Being in a relationship can bring many joys, but it can also complicate aspects of your life that you’re not used to giving much thought to. Spending time with friends outside of your relationship suddenly requires a little more intentionality and effort, and you should be willing to keep up with the people whom you care about.
There is an inherent excitement in romantic relationships, especially new ones. All of a sudden your life looks a little different, and you’re enamored with a new person who seems to understand you like no one ever before. You’re consumed with thoughts of date nights and long talks, and a constant desire to spend just one more hour together. Or maybe your relationship isn’t brand new, and you’ve been together for a while, and you’re just more comfortable with your partner than with anyone else. The ease of time spent together, and conversations had is unparalleled, and being with this person is just different than being around anyone else.
While these are all great things about romantic relationships, your friendships are still important and should not be left to fall to the wayside. Not only are your friendships good for both you and the success of your relationship, the relationships you have with others affect other people who deserve to be more than afterthoughts.
The Value of Outside Opinions
If nothing else, your friends and family are valuable places to turn to for advice and assistance regarding all of your problems, both those in your everyday life as well as those in your relationship. When times get tough with your significant other, having other places to turn for advice can be both comforting and helpful. Gaining real insight into your relationship from those who love you and have your best interests at heart can be crucial in helping you solve problems or see your struggles in a different light.
Gaining real insight into your relationship from those who love you and have your best interests at heart can be crucial.
The Strength Your Friendships Give to Your Relationship
In addition to objective advice that your friends can give you, spending time with others, both as an individual and as a couple, can strengthen your relationship. While spending time with your partner is great, we all need time and relationships that are separate from our romantic ones.
Having friends as an individual allows you to explore other opinions, topics of conversation, and aspects of life that you may not always to get to partake in with your partner. Your groups of girlfriends will have many different insights and takeaways from the same situation that your boyfriend might, and the variety of opinions and conversations that come from those differences makes you a more well-rounded person.
Spending time with others, both as an individual and as a couple, can strengthen your relationship.
Having "couple friends" is essential as well, and the importance of this grows as your relationship gets longer and more serious. As relationships become more serious, so do the issues and struggles that arise. That’s not to say that serious relationships are inherently difficult and bad, I mean quite the opposite.
As things become more serious, the stakes get higher and the experiences you and your partner have together begin to take on a much more serious nature. Although these situations often lead to deeper love and understanding, they can also lead to more opportunities for tense feelings in difficult situations. Having friends who know both you and your partner and are aware of some of the dynamics of your relationship can again provide outside advice to help you through conflict or trying times.
Your Friends Are Not Afterthoughts
Most importantly, your friends are people too. Chances are that some, if not most, of your friends have been around for a while and have probably stuck with you through some of your best and worst times. They’ve been there to share in your successes and pick you up when things are tough. Blowing them off because you’re suddenly in a relationship is unhealthy and hurtful, in addition to not being advantageous for you or them.
Your friends are more than just the value they provide you with, they have feelings of their own that should be prioritized and respected. While you certainly gain something by being their friend, they too gain something by being yours. They need your advice and care as well, and the last thing you should want to do, rather intentionally or not, is flake on them because you’re in a relationship.
Blowing off your friends because you’re suddenly in a relationship is unhealthy and hurtful.
This makes it appear as though you only want or need them when you aren’t invested in a romantic relationship. While it's important to prioritize and nurture your romantic relationship, doing so at the expense of your friendships or other relationships is not the right tactic to take. People are meant to be loved and respected, and it's important to give an appropriate amount of time and attention to those in your life whom you care about in order to show them they are loved and respected - not just for what they provide you with in particular seasons of your life, but for who they are as individuals.
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