When I was single, I knew many people who, upon marrying, seemed to disappear off of the face of the earth and become completely immersed in their new life with their spouse. It was not only annoying but hurtful in some cases. So, now that you have a husband/wife you don’t need my friendship anymore? Do you think you can’t relate to me because you’re married now? Does getting married somehow change who you are as a person? At every sight of a white dress, it seemed that the beginning of every new marriage also symbolized the end of my relationship with that person–or, at the very least, our relationship would be different from that point forward.
Now that I’ve gone to the dark side–a.k.a. gotten married myself–I have a completely different perspective. And hopefully, this post may be helpful to people who aren’t married or in a committed, serious relationship who feel the same way about their friends.
There are many reasons that it may seem like people abandon their friends when they get hitched:
- When you choose to marry someone, it’s probably because you like spending time with that person. I mean, I certainly hope so. In Scott’s and my case, we are each other’s favorite person to spend time with. (At least that’s what he tells me. I strongly suspect he may love Larry Fitzgerald more than he loves me.) Now that we live together and have signed a contract stating that we like each other enough to receive tax benefits to compensate for any annoying qualities the other has, we are kind of “settled in.” It’s a natural thing that is not born out of any sinister desire to neglect other aspects of our lives, it is simply because we have designated each other as a life partner and are behaving as such. Just as single people spend the most time around people they like most, people in relationships do the same thing.
- People who are at different stages of their lives have more difficulty staying friends. It could be marriage, it could be one friend moving away for college and the other staying locally, it could be one friend deciding that black tar heroin is delicious and the other being like “WHOA, no thanks, I’ve seen Pulp Fiction, I don’t want John Travolta to stab me in the chest.” People choose their own respective paths in life, and friends who don’t make the same choices can find it difficult to relate to each other. There are plenty of people who don’t talk to me anymore now that I’m married. They aren’t necessarily close to me so I’m not upset about it, but I’ve definitely noticed that they’ve gone silent since I announced I was engaged. However, on the flip side, it’s definitely not impossible for married and non-married friends to not only co-exist but thrive. The best example is my BFF Kayla, whose efforts have kept our friendship going through studying abroad, Peace Corps, differing political views, and both of our weddings.
- Marriage IS a big deal. At least, it is to me. I never took it as a given that I would get married. I’m a pretty difficult person to deal with. I found not only the right person but the ideal person to do this type of insane endeavor with. We didn’t make this decision lightly. So, of course I’m not going to live exactly the way I did when I was single. I’ve put up with a lot of garbage from other men. I’m not going to waste time with people who don’t have the same level of regard for me that my husband does.
- Don’t assume that because a friend of yours is caught up in her new life that it means she doesn’t love you. It may be because planning a wedding is THE MOST ANNOYING THING IN THE WORLD, or it may just be because she’s really happy with this new development in her life (and you do have to be happy for her, but you can totally complain about it behind her back). A good friend will always love you, no matter what. Unfortunately, not everyone is as good of a friend as Kayla, and you may have to make a decision to move on at some point.
All of that being said, I am still afraid that Scott and I will become a lame married couple who never does anything except Netflix and chill. (Not like there’s anything wrong with Netflix and chill.) I don’t want to lose my friendships or weaken them because it’s so much easier to just stay in with my husband, and I don’t want to cut myself off from new experiences. When you’re single, it’s so much easier to step out of your comfort zone because there’s nothing really holding you back. Now, Scott and I are not only happy but we’re content. We don’t really have anything motivating us to go out of our comfort zone. And although I understand that much better now, it’s still disconcerting.
At some point I hope to write a post telling you how Scott and I have become an exciting married couple who socialize with sophisticated people and try exotic cheeses and do extreme sports, but so far we are still pretty boring. But in the mean time, to my single friends, don’t be a stranger!!! I’m not weird* now and I haven’t forgotten about you. Married people need their friends as much as we do when we’re single, we just might not show it in the way we used to.
*Just kidding, I am totally weird, and that is probably the primary reason why we are friends.