married (but living together), chose to have children alone, are gay, are straight, are divorced, are on their fifth marriage. No matter what your opinion or value system might be (conservative/liberal, spiritual or not), it’s hard to avoid “alternative” lifestyles around here…. I’d guess it’s much different in the south.

    So I say hang in there, Mama. You’ll find other single moms to be friends with. Your friends will adjust – at least the ones that lvoe you best. And if they don’t, then it’s time to shed those friendships anyway.

    You will find your way and adjust beautifully, just as you are with everything else. Don’t let yourself forget that you’re REALLY new to all of this. Your path will come.

  6. Anthony from CharismaticKid
    June 15th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    Oh stop it. You will be fine. Do you know how fun it is to have kids and be single?

  7. Abigail
    June 15th, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    I’m at this weird place where, b/c I was in a relationship for so long, I nurtured my friendships differently. I think b/c most of my friends were married with kids, we all just kind of knew that weekends were ‘family time’ for everyone so we didn’t really push for plans. And now that I’m a single parent, I want play dates on weekends b/c I want to talk to an adult! And then there are the days when my son is with his dad and I don’t want to have anything to do with kids b/c I either miss my own or I want to do something that I can’t normally b/c I have my kid all the time.

  8. Maria
    June 15th, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    I know you can’t imagine believing this yet, but you’ll be fine! I was you a few years ago. You’ll get there!

  9. Mary
    June 15th, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    Hey Law Momma! This is Mary W. from high school. I have enjoyed reading your blog! LM something tells me you will not be single for long. You are too sweet and fun for some really wonderful guy to pass up!

  10. Carol
    June 22nd, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    I have been the third wheel more times than I can count – call me up and I’ll be your date! 🙂

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