Post # 1
the other day this thread i started ended up getting a lot more feedback than i expected. the discussion surrounded the issue of where friends fit into your life when you are in a committed relationship. i found a lot of bees were very opinionated on this issue providing a lot of comments along the lines of “people SHOULD do xyz when it comes to friendships.” there was a lot of advice on the right and wrong ways to have friendships and committed relationships.
i found it very interesting to read. it got me wondering some things for sure! do you think there is a right or wrong way to juggle friendships when in a committed relationship? can you really tell someone how they should behave when it comes to their relationships with people they care about?
i had always been of the school that everyone needs something different when it comes to their friendships and romantic relationships. finding a good partner or finding a good friend invovles finding someone who needs the things you are able to give and gives the things you need most!
it sounds like a lot of people think there’s a solid prescription for friend/romance balance no matter who you are. do you think everyone needs some kind of balance? if so, why? if not, when is it ok to lack this balance in your life? is it fair to say that a person always NEEDS friends if you suggest a person does not NEED a romantic relationship? when do you consider it to be acceptable for the balance to shift one way or another? does this friendship balance have anything to do with gender? are girl friends more important, or can guy friends fill this role?
I’m totally not looking for anything in particular, just curious to go deeper into some of these thoughts! It sounds like a topic people feel very strongly about!
Post # 3
YES everyone needs balance between friendships and romantic love. You need to have both. You cannot wrap your whole life up in one person. You need to have people in your life that you can talk to about your romantic relationship.
Post # 4
@MrsTVLover: do you think people should ever choose to stay single for life? You say you need both frienships and romantic love because you cannot wrap your whole life up in one person. Can you “wrap your life up” in only platonic friendships? Are both influences necessary for everyone? or is a balance only necessary for people in committed relationships?
Post # 5
@rawrrrrr: I think people have to do what works for them, and that’s all….relationships fail because both parties cannot come together in an amenable fashion…it’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t make either of them bad people…it means that whatever these parties had to give to each other has either disappeared or failed to be beneficial.
I find there are some people who cannot be in a romantic relationship in a healthy manner, their behavior borders on obessesive and they will sacrifice anything and everything for this one love…and while that’s terrible romantic and theatrical, it’s just not very practical in any sense and their house of cards usually collapses after no small amount of drama for everyone in their lives.
I’ve seen friendships that can blow out of proportion in the same manner….but it’s unusual because that kind of contact is difficult to maintain without a romantic attachment.
Either way, I’m all about people doing what works, and if it ain’t working, fix it…if you can’t fix it…throw it out and start fresh!
Post # 6
@rawrrrrr: I dont think there are set rules per say about friendships once you are in a committed relationship, but i DO think it is important to maintain your identity as a person and not just settle into well im x’s gf, DW, or whatever your relationship status….I have been with SO 6 years and we still both have friends out side of the relationship, many of our friends happen to be couples that we get along with well, (ex hes really good friends with my BFFs husband), as far as single girl friends, i do have quite a few still,(though fewer as most are settling down)….my friends both single and attached are both understanding that i dont always want do girls weekends….
I have always made it clear that i will always make time for my girls and my relationship, my relationship being my first priority, I have lost a few girlfriends but thats been because I am out of the partying stage and have been for awhile…..and the ones i lost couldnt understand that I didnt want to go get absolutely shit faced every single weekend, and spend half my paychecks on booze and parties….I work as a nurse so im actually very busy with classes, and work, and responsibilities….and some people just grow up at different rates…..
I am a firm believer that even if it is lunch once in a while you still need time as a seperate entity from your relationship….
Post # 7
Every relationship is different. I find, as a couple, it is easier to hang out with people that are couples, but sometimes it is WAY better to just get with my girlfriends one on one or all together and talk about girl things, vent about our husbands, whatever. I don’t like to spend ALL my time with my DH, as much as I love him.
It is healthy for us to go do things spearately. We then have more to talk about at the end of the day.
Post # 8
OP makes a good point… we often say you don’t “NEED” a romantic relationship, but we don’t say the same for platonic ones. Interesting.
Personally, as I’ve gotten older I have less “close” friends, but the ones who have stuck it through are the best ones. I, personally, NEED those friendships. They may look a little different because our lives change, but I wouldn’t do without them.
However, I have a big group of friends, some single & some in couples, who are all very fun, funny, loud and… often… sarcastic. Like really really sarcastic and kinda mean. They all talk this way to each other and I don’t think anyone takes offense. I know I didn’t. But early in our relationship, I realized I was wanting to spend more time with SO’s friends (who are all very supportive and loving and more like we are in our relationship) than with my friends. When I did go out to dinner with one of my “loud” couple friends, it was really uncomfortable because they were so “mean” to each other. As time goes on, I am seeing less and less of those friends and really not missing it. Being loud and sarcastic just doesn’t feel right anymore. My life is just more peaceful and happy.
Post # 9
People should do what works for them. I really do not care one way or another what people choose to do. I have had friends vanish for a year when dating someone, break up with them and then want to hang out with me again. I don’t take it personally and I choose to stick by them anyway.
For me it is important in MY life to have a balance. I don’t really think about it, I just go out with my friends when I am invited to something or I will try to set something up if I feel it has been awhile. I can not be around my husband 24/7, I feel that would cause me to lose my identity and would be really suffocating. We are both individuals that do not have to attend every social event together. We do plenty of things together and we have met and hung out with each other’s friends. But to me…girl and guy nights are essential to OUR relationship.
Post # 10
@MrsTVLover: +1! You said everything I was going to say in a nice, succinct package, hehe!
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I agree with many of the points made by PPs. Balance is essential. The tipping point may shift over time in one direction or the other, but you will always need friends, even if you have an amazing SO. Why? Because an SO is just one person. He/she cannot meet every single social, emotional, and mental need that you have. That’s just too much pressure to put on one person. So you need both, even if that requires extra effort to maintain friendships outside of your relationship. And sometimes a particular friendship does need to be let go. Not every friendship is meant to be “forever”, and that’s okay. But if you’re left with no friends, then it’s time to work on that, starting with a whole lot of deep introspection.
That said, there are definitely people who are best off staying single for life. I am thinking particularly of the givers who lose themselves in a relationship to such a degree that it is not healthy. Some people just don’t know how to establish healthy boundaries between their own identity and their relationship. It’s sad to see a good person change himself/herself so completely just to please a partner who never appreciated them to begin with. And then to push away everyone who knew the old identity because those people are trying to help the giver see how unhealthy things have become.
It’s a cycle I’ve seen repeated over and over again with someone I used to be very close to. She always felt like she needed to be in a relationship, and would contort herself into whatever form the guy wanted. Friends would try to point out how she changed, she’d get upset, tell us that we just didn’t understand what it was like to be with this guy and how she realy liked the new version of herself, and stop talking to said friends. And that would be that for a year or so. Ultimately he would tire of her, throw her away, and she’d be left in a heap on the floor for her friends to pick-up one more time. It was sad and frustrating to watch. I’ll admit that I eventually had enough of the merry-go-round, and got off for good. We haven’t spoken in years.
Note” “you,” as used in this response, is general and not particular to any poster.
Post # 12
I think this is a very interesting thread.
I think that people’s needs for friendship vary greatly so it’s hard to compare people. I personally only feel I need one or two close friends and many aquaintances, while I need a close romantic relationship with my husband.
One thing I have noticed is that people often make what I could call ‘semi threatening’ statements such as ‘you will need your friends when you relationship falls apart’, or ‘your friends will always be there, but a man might not’ etc. While this may be true in some cases, at the same time, I refuse to make friends so I have a ‘back-up’ in case my relationship fails, as this does not seem genuine. I can only make and keep friends who I feel a deep connection with, and that does not happen very often.
Post # 13
I think it’s generally not a good idea to throw friendships away because you’d prefer to spend all your time with your SO. If you want to though, because you get nothing out of them and vice versa, it’s probably a good idea to end those friendships. It’s entirely your business.
I think the strong opinions you got on your last thread have to do with the fact many cannot imagine doing that and many of us have probably seen women in our lives do this and it makes us feel like to them, friendships were just stand ins until the husband arrives. Which is pretty lame in my opinion.
Post # 14
One of the phrases I’m hearing frequently in this topic is “throwing away friendships” like @sept22insf suggests.
What constitutes throwing away a friendship? If you move across the country and your contact with former friends dwindles have you thrown the friendships away? If you get a new job and your friendships shift have you thrown the old ones away? If you become closer friends with the people you meet through your significant other have you thrown away your old friendships?
In a world where facebook and other social networks keep you up to date on everyone you know where does the line get drawn on what a thrown away friendship is?
When does the question of why contact decreased play into whether or not a friendship is thrown away?
Are growing apart and throwing away friendships the same thing? Why or why not?
Sorry if i sound like a freak assigning psychology homework, I’m just a weirdo and I really like to read how people talk these things out.
Post # 15
@rawrrrrr: You don’t sound like a freak at all! I think this is a really interesting topic too.
I think ‘throwing away a relationship’ only applies where the relationship was good in the first place, and there was no reason to end it, and where one person neglects the relationship.
I think it is an overused phrase sometimes.
I think people hang on to relationships too often, when they are not working. There is nothing wrong with recognising that a friendship is not right and moving on. There is no need to cling to friendships out of obligation or fear of not having many friends.