18 June 2012

When your single friends start dating

By: Jessica B.

I was actually going to title this, “the third wheel syndrome,” or “how to play nice with your friend’s boyfriend,” but decided to focus on something else, ha.

I’m in the “second wave” of friends getting married or meeting mates and my “first wave” friends are on baby #2 already, whoa. That first wave hit in my early 20s and now in my early 30s, the second wave is coming ashore.

But the second go around is more difficult, especially when you stay single.

The biggest mistake I made in wave one, which I partially blame on maturity, was that I didn’t want things with my friends who were dating/getting married to change.

And when your single friends’ status changes, inevitably, so does the friendship.

What changes? Well, depending how close you are, you don’t get as much girlfriend time because she now shares her time with someone else too. And keeping that balance can be tough because sometimes, she has to choose, you, him or her own time and you might not be the pick.

But that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

This time around, I’m learning from my past mistakes and realizing that to keep my friendship, I have to embrace the boyfriend or husband. That means inviting him along to events, or always planning on a +1 with her because it’s not just her anymore.

I would rather be the third wheel and include my friend’s beaus or spouses than lose spending time with them. And as happy as I am for them, the adjustment of stepping back a bit sucks. That’s just honest.

But losing people I care about due to that suckiness, is even worse.

Have you found that your friendships have changed for better or worse when their relationship status’ change?


  1. jaime says:

    Great post! I just am in the 1st wave – last year & this year – and hopefully I will be part of the 2nd wave…it’s definitely a change in friendship but I have tried to keep it positive and not dwell on the negatives of the change. It can be tough though. I do tend to include their hubbys in everything too. Sometimes I don’t mind being the “third wheel” haha.

  2. it is a hard. i can’t think of the last time i saw my best friend alone. it doesn’t help that we don’t live too close to each other so usually i end up seeing andy too. he is wonderful but sometimes you just want to girl chat like we are 16 and you can’t with a fiancee around!

    but yea i’ve just learned to adapt and realize there will be less girl time and more time with fiancees and husbands as we all don’t live as close as we used to!

  3. allison says:

    hmmmmm. Actually as I think of the ones I’m closest to, it hasn’t really changed at all. I will gladly be the third wheel.

  4. Alison took the words right out of my mouth. Some friends distance themselves at the dating, marriage and baby stages. Especially being pregnant, some friends (even our “couple” friends) forget about us and assume we aren’t going to want to do anything. Hey, we still need to eat! :)

  5. S, says:

    You post reminded me that I need to RSVP to a wedding…

  6. Alison says:

    Something that was disappointing for me was how quickly my friends seemed to step back when I started dating someone. I wouldn’t want to completely give up my social life for a new guy, but they would assume I would be busy, and not even tell me about things. I felt so isolated, and it really freaked me out about that particular relationship.

    I wish my friends would have been more welcoming, so I think you are doing the right thing!

  7. Depends on the friend, for me. Right now I feel like I’m in my own little world, so I don’t feel crazy close to any of my girlfriends. It’s not intentional that I’m always home…I’m just really busy. I think right now I’m adjusting to all the married folk. It’s been hard to maintain those friendships just because those gals are busy planning their special day. My closest friend is single and I feel like even though our lives look different in some ways, our heart’s desires are similar enough to keep us together. And while I appreciate her acceptance of CB, I wouldn’t expect for her to hang out with the both of us just so she can see me from time to time. Maybe I’m weird, but while I love him, I crave my alone time with my friends. So I think it takes compromise on both sides.