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Discrimination Against Relationship Status

Discrimination Against Relationship Status

By Lisa Spector, Canine Music Expert, Juilliard Graduate, and co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear.

I received a beautiful wedding invitation the other day from a bride who is very near and dear to my heart. It’s a relationship that defies age. I’ve known her since she was ten years old and have had the pleasure of watching her grow up into a lovely, young woman. Now that we are both adults, she considers me a close friend, even with an 18 year age difference. As the only attendee more than a decade and a half older than any other guest at her 30th birthday party, I was honored to be included.

Her wedding invitation was addressed only to me, and I was a little surprised that it didn’t say “and guest.” When I asked to bring a date, I was told she had to limit the guest list due to space and didn’t have room for him, but he was more than welcome at other pre-wedding events. By the close of the conversation she said, “if your relationship status changes as the wedding gets closer, then we can consider adding him to the guest list.” In other words, if you are living together, engaged, or married, then we’ll make room for both of you. How do you explain to a first time bride in a beautiful relationship with her beloved that significance isn’t defined by relationship status?

The reality is that you don’t, life does. It’s something that we can only learn as we experience the passage of time and enough events shape our decisions. I live a very independent life and enjoy my freedom. Just because my relationship with my beloved doesn’t fall into a check box category, it doesn’t mean that a part of him isn’t always with me.  The wedding is an event that I’d like to share with him, and it saddens me that I can only do that by telling him all about it afterwards.

I also am aware of this limitation when I fill out medical forms and other applications. There are a few choices of boxes to check that usually include married, single, widowed, and divorced. Is there really a difference between categorizing myself as single or divorced? And why is it important for anyone to know if I was once married? Is that really going to affect the success of my dental appointment to have my teeth cleaned?

At least Facebook has a category called “it’s complicated” as an option for defining your relationship status. And it often is complicated when you reach a certain age, and so many other factors will affect the relationship between two – kids, elderly parents needing care, ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-lovers, step-children, multi-careers in different geographic locations, etc. But, matters of the heart really shouldn’t be so complicated. Love is shared. Period. Whether the relationship falls into a category as defined by society or not, it doesn’t lessen the significance of the love.

I actually wrote this post on a trip with my dogs. When I called a girlfriend on my way home, she said, “Who did you go with?”. I replied, Sanchez and Gina (my beloved dogs). It’s hard enough describing my relationship to them, yet alone my relationship to a human beloved that I don’t always travel with. No he wasn’t in the seat next to me in the car, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t reserve space in my heart for him.

Have you ever felt like your relationship status was discriminated against? Thanks for posting your comment below and sharing your thoughts.

As co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear, I am offering my Care2 readers a free download from our latest release, Music to Calm your Canine Companion, Vol. 3. Simply click here and enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy.

Read more: Do Good, Love, Relationships, Spirit, , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


+ add your own
8:01PM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

I met racism face to face when I started dating what would be my second husband...and my second divorce. I am white and he is African-American...really want to call him something else but...
Grocery stores, movie theaters, even the police department, whom I grew to have a close relationship due to my ex, treat you different once they perceive you are not like them - in my case, not white.
Prejudice comes in many shapes and sizes...race, religion, etc. Even close friends - all of a sudden you get to see friends in a whole new light, find out what you never knew. Both illuminating and sad. I took the illumination to heart and let the sadness go. Found out who were true friends and not.

7:46PM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

Instead of boyfriend or husband if neither is applicable an introduction as "lover" conveys a similar strong connection even if not always perfect from certain peoples perspective.

3:45PM PDT on Mar 25, 2013

It happened to me as well. It is quite hurtful to be excluded simply because my relationship did not fit with their petit-bourgeois views.

3:39PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

It's just ill-mannered and rude if people invite you to an event and neglect to put on the invitation "and friend" or "and guest", no matter what your "status" or "orientation" is. This generation could learn a few things from the previous two generations about etiquette and good manners..

4:12PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Happens to gay people all the time.

11:14PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

Thank you for the article and the comments.

2:38PM PST on Nov 16, 2011


1:17PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

I hate being descriminated against because I am single & do not have kids. When I attempted to ask for assistance, I was refused (I've been working since I was 13) yet my friend's friend who was in jail for petty theft & never had a job in her life got assistance! Whenever a bad child acts up & I mention it to the parent, I always get the,"when you have kids speech"! I get a wadload of taxes taken out of my check because I am single. I am also pegged as "available" for work shifts I don't want because I don't have kids! When does it end?! This even screwed me up when I requested financial aid for college. I was given less despite applying early because they give preferrence to mothers & people recently out of jail who are being reformed! It reminds me of that episode of the Drew Carey Show in which they lobby for equal singles rights at work! Give people what they earned! This is why we're in the toilet; no one wants to work hard for things, they just demand everything be given them! >=(

10:24PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thanks so much for sharing your story.

2:10PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thank you for all your wonderful comments. This was my first post outside of writing about dogs, pets, and animal welfare. I am glad to be connecting with new Care2 members.
I will be attending the wedding in September. Who knows? Maybe I will write another post after that.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

cute, thank you :)

I've had dogs all my life and adore them. Adored them enough never to leave them outside in all t…

thank you for the good article


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