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Maintaining Healthy Friendships Outside of Your Romantic Relationship

Posted on by Destiny Girard, LMFT

Maintaining Healthy Friendships Outside of Your Romantic Relationship

Social interactions are a vital part of most people’s lives. We begin making friends almost as soon as we’re born and continue doing so throughout our lives. Some lucky individuals are able to maintain lifelong friendships that continuously change as life becomes more complicated and time consuming. It is important for people to expect that some friendships will change when in a long term relationship or after marriage.

Misunderstanding among friends is common because of significant changes that can occur when one (or both) friends become married. Friends that were previously a major part of your life may struggle to stay connected as a lack of free time and a change in priorities that occur after marriage or with the onset of starting a family. For some spouses it can be especially challenging to find the balance of how to maintain healthy friendships outside of marriage and how to ensure that your spouse or family remains a top priority.

Set priorities and let your friends know about it.

Life priorities change after marriage because you are no longer just taking care of yourself and now have a spouse that has become a top priority in your life. Things will continue to change when couples begin having kids. Your friends must understand that your family comes first but that there is still room in your life for your important friendships.  

Let them know that there will be times that you have to say no to their invitations to get together. Let them know that if a particular event coincides with an important family gathering, you may have to pass. This will help them understand that your marriage has become one of the new priorities in your life.

Allocate and spend quality time with friends.

Gone are the days when you can instantly or easily go when one of your friends called you. Now that you are married, life may feel more complicated and you may not have the time to be spontaneous with friends as you previously have. It can be helpful to schedule times with them in advance, so that you and your spouse can make arrangements if needed.  Aside from giving your spouse the much needed heads up, it will also allow you to fully spend quality time with your friends without over thinking what your spouse might say after.  You can surely spend the day or night with your friends without any kind of distraction whatsoever.

Observe the give and take rule in conversation.

If you are hanging out with your friends, always observe the give-and-take rule in conversing.  Sure they want to listen to your stories about life after marriage or having kids but make sure that you are not over dominating the conversation. Ask about their lives too! Inquire about the things that they are doing that keep them busy. Show them and let them feel that you are still concerned and genuinely interested in what’s going on with them.

Keeping strong and healthy friendships outside your relationship can be a real challenge, but it is also rewarding on many levels. It is important for all of us to feel balanced in our lives and maintaining our friendships can provide us with the proper balance between our home life and a social life.

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