Our first guest post comes courtesy of devoted reader JessicaMayLords. She has decided to tackle a topic I have covered a few times here at Geek in Heels — maintaining friendships after marriage/babies — and gives some great advice for people on either sides of the fence. Enjoy!
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg
I am not a big fan of change. It makes me anxious. Unfortunately, it’s also something that I deal with quite a bit, because I move around a lot. In the past four years, I’ve lived in 3 difference states, 5 different towns, and 7 different apartments. I’ve packed, repacked, and unpacked many, many times. In another month I’ll be at it again; we’re moving to a bigger apartment in town. I’m not anxious about this upcoming move; you see, the moving itself isn’t what really bothers me. I get anxious about changing friendships.
Adult friendships are tricky. When I was a kid, I never thought, “Do we really have enough things in common to go out for coffee, just the two of us?” I found a kid about my age, said hi, and voilà — instant friendship. It’s not like that as an adult, not for me, at least. It’s not easy for me to find a friend I can completely confide in, a person with whom I can be myself. It takes time and energy and, usually, a LOT of tea. When I find a close friend, it’s very difficult for me to leave them when I move, knowing that our relationship has the capacity to be strong despite distance, but will not be exactly the same.
When you move, you expect friendships to change in some ways. It happens. You can’t drop by unannounced, and you can’t grab a bite to eat on your lunch break.
I did NOT expect my friendships to change when I got married.
You know in high school, you had those friends who sort of disappeared once they got a boyfriend? I was one of them. I wanted to spend time sucking face, but I ended up sucking as a friend. I spent so much time going on dates, talking on the phone, and making out that I made less and less time for my friends. Thankfully, most of them were doing the same thing, so they didn’t notice.
In college, I decided this would change. I would still date, but I would make time for my girlfriends. This worked, most of the time. In fact, I met my husband through one of my close friends. There was a big group of us that hung out a few times a week. I loved that I could hang out with my would-be husband and my other friends at the same time. It was great! Everybody was friends with everybody!! It was like How I Met Your Mother, just with more people!
And then we got engaged. Suddenly, my friends were worried about being a third/fifth/seventh wheel. I started hearing comments like, “Well, when you’re married, we won’t see you as much…” and, “Well you married folks will be doing married people stuff…” It sucked!
After we got married we moved from Chicago to Northern California. We started a new church that was mainly composed of 20- and 30-somethings (Yay! Optimum friend age!). I joined a women’s Life Group (like a Bible study, but less structured) and decided to put my “Make Friends Now” plan into action. There were about 10 women in the group, half married, half single. It seemed like a good ratio to me. Yet even there, I was seen as a “married type” who spent every possible waking moment with my husband. We’d talk about what happened that week, and if I mentioned my hubs, I’d see some of the single girls rolling their eyes (seriously!!) or whispering comments. It was all done with an air of good ribbing, but it still bummed me out.
I found myself wanting to say, “Hey! I’m fun!! I can still have dance parties and drink margaritas and go out to dinner with the girls! Seriously!!” I hate this new title: the Old Married Lady. I was wild! I was crazy! I was fun! Couldn’t they see that?
I haven’t really experienced being the single gal in a group half-full of married women. I married young; at 22, I was the first of my friends to tie the knot. I didn’t understand that when they heard “married,” they thought “curfew” and “date nights.” I didn’t understand that they wanted to go out dancing and didn’t want me to feel weird, since they’d be checking out the guys and hoping to get free drinks. I just didn’t get it.
Finally, I realized that marriage could either complement my friendships, or compete with them. That said, here are some friendship rules I made for myself that may help you too.
When dealing with single friends as a married lady:
When dealing with married friends as a married lady:
Okay. So we covered the marriage thing. Noooow comes BABIES. Babies are super cute (unless you’re not into them). I love babies, but they can TOTALLY change friendships. I don’t have any kiddos, and I’m planning on keeping it that way for at least the next year or so. Babies complicate things, but once again, they can complement a friendship; they don’t have to compete with it. Since I don’t have a kid, here’s my best take on the situation from a DINK standpoint.
Your friend is having a baby, and you don’t have kids:
You’ve had a baby and your friends don’t have kids:
Marriage and babies can complement your already established friendships, they don’t have to compete with them. Do you have rules that should go on these lists??
JessicaMayLords writes about anything and everything over at Like the Dawn…. She lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and loves Battlestar Galactica and Pride and Prejudice equally. In her free time, she crochets, hikes, drinks copious amounts of tea, and watches more television than she likes to admit.
A large majority of the people who find her blog through Google were searching for Jessica Lords, porn star.
She is not that Jessica Lords.