There are many common horror stories out there, like the one about the woman who won’t let her husband watch football or the husband who won’t let his wife have a girls’ night out. If you’re worried about marriage killing your social life, here are some points to consider.
Friends in Common
If you’re about to get married, you likely share some common hobbies or activities with your significant other. Do you have friends that also enjoy sharing these activities?
My husband and I both enjoy LARPing (live action role playing). We have one group of friends (that were originally just friends of his) that also enjoys LARPing. When we want to go out for a drink, bowling or wine tasting with friends, we call on other groups of friends. What works well about this is that my husband and I get to hang out together while also enjoying time with our friends. Fortunately, most of the friends we had before we met get along well enough at social gatherings like birthdays. While this isn’t true for everyone, you should feel grateful if it applies to you.
The Couples Date
I’m 29. At this age, most of my friends (even the ones I’ve known since I was a kid) are either married, dating or want to be dating. As a result, we’ve gone on many couples dates, even if the outings don’t feel like dates-like the time we went to meet Dan Aykroyd on a geek pilgrimage to North Jersey.
Sometimes couples dates aren’t even really about the couples because we have formed close friendships with our counterparts. These are the most awesome of couples dates. It’s great when my husband wants to chat about re-enactment activities with his male friend because I get to talk scrapbooking with that friend’s wife.
Make and Keep Your Own Friends
The woman I was just talking about-one of my scrapbooking friends-was introduced to me by my husband. Before I married my husband, he worked with her and her husband at a previous job. We ended up getting along very well and now we hang out together. It’s really good to have a friend like this when it comes time to go shopping, have girl talk or scrapbook. As we grew closer, I introduced this friend to another friend of mine from high school.
I feel really great about having my own friends but knowing that they get along well with my husband, too. I think it’s important to retain the friends you have and be open to new friendships as life goes on. As I grow older, my time is split between maintaining a house, seeing my relatives, working and spending time with my husband. I’m very happy that one of my long-time friends gelled with one of my newer friends. Now instead of having to split my time between them, we all hang out together and support each other.
The Mommy/Daddy Club
You’ve probably experienced The Marriage Club-when you’re still single and all of your friends are getting married. You didn’t have as much in common with them because of their life experiences. Now that you’re married or getting married, you’ve finally joined the club. If you don’t have kids yet, though, you are already excluded from another club: The Mommy/Daddy Club.
You’ll start to see this happening when your friends get together without you to have play dates or when school (and I don’t mean graduate school) becomes the primary topic of conversation.
Don’t have kids just to be in the club. Instead, hang back with your other married and single friends. One thing my parent/pregnant/wanting-to-get-pregnant friends have done well is include me in their experiences. They tell me what it’s like and the ups and downs of trying for a baby and having one, which helps me to know what to expect. They’re not pedantic and they don’t focus on themselves-they share their lives with me and I really respect that!
Overall, things don’t actually change much after you’re married-at least not in terms of friendships. You already know which of your friends dislikes your husband or wife. If anything, planning a wedding will really show you which friends will work hard to support you.
Lastly, it can be kind of difficult to make new friends at this stage of your life, especially if you are no longer in school. It’s weird to approach someone at a bookstore or something without seeming creepy and if you don’t have kids yet, you can’t become friends with someone just because her or his kid is in your kid’s class. That’s still not an excuse. Try volunteering (it’s free) or taking an inexpensive course at a local community college. You’ll be able to meet friends who share your interests in those types of locations.