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Friendship Dynamic & Expectations

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  • Friendship Dynamic & Expectations

    I am struggling with a "dynamic-change" with my close friend/best friend. My hubby and I have been married for a little over a year now - but I once heard someone say it takes like nine months for a newlywed couple to really go from honeymoon phase to becoming more social/less homebody-ish again. Maybe that's on average, not sure because I like our home - so cozy.

    Anyway, I did what I could to include my bestie in bridal and wedding details knowing how marriage can often take a toll on friendships for various reasons. I didn't want to risk losing a good friend. She was my MOH and even hosted an 'extra' bridal shower for me and it was a good time. I put together opportunities for her to get to know my fiance hoping we could have a smooth transition as I added another person into my life. She'd constantly mention, during my engagement, how much she expected our relationship to change - it sounded like a break-up, like she expected the worst. I gave her reasonable expectations like that I'll probably be seeing her less and can't chat daily once I shift focus to my marriage, but we agreed to catch up weekly by phone and write one another. We see each other every two months. We still do this routine pretty consistently, but she is a very busy single and I find it more difficult to really 'click' with her these days. I am happy for her successes, but I feel as though she's given up on being close friends either to avoid being overly dependent on me, avoid being hurt, or generally no longer interested in the maintenance? I feel like she was preparing herself to move on once I married, which I didn't actually expect to happen.

    Recently, we had a debate which turned full-blown argument about something as simple as a birthday party. I figure there are underlying hurts for both of us that came out during this mishap. We've failed to communicate new expectations we have on one another in our new seasons of life, which maybe we can still have this conversation. This is the specific scenario I am working with: I invited her to my hubby and I's combined birthday celebration well in advance and yet she planned a party over my party knowing full well what day mine was. I asked her about it because that bothered me. I guess I expect my bestie to attend my birthday. It sounds petty, but birthdays are important in my family and it's unlike her to act so nonchalant and not apologize or anything for entirely skipping out. She mentioned during our argument that I never directly asked her to come, even though the week previous we had talked about the details. She also mentioned how I 'moved on' and so did she when I got married which I found very hurtful and off-topic. I'm doing what I can to initiate invitations, connect, etc. while still learning about marriage but I'm afraid she feels as though our dynamic has changed too much or I replaced her with my husband? She only agrees to hang out in our 'traditional' ways, one-on-one, never in a 'new' tradition with my husband and other family and friends. Is she basically telling me my expectations are wrong? Should we try to navigate a normal non-best-friendship? Any advice for me?

  • #2
    She appears to be a very insecure and immature person. Of course one must expect that when a friend gets married, the relationship dynamic will change. That's natural and right.

    Invite her out to lunch once a week...just the two of you. You can still meet one-on-one, even when you're married if she doesn't like the 'new tradition.'
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    • #3
      It's been my experience that, once the dynamic or life circumstances change with one of the friends, it's harder to maintain the friendship or keep it as close as it once was. My husband and I used to have another young couple over regularly for dinner when we were in the early years of our marriage. We had a lot in common with them. After they had two babies in a short amount of time, the two couples grew apart. They could not entertain as often, and we did not invite as often, since there were always the babies to consider, which limited their time, and dinner parties seemed to revolve around the activities of their children. The once enjoyable adult conversation changed to a parenting session where all attention was on the children and what they were doing at any given moment, rather than being able to converse as adults. The friendship naturally grew apart. That is typical. People tend to prefer to spend time with people whom they have the most in common with. I've noticed that, when meeting prospective lady friends, their interest in friendship, if they are divorced women, takes a dive as soon as I mention that I am married. They would obviously prefer to hang out with other divorced or single women whom they would have more in common with. They seem to have more comraderie with other divorced ladies, and the married ladies seem to gravitate to each other as well. Birds of a feather flock together. I would suggest you make it a point to invite your friend to outtings with you alone, to have a girls' night or day activity without your husband tagging along, in order to keep the dynamic of the friendship centered around the two of you as friends. Divorced or single women can also get jealous when a married woman is flaunting her happy marriage, and it may even cause resentment if not managed tactfully by the married woman.

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      • #4
        Thank you SarahL & Mary for your insightful points. I agree with birds of a feather flocking together, unfortunately in this case. I did want to avoid the common outcome because I believe it's a lot about taking initiative and being reciprocal and enduring change and accepting it as good. As natural as it is to change and drift, I wouldn't want there to be any hurt between us, keeping us from
        truly connecting in the future. I expect on this one-on-one time to 'hash it out' if you will so that we can communicate any ill feelings. I will try to remain tactful about being 'a married' with a single friend.

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        • #5
          As someone that was never married and only has one friend I may not be the best person to give you an advice, but it looks like your friend either doesn't like your husband or doesn't like the fact that you married him, and she is letting that interfere with your friendship. You say that you put together opportunities for her to get to know your fiancÚ, how has been the interaction (if any) between her and your fiancÚ/husband?

          Have you had a good talk with her about this situation?

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          • #6
            GrizzlyBear, I have certainly considered this a possibility. I am afraid I haven't been bold enough to be that straightforward, but I will be when the time is right. From observing my friend interacting with my husband and myself, she considers him a good partner for me and is happy for me, but may be generally upset about me having a "new best friend" or confidant, therefore not helping her like or connect with my husband either. They are not friends, nor do they try to be. She has referred to him as my roommate & not my husband before which I thought odd. Maybe she's overly-protective?
            Last edited by ArtsyAngel63; October 5th, 2018, 12:21 PM.

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            • #7
              Referring to him as your roommate is certainly odd. It sounds like she has a great deal of resentment towards him and is in denial about your new status. Maybe she needs a hobby. Are you her only friend?
              "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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              • #8
                I was one of her first friends in college, but she has made several new friends and worked on old high school friendships since. If it is resentment, how should I approach that and talk about it without hurting her more or making her feel upset for even asking?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ArtsyAngel63 View Post
                  She has referred to him as my roommate & not my husband before which I thought odd. Maybe she's overly-protective?
                  To me, that sounds like she is looking at your new situation as temporary, so maybe she sees your husband as a "replacement" that she hopes is temporary so she can "have you all to her again".
                  If that's the case I suppose you could show her that those are two different things, you can love someone and want to live the rest of your life with him while keeping on having her as a best friend, someone you trust (and, as you are both women, talk about "woman things", something some men don't like to talk about with their wives) and that you hope still trusts you as before.

                  Good luck.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks GrizzlyBear!

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                    • #11
                      Let it go and just let her be. Her antics seem unnecessary but sometimes people need that to feel better about themselves. You both are growing in different ways. I'm sure the friendship will prevail over time. Just let each other be for now.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you Rose Mosse - probably for the best.

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                        • #13
                          It reads to me that your friendship with her was, for the most part, a one-on-one relationship. Presumably you dated your boyfriend for some time before getting married yet she never developed a connection with your husband or much enthusiasm for your "success" in getting married. Whatever the reason for that, whether she's an introvert, socially awkward, jealous, or just sad for losing your undivided attention, she's just not comfortable being with you around others. Thus, she made other plans at the time of your birthday party.

                          Rather than being hurt by her actions or getting "petty" about her not attending (which would really be making this all about you), take the view that she's trying to take care of herself and adjusting to her loss. When you meet with her, acknowledge that she was right about how much your relationship would change, that you miss it too, and that understand that she is adjusting. Then give her permission to do what she needs to do. Reaffirm that you still care and you'll keep reaching out, but that you'll support whatever she needs to do. While you've had an addition to your life, she's only had a loss.

                          And when you two meet for your regular catch-up sessions, don't overshare. Leave room for her to be heard.

                          Good luck

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                          • #14
                            Thanks Pollon, it is good to see it all from her end of things - you are right. I cannot change that she doesn't want to adapt to 'new traditions' but am just left to decide if I would like to continue the old ones.

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