June 3, 2024
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June 3, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Dear Dr. Chani,

I have been dating for close to a decade and it has not been easy. One of the hardest parts is having to reorganize my social network when one of my friends gets married. Each time a friend gets married, I feel like I am losing her. No matter what I do, our relationship is never the same. It is as if she is transported into a different universe — to the planet of the “marrieds.”

The “marrieds” seem to suddenly forget what it is like to be single and they tend to reorient their focus to socializing with other “marrieds.” I try to pick up new friends to compensate for the loss of each friend, but it has gotten increasingly harder through the years. Recently my best friend got married and I am determined not to lose our friendship too. I thought that my relationship with my best friend would withstand even her getting married. We were both single together for so long. I was sure that she would understand what it is like and be extra sensitive to me.

Yet now, I am so disappointed because I feel like even though I am trying to hold on, our friendship is slipping through my fingers like fine grains of sand. I noticed that whenever I speak to my best friend, she tends to talk a lot about her husband. She describes places that they visited together, things that they are shopping for and their general plans. Every time she talks about her married life, I feel like she is oblivious to my singlehood.

Another thing that bothers me is that whenever I get together with my friend, her husband is always around. I would really like to go somewhere to hang out with her alone. But we tend to meet at her apartment because it is more convenient for her. Doesn’t she realize that I feel self-conscious talking to her when her husband is listening in on our conversations? Just because she is married to him does not mean that he is now a part of our friendship. He is an outsider who she chose to marry.

I have not spoken to my friend about these frustrations because I am afraid that I will offend her. The last thing I want is for her to be insulted and to drop me. I really want to hold on to our friendship and make it work. Obviously I have not been successful at keeping up my friendships with married friends in the past. The question is, what should I do differently this time?

Thanks for your help in advance.


Dear Talia,

You are bringing up a really painful part of being single. Aside from the disillusionment of not getting married, you feel an increasing sense of loneliness. Your friends network, which is an essential support network for you, keeps dwindling. Now that your best friend is married, it is unfortunate that when you spend time with her you feel that she is either “checked out” from your life or that her husband gets in the way of your relationship.

The dynamic that you are describing is something many people notice. They have close relationships with their friends — until their friends get married. Once they get married, their relationship undergoes a significant change. There are several reasons why this can happen. Let’s explore some of the thoughts and behaviors that may contribute to this and how you can ensure that your relationship with your best friend can not only survive,but thrive.

Think about why your friend may be talking about her husband and their joint activities all the time. As you pointed out, she was in your position of being single not so long ago. Why is she not being sensitive to your vastly different reality? Taking a step into your friend’s shoes, she is probably sharing with you what is going on with her and her husband because that is her new reality. She is busy with taking care of her home and building her new relationship with her husband. Since these are the primary things that she is focusing on, she is sharing them with you. In essence, she is being “real” with you.

As her best friend, she might be especially excited to express to you her newfound thrill about this new chapter in her life. As you shared your journey of dating up until this point, you can appreciate how she has anticipated being married for so long. Now that it has finally happened, she is enjoying the experience of arriving at this stage. This thrill makes her even more likely to focus on talking about her husband and the reality of their lives.

One of the ways to invest in a friendship is to take an interest in the other person’s interests. In your relationship with your best friend, it should ideally go in both directions. You need to take an interest in your friend’s experiences and she needs to take an interest in yours. When you were both in a similar social situation, it was easier for you to share your experiences. The challenge is for you both to continue to share your interests and life experiences even as your realities have diverged for the time being.

What does this mean for you? You mention that you view your best friend’s husband as “an outsider who she chose to marry” and that “ just because she is married to him does not mean that he is now a part of our friendship.” On the face of it, you are right. Just because your friend chose to marry her husband, it does not mean that you have to accept him as part of your friendship or have anything to do with him. You can ask your friend to hang out with you on her own and even ask her not to talk about her husband as much.

Yet, keep in mind that the more that you have this attitude, you will consciously or subconsciously give your friend a message that her husband is not welcome in your relationship. Unfortunately, this will put your friend between “a rock and a hard place.” In essence, she will get a vibe from you that she has to choose between her allegiance to her husband or to you. It is most likely that if she feels pulled in two directions, she will choose to focus on her relationship with her husband and let her relationship with you cool down.

Since your goal is to hold on to your friendship, it is healthier for you to view her husband as a bonus friend in your life. Now you get “two for the price of one.” This does not mean that you can never interact with your friend without her husband being there or being part of your conversation. Yet it does mean putting in effort to accept her husband as a welcome addition to your relationship. It also means understanding that he will be there sometimes when you are visiting your friend. It may help to view it as a positive that he will get to know you as he listens to or joins in on your conversations. This will not only expand your social network, it will also help your friend feel supported by you in her transition to being part of a couple.

When you speak to your friend, try to actively show her that you want to know about her life as a married person, because this is the reality of her life. Ask her questions about what is going on in her mind; what she is concerned about and what she is going through. Make sure your friend knows that even though you do not share her stage in life, you care about her and you want to be there for her as much as possible. The more that you genuinely want to listen to her as she describes her experiences, the closer you will feel to each other.

However, if you notice that your friend never reciprocates and is always absorbed with her life, try to steer the conversation to other topics that you find mutually interesting or to experiences from your own life. If she does not take an interest in your interests, you can let her know that you would like to talk about other topics. If necessary, give her feedback about what you feel is going on and what you would like to improve on in your relationship.

As you navigate your relationship with your friend through the transition of her getting married there is another point that is helpful to keep in mind. Your friend’s marriage is still in a nascent stage of development. She is still learning how to balance spending time with her husband and spending time with you. It takes a while to figure out that balance. It might be helpful to avoid judging your relationship and jumping to the conclusion that it is falling apart. Instead, give it time and let your friend learn how to navigate that balance. If you are still disappointed months after her being married, consider discussing your feelings with her.

Wishing you much success,


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Dr. Chani Maybruch is a social psychologist who has specialized in helping people build and enhance their relationships for over two decades. If you would like to improve your relationship with yourself, your loved ones or others in your life, reach out to her at chanimaybruch.com.

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