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Marital Chat-iquette

Marital Chat-iquette

by guest blogger Andeep Singh, documentarian and television and Web video producer

It started as a fun informal poll that my husband and I would ask our friends.

Question: How much do you talk to your partner at social events?

Who knew that our little question would become a bit of a party gag?

Here’s how it all began. A few months ago, I noticed that a couple we know  (hereto known as the ‘conjoined’) always seemed to be side by side in social situations. Whether it was a crowded room or an intimate dinner party, there they were, chatting with each other, or with others, yet still always together.

“Wow, they have so much to say to one another,” I thought to myself as I guiltily surveyed the room for my husband whom I had long since misplaced.

This is not to say that the husband and I don’t speak when we’re out. We do. Kind of. However, it’s usually more perfunctory than intimate. “Did you try the bruschetta?” “What’s the name of that movie?” Or the more frequent, “Who’s driving home?”

It got me thinking, how much should a couple speak to each other when they’re out socializing with others?

So we asked our hive and here’s what we got:

Friend 1: It depends. Maybe more when we were first dating.
Friend 2: Not much.
Friend 3: Depends on who else is there or how bored I am.
Friend 4: What do I have to say to him at this party that I can’t do at home?

And my favorite:

Friend 5: My wife isn’t even at this party. But if she were, we’d be talking about as much as we are right now.

Obviously in the spirit of socializing it’s expected that both parties should mingle. After all, if you’re with a group of friends that you a.) don’t live with and b.) don’t sleep with, it’s safe to say that you probably want to catch up with them and see what’s new.

Of course you shouldn’t ignore your partner completely, but should you remain at their side 50 percent of the time? 25 percent of the time? Would it perhaps be easier to meet up at some pre-determined point in the evening for a couple’s intermission or a quick huddle to discuss your next move?

“Should we be talking more?” I asked my husband, who looked at me with that look that says, there is no right answer to your question and I will very much disappoint you with anything that I say.

Husband: You want me to talk to you more at parties?

Me: Maybe.
Husband: What do you want to me to say?
Me: I don’t know. What do normal couples talk about?
Husband: (half comedic and half sarcastic) Do you want me to say how lucky I am to have you? That I’d be lost without you? That I’d die without you?
Me: Alright, I get your point.
Husband: …that you complete me? That your one eye sparkles in the moonlight because it’s bigger than the other?
Me: Okay, funny guy.

That’s when the real games began. My husband started talking to me at parties, but it definitely wasn’t what I had in mind.

“Have I told you all how wonderful my wife is?” he now publicizes to any group of friends we’re talking to.

“I want to hold your hand all night,” he’ll proclaim over the cheese board.

“Don’t be away for too long, my love!” he’ll bellow from across the room as I walk away half embarrassed, half-impressed by his commitment to this new comedy routine.

It turns out, as our informal poll has proven, the conjoineds are simply anomalies. Most couples don’t seem to spend that much time together in social settings. I’ve also proven that sometimes, you should be careful what you wish for. And my husband has proven that there is such a thing as talking to your partner too much—that clever genius!

AndeepSinghAndeep Singh works at the Rodale Video Network and has produced nonfiction television, film, and digital video content for some of the biggest networks in the country, including ABC, NBC, PBS, CBC, and A&E. She recently completed producing her first feature documentary film, titled Living the Fantasy, which follows the lives of six high-stakes fantasy football players. Originally from the Great White North, Andeep has a serious case of wanderlust, is afflicted with perpetual food envy, and is mildly obsessed with the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.

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