When you first get married, it's only natural to soak up every second with your new partner. "Spending time together without other people, just the two of you, is actually a habit and ritual you want to be part of your marriage for the rest of your lives," says Christine Arylo, motivational speaker and author of Choosing Me Before We. "Couples who love hanging out together are the ones who have the marriages with strong foundations, lots of spark and true partnership."
But the fact of the matter is, "having lots of great friendships outside of your marriage is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself," Arylo continues. "I see so many women whose lives become consumed by their marriages, kids and work, where they are constantly giving support and time to everyone else but not getting the love and support they need in return."
Have you become one of those women who, in an attempt to strengthen her marriage, forgot about her friends? Here's how to tell.
Your friends don't have sweet things to say anymore.
Your best gal pals used to be forgiving when you canceled on girls' night out or forgot to call when you said you would. Now, "your friends have started saying smart-alack things to you like, 'I thought maybe aliens had abducted you? or 'I was beginning to think you were mad at me I haven't heard from you in so long,'' Arylo says. "They aren't kidding. They are hurt and they are missing you."
You dodge your friends' phone calls.
Pre-marriage, you were always down for a half-hour-long phone session so you could catch up with friends. But now, even if "your best friend calls you several times — for help with something, or to [reach you about something] that he or she needs to say — you don't return the call," describes Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of 5 Simple Steps To Take Your Marriage From Good To Great.
Plus, you've got no one to call.
Hard day at work? You grab your phone to call your husband, but he doesn't answer — and neither does your sibling or mother. "You look at the contact list on your phone trying to decide who to call that can support you," Arylo says, "and you realize there's no one to call to give you the support and love you need."
You forgot your friend's birthday.
If we're honest, in the age of Facebook, it can be easy to rely on the Internet to tell us when we need to shoot off a "happy birthday" text. But if "the two of you have spent every one of her birthdays together for the past 15 years," Orbuch says, that's a serious sign you've ditched your friend for married life.
Your husband is your go-to plus-one.
And we're not talking about to next month's wedding. "The first person you invite to go shopping with you, do yoga with you or you ask for an opinion about your wardrobe is your husband," says Arylo, when it used to be your BFF.
Your calendar is a blank slate.
Do you "look at your calendar for the next six months and you don't have anything scheduled with friends?" asks Orbuch. It's time to put something on the books, then!