Oct 11, 2010  •  In Baby, Guest Posts, Pregnancy, Relationships

Guest Post: Friendship vs Marriage and Babies

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
even though he knows that you are slightly cracked”

Bernard Meltzer

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: 

  • Refer to your spouse by his name, not his pet name (no one cares if you call him Mr. Bunny, or Bun-buns for short)
  • If your friend is in a romantic relationship, don’t assume that just because you are married, you’re qualified to dispense relationship advice. If she asks, go ahead.
  • Texting your hubs once to check-in is fine. You can even call him if your gal pal runs off to the bathroom, or makes a call herself. Other than that, this night is about girl time, so don’t be that friend attached to her cell, texting her hubs all night. You’re married. You love each other. We get it.
  • If you two planned on staying out until midnight, stay out to midnight. Don’t be lame and say something like, “Well I haven’t seen Mr. Bunny allllll day and I totally need some snuggles before bed or I’ll be super sad!!” (Also not okay, “Well, I’m ovulating, and we’re trying to conceive, so I’m going to have to cut this short and go home to Mr. Sexy Pants while my mucus is still egg-white consistency.”)
  • I assume no one says either of the above, but if that sounds like something you MIGHT say, DON’T. EVER. SERIOUSLY. NEVER.
  • Do NOT do the following:
  • Ask your friend when she and so-and-so are going to settle down
  • Talk about how marriage is just the BEST, seriously, just the BEST!
  • Ask her what her favorite baby names are, then launch into a long story about you and your hub’s fav names, preferred birth order, etc.

    When dealing with married friends as a married lady:

  • Don’t try to force your hubs to be BFF with your gal pal’s hubs. If they get along and want to hang out, cool. If not, leave it.
  • If your gal pal’s hubs and yours hubs are friends, awesome. Hang out as a group if you want, but make sure you have time for just the girls too. Some stuff is just hard to talk about in front of dudes.
  • If your gal pal’s hubs and your hubs DO NOT GET ALONG, PERIOD, then do not force it. Don’t ask them out to dinner. Don’t have them over for game night. Be thankful you have a gal pal and go on from there.

    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:

  • Be happy for your friend!! This is going to totally change her life in crazy ways, and there’s a good chance she’ll need your friendship more than ever as she adjusts.
  • Don’t like kids? Fake it. You don’t have to hold the kid. Just don’t wince when you see him/her.
  • Don’t ignore your friend once the baby has been born. She’ll probably want a few weeks to rest, but make sure to keep in touch with her. If a bunch of your friends are going out for coffee or drinks, invite her! Even if she can’t go, she’ll appreciate the effort.
  • Drop by the house and visit. Maybe bring her a peppermint hot cocoa. Sit. Relax. Talk. If the baby cries, that’s okay. Take time to get to know her in her role as a mom. She’s still your friend.

    You’ve had a baby and your friends don’t have kids:

  • Try not to talk about the following: poop, urine, vomit, your placenta, your episiotomy. If your friend is curious, she’’l ask. Feel free to talk about the birth, but don’t freak your friend out. Once again, if she’s curious, she’ll ask (I did!).
  • If your friend doesn’t want to hold your baby, don’t take it personally.
  • You’re a mom, but you don’t have to address yourself as “Mama” or “Mommy” all the time. You’re a whole lot of other things too, including a friend.
  • Being a mother doesn’t mean that you’re better than your friends. Don’t be that person. There are too many already.  “You’ll understand…” (knowing look) “when you’re a mom.”

    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??

    About the Author:

    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.

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    3 Responses to “Guest Post: Friendship vs Marriage and Babies”

    1. thisstephanie says:

      What a great post! I love straightforward advice. 🙂 I've experienced this, too, from both sides. I'm 21, and I've been dating my boyfriend for four years, so people can be awkward around us. But the worst is my very recently married friend who tells me constantly "I can't wait until you are married too! It's SO great. I can't wait!" I can't wait either, but gosh! Gimme a break! 🙂
      Well written!

    2. Lisa says:

      I have unfortunately been experiencing the painful side of this situation. I am a single girl who literally doesn't even know another single girl. They are all married, getting married, or are in committed relationships. I have been unable to find someone for over two years now. I try and stay on the logical side of things, but I can only hear about wedding plans, pregnancies, and weekend couple trips to the apple orchard for so long. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the tips for being a friend to a single girl. I try to be a good friend and be supportive and also not bring up my struggles all of the time as I know no one want's to hear about it 24/7, but it can really be hard sometimes. Maybe it's easy to forget how it is to be single, lonely, and sad once you've moved on in life, but we need supportive girlfriends too.

    3. Bonnie says:

      Great post, especially about reminding those of us without kids that we need to email and keep in touch with our friends who recently became parents. I did not do that recently because I did not want to bug my friend when I knew she was tired/busy/adjusting, but she said it was hurtful when she didn't hear from anybody. Part of the problem is, though, is that the no-kids folks don't know when to call!

      I would like to add one thing, though, that married-with-kids people need to stop doing that is REALLY annoying. That is assuming that all of your friends who don't have kids are just lolling around in the bubble bath all night eating chocolate. NOT TRUE. We have responsiblities, housework, stressful jobs, family issues, etc., just like people without kids. So please don't get mad if you have a block of time between say, 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7, and then get pissy if your no-kids friend is busy already. We aren't scheduling our time around naps and feeding times, and it's not reasonable to expect people to be able to drop everything all the time. Also, don't get pissed about your friends without kids not offering to babysit. I've been chastised by a lot of friends about this, but hey–I'm NOT a parent yet, and you signed up for it.

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