We spend years of our lives building friendships in schools, neighborhoods, workplaces and everywhere else, yet as life evolves and major life changes such as marriage occurs, the balance that maintains the friendships can be threatened, exposing its fragility.
Friendships have been known to cut across ages, economic class and culture but some women think it is often hard for friendship to cross over the barrier of marital status, they believe that marriage does not only change a woman’s name, home and lifestyle, sometimes it changes their relationship with their single friends too. When friends become wives and mothers, their single friends sometimes feel like they have been cast aside and no longer needed. Does marriage really make bonds of friendship weak and how does this change affect women on both sides of the fence?
For Mosun, a 31 year old single, her friendships have not survived the test. Four out of her six close friends are married and she said her circle of friends seems to get smaller with each marriage. According to her, keeping and staying in touch with married friends takes determination and hard work, calls and visits from them may get too few and too far after they are married. “Even if you do manage to stay in touch, there is a high chance that your interests will start to change, after all, you cannot expect someone to get married and not have at least a little alteration to their interests and lifestyle”, she said. She also strongly believes that she is not being insensitive to the new lives of her married friends or insecure of being alone, she simply thinks her married friends are not giving the friendship their best shot. .
Anthonia a recently married woman however says the accusations are not all true, that sometimes the changes in the lifestyle of a married woman affects all aspects of her life and makes it quite difficult to keep up with friends, either married or single. In her words, “Marriage is a whole new phase of life and sometimes it so hard to keep it all together. As much as you would love to, you can’t afford to spend as much time as you did hanging out with your friends or chatting with them online late into the night, because your time and your emotional energy is being shared with your spouse” She was also quick to add what she considered an important fact that many singles don’t admit, “sometimes single friends also stay away from you, and they assume you won’t have time to come to their party so they don’t bother to invite you, it’s as if they expect you to reject them, so they stay away! I love all my friends and I want them to keep being a part of my life even though I am married. I might not have as much time as I used to, but hey, it’s not like I am dead, I try my best to stay in touch with the people in my lives, and I expect them to do the same too”.
According to a relationship expert, at the root of this issue is a lack of communication and understanding which could be from either of the two friends involved. Maintaining friendships after marriage takes a little work, but it’s very possible to bridge that ‘lifestyle gap’ between a newly married woman and her single friends. The real question they should ask themselves is if they really still care about their friends. If the friendship really matters, then they will overcome all hurdles just to make it work.
Here are few tips for a healthy friendship:
TIPS FOR SINGLE FRIENDS
- Marriage is life altering and it could take time for your friend to settle into it and adjust into her new lifestyle, help her through that phase by being patient and understanding.
- Don’t always assume that your married friends are criticizing you or deliberately staying away from you because you are single, it’s important for you to feel secured.
- If you truly care about your friend, be prepared to make sacrifices and fit into her new lifestyle, for instance if she doesn’t want to stay out late for your date, then you can offer to have dinner in her house instead.
- Don’t bottle up bitterness and resentment, if you think she is selfishly taking you for granted, then let her know how you feel.
TIPS FOR MARRIED FRIENDS
- Your spouse can’t be a substitute for your friend; they both have important parts to play in your life, so don’t let go of your friend because you are married.
- It’s not entirely up to them to call you and check on you because they are single and you think they have all the time in the world. It takes two to be friends.
- Your marriage is very important to you, but don’t be so self absorbed and make it the only thing you talk about when you are with your friends, show that you care about what is going on in their lives too by listening to them.
- Set time apart for your friends, when it’s inevitable to cancel your dates, make sure you call to apologize and try to make it up to them.
- Communication is also very important. If you can’t visit as often as you used to, then make phone call, or send a text, or an email, something to show you care about them.
- Also don’t feel entitled or superior just because you are married and they are not, the truth is being married doesn’t make you superior
Photo credit: Getty images
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