Thursday, August 9, 2012

The ebb and flow of friendships

Age 49: Day 11
It's 11:56 pm and I am in under the wire in meeting my daily blogging goal. Does writing just this line count? (Only kidding--kind of.)
So.  Friendships. Mine have always been the center of my  life, pretty much from age 7 or so on. Maybe all women feel that way, but I suspect it's more so for me--there's something about being single until age 48 that makes a girl rely on her friends (men come and go and all that...). I've had discussions with people over the years about the search for community--some people seek it in a church or synagogue, some in a shared hobby. Me, I've never felt a lack of community while I've been in New York City because I surrounded myself with such a tight knit group of bookish types who travel with me, laugh with me and have deep talks with me.

And yet. These friendships are changing, I am changing, and the role of friendships in my life is changing, too, though I never thought it would. Because I don't have a child, I never thought that getting married would take away from the emotional energy I devote to friends. Or have always devoted to friends. But now I'm realizing that perhaps I was naive. Because being married does change the role of friendships in my life--at least during this first year. My orientation is moving from friends to husband--and I feel guilty about that sometimes. Or, to be honest, a lot of the time. I always rolled my eyes at women who put men before their friends. I never wanted to be one of those women. But what I'm finding is that my emotional center is moving closer to my husband--and that scares me. My friends have always been my safety net--and I've needed that safety net through health scares, terrible heartbreak, job crises--basically, through day to day life. If I move my reliance from that net, don't tend to it as carefully, will I fall through when I need it again? Is this  just a phase of life, a readjustment that happens when you hit a new milestone (marriage/baby/etc./)? I don't know. But I'm struggling and flip flopping between the need to let this shift-toward-husband-as-best-friend happen and fighting against it. I need my friend insurance, don't I? Is it okay to put your attention elsewhere for a while? You would think I wouldn't be struggling with this at age 49, but when you remain single for years and years, celebrating holidays with friends, going to emergency rooms with friends, flying across time zones with friends, they become your family. So what happens when you're trying to figure out how to forge a new family, of husband and wife? How does everything fit together?

Below, a bevy of buddies singing about me and my husband at our wedding.


  1. Good morning. Hubby here. This is my first comment on this wonderful blog. This radio silence has not been due to lack of interest, but rather to a sense of having more urgent priorities and thinking "I'll catch up on the blog tonight . . ." Well, I've just read the last few days' entries and, as usual love them. Today's especially moved me. The fabulous photo of dear friends singing gustily at our wedding, i.e., at our declaration to the world of our spiritual bonding, brings the feelings of that day back into crystal clarity. Today, days before the first anniversary of that union, I recall an aphorism I oft quoted during our engagement: "Never marry unless you just can't believe your luck". Well, I'm still the luckiest guy around.

  2. That is lovely Randy. Happy Anniversary! We celebrate our 26th on the 24th!
    Paula, you WILL find your balance. I have found that I often have to make choices given our situation of Matt coming and going and having a special needs child. I find that the time he is away can be often be somewhat stressful.. ( as it is just me and Ryan..).. so when Matt comes home I want my time with Matt!!) and when my friends invite me out I want my time with Matt!! That being said... I also get invited to do girl stuff and don't want to leave Ry out either.. It is really difficult to balance my "girl time" with both of "my men". My true friends get it. But sometimes it can get lonely over here. But back to balance. What makes it work for us, is that we have always made it a priority to have together; just us. No matter what. :-)

  3. Randy. So, so sweet. Which is why I married you.

  4. "cupid shot his arrow straight and true--it hit a wasp and then it hit a jew..."
    just who ARE those dear, talented friends anyhow, hmmm? nice to hear you weighing in (though what could possibly be more high priority than reading paula's blog?). you know, this shift is certainly one i struggled with and i think yours is probably complicated by the long-distance-marriage factor. like, if you choose to see friends while you guys are together, then you're losing downtime with each other and if you don't, then you lose out on friend time. you do have your weekday times to yourself, for friends, but i imagine that can also mean you wind up feeling pretty stressed since the whole situation doesn't leave you with much time just to get daily living stuff done. i don't know any simple answers except just trying to adjust over time and kind of going with the shift if that's what's happening for you. it does seem to work out in the end, but can feel strange in the beginning, and take a *lot* of navigating.

  5. WHAT??? thanks nance??? that's all i get? :-)