So you're married now. A wife. A lover. Walkin' barefoot in the kitchen with a griddle in your hand... or just naked a lot. Doing sexy married stuff.
And it's pretty great, especially in the beginning. Like, wonderful. Nobody expects you to leave the house for a while. You've got a hall pass. But, the thing is, the hall pass will expire eventually. Eventually real life has to kick back in.
But the real life you used to know might look different. CHANGE IS REAL. And one of the most difficult (and sometimes sneaky) changes that comes with marriage is how your friendships will change. So, here it is. From my experiences (and also from me being the single friend on the other side), here are five foolproof ways to fumble friendships after you get hitched:
1. Fall off the face of the earth.
Once you walk the isle, it's easy to vanish on your honeymoon and seemingly never come back. You're so gushy-romantic with your husband that you doesn't come up for air for months. You never leave the house (or the bedroom). You don't return calls or texts. You don't even post anything on social media! It's like you just move on, join a new church, maybe get a new job, and spend all your free time cooking for your man. In short, you simply suck at staying connected with the friends who were there for you before you got married.
Am I guilty of this? Yes. Not purposefully, but I did move away, start attending a different church campus, and leave the circles I used to be apart of. It's the natural progression that happens after you get married. It sucks. I could have done better. I could DO better.
2. Forget how much you used to care.
Now the hubby is your #1, which isn't wrong. In fact, it's great! It's the way it SHOULD be. Nevertheless, your friends will start to feel left behind. Forgotten. They may even feel like you don't care about them anymore. Forgetting how much you used to care is more than just disappearing from their lives, though. It's more personal. It's a breach of trust and loyalty. So you have to ask yourself the tough questions: Do you still care about them? Do you care about their struggles, their experiences and their victories? Do you care enough to make time for them?
Yes, it might take some juggling to keep your old friendships alive, but if your friends are worth it, it's worth the effort. Besides, it's healthy for husbands and wives to do things separately, too.
3. Stop sharing your life experiences.
Honestly, your single friends probably won't understand you anymore, because unless you've been married, it's hard to explain the insane emotions, the ridiculous arguments and the ooey-gooey love stuff. When I was single, I used to think my married friends were living on another planet. So don't be surprised when you get blank stares or awkward chuckles and no nods of understanding. Naturally you may think, why bother sharing my marriage experiences with friends who are single? Maybe it'll make them jealous. Maybe they don't care to hear it. Maybe they secretly want to stab me every time I mention how my husband's socks can never find their way into the laundry basket and it drives me crazy! So you start to hold back; but the more you hold back, the more you'll start to pull away. And then the more they'll start to pull away from you. Before you know it, y'all haven't spoken in a year.
I totally started doing this. I didn't want to make my friends jealous or bore them with stupid stuff that we used to make fun of, so I just battened down the hatches. And you know what happened? My best friend and I drifted a part. MY BEST FRIEND. Like I was in Australia and she was in California. Thankfully, we both built rafts and met each other in Hawai'i (this make sense geographically, just look at a map), and we were able to hash out how our friendship was changing and how we would transform to not let it wither and die. But not every friendship will survive this attack.
4. Rub marriage in their faces.
Oh don't play dumb. You do it for attention. Always mentioning how wonderful your man is. Always dropping a Facebook status about how marriage is the BEST. Always posting the highlights of your SWEET ROMANCE. I've been on the other side of this, and did you know that this absolutely makes your friends feel like dirt, especially when they WANT TO BE MARRIED, TOO?! (Can you tell I've been the single, disgusted friend?) Let me tell you! First there's annoyance, which easily leads to anger, jealousy and resentment over YOU and your marriage. It might even result in being UNFOLLOWED (gasp!) on Facebook. Nobody wants that, so help avoid it. Be a little humble. Don't forget that you used to be single and lonely, too. Don't make every post about you and your great marriage, unless you're also willing to post how GREAT your friends are. Unless you're also willing to be vulnerable about the STRUGGLES that comes with marriage. Give them the whole beautiful, messy picture.
5. Have babies.
I know, I know. This one isn't fair. So sue me. It's true. If you didn't alienate yourself before, now you've struck gold. Now you're a soccer mom in the eyes of all your single friends, and that's just A) not cool or B) unfathomable. Plus, if you weren't making serious efforts to keep up with your friends before, now you're definitely going to fall off the face of the earth and forget how much you used to care. BECAUSE YOU'RE GROWING A HUMAN IN YOU AND HAVE OTHER PRIORITIES. Yes, it's a legit reason, but it will still suck for your old friends, especially your single girlfriends who are still upset you beat them to the alter. You can try sharing your pregger struggles with them in an attempt to stay connected, but but it's probably all going to be whiney "I feel so fat" complaints that NOBODY HAS TIME FOR. (I mean, hello, you're having a baby, so it's kind of a given.) So don’t be that way around your single friends because they don't want to hear it.
Here's the thing. You could be the perfect newlywed and not be too obnoxious, annoying or distant. You could be the perfect pregnant lady and not be too whiney, annoying or distant. Friendships are still going to change. Some are going to fade and some are going to grow stronger. Just remember that we're all at different stages in our lives, and that's OK.
I think you should just surround yourself with friends who are genuinely excited for you and your walk (they won't be hard to find) and humbly say goodbye to the ones who ain't down with the get-down. Maybe you'll see them in a few years when your lives are in perfect alignment. Life's funny like that.