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Marriages pushes friendships out of women’s lives often – and while there are real reasons for it, we need to cherish our friends.
Last night, when I was browsing through my old albums with my daughter, I saw a lot of ghosts! There, grinning at me, were my best buddies, with whom I shared my wonderful teenage and graduation years.
My 7 year old asked me, “Mom, who are they?”
It seems implausible that the group of people that you were closest to in the entire world, the people with whom you shared the most wonderful moments of your life suddenly disappear after your life’s biggest milestone – Marriage! One day, two, three…the years roll on, you think to yourself, I haven’t seen them since so long…and then, how did that happen?
That’s the question that I have been battling with over the years. I hope all my married and single friends can relate to it too too!
Marriage is a breakthrough in one’s life that often alters our relationship with our partner as well as with people around us. Relationships certainly do change. A greater emphasis is placed on building the marriage partnership than on friendships. Things can’t remain the same forever. On the other hand, I think it’s wrong to become so insular in a marriage that you break long term friendships.
Marriage is a partnership, and that partnership means priorities, responsibilities and change. Moving away to another part of the town/country changes everything. Keeping in touch through phone calls also becomes less frequent as your friends also settle down.
Our friendships are based on a lot of things – shared interests, proximity, career based, centered around colleagues, or school/college mates. Marriage can alter friendships, but it’s important to recognize that your circle of friends is as important as it was before. I do understand that the initial few months or even a year of grace can be spent on focusing on the new life and relationships – to the exclusion of previous friendships!
The drifting away always begins subtly. You don’t call your friends as often (or take the pains to contact them if numbers are changed), or forgo get-togethers and meet-ups. Conversation topics with your friends get limited. The gap widens when we bring kids into our new life. Many of my mom friends will agree with me on this. When we have kids, it becomes so, so easy to lose ourselves in them. Friendship, now moves on to common grounds like parenting, pre-schooling, etc. and we tend to lose the importance of friends who don’t share these new common grounds.
I never fully understood the change marriage brings but with my limited experience as a married woman for eight plus years and as a mother of two, I can relate to a few reasons.
Major Transition: Besides the obvious transition of moving and merging two different households, marriage throws in front of us a lifestyle of time-tested routines, well-worn habits, unchallenged preferences and blending of minds.
Shift in focus: A woman’s first priority and responsibility becomes her spouse and the new relationships that follow. Her priorities shift and focus towards a new, unique formation: she tries to establish a new family of her own. That doesn’t mean married women don’t need friends but the point is, it does change the social dynamic.
Consumes time: The previous two reasons naturally lead to less available social time. Establishing a household, relationship, a way of life and of course maintain them requires a lot more time and energy.
Yes, you can expect changes to happen after your marriage. But it takes efforts on all sides of a friendship to maintain it. If you become ‘Mrs.’, it shouldn’t be at the expense of who you were before marriage. Though social media tools and smart phones play a vital role in today’s re-union of friendship, it does need us to take a step ahead to be really connected with friends again.
Now, what do you think? Have you felt hurt and ignored when a friend has moved to a different phase of life or have you noticed this drift in your own life? Do you really feel the need to be connected again with your friends?
The ball is in our own courts!
Female friends image via Shutterstock
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