Dividing time between you marriage and outside friendships can be very challenging and often times it’s a great way to hurt the feelings of everyone involved.
Every person you meet comes with a set of friends. It is natural for them to have a social life and have other people who tend to look out for them. Socializing is one of the most basic human skills and one that helps a person develop into who they are later in life. Therefore, it is very likely that your partner may have their own set of friends they like, hang out with and socialize with as well.
A Delicate Balance
Old friends are fun and there is nothing more exhilarating than getting to meet them again. Unfortunately when you are in a relationship, your friends can be seen as a drag or a waste of time by your significant other. When this happens, it can create a certain amount of conflict or tension. Your spouse wants you to accept them the way they are and if you are unable to accept their friends, it can be seen as a rejection of them as well.
One approach is you can see this as a means of developing some new friends. It can be a chance to know your spouse’s history and enter into a whole new world social interaction. But the level of friendship will be different – just because you’ve known them for a lesser amount of time. And their importance will be very different to you. Good – just different. All friendships take time to grow.
However, what I see more and more is spouse not entering into their partner’s friend world – and staying aloof from that environment. This causes a strain on the other person, who then needs to pick who they are going to spend time with. Feelings are hurt and jealousy is typical in this approach. It almost causes a person to live in two different worlds.
When people get married – things change. No doubt about it. One of the main things is how you spend your time and the two of you need to negotiate this very carefully, as you have different needs and priorities. But be careful that you do not neglect each other or ‘guilt’ each other. Be respectful and go slowly as you listen to your partners needs. For example: just because she wants to spend a night out with the girls – does not mean that she doesn’t like spending time with you. That’s black and white thinking and always leads to problems.
When it comes down to it, you will have to make sure you don’t end up with cancelled plans again and again – either with your spouse or your group of friends. This can get very frustrating having to do this and if you have been stood up like this more than once, it’s about time you lay down a few boundaries. The goal is to make your relationship better with them and their friends as well.
Social relationships are hard to manage and they can get harder when you place boundaries on what is and what isn’t acceptable to you. The best thing you can do is try the following in order to have a healthier time with your friends without worrying about what your partner will say or do:
- Let them know – Let your partner know beforehand about all your friends. When you are in a long-term relationship, it is natural to introduce all your friends and family to your spouse. Therefore, when you are going out, you can choose to do so with ease. Letting someone know beforehand also makes sure you aware of any plans and you can both go together if invited.
- Check In – Even if you are out, do your best to check up on how your partner is doing. This doesn’t have to be a check up after every thirty to twenty minutes either. Just send them a text after an extended period of time, ask them how they are and give them an update.
- Don’t Lie – This can really begin to grate on someone’s nerves, but you have to try and avoid lying. When you lie about being out with friends, you can start to create doubts. If you are going out with friends, just say it. Couple this with letting them know beforehand and your partner should have no problems with the scenario. Lying about wanting to go out with friends is one of the worst things you could do.
- Become Friends with Their Friends – This can be the best option, but it can be tough. When you are focused on these things, you can create good bonds with your partner’s friends as well. When your partner introduces you to their friends, you know you are in it for the long haul so don’t worry and try to focus on making a good impact.
At the end of the day, you can easily communicate your wants and needs regarding time being spent with friends. If some friends are spending way too much time with your partner and it makes you uncomfortable, you can easily inform your spouse about it and talk things out to deal with them effectively as well.