In love? Don’t forget your friends!
We’ve all got at least one friend who, when they’re single, is keen to meet up, go out and spend time together. But as soon as they start dating someone, they suddenly drop all their pals like a basket of hot potatoes. Regular get-togethers are neglected, phone calls go unreturned, you hardly ever see their face at church – it’s like they’ve been abducted by aliens. Until, that is, their relationship breaks up or starts going south. Then, suddenly, they’re back wanting to hang out – until the next time they meet someone. Do you have a friend like that? Or – let’s be honest – are you that friend?
When you start dating someone, it’s natural to want to invest time in getting to know them. In fact, it’s essential to do that. And as our time is limited, it’s easy to let friends get pushed into the background, without even noticing you’re doing it. But you can bet your friends notice! Neglecting other relationships when you fall in love is a mistake. Here are five reasons why you should continue to invest in ALL your relationships when you’re dating or in love…
1. It’s all about balance
When you first fall in love, it’s natural to want to spend every waking moment with that person. You’re infatuated, you can’t get enough of each other – why waste a minute apart when you could be together? But actually, a healthy life is a balanced life. It’s not good to focus all your time, energy and attention exclusively on one person. It’s much healthier to have input, connections and influences from a range of people you trust and are close to. It’s also helpful to have other people’s perspectives on your relationship. When you’re in an intense romance, you often can’t see the wood for the trees, especially if you’ve become isolated from other people – sometimes it takes someone else to point out red flags (or confirm that someone is great for you!).
2. Your friends deserve better
Your pals have been there for you through the good times and the bad. So they don’t deserve to be dropped just because you’ve found a partner. The value of good friendships is beyond measure, and can’t be taken for granted. But friendships are about give as well as take. It’s not okay to drop your mates just because you’re in the fog of infatuation – they matter too. So make a conscious effort to remain in contact with chums, invest in those friendships, and be there for your friends when they need support.
3. The honeymoon period will pass
When you’re in that period of infatuation and limerance, it feels like there’s no world outside of your relationship. But that feeling does pass, and eventually you will come up for air and want to get involved with the rest of your life again. However, if you’ve neglected your friends, you might discover that by the time you’re ready to re-enter their world, they’ve moved on and no longer feel connected to you. If you’re fortunate, they’ll forgive and embrace you again, but if you’ve hurt them badly with your neglect, it might be too late.
4. It’s better for your relationship
Any long-married person will tell you that no one individual can be your everything, and expecting your partner to fulfil all your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs puts a huge strain on a relationship, and can damage it – even fatally. Focussing only on each other can also lead to co-dependency. In a healthy, long-term marriage, a couple will have both shared and separate friendships with other people, and plenty of outside input. In many ways, friendships are as important to married people as to singles.
5. They’ll be there if it all goes wrong
Will this relationship be the one that lasts forever? Maybe, maybe not. None of us knows the future. A relationship that looks great today may be over by next week or next year. Marriages end after decades. Partners die. We never know what’s around the corner. And who’ll be there for you when things go wrong or you’re facing tough times? That’s right, your friends – but only if you’ve continued to value, invest in and grow those friendships.