Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is marriage a social life killer?

Once the wedding rings are permanently on the fingers, I hear a lot of couples say their social lives take a dramatic turn for the worst. The all-night drinking benders with groups of strangers at a party, the last-minute beach trips taken with just $100 in the checking account, and the crashing at a friend’s house after watching old movies – are no more, buddy.

So, why is that? Is getting married truly the death knell for an active social life?

I couldn't decide if there's a yes or no answer, but rather I think it depends on the couple. Here are four reasons I’ve come up with that could help answer the question: Does marriage change your social life? (Hey, can you tell I vote as a Moderate/Independent? I love options and I often see both sides.)

1. Motivations: When I was single, I enjoyed going to BAR Charlotte and Have a Nice Day CafĂ© every week because those were places where my single girlfriends and I could check out single guys. Now, I’m not interested in the meat market-type venues because I have a husband. Your goals for socializing with friends change because you’re no longer focusing your get-togethers around cruising for potential mates.
2. Money, kids and stress: These categories are all but self-explanatory and in most cases, are dependent upon each other. Of course you’re not gonna spend every night out if you have children, and for most couples that have multiple kids, the lack of disposable funds can be a deciding factor on whether you spend Friday night out on the town with friends or at home with the family.
3. Similar interests: If you and your spouse are lucky to have many of the same interests, then I’m betting you don’t see a big decline in your social habits. For example, if you’re both avid boaters, then you’re more likely to have a circle of people who enjoy boating, thus you’re spending more time among friends. Also, because of your shared interests, such as attending a book club meeting together, your quality time increases.
4. Couple friends: When you get married, it’s not that you socialize less, it’s just you tend to find more couple friends. So your choice of events reflect that because you want to find activities where the four or six of you can enjoy a good time (i.e., concerts, playing cards or bowling). Plus, in your single days you might have been more of a hermit when it came to socializing, but now that you've met Mrs. I Know Everyone In Town, you're spending more time attending functions and getting to know more people.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being the founder of a social club for people without children here in Charlotte, my social life didn't go down the tubes after I got married. In fact, it's gotten even better! Because not being parents, we have more disposable income, and so do our friends, so we do the same things we did before we got married--go to festivals, go out to eat, have parties, etc. It's all in the friends you choose and what you choose to do yourself. We're married--not dead!

Anonymous said...

NO .... BABIES are the social killer.

DINK said...

in agreement with posts 1 and 2, it's kids, not marriage, that kill one's social life. i've been married for two years and my social habits haven't really changed b/c i'm married. my partner and i have very similar interests, so we'd probably hang out even if we weren't in a 'relationship'.

...we're also not one of those couples who gained a ton of weight after we got married.

Anonymous said...

I found that after I got married, I had MORE social activities to go to. It's actually cheaper to travel as a married couple (everything based on double- occupancy rates.), and we tend to hang out in groups with other couples. I still spend time with my single friends, but when they find the time for ME!

As for having a baby, we have a four month old, and we have definitely slowed down. But that's OK- we knew what we were getting into, it's why we waited to have her until we were a bit older. We are still busy socially, but we're just more selective about what we do. We know that not everyone wants us to bring the baby, so we have to weigh our options and do what's best for everyone that week. It's alos why we're spending more time with people who have kids. Having a kid is a "lifestyle change", and if you are not ready for it, or do not want it, you shouldn't have kids. We are actually happy to have things slow down- after 32 years of playing, I needed the break!

Anonymous said...

Different social styles are appropriate at different times in one's life. A 40-something who acts like a 20-something just isn't cool anymore, regardless of marital status.

Anonymous said...

With marriage comes kids
with kids comes responsibilities
With rresponsibilities comes not free time!

I loovvee being married!!!

Anonymous said...

All about the priorties and the available funds. Still a free country and you chose what and when and how.

Anonymous said...

Having a child is an amazing and miraculous exerience. Raising them is very challenging, but is also extrememly rewarding. Those that believe that having children is a drain that will only impact their finances and time out at the local bars should stick to shopping. The world will be a better place if shallow people like that don't procreate.

Anonymous said...

Some people just shouldn't procreate...shallow or not. I have kids but, unlike alot of mothers, they are not the beginning nor the end of my life. Trust me, there will come a time when they wont be around anymore then the center of your existence will self destruct. Have a well rounded, satisfying existence with plenty of good friends and good times and your kids will be happier and mentally healthier for it!

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8/02/2007 11:23 AM

Being the founder of a social club for people without children here in Charlotte...do you have a website for your club? There are a lot of folks here that are interested !

Anonymous said...

I have 2 dogs. Isn't that like kids??

Anonymous said...

Social habits change over time, and as most comments here have noted, being a "couple" makes socializing easier and more fun.

BTW - once you pass 24 or 25 years old, most people should have outgrown all-night drinking benders.

Anonymous said...

>>club for people without children here in Charlotte

There's one called No Kidding

dink said...

thanks to contraception, children don't necessarily come with marriage.

and, it's not necessarily 'shallow' people who don't want to have kids. i have a phd and am committed to my profession...some people just don't think child-rearing is the biggest accomplishment of their lives...

Anonymous said...

Like was said, kids are the killer. Once our daughter got older we were able to do more activities. I've found that we still do stuff but it's often around the neighborhood. Lots of BBQ's in the backyard with friends and their kids.

We do hit bars and some of the better restaurants in town without her but only maybe once a month.

I was never one to hang around bars and try to meet women anyway. I do miss doing a lot of travel. We've done a few cruises and Disney with our daughter (she's 6) and we think Europe for a week or two is on the agena in another year or two.

Anonymous said...

Thank god that Alisha is back.

NCD

Anonymous said...

Next to Tonya Jameson, this is easily the worst column on Charlotte.com.

BTW, a PhD means nothing.

Anonymous said...

Having kids is not a death sentence. They actually make it easier to meet people who are in the same stage of life and have the same interests. Your priorities change and you actually grow up. My husband and I have a great social life but it revolves around things we have in common (like sports and church) and not around going to clubs. Dare we say that we are over 30 and clubs are NOT fun anymore! We also have VERY successful careers. Healthy marriages do actually exist with kids, good careers, and a social life.

Katie said...

I don't think that marriage is a social life killer, and neither are kids. If you are a social individual, you will set aside money and make the time to still have fun. Obviously, your social life will be more limited but you will have another kind of life with your children that you never experienced, and that is a wonderful thing. My husband and I definitely had to quit going out every weekend since our twins were born but we really don't mind at all. They bring so much more joy into our lives that we are glad to sacrifice the active social life.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely had it with these negative people who tell you that your life is over once the little ones come along. My wife has lots of friends who are parents, and I'm absolutely fed up of hearing the same garbage from them all the time. I don't think life should have to end because of a helpless baby; I just think these people are full of balogna and they just don't want to work hard at adjusting. Instead, all they want to do is be jealous of us because we're newlyweds without kids. True, our lives may be easier than theirs, but this crap has just got to stop. And it's not just them. It's most people I bump into. Personally I don't see what the big deal is. When my sisters and I grew up, my parents went out all the time and had sitters for us no problem; we had no disciplinary problems. And this nonsense about your living room or den becoming their playroom really ticks me off, too. What's the big deal with putting all their toys away when they're done so that you can have your friends come over to watch that movie you've been talking about all week? Kids are great, but I seriously believe parents should make time to be themselves and not just parents 100% of the time. I feel no sympathy toward these prophets of doom, these wallowers and gripers. I wish they'd get a life. What's the name of that famous author who has nine kids and can still bang out all these great books? Those are the type of parents I wish were more abundant in this world.