Do married people know any single people?

16 Feb

Do married people know any single people?  Why does it seem like once people get married, they’re sucked into a “young marrieds” vortex, never to be seen again by those eternally cruising eHarmony?

I feel like the process goes something like this:

  • Two young people from the singles group start dating.
  • Group expresses approval.  Single women force down their bitterness jealousy if the man is attractive.
  • Engagement!  Everyone cheers.
  • Wedding with many references to God’s blessings.
  • Newlyweds disappear into the Young Marrieds Vortex, where the ratio of singles to marrieds in all further social activities is 1:20 at most.
  • Couple buys a minivan and will have a child seat in the car for the next 10 years.

I’ve taken flack here for not having a social circle where people seem to know any single men who would be potential marriage material for me (or for them).  But do young marrieds (or older marrieds, for that matter) really know that many eligible bachelors or bachelorettes?  It seems like young marrieds are just relieved that they actually found someone worth marrying, and now that their task has been completed, everyone else is off their radar.  And older marrieds, particularly in the church, have social lives that almost exclusively revolve around socializing with other married couples.  If someone is single, it’s because that person was widowed.

Readership, if you have young married friends, do they have a social circle that includes singles that they could set you up with, or do you find that they’ve been sucked into the Young Marrieds Vortex?

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33 Responses to “Do married people know any single people?”

  1. Zorro February 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    As a 51-year old never-married man, I find it awkward to associate with married people. They don’t bother me in any way, but (1) marriage really changes the trajectory of a person’s life, and (2) having children intensifies that effect profoundly. Single people commonly become social abberations in the life of the married, and vice versa. I rarely even contact my long-time chums who tied the knot. We just have so little in common these days.

    That, and their wives loathe the thought that their husbands might chomp at the bit for the freedom of the bachelor lifestyle. Most wives seem to fear happy bachelors more than sexy single women floating around their hubbies. It’s rather pathetic.

  2. Odds February 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Haha, one of the things I like about my married friends is that I’m the hard-drinking bad influence instead of the straight-laced, hard-working recovering beta I am everywhere else. Two of them still have a lot of single friends, but one is in law school and all of his single friends are through that venue, so he has an excuse.

    All my married friends know lots of single girls, though, even if they don’t know a lot of single guys. Not sure why that is, though I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that most of these girls aren’t exactly prizes. A lot of fat girls, supposedly-reformed sluts, or liberal arts Ph.D. candidates who by their own admission don’t have time to date.

  3. Mark Slater February 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    “Readership, if you have young married friends, do they have a social circle that includes singles that they could set you up with [?]”

    No, they do not. Most of my friends are married and, apart from me, have other married friends. The wives of my friends do indeed want me to find someone, but they cannot think of any available woman. I am inclined to believe them, but it can also be that the few single ladies they do know might not be good enough for me, or [according to my darkest fears] me not being near good enough for them.

    The married friends I’ve remained close to have included me in family activities from time to time (example: inviting me to a real family dinner). Those with whom I’ve grown more distant are the ones who seek me out only on rare “boys night out” occasions sans wives and children.

    Good to see you ’round these parts, Moose-man!

  4. Aunt Haley February 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Mark Slater–
    I don’t know that it’s always a matter of someone not being “good enough” for someone else. Sometimes it’s just a matter of two people being incompatible temperamentally, intellectually, spiritually, etc. It’s better that your friends are exercising some judgment rather than sticking two of you together just because you’re both single.

  5. Simon Grey February 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Actually, most of married friends have, at different times, tried to set me up with single ladies. I found it to be quite annoying, because I prefer to get my own girls and I really hate it when other people try to tell me what to do with my personal life. For some reason, I perceive others’ attempts at setting me up as being very interfering, and it’s really sets me off for reasons I still don’t understand. The weird thing is, a lot of the girls they’ve tried to set me up have been decent girls (in the 6-7.5 range, but very pleasant and nice). I still turned them down, though because of the principle of the matter. Fortunately, my married friends have stopped trying to set me up.

  6. JKL February 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I don’t get this. If I got set up with an attractive girl who makes a good first impression both in the looks and the personality department, I’d at least give it a go.

    Meeting a decent girl really comes down to chance and a bit of personal insight, it shouldn’t be as much of a point of pride as you’re indicating here. The real area where your skill in the language of love will be tested is in keeping her interested. Why not let her friends help tip the odds in your favor if they seem to have a knack for it?

  7. Old Guy February 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    The “but” in “in the 6-7.5 range, but very pleasant and nice” is pretty funny, although I suspect it’s unintentional.

    Getting set up with someone by married friends can be interesting: they have your best interests at heart and they have the best interests of the person your being set up with at heart, which means they won’t be setting either of you up with anyone out of your respective leagues, which means you’ll both get their considered opinion of what league you’re in when you meet.

  8. Old Guy February 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    “you’re”

  9. Elspeth February 17, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    Well Haley, my story is a bit different. The friend who introduced me to my husband and stood up for me at my wedding, dropped me a couple of years after I was married.

    I tried to keep the friendship alive, and I was diligent not to make our interactions all about me and my life. I was truly interested in what was going on in her life. Another friend of ours who got married right before me tried as well.

    She finally said point blank: “I don’t feel like I have anything in common with you guys anymore.” And that was that. Now we talk maybe once or twice a year. But that’s not because I got sucked into the vortex.

    Some singles aren’t interested in being around married couples either.

  10. rgoltn February 17, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Actually, I know a lot of them. Being 45, I am one of the few married guys left in our broader circle of friends. Most are divorced or never married and the ratio of single women to men is 4:1. My wife and I enjoy being around singles and married couples.

    Your points about the “vortex” is true. However, it is not a bad thing in my opinion. The young married couple has just gone through an extended singles-hookup-coupling thing. Now, they look to affirm their decision by connecting with other couples who now, share the same life trajectory. It is natural. Having kids does the same. You gravitate towards others experiencing the same life patterns you follow. In my opinion, it is another social dynamic that reinforces their decision to marry and procreate.

    You really see things change when divorce comes in to your circle of friends or couples have children at different stages. My daughhter is in high school and on a path to leaving home. My wife and I enjoy going out with friends and having a good time. No more babysitters and soccer games. So, I think it has to do with the age of the married coiples and what life stage they are in.

  11. samsonsjawbone February 17, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    This is a really good issue to raise, Haley.

    It seems like young marrieds are just relieved that they actually found someone worth marrying, and now that their task has been completed, everyone else is off their radar.

    It’s easy to get this impression, but I don’t think it’s accurate. It used to bother me, too, that friends would get married and all of a sudden have no time for anyone else. I had a good friend whose wedding I stood in – he got married and I felt dropped, totally hurtful. He didn’t mean it that way, of course. I think all I can say for anyone who’s experienced this is that it’s really not intentional and should not be taken personally (hard as that is). When you get married there’s just so much more stuff cluttering up your life. You have to spend tiiiime together. You have obligations towards your in-laws. You have to take life more seriously because now you’re planning for the future – and when kids arrive, all bets are off.

    When married people do get some time to socialize, why is it suddenly so much more attractive to spend that time with other married couples? A couple of reasons come to mind. First, it offers the man another man to hang out with, and the woman another woman to talk with. The social dynamic feels “balanced”. No matter how you slice it, a single person hanging out with a married couple is going to relate more to one or the other of the marrieds, with the result that the other married is going to be a little bored. Not that marrieds can never socialize with singles, but when time is at a premium, you need to maximize the fulfillment you get from social interaction.

    Secondly, I think that being married and having a family, though rewarding, are stressful, and again, when time is at a premium, one of the things marrieds really, really want is the company of other people who understand their emotional needs. I don’t want to sound condescending, but there just isn’t any way that single friends are going to be the kind of support that married people are looking for – you can’t “unload” your recent stresses on a single person.

    Thirdly, I think that often, married people are frankly just interested in different activities than single people. Especially if you have young kids, you can’t stay out late anymore – and oftentimes something shifts in your mind so that you don’t even really want to, anyway. Married people have less energy for going out, and more desire for relaxing, unwinding activities.

    I’m trying to think of other reasons married people don’t spend time with singles. To a great extent, I think it’s true that married couples spend time with other married couples because “that’s what you do” when you’re married. Everything I said above notwithstanding, I think there’s probably an assumption that single people wouldn’t *want* to hang out with us married people anyway.

    But do young marrieds (or older marrieds, for that matter) really know that many eligible bachelors or bachelorettes?

    Maybe not, but for all your bashing of Boundless, this is a situation that they’re aiming to rectify.

  12. thesmokingfrog February 17, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I am a single guy who has many married friends, but the point that Elspeth raised is very true. All of my married friends are people with whom I have something very specific (and usually quite specialized) in common. Most of them are also startup programmers, although in a couple of cases it is slightly less specific; in one case we have been friends since high school and have a virtually identical set of hobbies, so even though we connect rarely, we can always connect when we get together. Friends whose commonality was less specialized have almost universally dropped out of my life (or me out of theirs) since they married.

    As to setting me up, it is a non-issue to me right now, but I’ve had offers. Obviously, however, it is easier for a late-twenties Christian man with a decent job and a bit more than a smattering of game to find an acceptable woman, than if you flip the genders.

  13. y81 February 17, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    In my experience, the “vortex” occurs not because of marriage, but because of children. Young children suck up so much time that it’s difficult to socialize at all. Once the children start school, you end up in a lot of settings (the soccer sideline, the children’s pickup area, etc., where most of the people you meet are other married couples–at least if you move in the sort of churchly and/or middle-class circles where all parents are married.

    But to the extent anyone “drops” anyone, I agree with Elspeth that it’s more like your single friends drop you once you get married. They think your life is boring. (I will say, that many women seem to spend the six months following the birth of their first child re-telling the story of their labor, which is boring.)

  14. John February 17, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I tend to agree with Samson, especially on his first and second points. Married people and single people don’t share the same commonality of experience any more, even if they’re still enjoying the same activities it’s still done in the context of whether you’re approaching it as a single person or a married person.

    I think there’s also been a significant shift in society about how we think people are supposed to meet future spouses. At one point in time family connections, church membership, etc. were the primary way that you met potential mates. People wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that you ask their single niece or sister or whoever out for a date if you were a decent catch. However, it seems nowadays that even suggesting a date to someone is somehow a breach of privacy or at worst an insult. (This effect is exacerbated by the somewhat unrealistic expectation that God is just going to insert the right person into your life with no effort on your own part.) So instead we just stick the singles together in a room, call it a sunday school class and wait for them to pair off independently…

  15. Jim February 17, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    I think other dynamics go on as well. I found that after I got married, I pretty much lost my male friends, because at that point the focus is on your wife and kids and the guy friends you had when you are single have all sorts of freedoms to do things you no longer can if you are being a responsible husband and father. Not so on my wife’s side, who has always kept on socializing with her girl friends, whether or not married. The change in status is not as big a deal for women, in my mind. I wouldn’t think I am unique in that regard.

  16. LibertyBelle February 17, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I have been single an exceedingly long time and have rarely had single friends, at least not to spend much time with. This is likely because I had a child, which kept me more home-centered than I might otherwise have been. As I have entered my 40′s, I have only just begun to have close friendships with married people without children.

    I cannot think of a single time that anyone has ever tried to set me up, though I have presented myself as open to the possibility. It seems that none of my friends know any single Christian men in my age group.

  17. Ceer February 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Anyone can be friends with someone else. It’s just a matter of finding the time to spend and being able to communicate. That said, many people require that their friends have a certain sameness to their own personality. Marriage is one of the bigger time sinks in a person’s life, affects a person’s vibe. Taken together, it’s no wonder that many friendships don’t survive marriage to other people.

    But there are ways to see your friend still. You can go out between chores, work with your buddy, or share chores together. It’s all about time management.

  18. marvin February 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    I knew plenty of marrieds when I was single, but none with children. If they had children, they disappeared and I let them go, because I can’t stand children.

  19. Simon Grey February 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    “I don’t get this. If I got set up with an attractive girl who makes a good first impression both in the looks and the personality department, I’d at least give it a go.”

    A couple things I should have mentioned. I’ve dated a decent number of girls, none of whom were members of the church. I usually tend to keep this aspect of my life from my married friends, so a good portion of the time, when they were trying to set me up, I was usually dating one or two other girls.

    “Meeting a decent girl really comes down to chance and a bit of personal insight, it shouldn’t be as much of a point of pride as you’re indicating here. The real area where your skill in the language of love will be tested is in keeping her interested. Why not let her friends help tip the odds in your favor if they seem to have a knack for it?”

    In my experience, meeting a decent girl wasn’t overly difficult. Most highly attractive girls are also pretty pleasant. Probably because they don’t have to deal with betas. As such, I found it pretty easy to find pleasant girls by focusing solely on the 8-10s. My point is that decent girls aren’t hard to find; you just have to be man enough to say hi to them.

    Also, I’m an anarcho-libertarian and a fundie Christian, so I have a strong dislike of authority. That and my introversion means that I don’t like other people trying to control my life in any way, and I don’t like sharing much of my personal life with others.

    “The “but” in “in the 6-7.5 range, but very pleasant and nice” is pretty funny, although I suspect it’s unintentional.”

    Not really, most mid-rangers have nasty personalities. Of course, the church (or at least the congregation I attend) doesn’t have any truly attractive girls in it, so a normal 7 is a church 9, so the personality shifts accordingly.

    “Getting set up with someone by married friends can be interesting: they have your best interests at heart and they have the best interests of the person your being set up with at heart, which means they won’t be setting either of you up with anyone out of your respective leagues, which means you’ll both get their considered opinion of what league you’re in when you meet.”

    Most friends are too emotionally close, and have a strong tendency to project. All of the girls my married friends tried to set me up with were below my league.

  20. samsonsjawbone February 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    However, it seems nowadays that even suggesting a date to someone is somehow a breach of privacy or at worst an insult.

    Yes, I think this is quite true, John. That it’s considered a breach of privacy illustrates how atomized and anti-communitarian society has become. That it might be considered insulting demonstrates the inflated standards too many people have – “You really want me to date her/him?”

  21. Priscilla February 19, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I would love to have my friends set me up with someone. Most of them met each other through mutual friends. The problem was/is that none of my married/dating friends really know anyone who is single. If they do, it’s the guys that aren’t really wanting to be in relationships.

    I did meet a nice, single, christian guy at work. We started talking through fb messages for about a month before he finally asked me on a date. We went out three times, but now all he wants to do is text me. This has been going on for months now. He always texts me first, and it’s usually everyday. I’m at a loss as to what he is really wanting. Back in December he suggested that we get together, but he never planned anything. Now he doesn’t even do that. I thought at first that maybe he decided he just wanted to be friends but the conversations we have seem to say otherwise. He has told me that he lacks confidence and his last relationship ended really badly. I know this isn’t really the topic of this post, but if anyone’s got any advice I’d appreciate it. I just don’t know what to think.

  22. y81 February 19, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Priscilla: tell your friends to have a party and invite him.

    If you don’t have any mutual friends, second best plan is to get a flier from the next “Faith and [your line of] Work” seminar in your area–some local church or parachurch organization must have something like that going on–and ask him if he would like to go.

    It is possible that he just isn’t interested in you. But his conduct suggests that he might just be nervous. Sit next to him so that your arms brush together–like Haley at that screening a year or so ago–and maybe the thrill will boost his confidence.

  23. samsonsjawbone February 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I know this isn’t really the topic of this post, but if anyone’s got any advice I’d appreciate it. I just don’t know what to think.

    This guy is sufficiently attractive that you’re willing to give him a shot, but his off-putting indecision and apparent game-playing is also close to making you give up on him, eh?

    It sounds to me like he’s interested in you, but a little bit too fearful to take leadership in the relationship. This can be worked on in many cases, but it might require some effort from you – you may have to do something akin to pulling a Ruth. Whether he’s worth this or not is up to you.

  24. Priscilla February 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    It’s just driving me crazy. We’ve been talking since October. You can’t really get to know someone well enough to know if there is any chemistry between you through text messages. I think one of the reasons I’ve let it go on like this for so long is because he has some really great qualities. The first thing is he’s a Christian and really involved with his church. He seems sweet and he makes me laugh. I’ve had a hard time meeting guys that were sincere about their faith, so that was a big plus for him. I just wish I knew what his intentions were. I would feel stupid asking him.

  25. Aunt Haley February 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    John–
    However, it seems nowadays that even suggesting a date to someone is somehow a breach of privacy or at worst an insult. (This effect is exacerbated by the somewhat unrealistic expectation that God is just going to insert the right person into your life with no effort on your own part.) So instead we just stick the singles together in a room, call it a sunday school class and wait for them to pair off independently…

    I think this stems out of the “everyone’s beautiful” movement. If everyone is beautiful, then everyone should be able to attract someone else. By proposing to help connect two people, you are insinuating that neither of them is beautiful enough to attract someone on their own. Thanks for the insult!

    Simon Grey–
    Based on your description of yourself, apparently you are doing your friends a great favor by deigning to grace them with your superior presence. God loves a cheerful giver!

    samsonsjawbone–
    I am skeptical about “pulling a Ruth.” If a woman reaches the point where she must issue an ultimatum, then she really has no power to control the direction of the relationship. Plus, it gives the man incredible power of plausible deniability.

    Priscilla–
    I’d let this guy go. He sounds like he’s more emotionally expensive than he merits. Some guys just like knowing that they have a woman on the hook. Also, stop texting him back.

  26. TimP February 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Heah, Priscilla’s guy problems sound like something I would have done. (Not any more; I’ve picked up enough game not to be quite that bad)

    It’s quite likely that he feels that he’s made the first move (the three dates you went on), and if you don’t make an effort to move it along you’re happy with the current state of affairs. He probably considers you to still be in a relationship even though nothing is actually happening. It’s likely that when he suggested that you get together back in December that he was prompting you to suggest a time, place, and activity.

    If the above is correct and you do want the relationship to continue (beyond just text messages) you have a couple of options:

    1. Somehow convince him to take the lead in the relationship. I’m assuming that you are already dropping subtle hints about this; make them less subtle or even outright state it. You might try specifically asking him to organize something.

    2. Take the lead to an extent and ask him to a certain event yourself. (If you want him to take the lead you can combine this with 1 and try to gradually get him to take the lead back from you)

    3. Basically 1 on steroids; you could even go the whole hog and point him to the various verses about men taking the lead in their homes (and women SUBMITTING to their husbands) and say that that’s the sort of relationship you’d like. You might even mention that this is the sort of relationship that men and women are designed for, so even though the PUA’s are often basically man-whores they’ve got the right idea about what women actually find attractive, and drop the names of Heartiste and Athol Kay for example. Make sure that this is actually what you want in a man before you try this though.

    4. Forget about the idea of the man taking the lead in the relationship and just ask him to go to a movie or dinner date with you.

    He may also want to take the lead but not be comfortable with you enough yet to do so. Basically he assumes that the man leading the natural order of things, but that if he pushes too much too early he’ll scare you away. All of the first three would probably work in that case, but option two might be the most natural. He could easily consider that the early stages of the relationship are a standard give and take as the two of you get to know each other with the male moving to more of a leadership position as time goes on, and that too much leadership on his behalf might scare you away.

  27. y81 February 20, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    “Priscilla–
    I’d let this guy go. He sounds like he’s more emotionally expensive than he merits. Some guys just like knowing that they have a woman on the hook. Also, stop texting him back.”

    This advice seems calculated to set Priscilla up as a female character in a Matt Gruening cartoon, sitting all alone in her room ranting about how no guy in the world is man enough for her. Unless she has something better in sight, I would try some of the suggested strategies. (I would not, however, refer the guy to Athol Kay or Heartiste. Most men consider the manosphere to be composed of whiny losers.)

  28. anonymous x February 20, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Priscilla might try getting a mutual acquaintance to sound him out in private and to give him a hint that she’d like to see more from him. This way, if he feels for her, he gets that the coast is clear to take leadership, and she gets what she wants which is for him to do that. But if his feelings don’t go that way, no one has lost face so to speak and Priscilla can move on.

  29. samsonsjawbone February 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    I am skeptical about “pulling a Ruth.”

    I know. I think you are overly cynical, less than realistic, and slightly immature.

  30. van Rooinek February 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    We tried not to be sucked into the vortex. We even continued working for/helping the singles ministry for a season. And we continued to socialize with singles as well as marrieds. I’ve known other marrieds who also continued to socialize with singles.

    Until the babies start arriving. That totally kills social life for several years, at least, til the youngest can be left with a sitter for a few hours without panicking. Even then, you want to go on dates with each other at that point, not hang out with a crowd.

    So… in my experience and observation, it isn’t a “marriage vortex” — it’s a “parenthood vortex”.

  31. van Rooinek February 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I thought at first that maybe he decided he just wanted to be friends but the conversations we have seem to say otherwise. He has told me that he lacks confidence and his last relationship ended really badly.

    Tell him to fish or cut bait. My guess is, he’s not all that interested. Even if he is, you can’t be captive to his pain. Listen sympathetically, yes. But make it clear that if things don’t move forward, you’re going to date someone else.

    Then….. DATE SOMEONE ELSE. Preferably several “someone elses”. Get on the internet if you have to — that’s where I met my wife. But get out of the house and meet some new men.

  32. Hosstale. February 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Here’s my take:

    When I was a twenty-something single guy, I lived in a rural area where the unattached men in my age range outnumbered the unattached women in the same range. I had grown up hearing stories of how so-and-so introduced this or that couple. No one,married or not, in the decade or so that I spent as a ‘single adult’ ever introduced me, or even offered to introduce me to a single woman. I eventually concluded that, since I knew few unattached women, it was unlikely that any of the other people in my life knew many either. I also have to believe that the few single women around in that community had neither the need nor the desire for such introductions.

    I came to the conclusion that, given my situation, I was unlikely to meet a potential spouse in the routine course of my life, and I made an effort to ‘put myself out there’, getting involved in various community activities, and just being ‘out and around’ when, many times, I would have preferred to be at home with a good book. At one point, I had commitments every week night. When I finally did meet someone and got married in my early thirties, it was a relief not to have to put so much effort into ‘putting myself out there’. I was happy to stay home while my single buddies were still having to ‘put themselves out there’.

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  1. Married people and their lack of interaction with singles | Happolati's Miscellany - April 4, 2012

    [...] Do married people know any single people? Do married people know any single people?  Why does it seem like once people get married, they’re sucked into a “young marrieds” vortex [...]

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