Does your partner hang out with friends too much? We know there is a fine line between balancing your relationship and your friends. “Too much” of anything can become toxic for you, no matter what the emotional value might be behind your actions. Case in point, there’s this one thing that we keep on hearing, not just as relationship coaches but also as a friend who people like to confide in. That is what we would like to share with you in this article today!
We are referring to the issue that arises when your partner starts to hang out with friends too much, therefore neglecting your marriage or relationship in the process. Some people think it can get challenging, even impossible, to balance all their life’s aspects when they enter a relationship. However, while it does take time to adjust your social, personal, and work life together, there is no rocket science behind giving each sector of your life an adequate amount of time.
A Few Examples for You to Consider
To put things into further context, let us share some real-life examples that you might be able to relate to. In fact, following each issue, we will also discuss how making a few small changes in your behavior can help you effectively resolve your concerns together.
1- Weekly ‘Night Out’
A newly married couple came to us recently at Marriage Means Moore for coaching, and one of their main concerns was that they could not balance their relationship and personal lives despite their obvious efforts. After they began opening, we could see what the problem was clear as day. Both had made it a rule to spend time with their friends every weekend, so they would not feel as if anything were changed for them. It was visibly important to them that they keep their social and personal life balanced. However, their plan was not giving them the desired results, as it left them feeling more disconnected from each other as opposed to closer.
Another example, an unmarried couple walked in, and we could detect obvious resentment from the boyfriend’s side within the first few minutes. While the issue was the same, i.e., lack of quality time together, the problem was one-sided this time. In this instance, the girlfriend was a social butterfly who liked having a night out with her friends every other weekend. But after a long night out of clubbing and drinking, there was not much she could do the next day, which reduced the time she was to spend time with her boyfriend. Like the previous couple, she also did not want her personal life to overcrowd her social life.
– What Should You Do in This Situation?
Accept the Change.
First and foremost, it is important to realize as a couple that it is the basic requirement of entering into a relationship to change yourself accordingly. You do not have to make major alterations in life. You will still be putting in the same office/school hours just like before, and you will still be entitled to spend time on yourself despite what anyone says.
The only thing you are required to do is accept the changes as they come. No one can force you to ditch your friends. However, to prioritize your partner and give them the respect they deserve, you need to understand that you don’t have to catch up with your social circle every week! It is up to you to decide how to keep things balanced without neglecting your partner and to make changes appropriately.
Ditch the ‘Written in Stone’ Schedule
The second mistake couples make is to construct a concrete schedule regarding when to spend time with their partners and when to go out. Your love and social life are not a research case that you would have to allot into different slots. Instead, you can take it one week at a time and make plans mutually, whether it is to go out together or with friends, or to stay home.
2- The Drunk Reminder
Your spouse goes straight to the bar to hang out with friends after work, and by the time they come back home, they are half-drunk and unable to spend time with their family. If this rings any bell to you, you are not the only one. I have had my share of clients complaining the same thing about their partner, which, unfortunately, makes them solely responsible for performing their duties at home as an individual and as a parent.
– What Should You Do in This Situation?
Do not Hesitate to Share Your Concerns
Letting your partner get away with their irrational behavior is not going to help you in any way. Instead, tackle the issue headfirst and constructively voice your concerns without being too loud or rude. However, you should have this conversation when your partner is sober and not dealing with any pressing matters.
Secondly, it is crucial to get help under these circumstances and consult with a relationship or marriage coach. It could help you in two ways. First, a professional coach can help you resolve your problems by giving you their precise and neutral opinion. Secondly, it could be that your partner is having alcohol-related issues, and that is what pulls them to the bar every single night instead of their friends. A professional can help you identify the causes.
3- The ‘Best Friend’ Problem
The protecting best friend is yet another one of the major problems couples deal with, especially after the first trimester of their relationship. You want to hang out with your partner, but they keep on insisting on spending that time with their best friend. While you should never criticize them for having time off with their best friend, it is never okay when they stop your relationship for their friend’s sake for no reason at all.
What Should You Do in This Situation?
First, communication is key. You cannot hope to clear the situation with your partner without letting them know how you feel about them spending more time with their best friend rather than you. Moreover, do not fight with them, and listen to them without interruption when it is their turn to talk. It is likely what they are doing is completely unintentional.
Make Plans Alone and Together
Another reason you might be feeling left out is that you are not a part of their group. That can be easily arranged by asking your partner to include you during their trips time and again, so you have a better understanding of their relationship. However, do not force yourself into the group and use your “alone time” to give yourself some much-needed self-care.
Do not Let Them Walk All Over You
Now that you’ve made an effort to communicate with your partner and let them know of your concerns, you can’t let them walk all over your relationship. You have shown your cards, and now, it is time for them to step up and make some changes.
However, no matter what you do, do not give them silent treatment in the hope of resolving the issue. Instead, have open conversations while letting them know of your realistic expectations if they wish to continue with the relationship maturely.
4- New Days, Old Ways
If there’s one thing that keeps your relationship from growing, it’s the unhealthy desire to remain stuck in the past because that’s the comfort zone you’ve established for yourself. Since we started counseling, we have seen several individuals come in claiming their partner still acts like an eligible bachelor/bachelorette and that they are tired of carrying on with the relationship alone.
For example, this young girl, married to her husband for a year, was upset because of his behavior. He was still partying out loud with his friends almost every other night, expecting her to follow when all she wanted was to settle down and make a life together. After all, that is why she married the love of her life in the first place.
Do you relate to this situation? Is your partner living in the new days but still following the rules of the old ways, hanging out with friends all night long instead of focusing on the life you have built together? If so, it is time for you to take some actions before they also drag you with themselves into the past that they like to call the party pit.
– What Should You Do in This Situation?
Let Them Know you are Ready to Move On
It is relatively simple. Take them out on a weekend getaway, so they are truly present with you now. Now use your time alone with them to share your concerns in a constructive way. Let them know of your expectations and where you are both standing currently. It is likely they only needed someone to remind them to let go of the past and begin to plan for their future.
Make New Plans with Your Partner
To let go of the past, you need to make plans that you can both look up to. Consider doing that with your partner so they know the future can be just as great, if not more once they start reaching new heights.
5- The ‘It’ Person
Lastly, it is not easy dating or marrying the ‘It’ person of the group. For example, one of our friends once dated a guy who was always there for everybody except her. After going through the same patterns for a couple of years, she eventually bucked up and called an end to the relationship. Even though they were not married, giving someone two years of life is still a big deal. They lived together, but there was never any peace and quiet within their home. Her boyfriend would always let his friends stay over in their spare bedroom without even consulting her. There was no privacy for them, considering that their home had become an open-for-all destination that anyone could swing by at any time of the day. When she explicitly asked him to stop inviting friends over at the slightest hitch, he would go all defensive and say, ‘they’re going through a hard time right now.’
The final straw was when one of her boyfriend’s friends finally got a place and moved out, but, less than a week later, another friend came to crash because his wife had left him. She was at work at the time when her boyfriend ‘informed’ her of her new ‘tenant.’ She texted him to be home early because they needed to talk, but he instead went to the bar upon his friend’s request because he wanted to numb his pain.
The problem for her was not that it was not okay to help others in times of need. It was that her boyfriend prioritized others over her every single time, neglecting to give her the importance that one requires in a healthy relationship.
– What Should You Do in This Situation?
Address Your Concerns Constructively
Constructive communication is one of the fundamental components of a long-lasting relationship. Being in a mature relationship, you can try politely expressing your feelings to your partner at a convenient time. If they genuinely care about making your relationship successful or are at least willing to make a few compromises from time to time, there would not be a problem. Having said that, the first thing you should both agree upon is to stop making decisions independently when they affect your lives mutually.
There are some things that you cannot make compromises on, just as there must be some boundaries your partner would never want you to cross. Make sure you both have had that talk, as it helps avoid conflicts regarding your hard limits in such scenarios.
Know When You are Not Wanted.
Lastly, there are times when you keep hoping to work things out with your partner through communication, but each of your attempts ends up unsuccessful, as was the case with our friends. It is essential to understand in those times that you are with the wrong person who does not care or appreciate you as you deserve. In short, know when you’re not wanted, accept that, and move on before your relationship becomes any more toxic than it already is.
Is It Necessary to Talk It Out with a Relationship Coach?
You consult with a doctor when in physical distress automatically, just like you call an accountant when dealing with financial troubles. Similarly, it is only logical to contact a relationship coach when you require help strengthening the foundation of your relationship.
Hanging out with friends while carving some time aside to spend with your partner is not that big of an issue as some individuals claim it to be. Let us help you at Marriage Means Moore to get your relationship back on track within ninety days. You can consult with one of our relationship coaches by scheduling an appointment today!
By Antonio & Laura Moore | Relationship & Marriage Coaches | Marriage Means Moore Inc. | June 15, 2021