Better to have been married…?

July 13, 2011 § 12 Comments

I have heard it said more than once that it is better for a woman to have been married and divorced than never to have been married at all.

At my age I have a handful of girlfriends who have never been married. Because I have always been in the camp of women who wanted to get married, and indeed was happily married, I very much count my blessings.  These friends, like me, also wanted to, very much, but it never happened to them.  They are  gorgeous and intelligent and attractive and great company and for years we’ve all been asking why the fuck not?  Of course, a lot of it is luck.  There was nothing “better” about me, and there’s nothing “better” about any woman who gets married.  We were just lucky (even if the luck ran out for some of us).  I don’t know; right place, right time.  Who knows?

One of my never-married friends says she knows her time has passed.

“You’re all right,” she says.  “You have had one man who has chosen to marry you and you’ll get married again.  All my [women] friends who have been married and divorced have got married again.” (Oh, and look who looks like she’s rapidly heading to become the fucking exception, eh?)  “I never have, and I know I now never will.”

What is that all about?  Perhaps men, if they want women of a certain age at all – which, on the whole, they don’t – then they want the tried and tested ones.  The ones to whom another man once gave the thumbs up. Ones who have been married so know the meaning of the word of compromise or, even better, submission, and doormat.

My friend may have a point and I suppose that is consolation of sorts.  I wonder.  Just by dint of having been married, I am in with a better chance than a – dread word – spinster?  How so?  If there are no men, there are no men.  From where I am standing, I do not feel as though I have an advantage over my lovely never-married friend.

As I have said before and will say again, I am not exactly holding my breath.


§ 12 Responses to Better to have been married…?

  • Dinah says:

    In my current status as a widow, I now find that I look at my never having married girlfriends with some envy, as they appear to know how to just get on with life without a sense of loss hanging over them.
    Could you cut out the swearing? It doesn’t add anything useful to the discussion.

  • Could it be your attitude I wonder.
    I still do not find women throwing themselves at me – they say ” After such a long and happy marriage, no one will come up to her standard”

    who are they to judge – I don’t like living on my own one little bit, but I confess that i am not keen to take on another man’s children – once in that game is enough for most men I guess

  • AnonW says:

    I am a widow (I usually use the female form, although I’m a man!) and many of my friends are in the same leavy and lonely boat. Do any of us regret getting married? I don’t think so. I know it’s to do with widowhood rather tgan divorce, but a friend of mine, who researches widowhood, say many remarry successfully.

    So perhaps we’re programmed to try again.

    As to Geoffrey’s comments about not wanting to take on another man’s children, it’s strangely something that doesn’t bother me. We had three boys, although one died recently at 37, and sometimes I regret not having seen a girl grow up. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to father any more children and as I’ve had the snip, it is very unlikely.

    But nothing is stranger than the truth. A friend of mine is around seventy. Ten years ago, he got married for the first time and now him and his wife have an eight year old daughter. If ever there was a man, who possibly would never marry it was him, as he found business and work far too important. But it has all worked out so well, even if it was rather unexpected for everybody.

    So never say something won’t happen in relatioiships. It’s probably happened many times before.

  • stormwind says:

    Love your blog, Plankton! It makes me laugh and cry at the same time – it’s all so TRUE!

    Speaking as the dreaded over 50 spinster with no kids – yes, it sucks to have the feeling that I was never good enough. I’ve become the very thing I feared most and most wanted not to be. Did I pass up chances along the way? I don’t think so…. but maybe I did. When I look around at my married/divorced contemporaries – how many of them would I really change places with relationship wise? A few, but not that many – and I envy their kids more than their marriages..

    I think I’m still a romantic at heart. I think AnonW has a point – you never know. I small (and ever decreasing) bit of me still hopes my prince will turn up one day – even if he’s on a zimmerframe rather than a white charger. However common sense tells me it’s probably more likely that I’ll win the lottery!

    Now, where did I put that ticket – if you don’t play, you can’t win!

  • Miss Jay says:

    How can you call yourself lucky? Lucky to have married the wrong man for surely if he were the right one you’d still be part of the smug married couple brigade! You never did tell us what happened….perhaps you’ll save that for another day. I never thought I’d get married, not because I was pig ugly or had the personality of an Ikea storage unit, but because it was never high on my list of things to do.

    But life being life, I ended up marrying who I thought was “The One” when I was 31. He was “The One” alright, the one who talked me into 2 kids I never planned on having and the one who upped and left me when my youngest was 3 years old. Wanker!! Do I regret getting married? You bet your ass I do. Much better for me never having suffered at the hands of a selfish arsehole who never knew the meaning of commitment from day one…oh and he’d already had a practise run beforehand – I was wife number 2 and he was still shit at it….anyhoos, I digress.I think your “spinster” friends have had a lucky escape! If you’re worried marital bliss will never pass your way again, why not consider widowhood – statistically widows have a better remarriage rate than the offcasts of society like ourselves. Kill the bastard – and if you’re a little worried about doing it right first time you can gladly practice on the waste of skin I divorced! On a lighter note, you’ll be pleased to hear that at 48 I now have myself a wonderful younger man I met online proving that there are some decent guys out there still. Even for slack cunts on botched legs like us!!

  • Emac0 says:

    The above post merely confirms previous posts, a seventy year old man who has a daughter of eight? Come on!
    As for being better off, having tried marriage, is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have etc etc. What marriage does do, is to let you know how easy life is when it’s shared and how difficult it is alone. Shopping cooking ironing cleaning yes, but changing light bulbs, taxing the car, mowing the lawn, mending the dishwasher. Or even helping you get someone in to do all that.
    There are no men.

  • Nina says:

    So true….

    I’m 10 years younger than you and never been married, and believe me, it’s the same scenario: ask anyone how many [single] nice, attractive, intelligent women they know between the ages of 35 and 50 and they’ll tell you about at least 3 or 4; ask them the same question about men? it’s always the same: “I have one, but I wouldn’t introduce you to him, he’s a player/arsehole/immature dick/SFAR” (tick as appropriate)

    Some women meet men in bars/clubs, I never have, all my exes I have met either through work or a friend/relative, however, once you get to 30 the pool becomes smaller, barely a paddling pool.

    I’ve lived in 4 major capital cities, been to more bars, restaurants,clubs than I can remember…have also taken classes/courses and done internet dating….and come to the conclusion that, for me, and most, it’s down to “luck/timing/being in the right place at the right time”.

    Well, it’s either that or there is something seriously wrong with me??? which I hope not: I’m 5ft8, don’t look like a troll, have a good job in the legal sector and can string a sentence together.

    But I’m not stressing about it (or trying not to), I will meet someone, and, for the time being, I appreciate the benefits of being single….

    and, of course, one of those is enjoying your blog with a good glass of wine!

  • Patsy says:

    Better to have married and lost, than never been married at all?
    Better to have lived, than never have been born at all?

    You are SO right, it is pure LUCK.
    And there is no perfect way …many of my married friends envy me my new single life.

    Let’s wish all us single/divorced/widowed/ wonderful wise women LUCK….

  • MissBates says:

    As a “spinster” myself, living in New York City, I would have to agree that divorcees have a slight edge. The stigma once associated with being divorced has morphed into a stigma against those who have never been married. Divorcees can at least demonstrate that they were, at some point in the past, “wanted” by a man and validated via marriage. Those of us in the single-never-married camp remain social “zeros,” not even considered as being fully adult. An anecdote: A few years ago, I was showing some married colleagues a photograph of my young niece and nephew who were visiting me for a few days. One of my colleagues remarked on what an attractive room the children were in, and asked where the photo was taken. When I said, “it’s my living room,” a ripple of surprise ran through the group — one woman exclaimed, “oh, you’ve decorated it and everything!” Now, you have to understand that at the time I was in my mid-40s, well-established in my career (I’m a lawyer), fashionably-dressed, and certainly capable of picking out (and affording) paint & paper & upholstery & artwork, etc. Yet these people obviously must have imagined that I still lived in a dorm room with posters taped to the wall over my futon. Sheesh!

    In any event, having just turned 50, I can only concur in your plankton theory. (i myself have often referred to feeling like a “social leper,” but I like your plankton image better.) The only men who exhibit ANY interest in me are 70+ years of age and/or married. I’m simply not sexually interested in men in my father’s age bracket, nor do I have such little self-respect to get involved with someone else’s husband. Thus, I’m alone. Bereft. Independent, yes, but miserable, and quite convinced that I will be alone forever. Trying to come to terms with it. And if one more person suggests that I “take a course” or “volunteer at church/for a political campaign/for charity” I will punch them in the face. The ONLY people who show up at these sorts of activities are [drum roll] OTHER single middle-aged women who have read the same magazine articles about “getting out there.” Sigh.

    Thank you for writing this blog.

  • Redbookish says:

    You’ve written such a true thing there. I think once-married people — whether now still married, divorced, or widowed — have NO idea what it is like to be in this society which is organised and structured around the pair-bond, and never to have even been asked to be married.

  • stormwind says:

    So true, Redbookish! I’m not even sure that marriage is necessary – one just has to have to have one or a few long term relationships stacked up somewhere. If divorcees etc. are the plankton – the long term single, never been askeds are the nuclear fallout. I’m almost getting to enjoy the question “Why didn’t you ever marry?” and watching the asker squirm when I say “Well, I was never asked!” It’s one of those bombshells that clears a 10 meter area within milliseconds.

    But seriously, there are undoubtedly very nice, intelligent, funny, sensitive, good looking men out there who are in the same predicament – as the posts above show. Not all men are obsessed with youth and there are men who are looking for intelligent, attractive women in their own age bracket. How do we all get together? Internet dating is just so full of scammers and players that it takes a very resilient and tencious type to go through with it. I must admit, the barrage of enquiries of men old enough to be my father, married men apparently looking for casual sex and bogus identities just collecting e-mail addresses put me off completely. I think I have a better chance of finding Mr RIght by standing in the supermarket carpark on Friday evening.

    Putting the boot on the other foot – if Mr Right is out there – how is he going to find me?

  • Suzy says:

    these are sad stories. Let me lighten you up. Married twice . Children grown up and fabulous. Alone now at 59. A fair and lovely 59. I have more men than when I was 20. They are all ages . However 70 has been not a turn on for me. Menopause has not slightly affected my desire. My last lover 51 for 2 years. I have an acquaintance who is 44. He has flirted w me for a year but I thought too young. Last week he came by to talk and well we talked very little. I had a great evening and my cheeks are pink without cosmetic. So ladies be positive and smile and be warm and loving and men can not resist a loving sexy woman. Sex appeal does not age. Don’t fix your face just fix the attitude. Any man worth his salt does not want a 12 year old and you don’t want this kind of weak ego. March on.

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