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How do I develop friendships as part of a couple?

Published: January 8, 2013 | Last Updated: January 9, 2013 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
You can’t always count on your spouse to develop friendships as part of a couple. You may have to do it alone.

QUESTION

I am 51 and still trying to find a best friend, as sad as that sounds. Don’t get me wrong I have work acquaintances with whom I have gone out with on occasion but no one I would call for a weekend movie or coffee or to whom I would tell my “darkest secrets.” I only wish.

My deepest confidante passed away of leukemia. I still find myself outgoing, amusing to be around but, like many of you, cannot link with that one person. I don’t know what it is about me either.

My husband, the great supporter that he is seems to think that he should be more than enough. But when that retirement day comes and the boys have finished University and have left home, and I am left with my garden and history books—and my husband with the dog and mathematics books – our conversation is going to be limited.

Where do you draw up a friend? Life is lonely as it is, without true friends it will only get lonelier. Don’t you think that as a couple you both have to get out there and develop friendships? One just can’t do it alone.

ANSWER

There is no set guide for how to handle friendships within the context of marriage and, as you have gathered from reading other posts here, your situation in terms of not having a best friend is a common one as women age.

1) It seems like you can’t rely on your husband for making friendships outside your marriage; you seem to be far more interested than he is in forming relationships with other couples. If this is the case, you can try coaxing him into getting involved with other couples (e.g. neighbors or people who work at his workplace or yours). But I suspect that in your case, the responsibility for friend-finding may totally fall on you. And be forewarned, it can even be more difficult to find four personalities that mesh than to find one close friend.

If you do find one or more couples with whom you are both compatible, perhaps you can also begin to see the female partner alone, too.

2) If your husband isn’t interested in getting together with other couples and is happy being with you and the dog, working, and reading mathematics books, tell him that you love his company but also feel the need for female friendships. This may be totally fine with him. And you CAN do it alone if you set your mind to it!

3) It’s sad to lose a close friend with whom you had a long shared history. People like that are hard to replace. Perhaps, you may need more than one person to fill that gap, or you may need to start with far more casual relationships until one of them deepens.

It’s great that you have started thinking about this before your retirement. Can you find a gardening club or other group that shares some of your interests? That might be a fertile place to plant the seeds for new friendships. Or, can you join a social group that intrigues you enough? Do you have any interest in joining a gym?

My suggestion would be for you to take more initiative in making friendships happen for you. Even though you may have a wonderful hubby, having close friends will undoubtedly enrich your life.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene


Here are some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about couples and their friendships that may be of interest to you:

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Category: MAKING FRIENDS

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  1. Dr Brian Gersho | How Do I Develop Friendships as Part of a Couple? | January 26, 2013
  1. I understand how hard it can be to find a best friend, when it seems so easy and natural to make friends. Best friendships, in my experience, have happened over shared experiences, over several years, organically. But it doesn’t mean that a another best friend doesn’t await around the corner. I think the trick is to meet as many people as possible and to try to meet people outside of the comfort zone or settings you are used to seeing them. You might find more and more things in common or you might find a mutual understanding. The more and more two people hang out, the more likely they are to converse about intimate subject matters. I also wouldn’t try to look for a best friend but focus more on making more close friends. It’s better to have a larger circle of close intimate friends than just the one person to carry such an emotional responsibility.

  2. introvert says:

    I’m an introvert so it seems like it’s extra hard for me to make friends. My wife is an extrovert and she is always wanting to go to dinner parties and the like, but I never seem to get any friends from them.

  3. Sheryl says:

    I think it’s so hard to develop friendships as a couple – there are so many interactions that have to click. Both women, both men, each man with each woman…complicated.

    I, too, lost my best friends to illness in their 40s. I was devastated beyond measure and thought I’d never have another friend like them. It took a while, but I have, since then, met amazing women who have become close friends. Maybe it’s timing…maybe I was open and ready for it to happen. Not sure. But I do know that it’s possible.

    And I, like Amy, am also a cancer survivor. And I agree with her when she says you can find different things in different people that might fulfill your needs for closeness. I’ve found that to be very true. Not often can one person be everything to another.

    Good luck; I hope you will find some fulfilling friendships!

  4. Suzannah says:

    At the end of the day, I truly think that a quote I read recently summoned friendship up very well…(I am going off my memory here, bear with me!)..
    If you go out looking for a friends, you may fiind them very scarce..but if you go out looking to be a friend, you will find many- Zig Ziggler(?)
    So anytime you bump into any lady who has friend potential, Be friendly- mention getting coffee or a margaurita…ask about their lives, ect…
    I know you already know all that! I would leave the hubby out of, he sounds like my husband, he is just not very concerned about friends, where I get energy from having fun with a girlfriend..
    Funny how the simplest solution can feel very difficult to implement with life most common problems…Liking Finding friends or losing weight!

  5. Amy says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about losing your friend. I’m a cancer survivor and I’ve lost several close friends this way.
    I think friends enhance other relationships, including marriage, because they bring diverse experiences and opinions into your life, which you can share in those relationships. I’m not sure the “best friend” concept is as applicable at our age as it was when we were younger, simply because our lives are more complicated with work, kids, aging parents, significant other etcetera.
    Many of us have learned to getting part s of that best friend experience from different people. I’ve got one friend who understands everything about the darker aspects of my life and I understand hers, but we rarely socialize together outside of lunches, because our other interests are polar opposite. I have a great shopping friend, but our conversations are more superficial. I’ve got some relationships where I’m more mentor than friend, etc.
    If you can find a little best friend experience in different people, including your spouse, you might not long for the best friend experience of yore.

  6. B Sherman says:

    I suggest joining the Soroptomists. I joined recently, and have really enjoyed meeting friendly, lovely women in the club. I also enjoy the humanitarian work the club does – it’s very fulfilling.

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