are we still friends?

I’m in a difficult place. I’m the only one of my friends in this stage of a relationship. A handful are married, a few are pregnant, and the rest are supremely single. As in, go-out-on-the-town, party-it-up and pick-up-guys, single. I’m so far past that stage, it makes me feel old. On a Friday night I would rather enjoy a nice, calm dinner with Dan or hang out with Noah. But most of my friends don’t seem to get it, which makes things very difficult.

On top of them not understanding this new place in my life, many make me feel guilty about the fact that I don’t see them as much. So to appease my friends I’m fitting a lot into my social calendar, not much of which actually includes Dan. This has been straining us a little – partly because I’m exhausted ALL THE TIME and partly because when I’m out he’s typically at home, alone.

When I do hang out with my friends I feel that they won’t let me grow. I’m maturing and changing – for the better – thanks to Dan. That’s what happens in a relationship. But again, my single friends don’t seem to understand. I almost find myself having more fun with Dan’s friends because they don’t know me and can’t judge how I’ve changed. They don’t stuff me in a box and sit on the lid.

For example: Dan and I looked at rings a few weeks ago (yay!). For months we had talked about engagement rings and how to best accomplish a compromise about the style and design. Dan is very artsy and nontraditional favoring almost organic rings. I am more traditional and want my engagement ring to look like an engagement ring – but that does not necessitate a huge rock, just a centerpiece and clean design.

We settled on something resembling this: (though imagine it with a smaller cell, champaign diamond and silver band)

cellRing18KR-14KR

Custom ring by EC Design in Minneapolis

I shared a picture of this ring with my best friend from high school and she questioned whether I was really getting what I want from the relationship or just giving in to make Dan happy – something she and I have been guilty of in the past. I had to assure her that I fight for what I want, and this ring is a great compromise between Dan and me. I am very excited about the designer and what Dan and I have come up with for our wedding set!

Eventually the ring conversation with my high school best friend led to a greater conversation about how I feel with our group of friends. Luckily it ended well with her, and she truly is a good friend who is trying to understand. However, she’s closer to the same stage in her relationship.

Either way, progressing in a relationship is as much a growing period for friends as it is for the couple in the relationship. How do you make it work out best for everyone? Who has to give?

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