Are you caught up in a new relationship? Has your humdrum existence been enlivened by late weeknights laying in bed and giggling, or gazing into the eyes of a magical creature? Do you find yourself stunned by the creature’s beauty, dazed by the fact that you’ve found just the right person? Do you spend Sunday mornings making coffee for two, arranging artful piles of the paper on your coffee table and reading with your head on your beloved’s lap and your feet in a sunbeam? Have you forgotten what your friends look like? Congratulations, you’re on Relationship Island!
Relationship Island is a special place, full of wonderment and personal discovery and things you and your intended have in common. It is a magical land that you and your new object of affection create together, and for that it is very special. There is nothing more exciting than learning new things about someone you happen to be sleeping with. You get to spend your days luxuriating in wondrous discoveries – like your shared preference for Western omelets and strong iced coffee. You spend your nights having vigorous and passionate sex, collapsing in a love-spent heap. You are living your best life! Shout it from the rooftops! Use caution though, newly-boo’ed up. Because your uncoupled friends might feel just a smidge of vacation envy. Here are a few reasons why your single friends might not be totally feeling your new love affair and some tips for how to avoid alienating the people who always have your back.
1. What’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Listen, we are genuinely and truly happy for you that you’re in a new relationship, because we love you and we want the best for you. This is how friendships work. We celebrate your successes and we buy you a beer and a sandwich when you are down, and get accidentally Saturday drunk on a Tuesday and talk frankly about work, life, and anything else that is on our minds. Because of the nature of friendships, it’s easy to see how a waiting Gchat window turns into a yawning, 8-hour monologue on the different kinds of plaid shirts your beloved owns, and the relative merits of each. This doesn’t always work for us.
Instead of telling your single friends every single thing about every single second of your days with this new person, try sharing only the most important things with your friends. Did he do something really nice for you the other day? Did he do something really awful? Definitely tell us. We will commiserate, and are more than willing to tell you straight up how good or bad he really is. This is where we excel. This is what friends are for. Friendships are many things, but they are the best kind of sounding boards, and are able to provide a fresh perspective on weird relationship things that you can’t quite see, because you’re so in it. Tell your friends these kinds of things and save the cutesy stories about how he walked 25 blocks to find you coral-colored roses for your diary, or your cat.
2. Chicks before dicks. The nature of Relationship Island is that it is constructed for a finite amount of time. It exists so that you can fully relish in the newness of your boo thing. You pack a bag to go to the Island, and it’s a socially acceptable phenomenon that everyone understands. However, it’s key to remember who was there from the start — yep, it’s us! Your friends! And we will be here when you return from the Island.
Instead of disappearing from your normal pre-relationship life, try making time for your friends outside of your new relationship. Get a drink, go get dinner, have an afternoon that is just friend time. As a single person dealing with their best friend entering a new relationship, there’s nothing shittier than feeling expendable — and that’s what an extended stay on the Island does to the people you’re closest to. Make time to hang out with them without the person you’re seeing. It will go a long way.
3. It’s kind of annoying. I will be real — listening to someone prattle on and on about the person they’re dating is tolerable for 15 to 20 minutes at a time before it becomes irrelevant and boring. It’s not like we are not interested in your relationship — we are, because it’s good for you! — but the daily bulletin of Things My Schmoopy Did is tiresome. Why are we so irritated by this? There are multiple reasons, but the main is that we’re kind of disappointed in the new Girlfriend-bot that replaced the person that used to be our friend.
Try remembering what you and your friends used to talk about — and then talk about it. Revisit those topics. Books? Miley Cyrus? Beyonce’s wig archive? The situation in Syria? The mole on your arm that might be growing, but you’re not sure? These are all topics that are great things to discuss between friends. Try to be aware of when you’re overloading on partner talk.We know it’s hard because we’ve been there — when you’ve just started seeing someone and there are still stars in your eyes, it’s perfectly natural to want to talk about this all the time because it’s what you’re thinking about. Just know that it’s Relationship Island talking, and try to make an effort to talk about something other than your relationship. Your friends will be relieved that you haven’t been replaced by a love robot, and your friendship will flourish.