You have probably seen this happen before, or perhaps it has happened to you: you get into a relationship with someone, fall in love, get engaged, start planning your wedding, and realize that, somewhere along the way, your friendships are changing (or maybe even disappearing).
Certainly, we’ve all got those committed, lifelong friends who will never leave our side. Other relationships naturally dissipate over time as we move in and out of different social circles. That’s a normal part of life. But there is no doubt that as you transition into a committed relationship or marriage, your friendships will change because of it.
Some friends may understand and welcome this new transition for you because they are married, too.
“Welcome to the married club! Can’t wait to double date!”
“You guys are so great together. I am so happy you found each other.”
Other friends will start to distance, because it’s an unknown or uncomfortable world for them. Maybe it’s one they fear they will never have for themselves, and this creates some resistance in your relationship. Maybe they don’t want to get married. Perhaps they get passive aggressive about it in their communication, as they recognize you are no longer part of the singles lifestyle.
“Are you sure Hubby won’t care if you come out for girls night?”
“Oh look, there’s Betty Crocker going home to cook dinner for her hubby. Have fun with THAT.”
Marriage shouldn’t lead you to feel isolated, separate, or unacceptable by your friends. But sometimes it does. This is usually rooted in the underlying insecurities of “Now that you are getting married, where does that put me (your friend) on your list? How will our friendship change because you are fully committing yourself elsewhere?”
As challenging as some of these evolving friendships may be at times, it is important to recognize the difference in each of your lives (you vs. your friends) and that whatever friction you feel is coming at you is not actually about you. You don’t need to take ownership of anyone else’s discomfort or insecurity with their own life. But you can remain loving, supportive, and true to who you are as a friend.
Friendships are unique relationships. They aren’t there because they have to be. They are usually there because you want them to be. There shouldn’t be strings attached and there’s no “you owe me” ingrained into the heartstrings of a true friendship.
You are your own world. It’s important, for the sake of your marriage, that you continue to nourish the parts of your life that made you who you were before you ever met your partner. Hobbies, talents, and friends are all aspects of life that allow you to continue growing your own sense of self, separate from your partner. Having your own sense of self is actually something that will attract your partner to you more!
So don’t drop your friends because you are getting married. Recognize that these relationships may not be the #1 priority in your life anymore, but that they do represent an important part of who you are. Your marriage needs a healthy amount of space for each of you to continue being independent of one another. Friendships are a great way for this to stay intact.
So, how do you feel about your friendships currently? Are there people you could benefit from reaching out to? Are the friendships you do have supportive and conducive to a married lifestyle? Who might you reconnect with this week for coffee or a phone call? How balanced do you feel in your relationship/marriage and personal interests?