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To think couples treat single women suspiciously? (lighthearted, I suppose)

(43 Posts)
Evelight Mon 21-Nov-16 18:05:02

I am a feminist. A significant part of my work is thinking and talking about gender issues.

I am also recently single. And I have noticed a subtle but significant sea-change in the attitude of married couples around me. Not good / close friends- I am thinking more of the parents of my children friends. Couples whom I've known for a very long time, but are acquaintances, not friends. Nothing overt, nothing disrespectful. It's almost as if the body language and eye contact changes. The men (dads) are friendlier (ha your car door is squeaking do you want me to oil that (??)), and the women (moms) are noticeably not. I am prepared to accept I am being paranoid and self-conscious about my newly single state, and I mentioned it to my sister, who is single and has been for a long time. She said something along the lines of welcome to singledom, where every woman thinks you are out to snatch her husband, and so does every husband. Really? Do people really think that? Ughgh

FWIW, these interactions are taking place school/playdates/kids' birthday parties drop off and pick up, where I am definitely not looking my best and not in the mood for flirtatious banter.

However, if true, then maybe I should put some effort into it! never thought of 8:50am school drop off as a mating hunting ground, but apparently it is!! (joking, joking)

mum2Bomg Mon 21-Nov-16 18:08:09

I think your sister is right(ish). You need to remember that quite a lot of people are in unhappy marriages or they feel threatened by someone single (male or female). It's not you - it's them... I'm married but we spend a lot of time with single people, which others have told me they find 'odd'.

danTDM Mon 21-Nov-16 18:13:32

100% correct.
Then you get needy partners of friends who insist on coming out with you. That really irks me. They are threatened you will lead whichever friend (spouse) astray.

I hate it.

Evelight Mon 21-Nov-16 18:14:05

Well, I've never thought to discriminate friends based on their marital status- I've always had married and single friends, however I do remember now that last year, as we were breaking up (but not yet separated), X did hit on a single friend of mine and ask her out (she refused). I put that down to him being an asshole, rather than feeling threatened by all the single ladies.

SarahOoo Mon 21-Nov-16 18:21:06

Oh I'm so sorry to read this. I'm married (with a baby on the way), been with my (now) husband for almost 8 years. I trust him and he trusts me and neither of us would never look at a single friend or acquaintance in any way like that as though they were a threat. We have single friends of both sexes. Maybe we're in a minority though. At my husbands birthday a couple of years ago one of his friends who was not single tried to kiss him a bit too much on the lips, my friends gave her daggers and told me the next day. She was drunk and he dealt with it. It's her issue not mine.

My thoughts are if a married person is worried about a single friend stealing their partner then they have major issues with trust!

grobagsforever Mon 21-Nov-16 18:21:36

<sigh> My mother spent my whole childhood trotting this one out. Couples are threatened by singles blah blah blah. (She spent much of my childhood single). I think a few are, but anyone who is in a normal, healthy relationship will not be. My mum however, was and still a shocking flirt, little wonder she wasn't popular with couples.

When my husband died (I was 33) she informed me 'no one wants a floating womam' - FFS.

Anyway I have more friends than ever now, both singles and couples. But then I've never socialised with needy neurotic types anyway. Sorry OP slight post hijack!

SarahOoo Mon 21-Nov-16 18:22:09

*ever look

allthatnonsense Mon 21-Nov-16 18:27:33

Some married men view single women of a certain age as fair game.
We should be suspicious of creepy men.

BreatheDeep Mon 21-Nov-16 18:28:41

I couldn't give two hoots whether someone was single or not. I would care if a woman starts flirting with my husband though - not because I don't trust him but because the woman would be completely disrespectful to me and our marriage.

marriednotdead Mon 21-Nov-16 18:35:15

I divorced earlier this year and am enjoying the peace and freedom it has brought. Most of my married friends are fine and don't behave any differently.
One of my closest friend's confided that her DH has been uncomfortable about it, he's said nothing to me but has asked her lots of questions. We have concluded it is because he is just as much of an asshole as my ex so he's scared that my friend might get ideas grin

Rainbunny Mon 21-Nov-16 18:37:36

I have heard this anecdotally, I can't say I've ever really noticed but then I've been married forever and I can say with certainty that I don't worry about single friends luring my dh away!

I do have a very close friend who ended a long term relationship last year and she hasn't mentioned any wives treating her differently but she has been shocked, creeped out and frankly depressed by the number of married men of her acquaintance who have flirted with her and a few who've made blatant passes at her.

Bluntness100 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:41:29

To be honest, it's never crossed my mind, I have both single and married friends of both genders and I don't know anyone in my social circle who has any sort of issue with it.

In my view the issue is with attractive people, women don't want an attractive woman, married or single around their husbands and men aren't too fond of good looking guys with their wives.

If you're completely unattractive, no one cares whether you're married or single. And if you're attractive, then often you can be perceived as a threat.

starchildareyoulistening Mon 21-Nov-16 18:42:15

I only have a couple of married friends and the rest of us are single so this issue doesn't really show among my friends, but I remember finding it odd that my parents church advises that a married man shouldn't spend too much time alone with any woman who isn't his wife. My dad used to regularly give lifts to a female church friend who didn't drive, until someone from the pastoral team had a quiet word and suggested it would be better if my mum took over helping her. To avoid temptation? Gossip? I have no idea. confused Apparently it was general church policy though!

starchildareyoulistening Mon 21-Nov-16 18:44:42

Just to add I am absolutely certain that the idea of being unfaithful never would have crossed my dad's mind, nor would my mum have thought to be suspicious of it!

NeeNahh Mon 21-Nov-16 18:47:57

I noticed this when I split up with my ex. At a time when I needed support some of my female friends became very cold and distant. It taught me who my real friends are.

paxillin Mon 21-Nov-16 19:01:12

I have heard this before. It's a bit sad if true.

Can't report from personal experience, I'm married and among my "parent friends" there are singles and couples. Only one whose status has changed though, she go divorced. She was the one who stopped turning up to anything, but maybe that was in response to an icier than usual reception everywhere? She since remarried, but never rejoined the group activities.

shins Mon 21-Nov-16 19:04:32

Yes a bit. I was a single mum for several years (mid-20s to early 30s) and I did get the "back off" feeling from women around their partners sometimes, if I was chatting to them. I'm not the flirty type and hadn't the slightest of designs on them so it was annoying. I just ignored it if it happened and made sure I was equally friendly with them as well. I also got the slightly predatory thing from married or partnered men occasionally, I ignored that too! sad

paxillin Mon 21-Nov-16 19:08:18

I would have thought would-be-cheating husbands would prefer married women for their furtive fucks. They would presumably be less likely to want a relationship than a single lover.

danTDM Mon 21-Nov-16 19:30:49

The men are as threatened as the women. People like people to be paired off in my backwater.
Single women lead men and women astray sad
There is something untrustworthy about a single man or woman around here, (not uk)

motherinferior Mon 21-Nov-16 19:41:01

I've seen it on MN too, this idea that single women are a bit of a threat.

OhhBetty Mon 21-Nov-16 19:54:22

Currently going through this! I have a group of "mum" friends and I am definitely treated differently by all bar two of them. It's not nice at all. I was even not invited to something because "partners are invited and we didn't want you to feel uncomfortable not having anyone to invite". I know two of them are very insecure about their husbands cheating in general. But it hurts me that they think I would do that, especially since my relationship ended due to my ex cheating on me.

WankingMonkey Mon 21-Nov-16 19:55:52

A lot of people think this way sadly. I don't get it, but then again I don't 'do' jealousy. Dh goes out with single friends all of the time and it has never bothered me. Mind, he is a bit hmm about one of my single friends. I think the issue is this guy is really good looking. As if all singletons are out to corrupt married people eh..stupid

SpookyPotato Mon 21-Nov-16 20:00:14

I can understand it with some people, not because the wife is really paranoid but because the husband probably has a history. The wife is the one made to look like she's being ridiculous.. It's daft though, if someone married wants to try it on with someone, let them get on with it rather than removing the temptation. Better to know what they are and then leave!

Rainbunny My mum said the same when her and my dad divorced in her early 40s.. she couldn't believe how many married men started coming onto her and propositioning her, all husbands of her closest friends! Depressing. She wasn't interested and couldn't believe they thought she would be. Also couldn't believe how risky they were being as she was close to their wives.

IrenetheQuaint Mon 21-Nov-16 20:05:35

Yy. I am single with lots of friends of both sexes and I have to be quite careful when it comes to having married male friends, even when the relationship has been 100% platonic for more than a decade.

Have also seen nasty/paranoid comments on MN about single women with male friends. Sad (though there are a few people who clearly do use friendship as a cover for latching or adultery, which is quite depressing).

RaymondinaReddington Mon 21-Nov-16 20:16:50

Definitely this is a thing. Got divorced and also lost weight through the stress of it all. I certainly wasn't looking for another relationship so I am certain I wasn't flirting. Noticed chilling friendships from married women and nervous glances and avoidance from their husbands. Took me a while to realise what the hell it was about. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be offended - flings and cheating so not my style. I settled on offended.

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