The change could be so subtle that you barely notice it at first. It could start with a single friend's invitation to play wing woman on a Saturday night and you're simple no, thank you, because Friday night has become your evening with him. Or perhaps you'll find your mind wandering during a work friend's diatribe about water cooler gossip because your biggest concern today isn't an office squabble, it's whether you'll be approved for a mortgage.
However it happens, you may find after marriage that your friendships are changing. And according to relationship expert of Susan Quilliam, that's not only normal, it's common. "It can work two ways, depending on the bride's life-stage," she explains. "The newlywed may drop her single friends and make more married friends. Or she could get very close to her husband and drop all her other friends."
Newlyweds often find they have less in common with the friends they had before they were engaged or wed. Now that they're married, their interests, values and goals have shifted from those of their single friends, especially. "Nights out getting hammered and hunting are less likely," Quilliam says. "Days spent finding wedding dresses and homebuilding more likely." And it works both ways — while you may no longer value late nights out, your single friends may not want to spend all their nights in with you.
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Luckily, the longer a friendship has survived until your marriage, the more likely it will survive after. "Childhood friends will tend to remain more constant than, for example, friends made through recent jobs," Quilliam says.
And there are things you can do to preserve your most important friendships. Spending time one-on-one with your friends is better than going out in a group, for example, because you're both less likely to feel alienated when you're not surrounded by people with different interests and values. Taking an entire weekend together is another great way to foster your bond. "By doing that, you're creating a new, mutual history of memories and common experiences," Quilliam says.
If you find that you have nothing left in common with your friends, then find new interests and hobbies that you can enjoy together. "And try to explain to them what is good about your life so they continue to understand you, but without being either patronizing or apologetic," Quilliam suggests. In other words, don't say, "When you're married, you'll understand."