Life changes after marriage. As you embark on a new journey with your partner, you will see a difference in your routines, priorities, and responsibilities. The ripple effect of these changes may also affect other aspects of your life, especially your friendships. While this is normal as you and your relationships evolve, losing your friends is not.
It has been observed that friendships tend to dwindle when people cross an important milestone – marriage. Often, friendships take a backseat due to new commitments. If you are worried that your friendship may not survive these changes, read through this article to learn how to save it.
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Why Do People Seem To Lose Their Friends After Marriage?
As newly married couples embark upon a new journey, several lifestyle shifts take place in their lives. These shifts tend to have a domino effect and impact other areas of their lives, including their engagement with friends.
In an ideal scenario, couples are expected to continue pursuing their passions and maintain their friendships and other independent commitments. In reality, often, the transition proves to be too overwhelming, and all these aspects, including friendships, take a backseat.
A 2015 study reflected that compared to married people, singles have more friends and are more successful at maintaining friendships (1). Why does this happen, and does marriage necessarily have to change the quality and depth of your friendships? The answer is – No. “I do” does not need to mean “goodbye” to your friendships.
However, there are several practical reasons why friendships take a backseat once you get married.
1. Things Are Changing
They say that a marriage is never between two people but between families and communities. The transition of a couple from two single entities to a team can impact all kinds of relationships – the families, colleagues, and most importantly, friends.
It is crucial to accept the transformative nature of marriage, and all should reset their expectations and priorities. For instance, it is not that easy to go on a spontaneous boys’ or girls’ trip or make a dinner plan with a friend, alone or along with your spouse. Now you have two sets of schedules, needs, and interests to consider, instead of just your own. So, stop feeling guilty for not prioritizing your friends like before. Embrace this new phase of life sans the guilt.
2. Shifts Can Be Difficult For Your Friends
As you become less available to friends, they tend to feel a void, and this can take a toll on the relationship. Sometimes, it could just be that they miss you and the times you have spent together hanging out, talking, and supporting each other. The transition can be a bittersweet experience for friends, especially your single friends. Sometimes, it can trigger feelings of insecurity and loneliness in friends who believe they might be losing you.
Depending on the nature of your friendship and the attachment, the shift can take a negative turn and trigger feelings of resentment and loss. It is not always easy for friends to articulate such feelings as it means they are making themselves vulnerable to you during an important milestone of your life.
2. Not Putting Enough Effort To Sustain Friendships
Sometimes, despite the best intentions, friends can grow apart post marriage because priorities change. People often lose track of the life that the other person is leading. This can even happen to friendships with strong foundations because, like plants, you need to keep nurturing them with the right fodder and ingredients.
Typically, married friends get absorbed by their new marital lifestyles, while single friends expand their circles and find new friends to fill that gap. Often, both do not make an effort to stay connected.
3. Your Spouse Grabs All Your Attention
During the initial days or months, while you are trying to adjust to the new life, your spouse may grab all your attention. However, this may continue for a long time in some cases, and often, your spouse may take all your time. As a result, you may lose touch with friends and experiencing a deep sense of isolation.
This scenario also leads to a lack of support ecosystem outside the marriage, and it can take a toll on close friendships. Often, these are not intentional and may be caused by a general lack of self-awareness in the relationship.
If you identify with any of these scenarios and think that you might be losing your friends for the same reason, here is what you can do to salvage your friendship.
9 Ways Of Not Losing Friends After Marriage
“Love is a two-way street constantly under construction.” This quote applies as much to friendship as it does to romantic love. The nature, quality, and connection of friendships keep evolving, and without being nurtured, the friendship can die a premature death. Here are some ways to keep the friendships in your life alive, irrespective of your marital status:
1. Invest In Your Friendships
Priorities change after marriage, and responsibilities may increase. During this transition, it is also important to commit to investing in your friendships and developing an approach to nurturing them. For instance, be in touch through phone calls and texts. If you cannot go out and meet, catch up over a video call or take time out for them on a weekend whenever you can.
Explain to them that you are caught up adjusting to your new life, and they will understand your situation. This will also keep misunderstandings at bay. It will help you value your friends more and curate a manageable plan to have a healthy balance in your relationships.
2. Set Expectations With Your Partner
Losing touch with old friends after marriage need not be your story. Clearly defined boundaries and setting expectations with your partner will play a key role in your ability to navigate friendships with care. Help your spouse understand their importance in your life.
Chalk out schedules in a way that you have time for both your friends and your family and spouse. For instance, if you have dinner plans with your spouse, you can meet your friends over breakfast. If you happen to work nearby, you can always catch up during lunch hours. This helps create the right balance of being together and making space for other important people in your life.
3. Make Friendships A Priority, Not An Option
There are certain scenarios when married people end up distancing themselves from friends. However, at the first signs of difficulty, they reach out to the same friends for emotional support. Once the issue is resolved, they may distance themselves again.
Be mindful as such behavior can drive a wedge between two people even when the friendship is built on a strong foundation of trust and empathy. Friends enhance the quality of your life, and they are the ones you can confide in. If they have helped you get out of a tricky situation, acknowledge their support. This practice gives your friends a chance to be involved in your life more deeply.
4. Cultivate Healthy Communication With Friends
Constructive, deep relationships are built on a foundation of proactive communication. This approach also helps you set boundaries and expectations with friends. This is especially important, as it is not always possible to stick to all the commitments you make to friends. For example, if your babysitter cancels at the last minute, you may need to drop out of an engagement.
However, it is important to communicate clearly, and not take friends for granted. You can also explore if either you or your spouse could still make it for the engagement in case both of you are a part of it. You may sometimes also need to miss important occasions with your friends. Letting them know in advance will save everyone from disappointment later.
5. Start Planning Your Time With Friends
Being a lot more organized with your plans, conversations, and experiences with friends helps to prioritize important relationships. Maintain a calendar to help you organize your day better, keep track of commitments, and reflect on whether you can make enough time for friendships.
The best part is you do not have to always meet your friends physically. Leveraging the benefits of technology is a great idea. Regular phone calls and video calls can help you stay connected. It might also be that not all friends are in the same city as you. If you move cities after marriage, video calls are a great way to bond.
Just because you are married, it need not mean you cannot enjoy a trip without your spouse. It is a great idea to plan a trip with your best friends once in a while. Encourage your spouse to do so with their friends. This gives you ample bonding time with friends while also carving out some space for your spouse, so both of you can catch up on other aspects of your life.
6. Set Reminders For Important Dates
It can get more difficult to show up for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions once you get married. But putting reminders for all important dates in your calendar gives you a chance to wish your friends and plan something special whenever possible.
Surprising them once in a while is also a great idea, and it helps cement friendships further. You can also take the lead in suggesting get-togethers, board game nights, and other activities to bring friends together in groups so that you can make the best use of such occasions to meet all.
7. Practice Thoughtfulness In Friendships
Friendships evolve with time. What starts as two people hanging out together can progress to two people being connected at a more intimate level. Even if you do not speak every day or meet as much, you know what is happening in their lives. It could be a new promotion, a new relationship, or even a friend experiencing a difficult time, such as navigating a spell of depression or coping with loss.
Sometimes, just checking in with a simple text can mean a lot to a friend who might be hesitating to reach out to you because they might believe you are too busy. Reassuring them that you are emotionally available for them when they need support gives them confidence in the relationship and empowers them to let go of any abandonment issues.
8. Stay Invested In The Happiness Of Your Friends
Friends also need you to celebrate them and their successes and dream big on their behalf. Listening to them and understanding their feelings can help you stay in tune with what they are going through, even if they are not vocal about their needs.
You can also spend time on their social media pages, following their updates and engaging on their posts, especially their activities, milestones, and creative expression. Another wonderful practice is to invite friends over on holidays, especially if they are spending it alone, away from family. This can make them feel more connected to you than ever before.
9. Make Time For Yourself
Managing relationships requires time, energy, and patience. Creating space for self-care helps keep your energy levels replenished and enables you to function without draining yourself. This practice also helps you process your relationships and the evolving dynamics in a deeper, timely manner and show up in the best way possible for those closest to you.
Self-care involves pursuing your passions, grooming activities, fitness, and leisure activities that help you unwind. It can include activities that engage and stimulate you emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually.
To Wrap It Up
Losing touch with our closest friends can take a deep emotional toll on our psyche. It can deprive us of enjoying a diverse set of enriching experiences. No doubt, it may take a little bit of time to adjust to new schedules and expectations once you tie the knot. All it takes a little bit of effort from both sides – a step at a time can easily bridge the distance between you and your friends. Your friendships may become stronger and more resilient to the shifting sands of change. Take ideas from the tips discussed in the article and maintain your beautiful bond.
- 7 Secrets For A Happy And Successful Marriage
- What To Do When You Feel Lonely In Your Marriage
- Real Friends Vs. Fake Friends: 21 Things To Watch Out For
- 14 Rules Of Platonic Friendship And Love
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- Singles versus married couples at maintaining friendships
- Singles versus married couples at maintaining friendships