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Being a Single Gal in a Gaggle of Married Ones

I saw this article on Verily last week and thought it was really good. Then I read the comment below and was a little disappointed. It's not terrible - but is from a the perspective of a married girl. As I read it (probably not her intention) it implies that she is upset with the writer because the writer indicates somethings she wants her married friends to do to keep their relationship going after the wedding.

Now that would be a fine article to write - and I might even end up doing that here this evening - however, it is a two-way street. This is the nature of relationships. They are two-way streets. All relationships are about give and take - if they aren't, then they are usually contracts and one party is being paid. I don't know about you, but I don't pay anyone to be friends with me ... although sometimes that doesn't sound like a bad idea.

The author's ideas to share with her married friends are super simple and not invasive or even too taxing on her married friends. A quick summary:

  1. Keep Me On Your Calendar: "You can hang out with your single friends as a couple too. Invite us along even when you’ll be out with your spouse’s friends, or when you planned a game night and only couples may be showing up." Even though we aren't married - we will want to hang out with you - even if it's just with all of our other married couples. If you don't make it weird, it won't be weird for us!
  2. Make Sure Your Husband Knows Your Friends Are Important: "Because one of my best friends is really inclusive and open with her husband about her plans with friends, I’ve built a really positive relationship with him as well." A very good point to remember, we want to be friends with you and with your new husband. Because he loves you, unless our relationship is detrimental to your health, it will improve your marriage as well. We aren't looking to replace your husband.
  3. Know That We Rely On You: "As much as you needed us when you wanted to dissect your first date with your current husband, you can bet your friends will continue to need you to share in their joys and sorrows—to be that person we can dissect our budding relationships with." This is so true - just because you got married doesn't mean we've become my own guru about my life.
  4. We Don't Need Pity, Just Friendship: "I know you are happily married and you want your single friends to be happy too. But it’s hard on a friendship when you feel like your friends wish you would stop being single already. Trust that we can be and very likely are happy with the stage of life we are in now. Help us to be patient by being patient with us. We may join you as a fellow married woman or we may not, but our lives have worth and purpose now." We want you to have a vested interest in our happiness, not just in 'us getting married.' 
I can see where the reply came from on the article as I write out my own responses here - but as a single woman, articles usually tell us what we should do to foster the relationship. It puts the entire burden of the friendship on the single woman. It's not. Relationships are a two-way street. Both people have to put effort into the relationship.

We (the not newly married friend) realize that nothing has changed in our lives in the last few weeks and that everything has changed in your life recently. I think that's why the reply was written the way it was. So many things changed in her life and she wanted her friends to figure out how to adapt. It's not unreasonable - but it's only half of the equation.

How do I know this? Well, I've been through this a few times now ... not as many as others - but more than once.

My two best friends from high school - Erin, the bride
in this photo, & I have been friends since pre-school.
Stephanie (on the left) got married back in 2008.

The latest married gals in my life - the best of the gaggle in
Charlotte - Devon, MG, & Meredith.

These five women are some of the most amazing that I know and they have gotten me through some rough times. I've known all of them before they were married, we were close friends - even roommates. I've loved being part of each of their weddings as part of the bridal party or taking part in the ceremony in another way. After the wedding, it's always been an adjustment process for me as we figure out how to be friends now. 

Each time this has looked different. Most of the time - it's just time and patience. Not pushing or getting upset about having to change or cancel plans. Remembering to account for the difference - we aren't each other's "number one" person any longer - but the truth is that we haven't been for a long time. Marriage was not the big change in our relationship - it's just a definite date that the change happened. The change happened gradually when my friend began dating the new man in her life and it gradually became more and more serious.

Her wedding day is when the biggest of the changes happened - when she moved in with him, changed her last name, and gave up her last moment of independence. That doesn't mean that women are not independent in marriage - but what I mean by that is her living alone (or away from him - or in a few cases not with me any longer), keeping her own schedule, and going from being "single" to being "married." 

My married friends also tell me that the first few years of marriage are the hardest years of their lives. There are so many changes. They are living with someone, sleeping with someone, being annoyed by someone, navigating being a "we" instead of a "me." It's our job as best friends to be there for them when it's hard, when it's fun, and when it finally becomes the new normal.

So, here we go again - time to adjust and wait for the new normal. And maybe add some more single gals to this group of friends - or - my fairy godmother could wave her magic wand and send down my very own prince charming so the number of single gals in this gaggle goes from 1 down to 0...

except mine seems more like this one, than anything else!

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