This is one where it will be irrelevant.
So let's talk about marriage.
It's really funny, with all the pressure there is to get married (check), to have a wedding (especially that it should be a GOOD wedding), to do all the "right" things like buying a house (check), a nice car (check), a college degree (check) or two (in progress), and have kids (future plans), how isolating these things suddenly become. How much they segment us from each other.
Hilariously, even with this being my second marriage, I am still the only one in my immediate friend circle that is married, and honestly, I'm about the only one even in a long-term relationship. I have some people in the secondary friend ring that are married or in long-term relationships, and perhaps I should reach out more to those people, but that's not exactly my point here. I laugh every time I see people complaining on facebook about how "all my friends are married or have kids." Only a portion of my friends are one or both of those things. And my best friends cannot seem to relate to my position in life at this point. And it's beginning to isolate me, it seems.
My best friend Katherine told me something beautiful once, that Alan & I are what everyone else strives for. With all the struggle that Alan & I face with each other, I have to admit I think we really do have something unique and special. So when someone else tells me that we are a goal that others reach for, it makes me feel good about us and about what we do for our friends. I hope with a large part of my being that we make a good example of a solid relationship. No partnership, platonic, business, or romantic, is without turbulence and strife, but we work hard to love and respect one another.
But now it begins to isolate me a bit. I remember bits of this when X and I were married/engaged, and it's coming back now, but sometimes I worry that people think "Oh now that they're married, things are different," and it feels like we're not as relevant as we were even a few months ago before we were married. I don't actually think people are actively excluding us, but sometimes I feel like things have still changed. I can't even totally put my finger on it.
And in the process of trying to make new friends, I feel like my marriage is somehow tainting others' view of me as well. I am in my Master's program now, and I am struggling to make any connections with my fellow classmates. I have made attempts to hang out or go to social functions, but I kind of feel like it hasn't made a difference. They all post to Facebook about cool things they are doing together, and I feel like maybe I'd get invited out once in a while if I was single still. I don't want to be single, but I do desperately want a relationship with the people I'll be sharing classes with for the next two years. I was repeatedly told what good friends I would gain from this experience, and it's not to say there aren't people I really enjoy being around or who haven't been incredibly kind and reached out to me, but I still feel isolated. One of my classmates suggested it was because I am married, while agreeing that it is a stupid reason to not be included. And I know that I can't force friendships, and I cannot make people love or even like me. But seeing as I spend so much time with them, I want to feel like I belong with them.
And with so many new changes around me, not just my personal changes, but some of the changes in my other friends' lives, changes in their relationships with me and with each other, I feel my role in their lives diminishing. I feel unneeded and obtrusive. My concern has begun to feel unwanted, when before it had been so welcomed. It is hard to adjust to being someone else in the eyes of your friends, and I genuinely wonder how much my marriage has to do with that. Or my continued education. Or any other number of factors that are changing around me. But it feels like I am losing my grip these days. I thought I had all this turmoil from May under control, but it keeps rearing its ugly head to remind me. Much like the scar on my leg, I very much doubt it will ever truly abate. A constant reminder of a failure I should have seen coming.
Marriage is an amazing thing. If you ask me how married life is, often I will smile and say great, because it is. Alan proves, now more than ever before, how much he loves me and believes in me. He has really worked hard to try and provide stability in all my flux and emotional breakdowns. I have never believed more in another human being than I do in him, and I have never believed more in a relationship in my life than I do now. But Alan cannot be everything for me. No one can. That is why we form friendships, why we have different friends, different types of friends! Because we have needs in our social lives that no one person can fulfill. Your married friends still need you to be their friend. They still need you to have the same ear to listen and shoulder to laugh and cry on as before! Maybe even more than before. As I am adjusting to so many new things, I need my best friends more than I ever did before. And I want them to continue to come to me for whatever they are dealing with as well. I never feel better than I do when I am helping a friend, by listening, giving advice, or just being there. If I can do that for people, I feel like I can handle anything else. But the sudden lack of need for me is making me feel less than capable I guess.
I had hoped to make a point out of all this blather, and I hope that you got one from it. I suppose the point is, that no matter what changes your friends' lives are going through, it is likely that it is still important for friends to come around and continue their relationships as before. Change doesn't mean changing friends, it means needing a little extra support from your friends to make that adjustment. So if your friends are going through a change, don't just assume you're not needed anymore, assume you're needed more than ever.