Stop Asking People Whether They’re Married – Even As An Icebreaker
Another suggestion: if you’re meeting someone over age 35, and they’re alone, do NOT assume they have been previously married or have had kids (don’t ask them, “So, how long has it been since you divorced”).
A lot of church people are bad about that. Any time I’ve walked into a church post age 35, they always ASSUME I am divorced (I have never been married, so this really annoys me).
by Bella DePaulo and Joan DelFattore
…. But what one of you probably would say before long is, “Are you married?” It’s seen as the most natural of ice-breakers, as if it’s the first thing strangers need to know about each other.
We, and dozens of people we’ve asked about this, encounter the question everywhere. Even random strangers sitting next to us in a train or plane will ask, “Are you married?”
Sometimes the questioner assumes you’re married— like the car dealer who asks if your husband is with you, or the job interviewer who says, “Do you need to talk it over with your wife?” When setting up online accounts, security questions such as “Where did you go on your honeymoon?” or “What is your maiden name?” seem inescapable.
Cue the music from the Twilight Zone, because what we have here is a time warp.
Today, nearly as many adults in the US are not married as married, and Americans spend more years of their adult lives not married than married.
Why do we care? Why should you?
The two of us writing this article have never married, nor ever wanted to. So, when we question this pervasive need to know if we’re married, knee-jerk matrimaniacs will jump to a predictable conclusion.
Surely, they’ll assume, we must feel defensive about being forced to—as they see it—admit that we’ve never grown up and settled down, never been found worthy as soulmates, never had the life our culture insists we must want.
Here’s a reality check: we’re raising this question because, as members of a growing population of Americans who happily define ourselves in terms of relationships, activities, and accomplishments other than marriage, we believe that the time has come to draw attention to a relic of the past so deeply entrenched that most people don’t even stop to think about it.
..And if we’re not married? What happens then?
….Questions about marital status become more serious, and certainly more expensive, when answering No bars single people from desirable financial options. Amazingly, more than 1,000 federal laws, including those governing Social Security, benefit only the legally married. It happens in the (Link): workplace, too.
( read the rest of that article here )