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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)