When you have fallen in love it is so easy (and amazing) to get lost in a dreamy bubble of spending every single second together. Don’t get me wrong, the beginning of a relationship is enchanting and exactly what spending a life together should look like in the future.
In reality, the honeymoon stage is not meant to last your entire life – and no matter how loved-up you may be, it’s really important to remember to value the friends and family who have had your back long before that special someone walked through the door. You don’t want to be that couple that has no friends in the future – and you don’t want to be that person that doesn’t make an effort with the other important people in their life!
It’s all about balance, and here’s how to make it work.
How many real friendships do you have? By real I mean the ride-or-die friends that have been there forever, and will be there forever. I bet you can only count them on one hand. These people are special and deserve your effort. You don’t get repeat real friendships in your life.
Take a look at your closest friendships – do they know how much you value them? If they are true friends, your answer will already be yes, as you know they will always be there. But do they see how much you value them?
No matter what they will be happy to see you happy. But when you enter a new relationship, whether it is week four or the end of the first year, you need to make an effort to account for the support and love they gift you, as the friendship dynamic is bound to change.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking minute with them (like you did when you were single, remember). It’s all about quality over quantity: If you are feeling a little disconnected from your friendship group, don’t comment on the group chat, plan for a weekend away (without your partner). If your friend is going through a breakup or a tough time at work, don’t just call on your lunch break, take time to spend a whole night with them to talk it out. If it is your friend’s birthday, make the effort to be there, no matter what. It is simple really – don’t assume they know you care, show them you do.
Family are the people that are going to be in your life, your whole life, no matter what. You are stuck with them, and you are stuck with how much they love you, whether you are close knit or not. The fact is, we are all guilty of taking our familial relationships for granted – because you know they will always be there. The thing is, that is exactly the point. They are always going to be there – they are the most important relationships you should value in your life.
When you are in your initial love bubble, it is easy to fall into a pattern of spending a lot of time with your partner’s family, as (naturally) you seek to impress, connect, and discover more about them. Remember that your family matters too! Take some time to have coffee with your mom, without your partner. Go on a walk with your sister, and talk about her love life. Spend some time with your dad, whether you are gardening or driving him somewhere, and make an effort to call your brother for a long chat about his life.
Time is a fragile, precious thing. Time with your family even more so. Yes, the person you are in a relationship with may become your family one day, but for now it is vital to include those who have loved you your whole life in your next chapter. They truly matter! And you don’t get a do-over.
Your relationship is bliss! You are in love! All is good here, honey. The thing to keep in mind is that your friends and family know this – and I bet you a million dollars they are over the moon for you. If you feel like the other people in your life may be slipping a little in comparison to your little love bubble, take some time to communicate that feeling with your partner. They may be feeling exactly the same way!
Take a look at their life – if it seems they are slipping too, you can both decide to make more of an effort with others together. If you take a look at their life and it seems you are the one putting all the effort into their friends and family, while yours are falling at the wayside, that is another discussion you need to have with them.
If they are the one, they will understand and help to make a change for both of you – after all, one day these special people will be a huge part of their life, too.
It’s a balancing act!