We probably all know at least one woman who falls off the face of the friendship planet when she gets a partner. This is particularly frustrating for those of us who are still single, mainly because we value friendships as one of the main sources of social connection; Or for those of us who are already in long term committed relationships, well past the honeymoon 'can’t get enough of each other' phase… because we have realised that our partner can’t be the only source of connection in our lives, and we don’t want them to be either. Who would we vent to about our partner?! Lol
It is so easy to resent this friend for the apparent disregard to you or your friendship and feel really hurt and rejected. For the record I do not support this move in any way, shape or form….. however I do understand it. At first it is easy to give her the space and time we feel is appropriate to be all in love and stuff. Intense bonding is happening and we respect that and try to be supportive and not feel jealous or threatened.
After a while though, when our friend still hasn’t resurfaced, the blow can hit us hard, as we ponder what we did and if we were the only cast off? After we stop blaming ourselves, the blame lands pretty swiftly on our friend as we rewrite our once meaningful friendship to a meaningless time passer……
However, very rarely do we stop to consider her partner in all of this. Some women meet men (or women) who are not particularly social, who may be needy or possessive, and who either sulk when she goes out with her friends, or who spend the whole night blowing up her phone so she can’t actually enjoy any time away anyways.
It’s possible that maybe her partner feels threatened by your closeness specifically, or perhaps he just isn’t really comfortable with the idea of her having friends at all. He may insist that she sees friends with him as opposed to on her own. This could potentially work if you also have a partner who happens to get along with hers…. Although this has almost never happened to me personally! Lol However if you don’t, you probably wont be able to really talk to her the way you would if he weren’t there and she definitely wont be able to discuss things like relationship issues with you if he is there listening in!
Many of my friends have reported that their partner relies on them solely for entertainment purposes and just don’t quite know what to do with themselves anymore when their other half goes out to play. It triggers all sorts of insecurities and fears. The boredom for the partner left at home allows for a negative thinking spiral and more often than not an argument ensues when she gets home. All of this can make your friend feel like catching up with her friends just isn’t worth the fight with her partner.
Another common complaint is that her partner may set strange limits or expectations on her friendships. He might not like her to see more than one friend a week, or for her to see the same friend more than one time a week for example. If she spends more time than he deems necessary with one friend she will be met with a million questions, accusations and suspicion.
Ladies, I know this is hard for you. I understand. This could happen so slowly that you don’t even notice your isolation before it’s too late and your friends have given up on you. But if this sounds like you, it is time for some honest conversations. Conversations with your partner, conversations with your friends and conversations with yourself!! The truth is, we all need friends. Outside of our relationships. Friends make us happy in a very unique way, and your happiness is important.
The first conversation with your partner should outline how you feel about them, to help them feel secure, but include what you need to make yourself happy too, and emphasize how important alone time with your friends is as a part of that equation. Make suggestions for ways they could spend their time when you are away and remind them that you are not responsible for their entertainment requirements. Suggest they spend time with their friends perhaps! You can’t be their only one. If they say they only need you, be sure and tell them that is flattering but too much pressure for any one person. Similarly they may feel you should only need them, so it is a good time to point out that we all have several needs that are best met by several different people.
The conversations with your friends wont be easier, sorry to say. To tell her you wont be spending as much time with her now because you have someone else is going to feel as careless as it sounds. But it is important that she understands you still WANT to spend time with her and you will still keep in touch with her, it’s just you have to consider your partners needs. When you tell her he makes it difficult for you to see other people she might well say that is a RED FLAG and an abuse tactic possessive eand controlling people use to isolate their victim in a subtle manner…..
And as caring and attentive and well meaning as your partner might be, that is where that self honesty comes in to play. Because your friend is right. It does not mean you can’t stay with your partner. It does mean you must resist the urge to stop spending time with other people and stop pandering to it if he or she sulks about it. You are allowed to have friends and you are entitled to be happy. If your partner loves you and feels secure in your relationship there is no need for this, and the best way around it is to remind them that you are your own person, that you don’t require their permission to see your friends and unless it is an emergency you don’t expect to hear from them when you spend time with other people. Once your partner understands you need friendships to be happy he or she should love you enough to grant you this freedom and not see it as a threat, but rather as a gift. Below are the signs of emotional abuse, as described in this article in Mind Body Green on June 25 2014.
To the ladies out there who have been seemingly abandoned by friends who found partners, please try and be understanding and forgiving. Your friend may be being isolated, and you being mad at her, however justified, only gives her partner more power. Please try and be patient, keep in touch, even when it seems she is uninterested and try not to take it personally. Don’t put your life on hold for her, but consider your friendship a little on hold and hope that in time your friendship will resume. Remember you can't tell her what to do or choose her partner for her, just as he can't choose her friends, but you can be there for her whatever happens.
So, leave the proverbial friendship door open, please? Many of you will say you didn’t deserve to be treated that way, and you might be right, but as DR Phil always says, "do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" Sometimes it can’t be both.
Your best Friend ForNever