It’s a common occurrence in new relationships: you’ve found a new love and suddenly your friends take a backseat (or perhaps they’re not even in the car) and you’re seeing them A LOT less. It’s understandable; you’re so in love and can’t get enough of this new person who you find yourself spending all your time with.
Whether you’re the one that’s being pushed aside by a love-struck friend, or find yourself putting your friends on hold for a new love, we can all relate.
Relationship expert and author of “The Friendship Bond”, Dr. Melanie Mills, says while it’s highly common for people who are newly dating to dismiss their scheduled friend time for their new love interest, it’s important to remember your friendships so friends don’t feel slighted.
“We make time for the things that are important to us. You want your friends to know they are still valuable to you and they matter because they still desire your friendship, even though you started dating someone new. You’ve been filling a spot in their life, and they’ve been filling a spot in your life,” says Mills.
The key is to find balance, which may be easier said than done. When you’re trying to balance a new relationship, you need to take into consideration your work schedule, your family demands, and all your other commitments. If you’re normally hanging with friends three-to-five nights a week and then you stop hanging out with them all together and all of a sudden, someone is bound to get hurt.
Mills recommends considering your ratio.
“If you’re used to spending evenings with your friends but you want to spend evenings with the new boyfriend because he works during the day, try carving out coffee, lunch or weekend brunch time with your friends. There’s a way to manage keeping your friends in your life so that not everyone is feeling left out because of this fabulous new boyfriend or girlfriend of yours,” she says.
Friendships can often be taken for granted especially if we think our friends will be accepting of the fact that we’re not seeing them as much because we’re in LOVE. However, friendships are just as valuable—if not, more so—as our new, romantic relationship. When we have a new boyfriend or girlfriend, we might think that we now have everything we need, but the reality is, you still need what your friends and friendships have to offer.
“One of the best things about friendship is the bond we create. When we don’t spend time with one another, we aren’t cultivating the bonds that make us feel more secure in life, more loved and valued,” says Mills.
NOT dropping everything for a new boyfriend or girlfriend may even work to our advantage within that new relationship.
Dr. Mills says, “When we don’t drop everything for someone else, it shows that we still keep our commitments, despite dating someone new. Our new flame sees that we have a life and that we care about our friends, work and other passions.”
Remember that you’re going to date a lot of people and while a new, romantic relationship may not last a lifetime, you’re going to have friendships that will.