On being a 5th wheel

As you may know, I am single. This is by choice, at least for this season, and I (mostly) enjoy my solitude. I can spend an entire day happily not interacting with a soul. My kid is independent and doesn’t need to be my companion. Although she’ll free up her schedule if I’m buying dinner (not cooking dinner, so, whatever).

I love my time at the beach with a buddy – or a book. I totally enjoy whipping up a little dinner for myself and binging on Netflix. Or meeting a friend for dinner and a movie is greatness too. There are lots of options, and I don’t let the lack of a wing-man force me into a monastic existence.

There is exactly one more week before classes start, and I’m relishing my social life before I serve my next sixteen week sentence in higher education. My calendar will soon have more Calculus and Microeconomics and less movies and beach. I signed up for this short term sacrifice for the long term goal, but let’s be real, sacrifice sucks.

So when my friend invited me to Game Night last week, I said, “Heck-Yeah-What-Can-I-Bring?” This friend has a small house, a big heart and a bunch of kids. It’s noisy and busy and artsy-fartsy – every surface is embellished with paint and it smells like patchouli. The evening’s agenda included snacks and board games with her and her hubby and another married couple.

And me, a fifth wheel.


Now here is the cool part. It was awesome! I didn’t feel weird as a single hanging out with two couples. I don’t think it was weird for them either. It was super fun, we had great conversation and laughed our butts off. Their kids interrupted us a hundred times and it didn’t matter to anyone. It was such a blast we never even noticed when the clock declared it was long after midnight. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing that struck me: how infrequently this kind of inclusion happens. Maybe it’s just me because I’m off-the-chart outgoing and chatty. Maybe other married friends are not as secure as this one. This attitude became obvious when I was included as part of a pair, and then not so much after my divorce.

I promise ladies, I am not interested in your boyfriend or husband. I think this holds true for all true friends (you know, ones with integrity, and if your friends don’t have integrity, please, get yourself new ones immediately). I have an immeasurable amount of respect for anyone keeping it together. The last thing I want is to contribute to any strife or difficulties in someone’s relationship. I just happen to enjoy adult conversation, and there is little of that under my roof. Unless we want to include the rantings I have with myself, which we don’t.

Including singles may be outside the comfort zone for normal “couples” things, maybe not. Maybe I’m overly sensitive on this, but based on a lack of sensitivity everywhere else in my life, I don’t think so.

Perhaps, if you are married or hooked up (or whatever the latest term is), maybe try extending a little love towards your solo flying friends. It’s okay to bring out the mismatched folding chair and extend the invitation.

They will be grateful, and if they bring yummy snacks, you will be too.

Thanks for reading, until next time!




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