Monday, June 11, 2012

Dating Again


By the time I got engaged, I figured I was pretty much finished with dating forever.  When I got married a year later, I was sure of it.  Then our life together started.

Don't you wish it was this easy sometimes?
Last week, I wrote about moving being another adjustment to make on top of all the other new experiences of newlywed life.  I discovered that with a new stomping ground, I needed to make new friends, but it's something I imagine lots of brides experience even if they're relatively in the same place after their wedding day.  That's not to say that you abandon all your longtime friends as soon as you get married, but what I noticed is that suddenly lots of married couples want to hang out with you, at least partly by virtue of the fact that you're married, too.

For us, it really did feel like we were "dating" these other couples- some you hit it off with right away, some you feel awkward around, some love sushi just like you, some hate your favorite board game...isn't it funny how there's almost an expectation to have married friends once you're married yourself?  There's definitely something nice about having people to go on double dates with, have a little friendly competition with, and spend one-on-one girl and guy time with, but sometimes it felt so darn hard finding couples we were compatible with.

This is probably starting to sound like an online dating commercial (and believe me, I wished a few times that I could just put out an ad for young, laid-back Catholic friends), but to me, at least, there were so many factors that played into the mix.  Having spent most of the last five years in a bubble of virtuous, holy friends, I was already feeling the adjustment of living in a more secular environment.  That's fine, to an extent--we aren't meant to hide from the world-- but both Andrew and I were hungry for a little more, you know?  Being young and married is kind of a unique state in life, since people our age are all over the map right now milestone-and-vocation-wise, and it's been a challenge to find friends in our area whom we can relate to well.  At daily Mass, the crowd consists mostly of college students and older people, who are perfectly nice, just not exactly on the same page as us.

We didn't really start hanging out with our closest friends whom we met since getting married until a few months ago- like any other friendship, stuff like this takes time, I guess.  We invited them over for dinner, they invited us to become NFP teachers with them, and right away everything was just so simple.  Friendships aren't meant to involve some intensive search or lots of pressure to be a certain way.  They're friends whom we can joke about the weirdest, sometimes most personal things with, have awesome conversations, some theological and others just everyday things, and be vulnerable and honest with- such a gift!

All this said, I don't mean to discredit your friendships with your single friends, at all.  Before my wedding, I was a little nervous that the dynamic with my girlfriends would change for the worse, but if anything, they've gotten even better.  Andrew is my best friend, but no way can he replace my closest girlfriends.  You need someone to be a little extra emotional with, go shopping with, and ask for advice from a woman's perspective.  I feel lucky, too, that several of my close friends have gotten married around the same time as me, and we've been able to grow into our vocations together.  Also, no one's pressuring you to only have married friends from now on- I hope I don't sound like I took all this too seriously, but it was just a bit of a difficulty that was at the front of my mind for a while.  Do what you both feel like, and know that new friends come with time.  Consider it an invitation!

Have any of you experienced the same kinds of friendship challenges?

3 comments:

  1. We have definitely been experiencing some friendship challenges. We haven't found any young, married, Catholic couples in our area, but we are trying to start a young adult's group at our church. It's tough not having another married couple with similar values to hang out with!

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    Replies
    1. It really is hard, but that's awesome! I'll say a prayer for you guys!

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  2. You're singing our song. Miss you both :)

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