Dear Miss Emily:

My husband and I have lived separate lives for much of our 26 year marriage.  We have a disabled son, and, willingly, stay together for him.  My problem is this:  How do I explain to people that this is our circumstance?  We have just moved in to a new community, and when invitations come up that include both of us, how do I tell the host or hostess that we do not ordinarily socialize together?  Party functions are fine, on an occasional basis, but as a couple going out with another twosome, that situation is out of the question. Is there a polite way to get the message across?
Married but Single

---------------------------Miss Emily's reply-----------------------

Dear Married but Single:

You would be surprised to know that this is an all-too-common arrangement in marriages. Of course, there are couples like this who do socialize, together, but in their heart-of-hearts, would rather be home in bed with the flu.  I suggest you quietly let a new acquaintance  know the nature of your relationship.  Word travels fast.  If you attend a function without your husband, and someone asks where he is, tell them that you and your spouse don't "hang out" together.  That should get the message across.  If the person is tactless enough to say  something  like: "That's too bad, I'd like to get to know him,"  offer to give  out  you husband's  cell  phone  number.   No further  conversation  on this  matter  is  required.