Is It Just Me, Or Is Making Friends in Middle Age Hard for Everyone? (Letter to Ask Amy)

Is It Just Me, Or Is Making Friends in Middle Age Hard for Everyone? (Letter to Ask Amy)

I’ve had the same difficulty, so lady, it’s NOT just you.

(Link):  Is It Just Me, Or Is Making Friends in Middle Age Hard for Everyone? (Letter to Ask Amy)

June 2017

DEAR AMY:

I am a 50-year-old self-employed professional, and I have no friends. I know lots of people and have plenty of acquaintances.

I moved back to the Midwest about five years ago after getting divorced. I remarried recently and my husband is my best and pretty much my only friend. We met online.

I know I need more than this, but I have not been able to connect to anyone socially here for much more than an occasional cup of coffee.

Continue reading “Is It Just Me, Or Is Making Friends in Middle Age Hard for Everyone? (Letter to Ask Amy)”

Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.

Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.

A woman named San wrote to Christian program “The 700 Club” to say she’s in a marriage where her husband is ignoring her in favor of TV shows and his job and so forth. Pat Robertson’s son Gordon answered her letter.

Here is her letter to The 700 Club:

I have been very lonely in my marriage.

My husband’s priorities fall in this order: work, television, and then his phone. I have brought it to his attention so many times. I find myself only relying on God and Him being my true friend but I am still lonely.

Yes, I have God to turn to and I talk to God all day, every day, but it would be nice to have a husband in my life who I can truly share my life with. What should I do?

[signed] San

I didn’t completely agree with the host’s answer.

Continue reading “Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.”

Why Do We Feel So Lonely (via USA Today)

Why Do We Feel So Lonely (via USA Today)

Being married or a relationship will not rid you of loneliness. I was engaged for years to a guy who was very self absorbed, and we did not connect emotionally.

As the relationship with this guy dragged on, I would sit in the same room as him and yet still feel all alone.

And I’ve read many online testimonies by married women who say the same thing – that though they are married, they still feel all alone, because their husbands make no effort to spend time with them, or for whatever the reason.

I’m just putting that out there, because American culture has this terrible tendency to act as though if you can just find the one right person and marry him (or her) that you will be instantly happy, fulfilled, and your loneliness will go away.

(Link): Why Do We Feel So Lonely  by Laura Petrecca 

Excerpts:

….There are more ways than ever to connect with others — yet many of us know the hollow ache of loneliness.

Loneliness isn’t constrained by age, gender, marital status or job title. CEOs feel it. So do cubicle dwellers. As do new moms, granddads, recent college grads and elementary school students.

…And yes, some of those Facebook friends who continually post photos of bar outings and extended family gatherings may be quite lonely, too.

…The prevalence of loneliness “is surprisingly high,” says John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, who has studied the topic extensively.

Continue reading “Why Do We Feel So Lonely (via USA Today)”

Let’s Talk About Intimacy – and Why it Makes for Better Love and Sex by J. Moorhead

Let’s Talk About Intimacy – and Why it Makes for Better Love and Sex by J. Moorhead

I am not in full agreement with the article’s political commentary, but otherwise, this is a very interesting page.

(Link): Let’s Talk About Intimacy – and Why it Makes for Better Love and Sex by J. Moorhead

The key to a great relationship is more than physical – it’s about taking off the mask and really revealing yourself

Is there anything we still need to know about sex? Apparently, yes: and the missing ingredient is a gamechanger not just for individuals, but entire nations.

Sex has been centre-stage in western culture for decades, but what has been absent, according to Adam Wilder, creator of the world’s first Festival of Togetherness, is the magic element that makes it all meaningful.

“The holy grail,” he says, “is intimacy. Intimacy’s the real taboo in our society – it’s the thing we fear, because it’s about taking off the mask that so many of us hide behind. But it’s the key to being freer, happier and more alive and it could change not only our personal lives, but the political decisions we take as a society.”

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Intimacy – and Why it Makes for Better Love and Sex by J. Moorhead”

Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

(Link): Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends?

Excerpts:

…It turns out, I’m not alone in feeling so alone.

“A lot of people have that feeling,”  says Irene S. Levine, a psychologist who writes about friendships…

It turns out, I’m not alone in feeling so alone.

“A lot of people have that feeling,”  says Irene S. Levine, a psychologist who writes about friendships…

…Says Shasta Nelson, founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site in 65 cities across the U.S. and Canada, and author of “Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness” (Seal Press, $14): “I believe we have an epidemic of unacknowledged loneliness.”

Especially, it seems, among women.

Continue reading “Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis”

The Stupid Billy Graham Rule Strikes Again, Via Relevant Magazine: ‘Is It OK for Married People to Text the Opposite Sex?,’ by Z. Carter

The Stupid Billy Graham Rule Strikes Again, Via Relevant Magazine: Is It OK for Married People to Text the Opposite Sex?, by Z. Carter

Not only did Relevant magazine (Christian publication) recently publish this dreck (link is much farther down this blog post), but a guy or two under Relevant’s Tweet about it were defending it, LOL.

This is basically a variation on the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), which generally casts singles as harlots, women in particular. Ergo, married men are strongly cautioned against talking to, showing compassion to, being around, taking phone calls from, adult single women.

(I have a collection of posts on my blog that refutes the BGR; please see links to those posts at the bottm of this one, under “Related Posts.”)

Jesus never taught the BGR, but actually befriended and talked to all sorts of women, including known prostitutes, divorced women, and so on.

Do evangelicals and the Reformed emulate Jesus on this, Jesus being the role model for all believers? Nope – they choose to emulate the rule-loving Pharisees who also taught men that all women are sexual temptresses, so men ought to avert their gaze if they see a woman walking by.

This paranoia of opposite-gender friendships ends up ostracizing and excluding single adults (some of whom may be lonely and in great need of platonic companionship, let alone romantic), it basically casts even virgins such as myself (over the age of 40) as being hookers and sluts, and it sexualizes every one.

For about four years now, I’ve been Facebook friends with a married guy on Facebook. He knows I’m single. I know he’s married. He knows I know he’s married.

I’ve also been friends with another married guy online for about ten or more years (we met on a forum) and we later became Facebook friends. This guy knows I know he’s married, and he knows I’m single.

And do you know what? This has not been a problem for any of us!

I sometimes even send private notes to the first friend on Facebook about some of my personal problems (stuff I don’t want to put on my Facebook wall).  At no time have I flirted with either male friend, nor have they flirted with me. It’s not even entered my mind!

Yes, it’s possible for single women to be pals with married dudes and nothing inappropriate happens.

I was engaged several years to a guy. My ex at one point rented his own home, then he went on to two different apartments.

I sometimes spent the night with him at these places (over night stays) even in the SAME BED, and we did NOT have sex. (I was very committed to the idea of remaining a virgin until marriage at that point in life. So, my ex and I did not have sex). It’s possible for two adults to spend time alone over night and not have sex.

I have a libido. My ex let me know he had one too – he respected my wishes and boundaries, but he let me know on more than one occasion he was “warm for my form” and was very tempted to get it on. However, we both had self control. Just because you’re alone with someone else and find them attractive does not mean that sex is inevitable.

At least several of the people who left comments below this page (on the Relevant site) were critical of the piece:

(Link):  Is It OK for Married People to Text the Opposite Sex? by Zack Carter

Excerpts.

Affairs don’t start with sex.

….However, I probably don’t have to tell you that too much can be dangerous—especially privacy with someone of the opposite sex.

Continue reading “The Stupid Billy Graham Rule Strikes Again, Via Relevant Magazine: ‘Is It OK for Married People to Text the Opposite Sex?,’ by Z. Carter”

Dear Abby: Teen Gets a Boyfriend, Snubs Her Old Pal

This is something I find deeply annoying. I’ve blogged on it only once before: you’re a single woman with a single female buddy who regularly hangs out with you UNTIL she gets the new boyfriend or husband – then she neglects her friendship with YOU unless and until her new man goes out of town, dumps her, or dies.

Then all the sudden she walks back into your life, expecting you to be there for her. I hate it when women do this to other women, or girls do it to girls.

Basically Abby tells the letter writer that’s just the way it is, suck it up and deal with it.

My advice to the Mom: just wait when Cora’s friend’s BF dumps her (and it will happen eventually), you can allow Cora to give her the cold shoulder: no female buddy support system for the friend, the friend will have to cry and get over the break up all on her little own and suffer the resulting loneliness.

She dumps your kid Cora for a boyfriend – tell her to return the favor when the inevitable split comes along (Cora gets dumped by the BF). In the meantime, help your kid make new friends and also get her involved in solo activities – sports or hobbies.

‘Marriage Changes When You Don’t Just Need A Warm Body and a Paycheck’: A Talk With Rebecca Traister

‘Marriage Changes When You Don’t Just Need A Warm Body and a Paycheck’: A Talk With Rebecca Traister

(Link): ‘Marriage Changes When You Don’t Just Need A Warm Body and a Paycheck’: A Talk With Rebecca Traister  by Jia Tolentino

Excerpts:

  • After two months, my [Jia Tolentino’s] copy of Rebecca Traister’s new book is already dog-eared, wine-stained, and train-battered. All the Single Ladies is essential, careful, bold, and rigorous; it’s a warning and a celebration, and I loved it. Traister and I talked on the phone last week.
  • [Rebecca Traister said]… I always hated it when my heroines [book characters] got married.
  • … but I took in the message that Laura learned, and then taught us: that marriage was the end of fun.
  • …one of the interesting things that’s happened coterminously with the decline in marriage rate is the rise of the wedding industrial complex and the fetishization of marriage as the signal achievement of female life.
  • That’s happened even as women have been marrying less and less, and for a couple of reasons.
  • One, the economic strata of women who still most consistently marry are the wealthiest women: you have a whole industry that’s built up around selling them very expensive weddings, and this industry now crosses classes. There’s a diffuse but very strong pressure to correct women’s move away from marriage by fetishizing it.
  • This, in turn, is possible in part because marriage is no longer the thing that kicks off a woman’s adult life.
  • As sociologists put it, marriage is now a capstone event instead. It’s the thing you do when your life is in shape, when you have the right amount of money —and particularly in middle and lower-income communities, when you know you have the right partner, and in many cases, when you already have a kid. Marriage is popularly a sign that your life is in order, which contributes to this renewed positioning of marriage as aspirational.
  • [Jia Tolentino said] Right. It’s the fairytale narrative run through a late-capitalist filter. You make your money, you formalize your ambitions, and then you still get rewarded with the kiss and the ring.
  • [Rebecca Traister said] Despite all this, women are still not marrying at the same rate they were. You can bombard women with messages that they should be aiming for this; that they should be doing that. But you know what? They’re still not doing it. You might be able to make them feel bad about it—but this mass behavior no longer applies.

Continue reading “‘Marriage Changes When You Don’t Just Need A Warm Body and a Paycheck’: A Talk With Rebecca Traister”

No, I Do Not Like Richonne (Rick and Michonne as Romantic Couple on television series The Walking Dead) – Sex Can Be Risky in the Apocalypse

No, I Do Not Like Richonne (Rick and Michonne as Romantic Couple on television series The Walking Dead) – Sex Can Be Risky in the Apocalypse

This may be, perhaps, the only, or one of the very few, anti- Richonne blog posts on the internet.

  • To any Richonne Fans Who Are Reading This
  • If you have not seen my “About” page (and I currently have this stated at the top of the blog itself), I seldom permit dissenting views to be published on my blog.
  • Therefore, if you are a rabid Richonne supporter who leaves me a nasty, rude comment in response to this post, I likely will not publish it.
  • I don’t even bother to read the entirety of such posts – the moment I glance a few cuss words or rudeness in the first sentence of a post that is pending, awaiting me to grant permission to publish it, I hit the “trash can” button and delete it. I don’t even read the entire thing once I have ascertained it’s a vitriolic post.
  • So please, don’t waste your time or mine by composing one.
  • There is an addendum below addressing people on Twitter who were commenting to me how having Michonne, a black woman, in a romance with a white guy on this TV show, was supposedly oh- so- important. I have addressed those types of comments much farther blow (towards the end of the post, before the “Related Posts” section).
  • See also: (Link, off site):  Your Status as a Single Person Is a Diversity Issue

I did an internet search or two in the days after the February 21, 2016 airing of the zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead episode in which the Rick Grimes character has sex with the Michonne character for the first time.

In the vast majority of reaction I see in blog posts or comments on entertainment sites that discuss “Richonne,” most people appear approving or enthusiastic about this TV show pairing. I cannot fathom why this is so.

I remain perplexed at the drooling, nutty, overboard enthusiasm so many TV viewers have for wanting to see TV characters date each other.

Further, if you dare disagree on these other sites about “Richonne” and admit to disliking “Richonne,” no matter how politely you state your views, many of these “Richonne” supporters become unhinged and vitriolic.

I happen to like the Michonne character and the Rick character – Rick has always been one of my favorite characters on the show. I have nothing against either actor who plays these characters.

However, I do not like or enjoy a Michonne-Rick romantic pairing.

I did not enjoy the show attempting to romantically pair Rick up with Jessie, either.

(Jessie was later killed by being eaten by zombies).

I mention this early on, as a lot of these Richonne fans wrongly assume anyone who dislikes “Richonne” must be a “Jessie – Rick shipper.”

Continue reading “No, I Do Not Like Richonne (Rick and Michonne as Romantic Couple on television series The Walking Dead) – Sex Can Be Risky in the Apocalypse”

Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman

Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman

Apparently, Pope John Paul II had a long term, platonic friendship with a married woman named Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.

First, I will list an assortment of news articles summarizing the former Pope’s relationship with this woman –

And then I will link to (much farther down this page) a really good blog post by a Christian, Dan J. Brennan, who criticizes other Christians who sexualize all male-female relationships or who discourage male-female friendship. He is against the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), which teaches Christian men to sexually objectify ALL women, even celibate Christian women and keep single women at arm’s length.

(Link):  Pope John Paul II secret letters: Pontiff’s deep affection for Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka revealed

Feb 15, 2016

  • Letters shown to the BBC by the National Library of Poland have revealed an intense 30-year relationship between former Pope, John Paul II, and philosopher, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. There is no suggestion the late pontiff broke his vow of celibacy with Tymieniecka, a married woman.

Continue reading “Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman”

The Rise of Delayed Marriage and Female Friendship – article from The Atlantic

The Rise of Delayed Marriage and Female Friendship – article from The Atlantic

Speaking of friendship: there is an account on Twitter whose owner sticks up for friendship and sometimes blogs against the Christian obsession with marriage or the stupid Billy Graham Rule. That account is (Link): Forbidden Friendships (@MenWomenFriends)

The Atlantic has a very long article about societal shifts concerning the delay or demise of marriage and the rise of female friendships, as they discuss it in the context of some television show called “Broads” that is about two lady friends. I’ve never seen the show.

(Link):  Broad City and the Triumph of the Platonic Rom-Com by Megan Garber

Excerpts:

  • The show’s new season asks what its heroines, Abbi and Ilana, are to each other: friends? Partners? More?
  • ….Abbi and Ilana share, basically, what a lot of young women—and young men—share in this age of delayed marriage and emergent adulthood and platonic roommates and geographic peripateticism and economic prosperity and economic uncertainty: a friendship that occupies the psychic space that used to be devoted to spouses and children.
  • While the (Link): marriage plot may still, dissolved and distended, drive many of Hollywood’s cultural products, Broad City reflects friendship’s age-old, but also new, reality: The show is suggesting that its heroines are already, effectively, married. To each other.
  • …The women’s partnership [which is platonic; they don’t have sex with each other], crucially, is not merely a matter of social circumstance; they aren’t simply keeping each other company until their respective dudes carry them along to their Happily Ever After. They are each other’s Happily Ever After. The pair, as Ann Friedman (Link): put it, are “more obsessed with each other than they are with men.” They are very probably the loves of each other’s lives.
  • Which makes Broad City, on the one hand, yet more evidence that we are living, as The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg (Link): put it, in “a golden age of female friendship.”

Continue reading “The Rise of Delayed Marriage and Female Friendship – article from The Atlantic”

Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others by L. Howe

Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others by L. Howe

This is one very long article. I am not going to paste all of it here, so you will have to use the link if you want to see the whole thing. It’s on The Atlantic’s site.

(Link): Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others by L. Howe

  • Part of it depends on whether they believe personality is fixed or constantly changing.
  • It’s a question that often plagues people after a painful break-up:

  • What went wrong? As they work to figure out the answer, people typically create new relationship stories, analyzing the events leading up to the breakup and using them to build a cohesive narrative.

  • In some cases, this type of storytelling can be positive, helping people to make sense of—and come to terms with—painful things that happen to them. Other times, though, the storytelling process can be a negative one, compounding pain rather than easing it.

  • My colleague Carol Dweck and I research why some people are haunted by the ghosts of their romantic past, while others seem to move on from failed relationships with minimal difficulty. Over the course of our research, I’ve read hundreds of personal stories about the end of relationships, and these stories offer some clues as to what pushes a person into one group or the other.

Continue reading “Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others by L. Howe”

A social psychologist reveals why so many marriages are falling apart and how to fix it (and a history of American marriage)

A social psychologist reveals why so many marriages are falling apart and how to fix it (and a history of American marriage)

Link to the article is farther below.

The article I am linking to below details how modern Americans put way too many expectations on marriage to meet their emotional needs, and when marriage inevitably fails at this, they often divorce.

Evangelicals, Baptists, and other types of Christians also put way too much emphasis on marriage to meet their needs. Not that I am against people getting their needs met, but it seems to me too many people expect marriage to be their end-all, be-all fount of happiness in life, which is setting them up for disappointment.

The emphasis on marriage by Christians is damaging not only for married people, but also to adult singles and the church at large.

Christians who are married with kids tend to focus all their time and energy on their nuclear family, and they sometimes use their family as an excuse to blow off tasks at church.  I have blogged about that before, like in this post: (Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article).

You cannot get all your emotional needs met in a marriage, but a lot of people act like marriage should be able to perform this function.

Married women will blow off and ignore their single lady friends once they are married (or even in the dating stage of a relationship – I have blogged about that before (Link): here). Not only is this terribly unfair to adult singles, but it can leave the married person very alone if or when their spouse comes down with dementia or dies from a heart attack, old age, or an auto accident.

I’ve seen letters from widowed men who write to advice columnists who say they are incredibly lonely since their wife died – they have no social network to lean on, and their married friends no longer invite them over to dinners.

Continue reading “A social psychologist reveals why so many marriages are falling apart and how to fix it (and a history of American marriage)”

Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup

Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by W. Alsup

I am fairly certain that the woman who wrote this is a gender complementarian.

I myself am a former (note: FORMER) gender complementarian. I believe that Ms. Alsup might be a “soft” complementarian. If I am mistaken about that, I am sorry.

I’m only somewhat familiar with Ms. Alsup’s writings and views, and if I am remembering correctly, she is not terribly extreme in her gender role views and sometimes writes blog posts criticizing aspects of gender comp, such as the one that follows, though I believe she may support beliefs that women are not to be preachers in churches and so on.

As I’ve noted on my own blog time and again, Christians, especially gender complementarian ones, tend to sexualize any and all persons and relationships.

Of course, secular culture and left wing Christians can also be very bad about sexualizing anything and everything, though, hypocritically, the progressives profess to feeling “icked out” by Christian sponsored “Daddy Daughter” balls and date.

The progressives who find “Daddy Daughter” dates to be patriarchal and incestuous in undertone are often the same ones who sexualize hetero male-female relationships, or male-male relationships.

Progressive Christians or ex Christians tend to operate in the school of “it’s impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.” You can view an example of that here, in left leaning SCCL’s facebook thread about (link): Daddy Daughter dates.

To a degree, I share some of their (their =  SCCL or liberal) reservations or concerns about “Daddy Daughter” dates, but then, I’m also not running around acting as though men and women are incapable of being buddies.  I am not insisting that any and all male-female relationships are sexual, or have sexual undertones, or the potential to be sexual.

One very unfortunate result of conservative Christians, especially the gender complementarians, sexualizing everyone and anything, is that unmarried, adult women are treated like suspected harlots and are consequently shunned or excluded from social events, church functions, or friendships with married persons.

Married persons are coached in Christian sermons, marriage blogs, and TV programs, to steer clear of single women. This practice of shunning single women is sometimes referred to as the “Billy Graham Rule.” (Please see the bottom of this post, under the “Related Posts” section, for links to more information about that.)

(Link): Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup

Excerpts:

  • … What was God’s purpose in creating two genders to work together to image Him out into His kingdom? For a time, conservative evangelicals simplistically set up marriage as the ultimate purpose for the creation of two genders, particularly around Genesis 2:18.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

  • However, if you embrace Jesus as the key to understanding all of Scripture, then Jesus’ words on marriage in eternity give us necessary clarification on the purpose of the creation of two genders in Genesis 1 and 2.
  • God’s purposes for interactions between the two genders in this first sinless perfection in Eden is informed by glimpses of the second.
  • In Luke 20, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question about whose wife in heaven a woman would be if she had multiple husbands on earth. In His answer, Jesus is clear that in heaven we do not marry. (Actually, we do marry, but Jesus is the groom.) Jesus teaches us that the ultimate goal in perfection for men and women is not human marriage to each other.
  • But then, what is left for perfect male/female relationships if not human marriage? Well, a TON is left. But we are warped as a society away from valuing the vast wealth of human male/female relationships that don’t involve sex. 

Continue reading “Discipling Healthy Male/Female Relationships in the Church Part 1 by Wendy Alsup”

Things Married People Should Not Say to Singles (via Hax)

This was published in an advice Hax column, December 2015.

Advice from a single adult to married people (this was not written by me; it was written by a guest writer at the Hax column):

——————————————-

On being single in a familial sea of marrieds:

I highly recommend that those who are married consider the following do’s and don’ts before they spend time with only one single person (or very few).

●Do not monopolize the conversation with discussions of your kids.

Being interested in keeping up with nieces, nephews and other relatives doesn’t mean wanting to hear a scene-by-scene description of little Sally’s role in the kindergarten play.

Besides being mind-numbingly boring, it can be disheartening to hear someone else go on about their joy in raising a child when you may never experience it for yourself.

●Do engage single people in conversations about their own lives such as job/career, hobbies or travel.

Continue reading “Things Married People Should Not Say to Singles (via Hax)”

Women Who Dump Women Friends As Soon As They Get A Spouse or Boyfriend (Letter to Advice Columnist)

Women Who Dump Women Friends As Soon As They Get A Spouse or Boyfriend (Letter to Advice Columnist)

This is something that has always annoyed me, how single women friends will freeze out and ignore their other women friends as soon as they get a new boyfriend, or get married.

I’ve had a difficult time making friends since childhood (for several reasons, here are but a few):  I’ve been very introverted my entire life, and up until a few years ago, I had Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), which is like shyness, but a hundred times worse and crippling. It interferes with forming relationships and with other areas of life.

Yet, I have managed to make a friend here or there in spite of it, usually with women.

When these women get a new boyfriend or a husband, they pretty much kick me to the curb. This has always bothered me.

I have one friend (via the internet, we’ve known each other for years) whose husband is in the military. I notice when he’s away on deployments, she writes me more often.

She tends to be more attentive to me when her husband is gone. When the husband blows back in town, I become second tier and don’t hear from her as much and/or not as promptly.

I understand when someone is in a romantic relationship it’s natural and normal to spend more time in that relationship than with one’s friends.

But the imbalance to this is astounding. Some people just barely keep their outside-the-marriage (or dating) relationships alive.

Sometimes it’s up to you, the single, unattached one, to keep the friendship going by reaching out, by being the one to initiate the phone calls and dinner dates. (And I really dislike this.)

(By the way, when I was engaged, I tried to still spend time with my single friends. I still went on movie and luncheon dates with them. I didn’t blow them off all because I was in a relationship with a guy. My ex was an idiot and a frustrating, self-absorbed douche canoe, and so there were times I preferred being with my lady friends, as opposed to being with him anyhow.)

And I hate that (being the one to keep the friendship alive, being the one to always initiate phone calls, movie dates, etc).

Not only am I an introvert – I’m not comfortable phoning people, and at that, to make social plans – but it’s not fair. I should not have to shoulder all, or most of, the friendship responsibilities. But you will usually end up in this position if you are single and friends with a married woman or a woman who is dating a guy.

By the way, this goes to show that another one of conservative Christianity’s tropes about marriage is not true: they maintain that being a married person makes a person more giving, mature, and loving than staying single.

And yet, it’s often the married persons who ignore everyone around them to focus primarily on their marital partner. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “greedy marriages.” I’ve blogged on that before (Link): here.

Anyway. I saw this letter today in the Hax advice column. In this situation, though, the female friend is already married or has a boyfriend when she is shoved aside on a vacation by her female friend for a man she meets on this trip.

On another point (before I get to the Hax letter below). I have read married women online say how lonely they are IN their marriage.

Their partner is either away on business all the time, or simply has lost interest in them.

They can sit in the same room as their husband and still feel all alone. I too experienced that in my relationship with my ex fiancee.

Then there are the (Link): articles about married men who develop dementia as young as their 40s, which in effect, leaves the wife all alone. The wives of these men end up being their nurses and caretakers, rather than friends and lovers, because the man is mentally incapable of being a friend any longer to the wife.

In light of the fact that your husband may not be a good friend to you, or may be incapable of it due to health reasons, it is wise for you (should you marry) to maintain your platonic friendships with men and women. You cannot or should not rely only on a spouse for attention and companionship.

Advice column (August 2015):

Dear Carolyn [Hax]:

  • I recently traveled with a woman who has been one of my best friends for eight years. On the trip, we barely spoke because she hooked up with a guy on our tour the first day and spent the rest of the tour with him.
  • This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if I hadn’t left my serious boyfriend behind because she has expressed for years how uncomfortable she is around couples. (It makes her wonder what she’s doing wrong and why she can’t find a serious boyfriend.) I also spent a lot of money for a “girls’ trip” with her.
  • I’ve spoken to her about it three times since, and her reaction has just made me feel worse.
  • She has said several times that she “didn’t even think about” how her actions could’ve made me feel. Her defense has been, “Well, you were getting along with the other people on the tour, so it’s not like you were alone with nobody to talk to.”
  • I was already feeling hurt and ignored, but her not even thinking about my feelings when I had taken active steps to be considerate of hers makes me feel that she’s a bit selfish.
  • Is there anything you can suggest to help mend the fence? I want our friendship to stay intact, but I can feel myself wanting distance from her.
  • (signed) Conflicted on Friendship
  • Hax replies:
  • Bummer, I’m sorry.
  • There are a few possible answers here — that her ditching you sans apology of course will affect your friendship; that her longtime romantic self-doubt gave her a forgivable blind spot; that if you value the eight years, you write off the one trip; I could go on.
  • But the answer I keep coming back to starts with a question: Why talk since the trip vs. during? And why three times vs. resolving this in one pass?
  • Example:
  • You: “When you spent the tour with Guy, I felt hurt and ignored.”
  • She: “Well, you were getting along with the other people on the tour.”
  • You: “That’s not the point. I spent big money for a ‘girl trip,’ your preference, and you ditched me! I’m still angry.”
  • She: “Why didn’t you say something then?!”
  • You: “You’re right — I’m sorry I didn’t speak up sooner.”
  • She: “Thank you. I am not sorry about Guy. You know I’ve been lonely, I thought you’d understand.”

  • You: “Maybe, if you had talked to me. We apparently both need to speak up next time. Please at least see why I’m angry.”
  • She: “I do, and we do.”
  • End scene.
  • And thus my answer, that the main (aptly, unspoken) theme of your story is lousy communication. You apparently stayed mum on the trip and later weren’t clear about wanting her to acknowledge your feelings — and she, for her part, didn’t ever ask, “Hey, do you mind?” on the tour and since then has been only defensive.
  • Any decision on the future of this friendship will be premature if you two first don’t figure out how to talk. Eight years is a long time without a real conflict of interest, but I suspect this is your first, and you were both caught unprepared.
  • So communicate now, and keep it simple: I’m your friend, I’m still upset, I’d just like that acknowledged. Dukes down. Good luck.

———————–

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(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both

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(Link):   Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

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