Why do people seem to lose their friends after marriage?

Written by Dr. Ginger Gabriel, Ph.D., M.F.T

losefriends-imgI want to get married, but I am afraid of losing my friends. I know of many people who have lost their friends after being married. Please explain to me why people, especially women, lose their friends after marriage?

Advice: All of us have just 24 hours a day. If we are also working, going to school, etc., we find that after spending time with our husband, cleaning, cooking etc. there just isn’t as much time to spend with our friends. Most of us just schedule a lunch per week with a best friend, one night a week to spend with an old friend or a Bible study/ prayer group and just make sure that we aren’t so overscheduled with other things that we don’t shortchange time with our spouse and a few best friends. It is a matter of prioritizing our life to the things that are really important. Of course, to plan one thing into our life, usually means that we won’t have time for other things. Make sure that the things on your schedule are really important for your life goals.

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78 Responses to “Why do people seem to lose their friends after marriage?”

  • Sharon says:

    to lake good comment I am sorry people put words into your head I know we’ve lost friends after we got married we see them every once I awhile but not as often as before we got married but also people move away too I am praying for you

  • Lake says:

    Hello,

    So, I am a single person who is seeing the natural drifting apart of my married friends and I. Again, yes, I do thing it is a mostly natural, or at least a common, occurance.

    What makes me the saddest is my loss in connection with these friends. It’s just different when you’re not in the same life circumstances, and/or have the same interests: we care still, but it’s a sort of naive empathy, vs true understanding, of what the other person is going through, or needs. There is a gap, and I mourn it.

    However, I get angry when others put words into my mouth, and/or thoughts into my head. I’ve heard what “[I] think” or “feel” from others, when I never said those things. It is very hurtful. I find some peace of mind in the idea that perhaps the other party feels isolated, and disconnected, as I do, but that they’re instead choosing to make a villain out of me, and a victim out of themself, to explain things. Well … I’ve noticed people who react this way to the married-single gap react this way to many other things they don’t understand, so I try not to take it personally. I just take more distance.

    To remain friends, imo, takes security in your love of one another, as well as compassion. Friendships may ebb and flow, but the ones that are strong will weather the storm and remain eternal, I hope :)

    Marriage and children is not the only meaningful life path, PEOPLE are what matter — your soul. I hope we can collective move to a place where we see beyond roles this way.

  • Alfred says:

    Hi JP, There is definitely a gap between the married and the unmarried. Blessed are those who (after marriage) can carry on friendships with their high school buddies, and also with extended family. Your comment about “people look down on the unmarried once they decide to get married”, I think is a psychological one for the unmarried, as they are not yet where they soon want to be. I mean that it is really not so, but only seems that way.
    For me/us there has always been the larger bond in the church community, where we all have a common faith. The love of God leads us to reach out to people of all ages. Singles tend to group together, as do the various age groups, but that is not really a problem.
    Trying to think more deeply about this, I realize that “when friendships are more about giving and more about asking others what their interests are”, then bonds develop and needs are met. This is opposed to looking for someone who is more like me or interested in my experiences. Sometimes it is great for us to learn to think “outside the box”!

  • JP says:

    I’ve found that people look down on the unmarried once they decide to get married. It’s very strange, almost like they are now superior or something. I’ve always found this really rather funny. Perhaps the friends of the about to be married person are concerned about their future partner’s ability to be a good long term partner. I would be concerned for any person marrying the only person they had ever been with as well. Some people marry because they are too scared to really search for the right person. It’s hard to stay friends with the person when you can see what will happen in the future. Especially if the person has only had one partner.

  • Chris says:

    margaret Pearl….so sorry to hear of your struggle. it sounds like your husband is quite controlling indeed. we all would like our mates to change in different áreas. only God has the key to each human heart. i would suggest that you seek a personal relationship with jesus christ, the King of hearts, so that not only your life can be transformed but your husbands too. find out how on knowingjesuspersonally.com. i pray the lord console your heart and show you he has the answers you need. blessings!

  • Margaret Pearl says:

    My husband is depressing me.. he doesn’t want me to have friends
    He doesn’t want me on fb
    He said speaking to a guy while with him just saying hi is disrespectful
    He puts trackers on me when I go places
    I can’t take it anymore

  • Luis says:

    Aldo, look at Minkys and Alfred posts. They probably explain it a little better than i did.

  • Luis says:

    Aldo that is true and i agree. However, most people cant strike a balance between the two. They become joined at the hips sorta speak. It then becomes a 90/10. I had to bail on a friend a few years ago because of this. There were other reasons to. Another friend ive known since high school always finds time to hang out. I think that is the problem most people have.

  • Aldo says:

    Luis, friends are great, and to have them is a tremendous blessing especially while we are single, but then comes marriage, and you are correct in saying that our loyalty then belongs to our spouse, and eventually to both our spouse and the children, namely the family.

    In my experience, those who were my friends before marriage usually remain my friends after marriage, and include the entire family. That builds an ongoing relationship between my family and my friends, and also fosters in my children a respect for the friends of their parents, thus extending the friendship to their children and future generations.

    May the Lord bless us with true friends who can appreciate the building of a social structure rather than individual attachmens.

  • Luis says:

    See a lot of people are quick to say its because of jealousy. Because they are married and the single person isnt. While this might be true in some cases not in at all. Very few people can strike the right balance between the two. While most people understand that the spouse takes priority. However, when you hear something like the wife is hanging out with her sister today so ill be able to squeeze you in. Then you become a afterthought. Who wants to feel like that. I do have a friend who has been married for 10 years has kids but always makes time. Even if its just stopping by for two hours. This is rare as most people become attached at the hip with their partner. So are we just to wait around and not find new friends. I dont think thats fair to the other person.

  • Aldo says:

    John, if you would like to talk to someone on a one on one basis you can do so by clicking on the “Talk to a mentor” button at the bottom left of this page. He will be glad to discuss any issue which you may have with you, or just to pray with you.

    May God bless you with a multitude of friends.

  • Aldo says:

    John, if you would like to talk to someone on a one on one basis you can do so by clicking on the “Talk to a mentor” button at the top right of this page. He will be glad to discuss any issue which you may have with you, or just to pray with you.

    May God bless you with a multitude of friends.

  • John says:

    I lost every last one of my friend after moving country and getting married. I was in the Greek Army for 9 months where i made friends with over 200 people and then you have school/college where you make a [expletive removed] of friends too and them boom…there is nothing. in the UK now for 6 months married 21 and i could have never imaged how hard and lonely it can get not having a [expletive removed] guy to talk to for the love of god… i work at home where i do illustration work for a trading card game so i don`t even have an outside job where i could have met people. It is getting sad…

  • Chris says:

    emerald…sorry to hear of your struggles…we know that people are very changeable like the weather so many times. also, many people have envy and jealousy inside of them and they appear when others seem to be blessed. yet, that is precisely why jesus died. to rid us of all of our character defects and forgive us of them, transforming us into his image. though you may not have the same sins as others, we have all sinned in one way or another. that is why we need jesus. so his love and forgiveness he paid for on the cross can become a reality in our lives. for more information on knowing jesus love and friendship log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. i pray you see in your Friends unfaithfulness the great need for jesus faithfulness in your life. he is the only friend guaranteed to never leave. blessings!

  • Sharon says:

    to Emerald nice name– I am sorry you got hurt from friends and family after you got married congrats on your marriage God was happy for you I pray for your marriage prayer–father God I pray for emerald for her marriage and I pray for the hurt of her having friends and family not happy for her open their eyes to see on what they are doing to her I pray a healing for Emerald and a forgiveness there too and a reconciliation there too bless this marriage and I pray Christians will come along their path to encourage them and bless them too I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you both I feel for you no fun being hurt for being married my husband and me have lost friends too after we got married. may God comfort you at this time. from sharon

  • Emerald says:

    I was really sad to find that when I got married, I do not think even one friend I had was happy for me. Not even one was truly happy or said congratulations. My best friend got drunk and hit me because she thought I was going to leave my husband for her, my other friends ditched me, and my male friends were repressing anger which came out in bitter remarks. It is because you remind them that they are still single. I was the only one of my friends who had gotten married. The only friend I maintained was also married. There is something to that. They cannot make their own relationships work so you make them feel like they are failing. It was really hard for me. I was really sad that no one was happy. Even my mother was jealous.

  • Andy says:

    As a single person it is hard to watch. It is hard to watch your friends’ lives turn into all chores and bickering. And the rare time they do get some time off they try to pack in as much life as possible – yes married ppl, you party TOO hard ironically. When it comes to fun, act like you’ve been there before! After all, you’re the ones who got “tired of being free.” But yeah, i think we drive them nuts with our unlimited leisure time and smiles on our faces.

  • Luis says:

    Truth…Some people have tons and tons of so called friends. These arent true friends most of them are what i would consider a associate. I know two people that befriend just about everyone that walks in their path. Ive known both of them for a while now, but sometimes i feel like a number to them. I have a harder time and usually dont befriend many people. I have a few friends that I have known for 20 years. The last true friend that i added to my small circle was about 10 years ago. One thing i would say some friendships arent meant to last forever. When a old friend got married i knew it was the beginning of the end for us. See our friendship was based on going out. She controlled him like a dictator. She basically owned this man. She pretty much bankrupt him in the process as well. I even saw her put her hands on him. After about 2 years of this i decided ( it was a hard decision) that it was in both of our interest if we parted ways. Besides what i mentioned the dynamics of our friendship was never the same. At first say the first year he tried to do a hybrid of sorts. Were he tried to keep her happy and tried to keep his friends happy. Then he basically dedicated all his time and energy to satisfy her every whim. He promised me that he wouldnt change much and for a while he didnt. I actually believed this might work out ( but deep in my head i knew it wouldnt). Before him i had a friend that i knew since senior year in high school. We would try and go out but she would make it hard. I would pick him up and moments later she was calling with some problem. I remember on a few occasions she said she was been followed. She would say that the baby fell and we got home it was all BS. All this was just to get him to come home. I grew tired of this and although im still friends with him, I found other people to hang out with instead.

  • Truth says:

    One more thing. Someone said in an older post that friends are essentially dime a dozen, no big deal I’ll just exchange old friends for new ones. Wow. Not sure what your “friendships” have been like but actual, solid friendships are rare and they should be cherished. Not treated like some commodity.

    People who say things like that are usually the same ones who come crawling back to their “ex friends” after a breakup or divorce, and can’t understand why their ex friends give them the cold shoulder. Everything is all about the spouse and friends can take it or leave it? Divorce rates are up to 80% in parts of the U.S. See where that mentality gets you after the papers get signed.

  • Truth says:

    The source of the problem can be seen in comments like “I try to let him keep his friends,” “I try to LET HIM keep some of his hobbies.” Seriously? Are you a spouse or an insecure control freak?

    Spouses who try to control their better halves have issues and sooner or later it is going to become a major problem. Time with friends is important in life. If my SO ever tried to tell me when I could hang out with my friends, which friends I could see etc she would rapidly become an ex-SO.

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  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Anna, you are certainly correct in that strong friendships require a commitment on both sides . . . but as Dr. Gabriel pragmatically points out, “there just isn’t as much time to spend with our friends” after one gets married” and this is just as true for men as women. That’s the biggest factor (and extremely so after children come along!) and it’s really not that in this new phase of life, married people feel that the “single” life is beneath them, unimportant, or trivial.

    There’s another factor and it’s that as you age, life gets more and more complex with more and more issues to face, and then married friends also drift from one another. I would add to Chris’ comments that a Singles Group at a local Church is a very place to find common interests among single friends. One of the things I/we learned there is that you are really not ready for marriage until you can happily live singly.

  • Anna says:

    I think there are two main reasons why a number of married women lose friendships after marriage, particularly their friendships with single women. The first, that single women are jealous/envious of them. As a single woman, I can say that those envious women DO exist, & women like that feel a sting of insecurity or enviousness at times when one of their “ride-or-die” single gals decides to join the “Married Ladies” club. It’s not right, and it’s wholly selfish & unfair, but some women feel that way, and cut-ties (gradually or immediately) with friends who no longer share the “single” label with them. The OTHER main reason I’ve seen as that sometimes women marry and completely put their single past behind them. They’re no longer interested in the lives of their single girlfriends, or they’re dismissive about what their old friends have going on now, because they (the newly-married) have entered this new phase of life and feel that the “single” life is far beneath them and thus, unimportant/ trivial. For example, I have had friends who leaned on my shoulder thru break-ups and make-ups for YEARS during courtships. Once they got married and it was my turn to discuss my dating life ups and downs, they couldn’t be bothered listening or being there because they were married and therefore just didn’t “get” the dating game anymore – even though when THEY were dating their future husband, they’d call me at 1am to discuss a text for an hour, etc. When friends no longer seem invested in you as a person, you start to place less value on that friendship, and stop making the effort. I think in order for ANY friendship to survive a major life change, BOTH friends need to make the effort to relate to one another, even if they don’t share the same “life status” anymore. I think it’s lacking the ability to make that effort that ultimately results in friendships failing after marriage.

  • Chris Landwerlen says:

    nayeli….one thing we learn when we marry is that our spiritual marriage to christ is really the one that counts since earthly marriage is only for this, earthly life. use your time to seek a closer walk with the lord and help others to do so also. seek those out who dont know about the salvation of christ and be a soul winner for jesus if for now, your husband prefers to be a friend winner, you can be wiser. blessings!

  • Rashid says:

    I hope I am right in this because I like to be with my wife all the time and then after when we had children I go take them out or we go together. Cook special food together. I don’t it was wrong to stay together with wife think her as friend and partner. Following YOU Think It Was Wrong. Bless to all

  • Luis says:

    As long as he is home by a decent time let him go. Do you really need him in the house all the time. As long as he doing his part to i dont see a problem so as long as he comes home.

  • nayeli says:

    And i dont know what to do?? My husband prefers to be with his friends most of the time..

  • Sharon says:

    good article and good comments here I try to let my husband have his friends he went to school with. and also let him have his hobbies on the ones he likes I try not to squash his likes things he likes or people he likes.

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