Originally published Friday, January 12, 2018 at 05:55a.m.
Dear Abby: I have an answer for a question from “Excluded in the East” you printed on Sept. 24: “Why do married couples exclude single people?”
As a single mother with three children for 15 years, I made the conscious decision to conduct myself as I always had when I was part of a couple. I hosted backyard parties and holiday dinners and invited my married friends. I initiated invitations for dinner and a movie.
At restaurants, I made sure to pick up my own tab. If a couple insisted on paying for my meal, I insisted on paying the tip and was prepared with cash. Why? Because I was mindful that some men felt uncomfortable about taking money from a single woman.
If I wanted company for the evening, I drove to their house. Sometimes I volunteered to be the designated safe driver. Most important, I never complained about my ex or vented about the difficulties of coping as a single mom.
Needless to say, there was no flirting or inappropriate comments. I also avoided lengthy side conversations with one spouse. In short, I worked hard to make sure my married friends enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs, and it worked! – Laura in New York
Dear Laura: I’m glad it worked for you. After I asked for readers’ input on the topic, I received many interesting responses. Read on for a sample:
Dear Abby: I suspect that married couples are afraid divorce is contagious. It could have something to do with the fact that some married people are no longer happily married and they fear if they include a divorcee, it might trigger a divorce. – Happily Uncoupled in Ohio
Dear Abby: I have been married for 10 years. A lot of couples exclude singles because they don’t want them to feel like third wheels. I remember when I was single feeling that way in some groups, and it was depressing. Marrieds also have a different mindset than singles, which can lead to awkwardness. It can work, but it has to be the right group. – Married in the Midwest
Dear Abby: I’m in my early 60s and still single. I actually prefer to be left out of invitations to eat in restaurants, go on trips, etc. with my many coupled friends. – Dog Lady in Birmingham, Alabama