It had been a few months since I visited the small town out West where my husband lives part-time, so I wanted an update on how our friends here were doing.
Me: “How’s M doing?”
My partner: “I don’t know, she’s disappeared since she started dating that guy.”
Me: ”Hm… What’s up with A?”
My partner: ”She finally has a boyfriend. I haven’t seen her in ages.”
Me: ”How about J?”
My partner: ”Oh, she’s spending all her time with the boyfriend. Haven’t seen her much.”
Ok, I’ve been aware of this phenomenon ever since I’ve had friends old enough to have boyfriends (which is a couple of decades now), but I still don’t get it. (And I’m sure men do it too, but I seem to have met many more women than men who tend to do this.) I really don’t get it. Why would you stop hanging out with your friends once you get a boyfriend?!
Are your friends just a back-up plan, something to hold you over, to save you from falling into the deep, dark, scary hole of loneliness until The One finally comes along at which point you don’t need anyone else in your life to be happy? Are friends just food scraps that you are forced to pick out of the trash so that you can survive until you can get your hands on that well-rounded meal called Boyfriend? No? Well, that’s exactly how I feel when you stop calling and can’t find one hour a month to have lunch with me now that you have a boyfriend. Yes, it’s offensive. But it’s also pathetic. It reeks of desperation and makes me wanna pity you. Really.
I love and value friendships for the sake of friendships, independently of my desire or involvement in a romantic relationship. I love and cherish my friends whether or not I have a partner. I’ve had long-term partners for most of my adult life and I’ve never stopped making time for my friends. Whenever possible, I incorporate my friends and my partner(s) in all the stuff I do. When not possible, I find time to see my friends separately. My friends are just as important to me as my partner(s).
No, don’t give me that crap that your partner is your best friend and therefore you don’t need anyone else – sure, they may be your best friend, but they’re not your ONLY friend, are they? (I hope not, that’d be really sad.) One person cannot possibly satisfy all your social needs (unless your social needs are seriously thwarted, in which case you need a shrink). That attitude creates unrealistic expectations of what this one person can do for you, and places an incredible pressure on the partner and the relationship. Typically impossible, and in any case, not very healthy.
My partners are not a substitute for my friends, they are people I like to spend time with in addition to my friends. Having friends doesn’t make me not want a romantic partner; why should having a romantic partner make me not want friends?!
I understand you may not have AS MUCH time to hang out as you did when you were single, but I’m sure you can find SOME time for your friends?