Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friends and Lovers*

So yesterday, a discussion came up on the subject of men who abandon their friends after marriage. (Coinkydink, the Bride has a post up on the subject too.) I have seen this happen many times, where a guy has these friends he is close to, and then he meets a girl and poof it's like the friends don't exist. And I'm not talking about teenagers here. There's two reasons this happens, I think. First, the girl doesn't let him, either directly or indirectly, or, alternatively, the guy doesn't need any other kind of companionship once he finds the girl.

I might not go all the way like the people at the Bride's party and say that it's all the girl's fault, but I can see how there are women who can control their men like that. I personally know one case where the guy was not allowed to see his friends anymore cos the girl didn't like them, and heaven knows how many cases of the guy not bothering to see his friends anymore cos he has all-in-one in the girl. I also know one case of the girl dropping all her friends when she got married, though she did come back eventually.

When I've called people on this kind of dumping, they often deny that there has been a dumping at all, and sometimes plead new life, new things to deal with etc. With the kind of adjustment required from an Indian woman in a marriage, I can understand why the woman might lose touch, though I still don't think it's ok. With guys, however, I've also seen that they generally don't keep in touch. I've had many guy friends, who've known each other for years, only keep in touch because I am in touch with both of them and can pass messages along.

Which makes me wonder if it is something to do with the innate styles of interaction men and women have, Though I guess it could be the innate styles of interaction I and my friends have. I find that, even though generally people are less inclined to keep in touch because they can keep tabs from a distance in today's world, there are some kinds of people who do respond, even if only to say ACK IM FLOODED WITH WORK! That, however, is talking about people not in the same city, though sometimes in the same city.

Sometimes people marry** people who don't necessarily fit in with their friends. I know someone who has all these super intellectual type friends and well, it would be hard for someone to be comfy around them unless they came from a similar background, partly because the friends don't make an effort to make newcomers feel comfortable. My own friends can be terrifying to any guy I date, simply cos we've been so close for so long, heaven knows what intimate details they know, and well they're fiercely protective of me, and therefore highly suspicious of all guys. Sometimes one side or the other won't make the effort. Sometimes people are nervous of letting a partner see the side of them that is filthy-mouthed and endlessly ribbed.

I have a friend who is quite the partymaniac. He can be horrendously inappropriate, and so we are all equally inappropriate around him. He suddenly had an arranged marriage, to all our shock, and then he started to bring his wife out with us. She's very nice, but rather quiet, and not the drinking partying kind like us. But he brought her every single time, he stuck to her side like glue, and made sure we all tried really hard to make her comfortable. Eventually she told him it was great but please could she just spend her weeknights at home, so now he comes out without her. But that's a pretty awesome situation right there. Both of them made an effort and then they found a mutually acceptable solution.

What happens though, when you don't like or can't like your partner's friends? I guess you could do separate things, but then you run the very real danger of eventually leading separate lives. I somehow think that whatever the situation, it really pays off if you make an effort. I gained some fantastic friends by working really hard to hang out with BBot's friends, and somehow, these days he time with my friends back home, while I languish in Delhi! Win-win.

But, back to the original issue, does one person make the other stop seeing their friends? I think it happens a lot. Sometimes because the women is demanding, sometimes because the man is demanding and doesn't want her to have a life without him (often a guy will go out without his wife, but the reverse can't happen), sometimes because people get caught up in their new lives,  sometimes because they are trying really hard to fit in with their partner's lives, and sometimes because they just can't be bothered to make an effort now that they have to make an effort in their relationship. Whatever the cause, I think it's unfair to blame the partner, male or female, because at the end of the day it is the person who decided they will cut their friends. It only takes 5 minutes to send a long email these days.

*with due apologies to D.H. Lawrence, though, now I come to think of it, maybe he owes the universe an apology =D
** let us assume when I say marry it's shot for marry/date/engage in serious relationship with

Edit: I just realised that, when I was in college, we had a gang of two girls, the Dragon and me, and two guys, OOF and Chica. Chica and I were friends, OOF and Chica were friends, and the Dragon and OOF were friends, and we all came together because the two boys were friends. And here we stand, 9 years later, with the two girls friends (living together) ad the two boys not having talked in years. Though, to be fair, there was a nasty breakup in there.

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