People often ask me if “things have changed” since my husband and I got married last year. And I don’t really know how to answer them. Because while not that much has changed in our relationship, a shit ton has changed in our lives. Well, actually, a shit ton has changed in my life.
See, before we got married, I was very social. Three-four nights a week included cocktails with girlfriends, boozy dinners, sometimes staying out late at house parties, and once in a while, smoking tons of weed. On weekends, yoga, shopping and pedis were often involved. My iCal was a sea of drinks, dinners, brunches and parties. Some nights I stayed up talking and laughing with friends until 4 am. On a weeknight!
Notice how I am saying “I” and not “we” when I am talking about all of these events? That’s because my now husband, who was always busy in his own right, wasn't with me during most of these nights out. No, I wasn’t sneaking around hiding my secret party girl life from him. We are simply different people who often enjoy doing different things. Without each other.
Don’t get me wrong: We really, really like each other. I swear. We just don't always agree the definition of "fun." And instead of fighting about our differences, we have a saying: "You do you." When I wanted to go out, I would go. If he wanted to stay home, he stayed. Though we were more than happy with this arrangement, and I actually think our marriage is better for it, my friendships seemed to be suffering.
After our vows were exchanged, thank you notes sent, and the honeymoon pictures were posted onto Facebook, my friends kind of ... just stopped calling.
The single friends that were always around during the engagement period kind of tapered off. Even when I called them to make plans, it wasn't as easy to just get together for some reason. And my girlfriends who were in couples started have weird rules where they could only hang out without their significant other one specific night a week.
I started getting really depressed. Nobody was asking me to do anything anymore. Aside from one night when I drank six tequilas with my most awesome girls night girlfriend (who has been married for 100 years) and came home at 3 am, I was pretty much watching TV and going to bed at 10 pm. Snooze.
(Note: I refuse to blame my husband for this because if I don’t let his less social life hold me back, I really don’t it’s fair for other people to either.)
When I couldn’t find any Internet literature to solve my problem (save this Amy Sacco article from 2005), I started complaining to everyone I knew.
"Did I miss the memo?" I asked one of my friends, who as new mom, I thought might be able to relate. "Do married people not have friends?"
“Well who are your couple friends?” she asked.
That’s when it hit me. I did miss the memo. Couple friends? I hate couples and couple-y things. Something about watching my friends morph into completely different people just because somebody they happen to be in a relationship is around gives me the creeps. Plus, I have a hard enough time finding people I like ... now I am supposed to also like who they like? I do not expect anyone to do this for me.
Call me naive, but I was completely unprepared for the marriage law that says in order to have a social life, you must join the couples cult, doing all social activities in pairs, and ensuring boys and girls never mix unless their spouse is there to keep watch over them.
"I'm not becoming a couples person" I said to a friend when I went to visit her (by myself) in L.A.
"Sorry, but nobody wants a single lady hanging around," was her response.
Even though I completely disagree (I love my single friends -- they are the fun ones), and even though I'm obviously not single, I knew what she meant. I was a free radical, floating around alone, threatening to wreak havoc on the perfectly wrapped relationships around me.
Those hazy late night parties starting becoming more clear, as I looked back, remembering how people were always asking where my better half was. I used to brush them off. “We aren't attached!” I would brag, swilling a third glass of wine. “We do our own thing!”
Sometimes the reaction was "Cool!" Usually the response I got, though, was that the vagina half of the couple would grab her penis half a little bit closer and give me a look of pity mixed with fear. What was this? 1820 or whenever women needed male escorts (not those kind) in order to leave the house?
Any other couple-averse marrieds out there want to weigh in on this? Has this happened to you? I know being friends with other couples wouldn't kill me, it just doesn't seem like something that should be forced. Have any of you successfully navigated a social life post-marriage?