Dear Jody: Just a complaint

Q: I have a bitch and I just want to bring it to the attention of couples, as well as get it off my chest. I hope you will print this. My bitch is that this is so "a couple's world." It's like if you are single, you aren't worth inviting to some place or to the home of a couple.

The other night I was at a meeting. After the meeting ended, a friend of mine, "Carolyn," was inviting some people to go out for Friday night drinks. But she didn't invite me. She was inviting other women who had partners - and asking them to bring their partners along. Carolyn, her partner and my former partner, did many things together in the past. Believe me, I would have been invited before; but now that I'm single it's like I'm invisible, uninteresting or not valid as a person on my own. Carolyn only invited couples for Friday night drinks, not singles.

This kind of thing has happened to me a lot since my ex and I broke up. I don't think I've all of a sudden become a weirdo or a leper, though I'm beginning to feel like one. I've talked to a few other single women and they agree that there are two clubs: one for couples and one for non-couples.

The problem is that I was part of the couple's club and now feel like I've been thrown out. I thought these women were my friends, but now it feels like I was only part of someone else, and not valued as a person. It hurts.

I have to admit that when I was a part of a couple, I didn't think about this situation. But now that I'm single, I sure am - and I think it stinks.

I don't really have a question; I just wanted to try to let people know how it feels to be left out.

Single and Left Out

A: And you did that well. I think it behooves us all who are in a relationship to remember how it felt when we were not in one, and how it might feel if we were to lose our partner and be single again. Thanks for writing.

Quit talking about sex!

Q: My partner "Ray" and I have been together for 38 years. I still love him very much, and we've had a great life together and are still going strong - in most cases. However, in the past year, Ray has begun bragging about his sexual prowess, or just talking a lot about sex, or telling sexual jokes - some in questionable taste. He doesn't do this when we are alone, but more when we are with other people. This is all new. He has never before acted like this. I'm not a sexual prude, Jody, but it does make me uncomfortable. I'm not sure how it is for all our friends, but I do know that a few of them are uncomfortable as well. One particular lesbian couple that we have been friends with for 30 years have turned down our invitations in the past months to go out to dinner or come to our home. This is upsetting to me because we have always been so close. We could talk about anything with this couple, and I'm missing them dearly.

I have talked to Ray about this and he says that I'm getting "stuffy" in my old age. (We are both in our late 60s.) He denies that his behavior is causing friends to be uncomfortable. He thinks he is just being "with it" and not "stuck in another century."

Anyway, I find my new Ray an embarrassment. How can I get him to stop this kind of talk before we lose all our friends?

(The strange part of it all is that he is now speaking a lot about sex, but is no longer interested in it in the bedroom - and hasn't been interested for some time now. I'm still very interested in sex and have been saddened by his lack of interest, but that's another story.)

All Talk, No Sex

A: Actually, his lack of interest in sex is not another story; it is more than likely the story. My guess is that he is compensating for his lack of interest or ability to sexually perform by trying to appear, to others, like he's sexually active, i.e. talking about it, telling sexual jokes, etc.

You have not indicated how much, or if, you and Ray have spoken about his lack of interest in sex, but that would be a good place to start. Be gentle and reassuring with him about this topic as I'm sure he's embarrassed about it. He may well have a medical issue that could be addressed, if he were to be honest with his doctor about this problem. Let me know how it goes.

Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. Reach Jody at The "Dear Jody" column appears weekly.
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