Have Your Old Friends Drifted Away?

Q:Did your unmarried friends (female in particular)write you off after marriage? Shortly after I was married I noticed I wasn't being contacted much by many of my friends. They had stopped inviting me places and then would come back and tell me what a great time they had. When I asked why I was not asked to go along, the response was "We just figured you didn't want to go." or "We thought you'd rather be with your husband." and other things along that line.

A: Unfortunately your experience isn't unusual. Whether it's marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, death or some other life-altering event, some people respond by distancing themselves

There can be a number of motivating factors in this kind of behavior - jealousy, an assumption that you are no longer interested in your previous lifestyle, unwillingness to adapt the social situation to accommodate a spouse or child or the lack of either

Sometimes the reason is far more compelling. For some individuals your new situation could be a reminder of what they haven't been able to achieve or something that they've lost. One friend's marriage can be a painful reminder of another's divorce or widowhood. The birth of a child to friends can be particularly problematic for couples who have experienced infertility, miscarriage or still birth. So don't assume that friends are withdrawing out of mean-spiritedness. It may just as easily be a self-defense mechanism. Be open to talking about the situation and if the friendship is truly valuable to you, flexible enough to accommodate their emotional needs for a while.

Also, examine your own behavior to ensure that you aren't encouraging the separation. It's not hard to become myopic when your life has changed radically. Make sure that you are showing as much interest in your friends lives as they are in your new life. And be up front about letting them know that you are still interested in maintaining contact. If you begin to sense a separation, by all means talk about it, acknowledge that your life situation may have changed, but your feelings for your good friends are still there. They may need that reassurance as much as you do.

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