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Single, divorced, widowed...why does society place such importance on these titles?
Have you ever noticed a different reaction for each? If yes, why do you think it happens?

This week I was at an event with friends. Those friends introduced me to a couple of other people during the night. I don't even know why it was a topic but someone asked, "Are you here with your husband" I responded with, "No, I'm divorced". and I got the side looks from the women and the "nods" from the men.
Later in the night I was talking to a different group of people and the topic came up again. It rubbed me wrong for some reason, maybe I was just bored but I said, "No, he died." This time I got a completely different reaction. The women were sympathetic and wanted to talk and be friendly, the men looked uncomfortable and moved away.

I played with it the rest of the evening. It was really odd. If I said I was divorced the women seemed uncomfortable around me but the men were fine. If I said I was a widower, the men were uncomfortable and the women were fine.

Crimson67 8 Jan 27
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39 comments

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12

I've been widowed and divorced. When asked, I simply say "single". Cuz that's what I am.
I'm single. Anything else is simply no one's business. If they ask, they're being rude, and I tell them as much.

Good points. Something I should keep in mind when I find myself in that situation in the future.

@bingst I understand that most people are just curious and they intend no offense. They don't see any harm in asking personal questions. Whenever I've had to point out the intrusiveness of such questions, I'm usually viewed as the "bad guy". Not that I care, but damn!

Somewhat related: [agnostic.com]

When I got divorced a co worker who had been married 7 times said your story is YOURS. You choose what you reveal and when

11

divorce
Women - possible indicator of infidelity, could have been you, stay away from my husband.
Men - possible indicator of infidelity, could have been you, Hi!

widowed
Women - you poor thing.
Men - you poor thing, I don't know what to do,

Very astute, I think.

I'd add another one to men on divorce if I may - "Hmmmnnn...she might be lonely and vulnerable. Now's my chance."

its a very predatory Hi!....lol

9

My take on your experience is you pose a threat to married women if you're divorced. For some unexplained reason, divorced women are more likely to go hunting for a man, any man, some other woman's man. Why it is different if you're a widow I don't see the logic. Somehow as a widow, you're not looking to grab any man nearby. Likewise the husbands look at you as some "rabbit" willing to jump into any bed with another woman's husband, boyfriend, significant other just as quickly as any single man if you're divorced. I'm guessing that as a widow no other man could compare with the "love of your life" that you've lost, thus the reaction to you by those husbands. My $0.02.

8

That made me laugh. Next time see how they react if you say that you killed him but got off on a technicality

that was my first thought also. Explains why the guys seemed uncomfortable.

@Rugglesby lol. Right

8

To be honest, I hadn't noticed. But that could be because I am male and although I have been divorced, have either said single or with my partner/wife.

Perhaps wit the divorced tag, others make presuppositions - the nods from the men thinking you are obviously on the prowl and the women wondering if you are a threat. As a widow, sympathy from the women as grieving women aren't looking to replace a faulty one that has been discarded. The men worried they could never live up to the memory of someone's true love.

And maybe I have no idea what I am talking about!!!

7

I don't think the questions have a place on forms. I saw a new dentist yesterday. I really feel like it is nobody's business (outside of insurance and OBVIOUS things), but the question is on nearly every form for everything!

Besides that, I think it's an intrusive question to be asked at a social gathering of people unknown to you.

7

residue of old biases. we were supposed to be married forever and I recall time before no fault divorce.I was only married a year in my early twenties. I guess for the same reasons I always put myself down as single on forms

So do I. My one VERY short marriage is nobody's business. And, I also consider myself a widow to some extent -- we weren't married, but we had a date and a deposit when my fiance died. And, still, nobody's business to just ask anybody.

6

When you're single, people think there is something wrong with you.

6

I always say happily divorced.

5

Having been married for over 25 years; marriage is way overrated. It’s just a piece of paper. I don’t know if I’d want to get married again.

balou Level 8 Jan 28, 2018

I agree.

5

Next time try "both of my husbands were killed in a small plane crash in the Rockies"!
🙂
And "I had to incarcerate him when the voices started telling him to not have sex with me"!
🙂🙂🙂

Lmao

5

Quite interesting topic. There is a giant stigma after the "divorced" tag. It is socially related to failure, lack of love, negative in general.
I totally disagree, in my opinion, a good relationship of any kind other than family, doesn't have to be forever to be great. Everything is temporary here.

4

What I found sad when my husband of 30 years and I divorced was our long term marital friends suddenly did not include me in evenings out or stopped ringing and became distant or invisible. They perhaps were embarrassed, I was seen as a threat or perhaps because of social stigma. I certainly learnt who my real friends are.

Years ago I had a friend that later started to date and both decided to live together. We became friends with both. The were two individuals that we were friends with for different reasons. At a certain moment they still decided to part. We stayed friends with both, but realizing that our male friend did not like that at all. He expected that we would have made a choice (for him based on the length of the friendship). In those case most people make a choice for one or the other. I can think of reasons, but I refuse to conform to "general use".

@Gert Yes I agree and it is very difficult to communicate reasons, in my case my ex was guilty and deflected even and as some people are fickle this was likely the reason they chose not to stay friends.

@Tiffanny Actually Tiffanny, I cherish the idea that if people don't want to invest in our friendship, I tend to review what kind of friends they were, realizing that I am probably better off without. Not that I lost too many friends that way, but it's the idea that counts 😉.

What a terrible feeling to be shunned. Yes, I have been there as well. In retrospect, it's good that it happen or I would still have fake friends.

4

I mean this in a really nice way, but frankly I could give a Rat's Ass what someone calls me. Forget about what people think. Life gets easier.

4

I find many labels are used primarily for statistics, to categorise us and sell us stuff.
My ex wife has complained bitterly for years that I left her and she wishes I had died instead, because as a widow she would get sympathy, but as a divorcee people tell her to get over it.

4

People are strange when you're a stranger.

Faces look ugly when you’re alone.

4

I've never been married before. So I just say single.

ROTFLMAO. I agree. You can do everything single that you can married.

4

People are just mammals when you come down to it. Most actions are simply instinct. The women are uncomfortable because you may be a threat to their marriages and the men are uncomfortable because you may have murdered your husband for doing the stupid stuff men do. 😉

3

When people get too annoying playing the who are you game, I tell them that I am a child pornographer and invite them to attend my next photo shoot. I met one lady who praised my field of endeavor for another 15 minutes before noting that my parents must be really proud of my career choice.

3

I put Ms if I must put a title prefix on a document, but when asked about my marital status I say "single."
The Thai sometimes ask about my husband when I mention my children, so I shrug and say I'm divorced. Otherwise it never comes up in Thailand, since they don't ask about martial titles, but they do ask your age.
Their social structure is based on age, and when foreigners dye their hair Thai sometimes aren't sure which person should "wai" first.

Ah this is so true when I visit my son in Thailand everyone asks my age it tickles me really!

3

Wow! I honestly had no idea that even mattered to people until a conversation I had with a woman yesterday. I don't know why it matters to anyone.

I divorced in 1985. Still single and happy. Would like to find a man I liked, but I am alright now. I so miss male companionship at times. Movies, coffee and a chat, dinner, ball games, etc. I can remember when I first divorced (we lived in a small community) that women suddenly felt I was husband hunting, which was so far from where I was. I went fromliving wilth parents to married. I never lived single. I really wanted to be single and a party animal for a while. Women immediately became cautious when their husbands were around. Some had good reason. Behind their backs, their husbands chased me. I never gave them a reason or a look. Having been through aqa cheating husband, I just would not consider doing it to another woman. So, I think divorced women make some guys think you are easy. I think they think you get horny and need satisfied. That I think depends on the woman. While, I enjoy sex, I have to care, I have to have feelings. So I do not indulge in one nighters. I have dated quite of few guys, maybe 4 more seriously, but they lasted usually 2-4 years. One of us would decide we made better friends.

@BettyColeman I'm really sorry to hear what you went through but I respect the way you handled themselves. Sounds like those women were projecting their own issues probably because the way they would act out if they were in your shoes.

@Twisty420 It really did not bother me. My next door neighbor had a thing for me. His wife must of sensed it. I never encouraged him or flirted. It was the women I felt sorry for because they really married jerks. If I want to ignore someone, I can make them think I don't see them. They are like transparent. You would be surprised how that angers some people.

2

In Utah there is a horrible joke, nothing more horny then a divorced woman. I think for some women getting remarried is the only way to provide financially for there children

Yeah, Utah is a weird place to live anyway if you're not Mormon... Especially outside of Salt Lake City.

1

women think when you are divorced, you want their man. Hell I lived at home 18 years, got married and was married 20 years. I wanted to party, dance live it up. I wasn't interested in their men.

1

I think some of the stigma may be because there is a certain level of choice associated with divorce. So judgmental people project shame onto those people.
I hate that people who don't know how to make decent conversations default to "Are you married?" Or "Do you have kids?" Which are subjects that are nobody's business, and may be sensitive topics to those that are not happily married or parents.

1

Men can be weird about grieving women. I went on one date with a new guy and then suffered a death of someone very close to me right after that. A few weeks later we tried a second date but it was the last because he could not see me outside the role of a bereaved person. (On the other hand, the male friend who happened to be with me when I got the call was really there for me like no one has ever been.)

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