How to Keep Your Old Friendships After Marriage
Maintaining Friendships Outside of Marriage
Marriage is an institution that we all enter into with hopes and dreams--some realistic, some not. A common feeling, though, is that we've married our "best friend," that person whom we are attracted to and want to support and take care of, as well as the person with whom we share our secrets, laugh, and enjoy sharing experiences. It's natural, when you find that someone else with whom to spend the rest of your life, to pull back a little from your old friends. You won't have as much time to chat on the phone, catch a beer after work, or take an impromptu weekend trip. However, being married doesn't mean you don't need friends--it's still important to keep your old friendships after marriage.
Making a promise to share for better or worse with a partner doesn't mean you have to shed the friends who have already been there for better or for worse--maintaining relationships with them is important and healthy. A couple focusing only on each other, with no time or interest in other people, is often a recipe for marital disaster or, at the very least, discord. So, how can you keep your old friendships even after you get tie the knot?
Make Time for Your Old Friends
The easiest way to maintain a friendship after marriage is to make time for your old friend. This can be a thirty-minute coffee break, a dinner, or even a quick chat on the phone. While it can be tempting to think, "Oh, I'll call X friend tomorrow, she won't mind," that's a slippery slope--before you know it, it may have been weeks (or months!) since you've talked to a friend you once treasured.
Consider the following ways to make time for old friends even after marriage:
- Meet your friend on a lunch-break from work; this won't take time away from you and your spouse at night.
- Check in frequently via text message and periodically via phone--that will keep you current on your friend's life and show him/her that you think about him/her frequently.
- Set a "friends" night for yourself and your spouse--both go out and see your respective friends at the same time.
- Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events in their lives and drop a card in the mail.
- If possible, plan group get-togethers for you and your friends--this way, you can see several times at once over a few hours, instead of one friend at a time for a few hours.
Remember, it's healthy to see your friends and important to maintain those relationships. Make time for them, and there will most likely come a time when you're happy they are still in your life.
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Bring Your Old Friends Into Your New Life
One way to maintain old friendships after you get married is to integrate those friends into your new life. If your friends feel comfortable with and connected to your spouse (and vice versa), then it's easier to share time together. Chances are, your friends know the person you married--some of them were in your wedding, and many of them attended your wedding. However, they might not have had a chance to talk to him/her one on one or start a friendship of their own.
How can you bring old friends into your new life? Try the following:
- Invite your friend (and his/her singificant other) over for dinner with you and your husband.
- Plan a couples weekend with your friend and his/her significant other.
- Plan a game night with your friend and his/her significant other.
- If your friend is single, don't exclude him/her to only hang out with other couples.
- When you are together with your spouse and a friend, give them time to talk to each other; bring up topics in which you know they have a mutual interest to spark conversation.
Famous Groups of Friends, Both Fictional and Real
- The Rat Pack
- The ladies from "Sex and the City"
- The Golden Girls
- The ladies from "Desperate Housewives"
- The girls from "Girls"
- Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
- Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
- Gayle King and Oprah
- Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox
When NOT To Maintain Old Friendships After Marriage
Not every friendship needs to be maintained after marriage. When you're single, you naturally have more time for friends, and those friends frequently fall into different categories--best friends, friends you hang out with when your best friends are busy, acquaintances, work friends, etc. Chances are, you'd prefer to hang out with your husband than with acquaintances or work friends--and that's okay.
When you get married, it's fine for some friendships to drift and end. That's not the end of the world, and it doesn't make you a bad person. If you realize you haven't kept in touch with someone and you haven't missed them, then you shouldn't feel guilty for not keeping them in your life. If you truly love a friend, however, and value their presence in your life, then don't neglect them just because you tied the knot. Maintaining old friendships is good for your emotional and mental health, and can even be good for your marriage--separate space and activities can be important and rejuvenating.