Is There a Cold War Between Marrieds and Singles?


Is There a Cold War Between Marrieds and Singles?
Sex and the Psychological City; A Relationship Blog about Sex, Commitment, Friendship and Love

Eventually, Carrie likens the cold war between marrieds and singles to the tension between the English and the Irish, hypothesizing: "we're all basically the same, but somehow we ended up on different sides." Carrie comes to this conclusion after she meets "that elusive and rare Manhattan man: the marrying kind," tries him on for size, and rejects him. Sean has his own investment firm, owns a classic six on the upper west side, and has even purchased a mobile to hopefully someday hang over his unborn baby's crib! In spite of multiple positive qualities, Carrie equates Sean to a Diane Von Furstenberg dress: "you know it's not your style, but you still want to try it on." When Carrie decides that Sean is not the right fit, he is devastated until she fixes him up with Charlotte. Sean and Charlotte proceed to get along famously until they start shopping for china and discover a somewhat absurd relationship deal breaker: Charlotte likes French Country and Sean is strictly American Classic!

The topic of tension between married and single adults is an interesting one. I have heard many single clients express hurt feelings when a friendship changes after a close friend marries. Not surprisingly, this tension is a two-way street; many times, married clients feel equally rejected by their single friends.


I tend to view the tension between marrieds and singles as much more internal than external. Sure, such tensions can surface in obvious, external ways similar to the drama Carrie experiences with Patience and Peter. More important, however, is your own internal perspective on marriage or singledom. The more genuinely comfortable you are with being single, the less tension you are likely to pick up on from married friends and colleagues. Likewise, the more content the married person, the less likely they are to engage or experience the "cold war" depicted in episode three. In other words, this tension is usually about one's internal insecurities, anxieties and feelings about the path not taken.

My advice?

Whether you are married or single, work on enjoying your current path. 

If you are married and find yourself experiencing tension with single friends, try to improve these friendships, but also be sure to prioritize your marriage and enjoy all that married life has to offer. If there is unresolved tension in your marriage, this will obviously affect you and your partner, and it can also affect your friendships. Also, NEVER, EVER, ask a single friend who has only been on one or two dates with someone if they think he or she is THE ONE!! This is the all-time most annoying question that a married can ask a single. Why? Because it gives the impression that married life is the only way to go, and it communicates the insulting assumption that your friend is not complete until he or she marries.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte


Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
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