Just recently I have become acutely aware of the dangers of friendships with other people’s husbands.
I have always had strong feelings about affairs. I have, for most of my adult life, been in a relationship with the man I was married to. I would have been devastated if I had discovered that my husband was having an affair. I have witnessed friends uncovering their spouse’s infidelity and seen at close quarters what it has done to them. The shock, horror, confusion and pain it has caused them is deeply ingrained in me. And this is not limited to female friends. Which ever way round it happens, the effect is the same.
I have no religion. I do not frown on it from a moral standpoint. I just know that I don’t want the responsibility of causing someone else that much pain. In addition, the married person who enters into an affair is demonstrating such a lack of respect for the person they have married, that I would not want to be involved with someone who treats another with such contempt.
I do fully appreciate that an affair is the sign of a bad marriage. It may well be that the person entering into the affair could be in a miserable situation – but they always have the choice to leave, as hard as that may be.
And so I come to my current concern. I am very friendly with a couple of the fathers of children at my kids’ school. These fathers are the primary carers for their kids and therefore the ones who drop them off at school. That’s how I’ve got to know them. I see no reason why I should treat them any differently to a mother who drops off at school.
The problem is….
As I am now a single woman, the reaction I get from other parents around me has changed. I’m still the same person. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be friendly with other parents, no matter what their gender, but I have noticed that other women have started to view it differently. All of a sudden, I am seen as a threat. And it really bothers me.
I bumped into a Dad from school the other week, and as I had the little one on his own for the weekend, I wanted to arrange for him to play with one of his friends. The friend concerned has a mother who works overseas a great deal. This meant that the playdate consisted of me, the two kids, and the other father.
All of a sudden, I realised that this playdate had become a social nightmare. I feared that if I told people we were ‘getting together’ at the weekend for the kids to play, there would be suspicion. So what was the best way of handing it? Avoid telling other parents, only for them to find out later and be suspicious. Or tell them and face the ‘knowing’ looks, or odd comments.
I am not prepared to sideline my children’s social activities to avoid embarrassment. I don’t feel that there is anything I am doing that is ‘wrong’.
I just wish that people would be less judgemental. Less quick to jump to the wrong conclusions and kinder to people who are on their own.
I am sure I am not alone in this. I feel confident that there are plenty of other single parents who want to ensure that their kids have active social lives, without feeling threatened by other people’s cynicism.
On the up-side…. I currently have two black eyes following my accident whilst out running. So for the time being at least, I hope that people will think I look too hideous to even be a possibility…..