While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On partners who use your past against you: When I was young and naive I shared some information with the man who became my first husband, and he seldom failed to mention it when we were arguing. I came to realize that people who do this are basically insecure, and have to put the other person down to feel superior.
When I told my now-husband something private that I was not proud of, his reaction was, “That must have been what you needed at the time.” It was never mentioned again. The most important thing to remember is self-confident people do not need to belittle others. Steer clear of the ones who do.
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On divorced people as social creatures, too: I’m a divorced mom to an elementary-age kid.
I’m a social creature – love dinner parties, open houses, family pizza nights, neighbor barbecues, weekend trips. My life was full of this as part of a married couple. But as a “divorcee” I feel excluded from social plans. I usually only get a call to get together when hubby is working late or away on business or maybe for a moms’/girls’ night. I love and need my women friends, but I like having the men around, too.
A few years ago, I threw myself a little birthday party (grown-up wine and tapas) and invited my social circle. Only the women showed up – hubby bowed out to watch the kids or watch the game. I was crushed; it felt like book club (I’ve got that, thanks). Same thing happened when I hosted a winter chili night – women without their plus-1, even though the invitation was clearly to both.
While I often know the female half of the couple better, I make it a point for some events to invite the couple. My social life has dried up – at least anything that’s not a girls’ night – and I’m sad about it.
I’d like to make a public service announcement to include the social singles in group gatherings. I promise not to flirt or infect a marriage with tantalizing tales of life after divorce, and an odd number at a dinner table is not the end of the world.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.