Discrimination Against Relationship Status

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

I received a beautiful wedding invitation the other day from a bride who is very near and dear to my heart. Itís a relationship that defies age. Iíve 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 didnít say ďand guest.Ē When I asked to bring a date, I was told she had to limit the guest list due to space and didnít have room for him, but he was more than welcome at other pre-wedding events. By the close of the conversation she said, ďif your relationship status changes as the wedding gets closer, then we can consider adding him to the guest list.Ē In other words, if you are living together, engaged, or married, then weíll make room for both of you. How do you explain to a first time bride in a beautiful relationship with her beloved that significance isnít defined by relationship status?

The reality is that you donít, life does. Itís 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 Iíd 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 ďitís complicatedĒ 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 shouldnít be so complicated. Love is shared. Period. Whether the relationship falls into a category as defined by society or not, it doesnít 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 Dogís 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.


GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D4 years ago

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.

Ashhley A.
Ashhley A.4 years ago

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.

Benny R.
Benny R4 years ago

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.

Nimue Pendragon

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..

Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago

Happens to gay people all the time.

New G.
W. C6 years ago

Thank you for the article and the comments.

Ellie Damann
.6 years ago


Lupe G.
Guadalupe G6 years ago

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! >=(

Ashley N.
Ashley N6 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Lisa Spector
Lisa Spector6 years ago

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.