The Beast With Two… Everythings! How to avoid becoming a “We” Monster.
We’ve all been caught up in the whirlwind of emotion when we start dating a new partner. They are endlessly fascinating and endearing. Every spare moment is dedicated to thinking about the texture of their skin, the way they look when they’re concentrating, or what their reaction would be to the article you just read. It’s obvious that your friends will experience it too – they’ll gush and beam, and you’ll hear all about the beloved’s wonderful qualities. That is… if they’re not too busy marvelling at them to see you.
You probably have someone like this in your social group – someone who’s so bowled over by the shiny new object of their affection that they vanish for a while. It’s understandable, but what happens when it goes on too long?
When you’re single or in established routines, it’s easy to make time to see friends and spread a support network across plenty of people. You know roughly what’s going on in advance and can arrange to meet for dinner, drinks, or quiet nights in. After the initial period of immersion in their new relationship, you’d hope that a friend you previously saw often would want to resume a similar level of intimacy. They’re still the same person, after all, and nothing else has changed!
As we grow, a lot of us find that romantic attachments wax and wane, but firm friendships have lasted the test of time. When you go from evenings ΰ deux poring over the minutiae of your lives to finding that you’re far lower on their list of priorities than you thought, it hurts. Maybe you are even at risk of doing this to your own friends. Here are some ways to check yourself:
- What’s the nature of an event? A night in the pub might seem like a fairly open invitation, but perhaps it was meant to be a catch up one on one. Check before you respond with “We’re free that night!”
- Do you have separate interests from your partner? It might seem like the perfect match to meet someone who’s also into dancing classes, sushi restaurants AND book fairs, but try not to abandon your original buddy, invite them along. Don’t stop pursuing your own interests, either.
- Remember what you get from each individual. Do you have a colleague who understands your work pressures like no one else? Does someone make you laugh uncontrollably, always offer a non judgemental ear or make you feel comfortable letting your hair down? Even though the desire to let a love interest be your default need-fulfiller is strong and natural, it’s healthy to rely on more than one person. The chances are, your friends have plenty that they love and admire about you, and they’ll be grateful to have more of you in their lives.
This post was written by a RWL Guest Blogger – Clarabelle describes herself as a “daft teenager trapped in a 30-something’s body”. She sells vintage clothing, adores charity shops and doesn’t shave her ‘pits.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
I know when I moved to London, away from all my family and without a large group of friends, my husband and I became a singular unit – very much living in each other's pockets and doing everything as a unit. And much as I was happy to have my life centre around him I realise it wasn't entirely healthy. Now, I'm trying to pick up interests, go out and do things that don't involve him, an encourage him to do the same. Tricky though, and I have to check myself from talking about him too much when he's not there π
This is one of those articles that are really difficult to put out there publicly; but are both so important and so good. This is a tricky subject; I know a lot of people who think that the 'We Monster' is a blessed gift to those lucky enough to have found their special match, and to not spend every moment with said person is a travesty. I don't mean to sound like I'm trivializing it; I too have been guilty of this, usually much to my own shame later.
I think it's really important though to get out there (as you've done) that it's okay to not be a We Monster, and further, you might be damaging your other relationships by doing so. Thank you for saying the hard stuff! Loads of respect. π
Maggie Bob; I TOTALLY sympathize with you on this one. I too moved to London from overseas with my partner and spent a large portion of time attached to his side because there really was no one else. Moving to another country where you don't know anyone is so very hard. π It sounds like you're doing a really awesome job of getting out there and finding a community though. Trust me, when you find it, it'll make all the difference. π
That's so true that it can be tricky to meet new people when you move somewhere new. Taking up a hobby and/or going to classes can help you meet new people. I also did a bit of meeting up with folk I chat to on Twitter. It's nice to have people who are “my friends” rather than “our friends”. It's also good to go along to things even if your partner can't make it. Feels weird at first, but it's a different experience even if it's people you've known for ages.
I like being “me” rather than “us”, but I can understand how it might be tricky for some people. After all, we're not all the same π
Maggie, I know what you mean! I found it a challenge to meet new people after both a break up and 18 months away traveling. Even though I am now living with someone I love the fact that we have different interests. It definitely feels good to know that he is happy to do his own thing and have his own life when I go out with friends.
Maybe when I was younger and less confident I would have tried to get involved with some of C's interests to feel closer to him, these days I don't feel the need. Plus, I really love that having more than one person to turn to means that my friends have so many different perspectives and qualities. I love it, I really appreciate them π
…and to reply to Allie – I think we've ALL done it! I just remember how bereft I felt when I realised that I had built an entire world around something that didn't last, and how little was left of it for me. I wasn't happy, it didn't help me in the long run. I know some people are really lucky and it works, and they get everything they need… to each their own, but I wish I had had the strength to let my own needs & personality be a benefit to the relationship.
@Clarabelle — Yes yes yes to the whole 'building your whole world around someone' thing. That's a brutal life lesson right there. π