Thursday, July 1, 2010

His, Mine and Ours

Being married for the first time at such a late stage in life is sort of interesting. Okay, really interesting. I swear, I could write a book. There are so many changes in my heretofore single life that I don’t know where to begin.

But let’s talk about friends for a minute. See, I have a whole lot of friends and Vince has a whole lot of friends. Now, before you say “Well, Miss Social Butterfly – you're awfully full of yourself, aren’t you?” in a rather snippy tone of voice (if you don't mind my saying so), let me explain. Having a lot of friends is more a result of us simply being alive for so damn long. Unless someone is a real jerk, they’re probably going to have more friends at 50 than they did at 25.

It occurs to me that when people get married at a younger age, they tend to grow “couple friendships.” While they probably still have individual friends they made while growing up or through school, a newly married younger couple focuses more on forming friendships with other couples. And when they start procreating, they become friends with other couples who are in the same boat. Or at least the same daycare. They want to be able to do things like make “play-dates” for their newborns. Like their newborns really understand the social aspect of a play-date. Heck, those kids are busy trying to locate their toes and are mostly concerned about their next diaper change.

On the other hand, when a couple breaks up, many of their friendships break up, too. Usually one member of the former couple wins the friends in the divorce settlement. I think it's one of the first assets the lawyers split up. But what usually happens is that the non-divorced couple picks one of the ex-es (usually the one who isn't as snippy). But they gravitate toward either the ex-wife or the ex-husband – not usually both. If by some weird cosmic accident a couple is able to maintain friendships with both the ex-wife and the ex-husband, it isn't easy. At the very least, planning a dinner party becomes significantly more complicated.

As for me, well, I was one of those “third-wheeler” sorts of friends. Even when I was in a relationship, I still had a lot of free time. Fortunately, my married girlfriends were able to carve out a little time for me. Mostly, we'd meet up for dinner and go see a chick flick while their grateful husbands stayed home watching ESPN and probably burping and farting without having to apologize to anyone or blame the dog.

But sometimes they’d invite me over to their house and the three of us would hang out together. I'm guessing my friend's husband didn't like it as much when we did that because then he would have to blame the dog for any gaseous emissions that inadvertently occurred.

I always wondered if my friends’ husbands merely put up with me as the third wheel – or if they actually considered me a friend? Who knows – maybe they were simply grateful because I was the reason they didn’t get dragged to as many chick flicks. I never really asked the question because I didn’t really want to know the answer. I was just happy to spend time with my friends.

About 5 years ago I became more active building friendships with other singles. Eventually, I joined the Columbus Ski Club for the social aspect of the club. So I developed lots of friendships with both singles and couples alike.

Vince, meanwhile, was doing the thing where he was inheriting some friendships after his marriage broke up. He also developed friendships in his newly single life. And in the past few years, he has re-connected with many friends from high school, college and previous work situations.

So as we’ve merged our lives, we’ve been merging our friends. While there are still some “mine” and some “his” – we’re not doing too badly with the “ours” and Vince is now usually included on invites from my friends. I don't hear from his friends much. Probably they're a little scared I'll call them snippy - or will edit their e-mails or something.

Anyway, sometimes having this “his-mine-and-ours” situation complicates matters. Like when a holiday weekend comes up and we have invites from both sets of friends. It takes some juggling to make sure we aren’t short-changing one group over another. So for example, on this 4th of July holiday weekend, we have three gatherings to attend Friday night, and four gatherings to attend on Saturday. Egads! Seven events in two days? Ain't no way we can be that good at juggling.

I dunno. Maybe we should just go out and buy a box of Sparklers and throw a coupla burgers on the grill and call it a day? Nah. events? Even if we manage only half of them, I think I should still get to be called "Miss Social Butterfly."

Just don't call me snippy!


  1. hmmm, maybe if you two hosted the holiday events, you could invite "both sides" of friends and not have to choose... Just an idea. :)

  2. An excellent idea, Amy. Except that we need a bigger place. And that just brings forth all sorts of new issues...! :)