Are Married People Smug? Are Single People Hypersensitive?

Are Married People Smug? Are Single People Hypersensitive?

I’m a big advocate for healthy long-term relationships that lead to marriage. I believe in love. I believe in compromise. I believe in the generic vows: for better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part. I never found any of this to be remotely controversial. Then I started writing a blog.

Upon which I was informed that my personal beliefs about the joy and transcendence of being in a happy marriage made me “judgmental” or “smug”. I find such claims to be somewhere between amusing and infuriating. I’m amused that my beliefs and lifestyle choices have the capacity to hurt you. If you don’t want to date online, date at all, open up to different partners, compromise, fall in love, get married and have kids, that’s 100% fine by me. If you want to work 60 hours a week, train for a triathlon, travel around the world with your girlfriends, that’s your business. You’re not wrong. But that doesn’t make me judgmental, nor does it make me smug.

So how is it that single people don’t seem to understand that married people’s lives change and that while we are less available, we still love you just as much?

I’m a dating coach for women. My job is to help those women – the vast majority of whom want to date, fall in love, and get married – achieve their goals. And yet, I can’t tell you the number of comments I’ve received suggesting that there’s something wrong with me because I don’t show proper respect to women who don’t want to fall in love and get married.

If you’re one of those women: I completely respect you. I just don’t have any idea why you’re reading my blog, which is inherently targeting women who want the kind of relationship that I have. So why am I leading off today’s blog post with this personal tangent? Because I read a juicy “Open Letter To Our Single Friends” on Clutch Magazine, in which the newly coupled up author tells her single friends that even great relationships are not cure-alls and that even women in couples really need their girlfriends. Amen. I love my wife more than anyone in the world, but I still need to hang out with other couples, play fantasy football with college friends, and go out for a guys’ night every once in awhile. Do I do these things as much as I used to? No, that would be impossible given that I live in the suburbs with two little kids, but it doesn’t mean I value my old friends any less.

Anyway, I thought this piece was well-written and non-controversial…until I read comments like this.

“Dear married friends, the phone works both ways. P.s. don’t just call when your boyfriend’s busy. Sincerely, your single friends.”

I know I’m biased, but I was single for 35 years. So how is it that single people don’t seem to understand that married people’s lives change and that while we are less available, we still love you just as much? This is a universal phenomenon and I think it shows a complete lack of understanding to guilt trip someone in a relationship for having a slightly different set of priorities. What say you, dear readers?

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  1. 41

    I agree with Julia 110%. I spend a lot of my time hearing about or spending an afternoon with your small children, and am glad to do so. But because you have a husband or children, and I do not yet, does not mean that what is going on in my life is less significant. You may feel like you don’t need me as much anymore, but I can assure you I still need and appreciate your support.   Oh, and your schedule may be more chaotic than mine but also not more important.

  2. 42

    Grass always looks greener on the other side.

  3. 43
    Patti Smith

    Wow!   My response is political as well as personal.   To me, dating is a luxury or a form of entertainment–a privilege–that the young and middle class indulge in.    I’ve just lost my insurance, the result of working three jobs and lifting myself out of poverty.   The reward:   deficit funds to cover insurance.   Please notice that my married friends who, like Emma Bovary, complain about their dull husbands and cast about for a partner for an affair, have no problem being insured by their passive husbands.   Do I care about my attractiveness to men under these circumstances?   I do not.   I would like to survive.   I’m not   intellectually impaired.   I attended an Ivy League school, but there’s only so far you can get with depression pulling you down.   I’m amazed at the superficiality of the posters here.   Do you not get that your affairs are higher-order activities and that much of the world and certainly much of this country is hurting on a far more profound and fundamental level?

  4. 44

    TBH, I won’t mind if my married friends left me for men. It’s way better than having to put with all the pressure they’d put on their single friends and make them feel bad about it

  5. 45

    I usually let the relationship weaken as soon as they either talk about  how blessed their life is or how much more they have learnt from having a partner or kids that you being single haven’t or listening to them complain about how they have been wronged by the in-laws.

    If they ‘take it out on you’ because of a partner/child/family problem, you are supposed to understand. They have a lot more going on than you and your event-less life. Either that or they don’t expect you to understand because you know you are single and that makes you stupid.

    Yes. I don’t have a lot of shit going on in my life, because I made that choice consciously or sub-consciously. Being married or getting pregnant is NOT a virtue. Dear God, I can’t stress this enough to all the entitled couples and parents of the world.

    They are ways to lead a satisfying life full of love and wisdom   none of which are conventional ways defined by our society, none of which requires being partnered. What most couples (As long as they are such) would NEVER understand is the importance of solitude and of being alone, the importance of withdrawing. That you can learn as much from just meditating on yourself and your circumstances, without the drama and the emotional dependence.

    1. 45.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s a lot of supposition, Vedha. But think of it this way: married people have been single and know what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes. Conversely, you have no idea what it’s like to be married with children until you’ve experienced it. So perhaps you should attempt to inquire or understand instead of assuming the worst of married people. To be clear, married folks aren’t looking down on you; they’re either too busy with their own stuff to worry much about your fate, or hoping that you find lasting love like they did because they care about you. Any other version of the story comes from your single perspective instead of the married perspective.

      1. 45.1.1

        That’s a lot of supposition on your part too, Evan.

        they’re either too busy with their own stuff to worry much about your fate,  

        Everyone is busy with their stuff, aren’t they?   Usually friendships (if you can even call them that) like these die quickly and for the best. These are not worth mentioning, even here. But isn’t this the opposite of what you said at the end of your blog post?   That married people do care.

        or hoping that you find lasting love like they did because they care about you.

        This is the perspective that is quite frankly irritating. Caring doesn’t actually require the hope of a ‘lasting’ love. They definitely don’t know what my version of love is. All they have in their head is their perfect world which according all these statements, they already have. (I can’t quite fathom why divorces even exist.)

        But I see why you would say so considering you are a dating coach. But that’s a pretty narrow, blanket view of happiness.

        One last thing –  married people have been single and know what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.

        The memory of being single is not the same as the experience of being single. What you have now is the just the memory of an experience.

        While it may look like you have seen both sides, I can assure you if you felt what I was talking about, you’d actually not be writing counterarguments. So, no. You (currently married people) most certainly don’t know what it is like for single people other than your own past single self. You don’t have the context because you don’t feel the same way, your immediate present influences your opinion far more significantly than your memory of being single.

        Conversely, you have no idea what it’s like to be married with children until you’ve experienced it.

        True. I hope to never know.

        All in all, zero real psychology employed in your arguments.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          That was an incredibly muddled argument to try to negate my point. I was single for 35 years. Went on 300 dates. Have been coaching single women since 2003. Married since 2008. The idea that I don’t understand what it’s like to be single is laughable. It’s literally my JOB. But feel free to continue to whinge about married people who look down on you while ignoring my previous point that we DON’T look down on you; we generally are caught up in our own lives OR want you to find lasting love if that’s what you want. And if you want to be single forever, go ahead, that’s cool, too. Just stop with the blaming and the attacking. It’s not a good look.

  6. 46
    Abbie Jensen

    I’m engaged and about to be married, but I feel like I understand this issue because married people did used to irk me every once in a while when I was single. I think the major attribute that led me to believe that married people were smug were the assumptions they made about single people. Many married people think that anyone who truly wants to will get married. But the truth is, someone can want to get married with all of their heart, but if no one wants to marry them, they won’t get married. A lot of married people, at least the ones that I knew, viewed singleness as a “choice” which is the furthest thing from the truth. This inability to get married, paired with the strong desire to get married and the judgement from others for still being single, along  with married people talking about how amazing married life is every second? Anyone can see why that’s bothersome.

  7. 47
    Ann Morrison

    I don’t understand why so many people are okay with shrinking their whole lives into the confines of just their own nuclear family.
    Humans evolved in groups of 50 – 100.
    The nuclear family is a relatively new (Victorian) construct & adds to the isolation within modern society.
    I don’t understand why people think this is “normal”.

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