DrupalWomenQ-#7602

I am 50, single, never married, no children. I’ve made my peace with this & am NOT looking for dating advice! However, I experience my never-married status as still carrying a stigma. Are spinsters still social pariahs?

61 Answers

  1. Robin Robinson wrote on :

    In a word, yes. I’m in a similar position, so I certainly understand where you’re coming from. I think some of the replies you’ve received bear this out. I lost count of the times that people have openly asked if I’m gay or heard “what’s wrong with her?” whispered behind my back. I went through a period of time where I wasn’t invited to gatherings where there were all couples and heard the same excuses you have. I used to cry about it. However, I decided in my mid-40s to refuse to internalize other peoples’ nonsense and try to live my life as fully and happily as I can. With the exception of my closest friend, I have a whole new set of friends and I invite them to my house for barbecues, wine-tastings, dinner or just to hang out and watch a movie. Sometimes it’s just us girls and other times husbands invited, too. I’ve let go of all the so-called, well-meaning friends who dropped me from their guest lists once they got married and made new ones, both married and single. Ironically, many of those who were reluctant to include me because of my single status, are now single themselves. Hang in there. Try sending out some invitations for a girls night out or brunch including the husbands and kids at your place. Start fresh.

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  2. Shirley Farley wrote on :

    Good heavens, NO! Someone in your life has done you a great disservice by promoting this idea. I am a widow but have lived many years as a single woman. The important thing I learned was that doing things alone can be great fun. You, as an individual, have much to offer by drawing on your life experience. Be active, join groups doing things that interest you, find a cause and volunteer. You are only a pariah if you believe yourself to be one. Shirley

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  3. Marcia Robinson wrote on :

    Years ago, there was a definite connotation to “being a spinster.” Today, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist. If there’s an occasion where you think you might be left out because you’re “unpartnered,” then simply as if you can bring someone, be it male or female.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Marrobin36:

      Why should I have to be partnered to be invited? You make my point about stigma.

      And If I had someone to bring, I would. But I don’t. (My friends have their own busy lives/careers to tend to, and one can only ask one’s gay male friends to step in occasionally. It gets old after a while. )

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    • Marcia Robinson wrote on :

      No! You don’t have to be partnered with anyone. Is there any possibility that you might say something like, “I’d love to be able to join you, but it makes me uncomfortable being asked questions about my personal life.”

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  4. Tammy Blaker wrote on :

    The real question should be is being a spinster affecting your work? If you are missing out on bussiness by being excluded then that is a real problem. I agree that if it is just social I wouldn’t want these people as friends. However, lots of work happens at social functions.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi wyomiaia: Well, I don’t know if it’s the “real’ question — I liked the one I asked, actually — : ) — but you make a good point. My social life has long ceased to involve these people, but my professional life is still very much lived among them. We may be divorce lawyers, but I am literally the ONLY attorney at my firm (ranging from junior associates to senior partners) who is not married! And YES, being single does affect me professionally — I need to mix with married people in order to get business. (Single people not being in any need of a divorce. It is no coincidence that my particular subspecialty is prenuptial agreements — i.e., a need that SINGLE people have. However, they are not the fee-generators that divorces are. Thus, my ability to bring in business IS hampered by being single. Simple as that.)

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  5. Brenda Lewis wrote on :

    Most definitely YES! As a longtime divorcee, I constantly receive dating advice along with sentiments of pity at my “unfortunate” single status. Although we older single women may be perfectly happy in our relationship status, society most definitely IS NOT. For some unearthly reason, society simply will not allow us to be particular about whom we spend out time, and continually demands that we relinguish our single relationship status PDQ.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks Geekteach, for responding to my question as I wrote it. I find it interesting that most of the responses here, while generally kind and well-meaning, are also subtly patronizing, as the dispensing relationship advice or “consolation” of some kind, thus revealing the very stigma I queried in the first place.

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  6. Diana Kelson wrote on :

    I doubt it. Diane Keaton has never been married.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      mnladydi: Diane Keaton? The Oscar-winning movie star? Not really a relevant demographic.

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  7. storyteacher1 wrote on :

    I think that “social pariah” is an overstatement, but that said, I’m married but my husband’s aunt who lives next door would probably fit this description because she never married and very rarely leaves the farm, does not socialize…at all-unless you count her many cats.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi storyteacher1: Not sure what your point is, but for the record: I hate cats.

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    • storyteacher1 wrote on :

      Hi! I guess my point was that I don’t have any problem with seeing old maids as spicy spinsters…when the shoe fits, but with my husband’s aunt it definitely doesn’t. She is very similar to Ellie May from the Hillbillies, but I will give her this…she’s unique. That said, you certainly have company on the cats issue–hate them too and always have…They dig up my flowers and plants on the deck, etc.

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  8. Jewel Hopson wrote on :

    It’s time to replace the Old Maid image with Spicy Spinsters! I’m part of a dynamic group of spicy spinsters who helped changed the way society views women in the work-place and in the home. We’re now changing how society thinks of women who never marry. After my 40th birthday I discovered any woman can be happily single. Spices are so popular; society introduced a second meaning for the word. We also use it to mean “pizzazz.” Like treasured seasonings, single, middle age women fulfill much of society’s fundamental need for stimulation by providing life with spice. Today’s spinsters are restorative to many and have elusive qualities, similar to an aphrodisiac. Yes, there are spinsters; and I’m proud to say I’m a spicy one.

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  9. Laura Abshier wrote on :

    I didn’t think that word was used anymore. Our favorite Aunt never married, she’s bright, fun and leads a very happy full life.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Not about the word; it’s about the attitude!

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  10. wrybbunz wrote on :

    I don’t think so. My friends who are in the same situation have great jobs that they love — they didn’t want a spouse or kids to hold them back. They dress beautifully, take care of themselves, have full social lives, are interesting, travel, etc. There are plenty of men in the same situation, I would think. I think it takes a lot of guts to accept yourself, no matter what or who you are — if you enjoy your life, if you have friends, if you feel content and or fulfilled, that’s the goal, as far as I’m concerned. There are married people, with children, who don’t feel that way at all and don’t feel good about their lives or accept themselves. As for society — fashion magazines and celeb magazines don’t speak for the majority at all. They’re just trying to sell their sponsors’ product. And anyone who does express those stigmas is threatened by someone who is their own person, or they regret their own lives. Sounds like you’ve got it together, or pretty close. I’m still working on mine.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello wrybbunz: Yes, I know that marriage can really blow. Nor is my query about “stigma” grounded in “fashion and celeb magazines.” I am talking about subtle and not-so-subtle signals that the “coupled” world gives to indicate that being never married makes one not quite grown-up, not fully an adult, etc.

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  11. Patricia Assanowicz wrote on :

    Not in my opinion, to me you are a woman that is strong, independant and awesome. The word spinster brings visions of late 1800’s–1900’s, we as women back then “OMG” your not married??? There must be something wrong with that woman!!! NO, there was something wrong with society’s view of women then. We burned our bra’s along time ago, I did not get married until I was in my late 40’s, even then I had to really think about it even though I really loved him alot, I felt like I was giving up all of my independence, I still have my independence and the age I married was never an issue to me, even if I remained single, that would have been fine too, don’t even think “Spinster” think “AWESOME WOMAN” because that is what you are, and I bet you are a great and trusting friend. No one knows what life has in store for them, you never know you may walk down the asile in your 70’s, now I think that is pretty cool, enjoy your life, don’t dwell on what if’s, enjoy the here and now.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello nascarblue3: Thanks for responding. I highly doubt that I will “walk down the aisle in my 70s” or at any other time, and that really wasn’t what my message was about, and I’m NOT “dwelling” on my status. I agree that it’s great to be strong and independent; however, I can assure you that with respect to this, things have really not progressed much at all from the era that you reference. Agreed that HUGE strides were made for women professionally in the mid-20th century from which I benefitted greatly; however, I’m talking about the SOCIAL stigma of being never married — which is as strong as ever. You yourself may be very open-minded, but I cannot tell you how often I am queried about not being married. “Are you married?” Oh. “Do you live with anyone?” Huh. “Are you seeing someone?” Etc. Then weeks later I’ll here from a mutual friend/acquaintance that my interrogator asked “is she gay?” (No.) And this is among a group of rather sophisticated, highly educated professionals in Manhattan.

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  12. Rosalind Rickman wrote on :

    No, not at all. You have made a choice about your lifestyle. Only, YOU can make a life choice for yourself. In our society, in 2011, we are able to make choices regarding our own lives, and it truly is only your business to know to your innermost self your own life choice. No, spinsters are NOT a social pariah, and I doubt in the last 10 years, I have even heard that word (spinster). To accept who you are, exactly as you are, is truly a joy !

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello Rozzie68: I meant to use the word “spinster” in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner, which I think did not come across in my original query. I used it because I wanted to make the point that my question was about STIGMA as it pertains to the I never-married middle-aged woman, not the merely “single” (i.e., the young-and-still-actively-dating, or the divorced). As I’ve said above, I HAVE accepted myself and in fact think I’m pretty great. ; ) That is NOT, however, what society in general tells me.

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  13. debmil wrote on :

    I think spinster is an outdated term as I believe, technically, it means an unmarried woman who is a virgin. Not too many of them. I am divorced twice with no children. People look at me as though I have three heads when they find out making comments like, “You?” “A hottie like you?” I am very happy and have cat “children.” It wasn’t my first choice but it has it’s advantages. As my marriages were both nightmares, I can’t imagine getting married again. However, you never know what can happen. But I don’t look for it. I also don’t date as I don’t meet too many men I consider datable. I also don’t trust my instincts. So if someone did come along that I would consider, I would have to ask advice from friends I trust. At this tiime I am very happy and satisfied with my life.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello Debmil: “Spinster” is simply a legal term that means “never married.” Has nothing to do with virginity or lack thereof. I myself had rather a wild time in my 20s/early 30s, and no regrets. However, as I said in my original query, I am not looking for “dating advice” or commentary thereon. I’m interested in society’s perception of never-married-single-women, which I think has really not evolved very much past the attitudes towards Victorian spinsters, despite all of the window dressing to the contrary.

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  14. Ivy Pittman wrote on :

    I am 53, never married and no children as well. But I look like I am in my 30’s! Spinsters are no longer pariahs, but rather envied by many women who wish they had stayed single longer.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello “hotforfifty” — While I have occasionally experienced the envy you mention, I much more often am made to feel as though I’m on the bottom of the social food chain. (I won’t repeat what I’ve explained in response to other posts above.) Anyway, sounds like you’re happy — best wishes!

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  15. Mara Bannard wrote on :

    I was single until I was 50 but although I did get married, if I was still single I’d be absolutely fine with it. I think some people are insensitive or oblivious to how their remarks could be perceived. Celebrate yourself and others will also!!!! If they don’t, it’s their loss, not yours.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks, Maraleung. I AM fine with it; others are not. :-/

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  16. linda caricofe wrote on :

    The strength of a person who never marries is self sustaining.
    Although I believe marriage is a wonderful tradition, and , I am married, I have known more than just a few ladies in my lifetime who never married.
    These ladies chose not to marry, and I admire them tremendously.
    Each chose not to marry because they wanted to taste life to it’s fullest and as they chose, when they chose.
    Each did not want to bear children.
    Each became successful and their life happy and content.
    Two of these ladies are now forever young in their 80’s.
    Both look and move much younger than their age.
    One dates socially and has admirers, while the other is very private and happy to be out of the high profile she once had in her earlier years as an executive.
    So, the word spinster is obsolete.
    Instead, a lady who has chosen not to marry, is to be admired and respected.
    Freedom of choice is a gift.
    Walking the path of life without a mate is no longer a sad thing, instead, it is something to be very proud of.
    You know yourself, and you know your strength.
    I salute you, and admire you with a 2 thumbs up.
    Best wishes, Linda

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks very much for your response. Actually, I wanted to get married earlier in life, although I never wanted children, which took much of the sting out of fetching up middle-aged and unmarried. So my single status was NOT, actually, something I chose, but rather something that just evolved. I am peace with it now, and am no longer looking for a relationship. As I have indicated in responses to other posts, I have a quite busy social life, and look forward to being like one of those ladies in their 80s that you mention — continuing to enjoy an active life for many more decades! Thank you for your kind words.

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    • linda caricofe wrote on :

      Your life will continue to be full of the best life has to offer.
      My dearest friend is one of the ladies who is content and forever young in her 80’s, also was to be married in her younger years, and something happened.
      I am so glad you can see that you have a wonderful life that is forever young if you chose. Positive actions such as staying social and active is a solid bet to a very happy life. Smile and the world smiles with you. Best wishes, Linda

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  17. pattib wrote on :

    To me spinster is a word rarely heard these days. Lucky lady would be more like it! You can come and go as you please and if it pleases you to have a male companion you can have one for as long as you want. And then go your own way. You have no one telling you what you can and can not do or making plans that include you that you would rather not have to take part in. You are a professional lady and I think a very lucky one.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi PattiB: I think I’m pretty lucky, too! Thanks for responding!

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  18. Jeepgal wrote on :

    Dear rlk61, you are definitely not a pariah of any sort. Some marry for the right reasons, some don’t. Those who don’t are either divorced such as myself because I was with an unkind man who was very mad and unforgiving to me when I became ill, something I never planned on and could have never guessed he’d do to me, leave. But I’m actually relieved he’s gone and I don’t have to be ill and feel bad about it. I can just take care of my health with so much less pressure. It was very hard for my son, and for that I feel badly and do not forgive my ex-husband. A measure of a good person isn’t in who they’re with, or not, it’s in who they themselves are and you sound like you are just fine exactly how you are! Don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are; you are enough and that is something to be proud of! I’ve read many books by Iyanla Van Zandt (an Oprah prodigy) and other various self-help books including by Maya Angelou and they are brilliant, single women now. Unfortunately, like me, the men in their lives did more harm than good and now they are free. Does it get lonesome? Yes, is my answer. But it sure feels nice not having someone say to me I’m less than what I should be (and all other kinds of unkind things). So, yes, you are enough, MORE than enough…Go to a party or outing with a friend, or not. God didn’t make us all the same, thank goodness! Love and best wishes…

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi Jeepgal: I’m glad you had the strength to get out of a bad marriage. I see so many women who stay, for all the wrong reasons. You are so right that you’re better off now, and are taking care of yourself. Best wishes!

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  19. Melinda Paulis wrote on :

    Not at all! My best friend is 55, never marred and has a fabulous life. For the last few years she’s been honestly disinterested in dating. She would like more good friends – male and female who are also childless to travel with, occasional theatre & concert outings, dinners, etc. – but very little interest in romance. She sometimes feels a stigma, mostly from older folks who’ve been married to the same person forever and simply don’t want to understand a different lifestyle.
    She just recenrtly retired after 30 years of teaching & as a guidance counselor and is trying to meet similar-minded folks in her area – Columbia Maryland. She’s a lovely person – well-read, well-traveled, conversational and has a great sense of humor. She really just wants to meet more like-minded FRIENDS in her area. Any suggestions from anyone for my friend and for “rlk61”? Any good groups or organizations? Also why are so many married women disinterested in friendships with unmarried women? They’re missing out on good friendships and a great perspective on things? Shame on us, girls…

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  20. sherry9090 wrote on :

    I’m surprised people still speak in terms of “spinsters” at all. My husband (59) and I mix socially quite a bit. About 40% of the adults we socialize with are single/divorced and so far as I know, no one finds it noteworthy at all. I wonder if your circle of acquaintance is entirely of an age devoted to dating. (The way some circles are devoted to the pursuits of families with small children.) I promise, you can have active friendships with people of all ages. We do it. It works great! If you want to crank up the volume on your social life, you might want to start by hosting. Be the inviter! Show them how it’s done.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello Sherry9090: No, my circle of acquaintance is, generally, LONG past the typical dating age. While I do have a (very) few younger friends as well as older ones, I would say most of the people of my acquaintance are within a 5-10 year age range of myself — i.e., middle aged. Most of them have children who are heading off to college, or are even out of college, so they are not, in fact, absorbed with child-rearing. And as I said in my original post, I’m not interested in dating advice or, as you put it, “cranking up my social life.” (It’s fine, thank you very much.) And I DO enjoy entertaining, and often have people over. But the only ones who will come are, as I said in a response to another poster, other similarly-situation women and gay men. (We have a great time.) However, the coupled people of the world generally look down on us — unlike you and your husband, who are a rare breed, I can assure you.

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  21. Barbann1964 wrote on :

    Do I want it to carry a stigma? No. Do I think it does? Yes. Not the way it use to, but it does. I am in my mid 40’s never married, no children. Would I have liked that? Yes, but it hasn’t happened. In todays world if you aren’t married or living with someone, people can’t understand it. I have had a lot of people assume I must be gay, not so, or a lot (not all) of women who are married assume you will be after their husband, again not so, I would never go after a married man. While some may say it shouldn’t bother me, it does. I want to carry around a big sign with 1.) No I’m not gay 2.) No I don’t want your husband. I really like to look at the humorous side of things in life but this is getting really old.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Barbann1964: YES!!!!!!! This is EXACTLY my experience. It’s hugely tiresome constantly having to explain oneself. Nope, not gay; nope, not interested in your husband. I’ve often wondered why married women won’t invite us types to dinner parties or other social events for fear that we’ll steal their husbands — don’t they realize that if we really WANTED their men, we’d snag them at work? LOL!

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    • Barbann1964 wrote on :

      🙂 And the funny thing is a lot of these women act like they don’t want their husbands half the time, if they don’t want them why do they suppose that we do, huh? LOL I have always had a dead list in my head (a list of men that I just don’t go there), it includes married men, my pastors, teachers, anybody even remotely kin (I’m from the south, I’ve heard of it happening), guys who like makeup more than I do, loan sharks, Freddie K ect. LOL As a single person I have enough issuses to deal with (don’t we all?) without any added drama. Just let me live in peace. 🙂

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  22. Cynthia del Valle wrote on :

    I am 53, never married, no children. Some people may have a problem with our singleness but it is THEIR problem and we don’t have to make it ours. For quite a long time I had people asking me “why aren’t you married”, “don’t you want to get married”. I have not had anyone say that to me in many years for which I am glad. It used to tick me off because really it is no one else’s business what we choose to do. You need to find others to socialize with that do not have an issue with this. The others I would just limit my contact with. I have rarely seen marriages that are truly happy. I think some married people are miserable and do not like to see single people at peace with their lives. Misery loves company.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi Soledad: Thanks for your response. I do have a wide circle of lovely friends, almost all of whom are either women in the same circumstances as myself, or gay men. I was annoyed once when one of my married friends (traditional life in suburbia) said, “You have to stop hanging out with all those single women and gay men.” Um . . . if I stopped doing that, I would never see the inside of another restaurant, because THOSE are the people who are “willing” to socialize with me! And you know what — our lives are pretty darn good: I myself have taken three trips to Europe this year, am a patron at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and attend concerts 2-3 times per week during the season, I have a great wardrobe, and as I type this on my laptop I am looking out over the gorgeous view of the East River from my living room window. HOWEVER, both at the office and in the larger social world, I am quite marginalized. I’m not sure I much care most of the time, but it does rankle from time to time, apparently on the day that I posted the original query. This is the first time I’ve checked back since, thus the flood of responses from me today . . .

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  23. Nan Sasso wrote on :

    As long as you are happy until and if you meet the right person for you it is the best thing to stay single rather then marry somone just to be married. My Grandmother often told me “it is better to be by yourself then be married and live a life of hell”. There would be fewer divorces if people had that philosphy.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      As I said in my original post, I’m not looking for dating advice, nor do I need consolation. As a divorce lawyer I can assure you that I probably have a better idea than most people that a ring on the finger is not necessarily “happy ever after.”

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  24. Cheryl Wilson wrote on :

    My sister is 55 and, like you, never married and no children. She is very happy and loves her life. I do not believe women like you two are social pariahs! The simple fact is that people are at a loss as to what to do with you! It’s awkward having you along when everyone else is coupled. My sister is a highly successful businesswoman and has more in common with the men than she does the women in a group. As a consequence, the women can view her, even subconsciously, as a threat! Forget this! Join Emily’s List and lobby for women in government and in business. Join groups that are made up of women. You are a FORCE! Your choice to remain single is YOUR choice and you owe nobody an explanation. This is the 21st century and it is important that you encourage younger women in their journeys. They need to know that being single is not a stigma any longer!

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hi BlueBear: You have made my point: we “never married no kids” middle-aged women are considered “AWKWARD.” Only the “coupled” think so; I don’t think I’m awkward at all! And here’s the thing: I have little interest in joining Emily’s List; I just want to be invited to a god-damned dinner party occasionally. Or included in a backyard barbecue.

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  25. Staness Jonekos wrote on :

    I was single, never married and without children until my late 40s – I have stood in your shoes. I found that others had more of an issue with me being single than I did. We still live in a “couples” world, but that is changing. Almost 60% of adults are SINGLE in the USA! You are in the majority. Now that I am married, I often miss my single days. The only way we kill the stigma that single ladies are “spinsters” is to stand up and be proud that being single is OK, and celebrate our independence – wahooo!

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Hello Staness — couildn’t agree more — and THAT was what my original question was about: the attitudes of society towards women who have never married and have no children. Thanks for responding.

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  26. Cheryl Savage wrote on :

    Sorry for the delay with responding to you, I’m in Roatan Honduras on a dive vacation by myself as a single woman. I don’t believe being single carries a stigma, many men and women choose not to marry.
    I had a friend tell me she didn’t invite me to a dinner party because I don’t eat red meat. Others, can be thoughtless I don’t think they mean anything by these statements, they just don’t think before they speak. Some events are planned for couples. I ask if it’s a couple’s party when I receive an invitation, if it is I find a fun date and go. At times I will invite different dates to different events with the same people let everyone know I’m dating, and open to meet someone new. I don’t think you should give up the idea of marriage. One of my clients met a man at 60 and has been happily married for 3 years. Hey…..you are a divorce lawyer, you must know a number of men who would love to be your date at a social event.

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    • Pat Oldfield wrote on :

      “I don’t think you should give up the idea of marriage.” Really? Why not? Maybe, like me, and many other “singles” I’ve talked to, it isn’t a matter of giving up the idea so much as it is not wanting to join the cadre of married friends that are miserable or working to make a marriage work or wanting to give up the independence that comes with being single. The attitudes encountered by single women past the age of 30 is what, I think, the original question was addressing. The comments on this reply and some others show the attitude that it is somehow “less than” or a reason for sympathy to remain single. Perhaps it is a little bit of jealousy also?

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks for your response and encouraging words. I did get a bit of a giggle, though, at the notion of “find a fun date and go.” Um, if I had been able to find a fun date at any time in the past ten years I wouldn’t find myself in this situation! There are only so many times when one can ask one’s gay male friends to come along. As for knowing available men because of my profession: (1) virtually all of them have girlfriends already (for whom they have left their wives) and (2) even if they were available, it is professionally unethical to date a client.

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    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thank you “Aunt Pat” — you are absolutely correct about my original question, which was about the attitudes that I and other never-married-no kids women face, regardless of whether or not we are looking for a relationship. A revealing anecdote: A couple of years ago, when I was in my late 40s, I had a few people (other attorneys) from my office over to my apartment for a celebratory drink at the end of a big case. While it’s not a Fifth Avenue penthouse or anything close, it is a comfortable, attractive space that I’ve enjoyed making into my home. My guests, however, were agog: “wow, you’ve decorated it and everything!” said one woman. (I guess they expected that I would be still sleeping on a futon with posters scotch-taped to the walls, like a dorm room circa 1979). Um . . . yes, why wouldn’t I have decorated my home? I’m a successful professional, and I have “real” furniture, artwork, personal memorabilia, books, china, the whole shebang. It’s not just that they were admiring my taste — they were actually startled that I HAD any of these things. I doubt that the reaction would have been the same had they been visiting the suburban home of a married colleague of the same age. In any event, it’s a funny but telling story, I think. Thanks again for responding.

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  27. bgp95@yahoo.com wrote on :

    People get confused. Being single only means that you do not have a partner. It should not be misconstrued to say anything else about you. Being single means that you are your own person: confident, accomplished and self-contained.

    Reply
  28. Belinda Boyles wrote on :

    I wouldn’t say that they are truly ‘social pariahs’ but it will raise the hackles of some folks that you’ve never married. I’m 50 and never had children; that bothers some folks, too. I tell them that I’m a ‘pet mother’ and that’s usually good enough. When they ask about my children I pull up a great photo of my cat on my phone and relish the look on their faces when I tell them he’s my ‘son’. The best you can do in this situation is to make light of it. I didn’t marry until I was well into my 30’s and at that point I had relatives (mostly in the Midwest) who were asking what was wrong with me or was I gay? I wasn’t, it wasn’t about me – it was about the men in my social circle at the time and my preference for older men who tended to be divorced and not interested in remarriage – coupled with my desire to NOT raise anyone’s children.
    If you are bothered by other people’s reaction to your personal situation, make up a story of some sort. Perhaps you’ve spent those years becoming absolutely fabulous – developing interests, hobbies, a career, or just becoming YOU. That’s truly good enough, and you shouldn’t allow anyone’s opinions detract from your happiness and joy. Also, look at the profession you’re in – that would certainly deter me from marriage if I spent my days helping others navigate the demise of their own marriages! (Sort of like the kindergarten teacher who doesn’t want kids!) As for the events and attending without a partner – heck, let them know you’re glad to attend alone. It’s one of the best ways to meet people. Perhaps you have a nice male friend (one of mine is gay and wonderful) who can accompany you to these sort of things. We take care of each other socially in these types of circumstances from time to time. Maybe you have a friend like that, too? Just a thought. And remember, if the groups inviting you make you feel like a social pariah, they might not be worth your association. You are terrific, regardless of social status, marriage status, or anything else!

    Reply
    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. We’ve had a lot of similar experiences! I think that people are generally not conscious of sidelining never-married-no-kids women such as myself; it’s just an ingrained attitude. I try to focus, as you say, on the “fabulous” parts of my life. Spinsterhood isn’t all cats and sensible shoes!

      Reply
  29. Marty Chiaravelotti wrote on :

    My blood began to boil when I read your message “Oh, um, we thought you’d feel awkward since you don’t have date.” So, my question to you is this, do you really care if you’re left out? Do you truly want to attend a function where people have this neanderthal point of view? Intelligent, open minded, nonjudgmental people, would love to include you…a bright, successful woman. Perhaps you need to find new people! Good luck!

    Reply
  30. Geri Brin wrote on :

    Not at all. Women are so independent today, no one cares whether you’re married or not. Besides, too many married women are so unhappy, they should have stayed single. The only people who are social pariahs are those who invite the status upon themselves.

    Reply
    • rlk61 wrote on :

      Thanks for responding! Yes, I know many married people are unhappy (I’m a divorce lawyer). However, I am frequently not included in quasi-social professional events because I don’t have a partner. This is not speculation; I have been told as much: “Oh, um, we thought you’d feel awkward since you don’t have date.” I really don’t think I invite this upon myself or am imagining it; I think I’m terrific (mostly!).

      Reply
    • Geri Brin wrote on :

      Personally, anyone who said to me, “We thought you’d feel awkward since you don’t have a date,” wouldn’t be worth spending time with in the first place. Classy people wouldn’t say that. They’d invite a single man to join the group.

      Reply
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