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People 30+ in serious relationships or who are married: what do you *really* think of your single friends?

likesmarthelpful
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I think it’s quite pathetic for anyone to judge anyone else for their life choices, especially when it comes to whether they are married, engaged, in a relationship, “it’s complicated,” single, or any other relationship status.

I also would personally resent any friend that was married or in a relationship that pitied me for being single, especially if they were someone I considered to be a close friend, and that made any claim to really know me.

Note: There’s a difference between a friend empathizing with a friend that they knew was looking for a relationship and was having trouble finding one, and pitying someone just because they’re single.

Speaking as a single, 35yr old man that’s 2 years removed from a 3.5 year long, serious, committed relationship (1.5 of those years engaged, 2.5 of those years living together), I have NEVER been happier. I have accomplished goals (like home ownership) that seemed impossible while engaged because my ex-fiancée was extremely picky and had to have the best of the best, while being a considerable financial burden on me, which hampered my ability to save for a down payment and was unable to save money for herself (she was horrible with personal finances). Because of that experience, I’m extremely selective in who I choose to date, and I really don’t care what any married friend or acquaintance thinks of me for that.

Now, I am beholden to no one. I do not need to check with anyone except myself when I want to do something. I don’t have to coordinate PTO schedules with another person when I want to take a vacation. I don’t have to have a debate about where the vacation should be. I don’t have to have conversations about whose family we will go see during the holidays; I just see my own. I didn’t have to ask anyone before I got a dog. I just did it. Etc.

Most of my close friends (both male and female) are married, and most of them also have kids from those marriages. With only one exception, I will tell you that my guy friends constantly tell me what they think of my being single: they’re extremely envious. And, frankly, I’m envious of certain things that my friends that are in healthy marriages have; they operate as a team working toward things, and they accomplish a lot together.

But, most of my friends (based on their own words) don’t seem to be in healthy marriages. It’s unfortunate.

This is what they tell me, in their own words:
They feel straddled by the burdens of their marriages (spouses, kids, and additional responsibilities be they time or financial obligations that go along with spouses and kids) that they feel they have very little autonomy and personal freedom to do what they want. I constantly hear them talk longingly about things they’d do if they “didn’t have kids,” or “weren’t married,” or “we’re still single.”

Again, these are THEIR words, not mine.

I constantly hear them tell me “stay single,” or “don’t get married, just don’t do it,” or “don’t have kids.”

Over and over and over again. And it’s not in some tongue-in-cheek / joking way. It’s in a very serious way.

likesmarthelpful

Well said. Similar boat and I concur.

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I try to remember that I was a “single friend” for a very long time, and even though I’m in a solid relationship now… I could still be one of those “single friends” once again. So, I try my best to keep spending time with them one-on-one; I don’t hesitate to invite them to group hangouts, but I totally get if they want a hall pass/totally bail if things get too “couple-y.” And I never try to play match-maker, unless explicitly asked, because I hated that land mine, choreographed meet-cute bullshit; like showing up to a barbecue and… ☝🏻”surprise! Your newlywed friends-turned-know-it-all-marriage&relationship experts-the-second-they-left-the-alter have apparently arranged a blind date on your behalf, except they only told 1of you. So they all collaborate to isolate the 2 of you like it’s not obviously staged, and then you’re stuck with a person who’s expectantly trying to get at you, not realizing that Cupid only primed 1 side to be pumped and eager to meet up, while the other side had no idea they were walking into an ambush/they’re not intentionally under-dressed cuz they don’t care - they weren’t aware of any expectations to impress/and now you gotta field intense small talk with unbalanced interest without cornering yourself or being overtly rude, while also acutely aware there’s an audience spying on everything. I was just tryna have a beer on a porch swing and visit some close friends - not appear on a surprise dating game show, or walk a social tight rope.

So. I don’t do that, and I will call that shit out on other couple being all peer-pressure-y. Single friends are welcome to stay for supper/bring their dog if they were walking through the neighborhood/bang on the door if you need a cup of milk, crash here under a mountain of blankets, etc. and if they’re single friends that I met through my SO, I make a point to get to know them individually, so that maybe we’ll forge our own friendship and they can be “our friend” instead of “so-&-so’s friend.” Hopefully it makes them feel more welcome by both of us, and less likely to stay away or fade out; Instead of “slowly losing a friend because they’re dating now,” I hope it’s more “I had 1 good friend…. and ☝🏻now I have 2 good friends.” 💙

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I care for them. I love my friends dearly.

I also feel bad for them. Single and in your 30s has gotta be rough. Not much left to choose from.

Saw a meme the other day that being single at this age is having to shop exclusively at thrift stores.

likefunnysmart

So not true I got married at 31 and am now married fir 34 years No comprise whatsoever

likeuplifting

I love them? I’m not sure what you’re asking.

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I don’t think about their relationship status unless they bring it up. I love my life, and I’m happy that they are happy too.

like

Some single people in their 30s are happier than people married in their 30s. Some people married in their 30s, are happier than some single people in their 30s. If my friends are happy, I’m happy for them.

likeupliftingsmarthelpful

YES

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I am proud of them for upholding their standards and not settling. There is nothing wrong with being single. They just haven’t found their person yet.

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Amen! Married and feel this way very strongly.

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Single all my life, in my 50s now and it's I who feel sorry for you. Marriage is like being in prison only worse when you get divorced.

likefunny

KPMG5, just because no one divorced doesn't mean they are happy. People tend to become content and fake happiness.

Citi1, right on. Basing happiness on the fact you have to be married is ridiculous. The amount of married men that hit on me is sad. I get at least 3 DMs a week on this app from married men alone, not to mention those on dating apps. They are just fooling themselves. Bashing me because they know what I say it truth.

I'll continue to live my life in peace. Do what I want with whoever I want whenever I want and be happy without explaining myself to someone.

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Wow, so many responses!! Thank you all for sharing your perspectives...time to pull the curtain back and say that *I* am the single friend. I’m 31 and almost all of my close friends are married with kids already or with kids on the way. It’s difficult to make plans with them and when we do see each other it often feels like there’s a disconnect simply because our lives are so dissimilar now. I don’t hold it against them, but I do feel like I’ve lost them as friends and it makes me sad.

Sometimes I feel like they pity me, then sometimes I listen to them complain about how much they can’t stand their husbands and how they wish they could be single and “do whatever the hell they want.” But then the next day they go back to being happy and in love so I never really know what they truly think.

As a woman in her 30s, I do feel societal (and even more familial 😑) pressure to get married and have kids, even though I’ve never really wanted them. It can be alienating to feel this way, particularly when everyone around you seems to feel differently.

But some of the responses here from single folks who are loving life are comforting and make me feel like less of a weirdo for still being single, so thank you!

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Look into child free groups on FB to try and make new friends! There are a ton of likeminded people who are looking for friends without kids!

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I’m single and all my guy friends that are married envy my freedom and lifestyle. They live vicariously through my social media.

likefunnysmart

I have never heard of a guys trip to visit prostitutes...

As a married man, I’m not sure if I could go along with any of my friends doing that.

Reminds me, we had a work friend who would bring another female colleague out for drinks with us. Seemed harmless until we found out there was more going on. We all stopped going out for drinks with him - out of respect for his wife.... he eventually stopped that relationship.

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I feel pity for anyone that thinks marriage makes a person happier or more superior. Success, happiness, health issues, depression, financial troubles, cheating, abuse, manipulation, career achievements…will impact people regardless of their marital status. Experiencing the negative things in life while having dependents (kids) sometimes amplifies the difficulty. No one shall judge, anyone can be on either side of the happiness spectrum in flux, regardless of marital status.

likesmarthelpful

AD1 you're not listening. Your responses show that you read up to a point, get triggered and shoot off a response. As a result you keep responding to things that were never said. Good luck with that.

like

I think: man, it must suck to live that single-income life.

likefunny

DINK is probably better than SINK, so long as you have a partner with whom your vision aligns and that isn’t a financial burden, but SINK is demonstrably better than DIWK.

like

I don't have friends.

likefunnyupliftinghelpful

I’m a 32 year old married guy. I have a couple of very close single guy friends. I let them think I’m jealous of them and how cool it is when they go on dates with diff girls every other week. Honestly though I’d hate to switch positions with them. I’m too old to deal with that stuff now and when they’re drunk they too admit that they don’t love it.

No my wife didn’t make me type this.

likeupliftingfunnysmart

Be a better friend

funny

Why, what do YOU think, OP?

likefunnysmart

Poor verbiage. Not everyone is destined to meet their person. Only ever dating your high school boyfriend/girlfriend is extremely rare now. Some people will break off engagements because things aren’t right. Some people will get divorced. Some people just like new faces all the time. Some people don’t want kids. So. Many. Choices.

likesmart

Being single in your 30s in 2021 must suck.

likefunny

Being married with spouse and kids at home 24/7 in 2020/2021 is probably the hardest challenge many have encountered in their lives. Who are we kidding?! There is envy of every single person that has worked peacefully from home, no fights, no stress of caretakers, and watched their Netflix.

likesmart

Lmao at some of the people in this thread. If you look at your friends and are questioning their life choices without realizing everyone makes their own way I feel sorry for you. I have friends that are married and I am happy for them. I have friends that are single and I'm happy for them unless they tell me they are unhappy. I'm single and 30 myself (I'm a guy) and I have no issues getting a date or a relationship. I also feel like my dating pool has not shrunk at all. My friends do occasionally make fun of me telling me I should get married or my parents want kids or something but I legitimately don't want to at this point in my life and enjoy dating multiple people.

There's certainly however a double standard with people in relationships vs. those that are single. I can't tell them to separate from their spouses, but they can tell me I need to find one. I'm not big on that especially when they have their frustrations arise. It's a little one way, and we all know like half of marriages fail.

likesmart

For those who I know want to be in a relationship or married with kids, I feel bad. I hear the dating horror stories and thank god frequently that I found my wife. Dating with the intention of marriage in your 30s sounds miserable.

Those who are happy being single, I’m happy for them. Sometimes a little jealous when I hear some of the wild stories or see they’re able to do something without worrying about another person or kids.

So I guess it depends on the single friend and if they’re happy. If they are happy, I’m happy for them. If they’re not happy, I want them to be happy. But there’s no judgement on anyone.

likeuplifting

Yeah I feel you on this one. Dating in my 20s was a cluster&$!% getting friend-zoned, mixed messages and ghosted left and right. In my early 30s now… glad I eventually found the one through the tinder storm and didn’t settle. Personally I would prob have a rough time if I was still looking… on the other hand single people have no responsibilities which is something I wistfully think about sometimes.

I don’t think any less of them. Being in a relationship or married doesn’t define you.

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Of dudes? Nothing. If they make good $$ and aren’t into idk murdering people, they’ll be fine

Of women? Slightly concerned. I’d try to set them up like crazy (obvs asking if they wanted to be set up but never got turned down before)

likefunnysmart

I do think men get a stigma if they are older and have never been married. People think it’s weird. I knew a guy in his 40s with a good job, never married, and he had trouble getting women to go out with him. Like it was a red flag he’d never been scooped up given he seemed normal and has a good job. Whereas single women in their 40s might simply be pitied - but no one thinks it’s strange.

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I don’t feel bad for my single friends for being single. I do feel bad for, and get angry at, my best friend who is in a long term relationship with a girl he can’t stand.

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@attorney 2 I can sort of relate - I’m almost that way with the exception that I “am able to” prevent the relationship from progressing.

The truth is I can’t get anyone on dating apps (I might get one match in a month), which leads me to stay with what I’ve got as long as I don’t have to live with them or be serious as a couple 

I'm 30s. Single. Divorced actually. Zero intention of marrying again. I do what I want with who I want when I want. Works for me. I wouldn't worry so much about your single friends. They got this.

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Couldn’t have written this better myself 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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