Dear Carolyn: Any tips on dealing with feelings of … well, not to sound dramatic, but … abandonment, now that all of my girlfriends are hitched? I know we’ll always be in each other’s lives, but it’s so painful to realize their need for me has diminished, while my need for them has remained the same. I don’t mean to imply that once you’re married, you don’t need anyone else in your life. But I do think it’s reasonable to say your focus becomes building a life/home/family with your spouse, and that friends are just not as big a part of your focus as they used to be. I’m happy for them, trying to stay positive, etc. But I feel so sad and scared about it, too. Any ideas? – Left Behind
Had you or any one of your friends undertaken a dramatic career change; become caregiver to an ailing parent; added a second job to make ends meet; made a long-hoped-for move into the city/out to the sticks/back to home turf; or whatever; then there would be the same change in focus and reallocation of time. These are all common life turns.
That all your friends just took the same turn does make things harder (and a bit suspect, too, since it does strain credulity that most people, conveniently, just happen to find their soul mates between the ages of 18 and 32. So if your real fear is that you’re not next, please don’t worry).
But it doesn’t change the fact of change. Life moves people around. It takes some away.
And it brings some back, when a few of these follow-the-herd marriages succumb to their own expectations.
And it brings new ones. While anything new will require more effort – and feel sometimes like a discouraging chore, like having to buy a brand new bike because the brand new bike you bought two weeks ago just got stolen – these old friends were new once, too. That alone sounds like cause to be, if not positive, then at least open to what comes up next.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend seriously dislikes my sister; nothing will change his opinion that she is a spoiled brat. And she does have her moments, but she is my best friend and will always be a significant part of my daily life.
Should I even attempt to get him to see her finer points (she has no problem with him, but senses he doesn’t really like her), or deal with the tension? – Stuck in the Middle
He shouldn’t have to sit through a tutorial on her finer points when he’s made it clear he doesn’t see any – nor should you have to endure his being too petulant to be civil.
You’re a couple. You care about each other. That means he tries to like her for your sake – meaning, he sees her as the spoiled brat who gives you something you value above almost all else. If he wants you, he gets your sister, too, and he needs to figure that out.
And it means that you, for his sake, don’t force your sister on him.
And it means that if neither of you is willing to yield that much to the other, it’s good to find that out now.
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