Being in a serious relationship doesn't mean you can't remain close to your single friends. Although you might have different lifestyles, you still share the similarities and the bond that brought you together as friends. It takes time, commitment and some adjustment to continue having a good relationship with your single pals.
Although your partner provides you support and companionship, don't underestimate the benefits of meaningful friendships. Friends support you through life's difficult moments, and spending time with them is an excellent stress reliever. A longitudinal study published in 2005 in "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health," followed 1,500 older adults and found that those with close friends outlived the rest by 22 percent. Close friends can provide a safe place where you can talk about issues, worries and even vent about your partner. Keep in mind that if your relationship doesn't work out, your friends are the ones that will be there to support and help you through it.
Involve Your Partner
When you're in a serious relationship, your partner might not like that you spend time with your single friends. He might fear that their activities might not be appropriate for someone that is in a relationship or that they will be a bad influence. Your partner will be less apprehensive about you spending time with your single pals if he gets to know them. Plan activities where your boyfriend can get to know your friends. Encourage him to contact his own single buddies and do group activities together. If he establishes a good relationship with your single friends, you will have more opportunities of seeing them on a daily basis without feeling guilty for spending time away from him.
Maintain Your Friendships
Maintaining friendships can be challenging when you are in a serious relationship, but it is possible if you commit to making time for them. Often, people in serious relationships find themselves slowly drifting away from their old friends until the friendships no longer exist. Researchers Naomi Gerstel of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Natalia Sarkisian of Boston College analyzed national surveys and found that married people are less likely to call and socialize with friends and offer support to their loved ones. Avoid this by scheduling time at least once a month for your single friends. Plan an activity that you can all enjoy, such as going out for coffee or dinner or having a get-together in one of your homes. Maintain contact throughout the week by calling, texting or messaging them once in a while.
Don't Judge Them
It's easy to see your friends in a different light once you are in a serious relationship. Keep in mind that although you might be in different points in your lives, you still share many similarities. Avoid judging them for being single or making comments that can make them feel as if something is wrong with them. On Psych Central, psychologist Bella DePaulo notes that comments by committed friends can make single friends feel as if they are "broken." Avoid saying things such as "I'll fix you up with someone" or "You're doing something wrong." Hurtful comments, even if made with good intentions, can push away single friends.
- Marriage: The Good, the Bad, and the Greedy; Naomi R. Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian
- Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health: Effect of Social Networks on 10 Year Survival in Very old Australians: the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging
- Psych Central: About Those 10 Things Not to Say to Your Single Friends
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