My daughter and her boyfriend need to be reminded to make time for their other friends. Sometimes strongly reminded. Sometimes forced. It's tempting for me to chalk it up to typical teen foolishness, but that would be short-sighted of me. I've known women - teenagers, young women, older women - women who certainly ought to know better - who get wrapped up in a new romance to the point of shutting out everyone and everything else. To my great chagrin, I have BEEN that woman on more than one occasion.
I am one of those women who says they're married to their best friend, and I mean that sincerely. Of course I love my husband. Of course he sometimes annoys me (living with someone who is not yourself is always going to get annoying at some point, no matter how much you love them). But I really like him, too. That's what makes me lucky. I hope you're in the same boat, or find yourself there one day. It's good.
But it's not enough. No relationship - not even a really really great one - can satisfy all of your social needs. I find myself at a place in my life right now where I'm really actively seeking same-sex friendships. I want that girl time. I've spoken to this before, perhaps to the point of tedium.
A couple years (decades) ago, my sister and I held a party for my parents 30th wedding anniversary. She was pretty much a newlywed at the time and I was as single as a gal could be. We watched our parents arrive at the party together. Very shortly after that, however, Mom was off with her friends and Dad was off with his. They came together, periodically, touching base, but for the most part they had completely separate experiences. I remember saying to my sister that very day, "Well, there we have it. The secret to a long happy marriage. Spend as little time together as possible." We had another party just a couple years ago to celebrate their 50th. It played out in much the same manner. I remember thinking after that one, "How wonderful! Since they both talked to different people and got different stories, they'll have plenty to talk about when the party's over".
Yep. I crave my girlfriend time. I need my girls.
My daughter needs to be reminded of the importance of that. It's far too easy to get caught up in the throes of young romance (even when it's between older people!). It's hard not to get caught up in the whole 'you and me against the world' mentality. It's romantic and it's wonderful. But it's not everything - and when you treat it as though it is, a lot of important relationships don't get nurtured. Romeo and Juliet wanted to take on the world, and look how that turned out.
When I was a newlywed, I certainly bought into it. I think you're supposed to. Honeymoon period and all that. Since I was older when I got married, a lot of my friends had already been married a long time. They took separate vacations. They still took together vacations, but they took separate vacations, too. I remember thinking Tom and I were golden because we would never do that. If there was time off to be had, we wanted to have it together. That was fine for OTHER people, but we had something just a LITTLE bit better than that. Just a LITTLE stronger. Then it happened. Tom wanted to go away for a weekend that didn't interest me at all. I didn't give in; he didn't give it up. I cried as I watched him pull out of the driveway. We were no longer golden. We were just like everybody else. Soon thereafter I had my first little solo outing.
It was revitalizing.
It made things better rather than worse.
Who knew? (apparently a whole lot of people - but it was a eureka moment for me)
How do you satisfy your need for girl-time (or boy-time, if you're one of my rare and beloved male readers)? What advice would you offer to a young girl trying to figure out that balance (and not even sure she wants to)? How important are your friends (aside from your spouse) to you? Do you like everyone you love?
Talk to me! I need you!