Your girls-night-out may now have more married friends that single ones.

Should Newly Married Women Only Hang with Other Married Women?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Every married woman was once a single woman with single friends. Getting married doesn’t change who you are, but it changes your priorities and experiences, which can reduce the relevance and available time you have for your single friends, according to psychologist and singles expert Bella De Paulo in "Dating, Moving In, And Losing Contact with Friends?" Don't give up your single friends on your wedding day -- you need the support and some will marry and become your married friends.

1. Shared Experiences

You have many shared experiences with your single friends and you can relate to them, but they might not be able to relate to what’s going in your life now that you’re married, according to an article entitled, "Maintaining Friendships After Marriage" from the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. That doesn’t make those shared experiences less important. However, you do need to make your single friends aware that you have new priorities, and need to commit building a healthy relationship with your husband and taking care of your family. With less time available, you might need to schedule friend time to keep them close or invite them to family outings so they gain perspective about the commitments in your life, according to the article.

2. New Lessons to Learn

Married women can help you learn how to make your relationship work, either by providing sage advice or giving you a role model of what to do or not do in your relationship. Your married girlfriends will understand that when you gripe that he doesn’t pick up his socks, it isn’t the end of the marriage and it doesn’t mean your relationship is bad. Your married friends can often provide perspective on the things that bug you and teach you how to hold your tongue, suggests psychologist Judith Sills, Ph.D., in “Keeping Secrets from Your Husband” on Oprah.com. As children come along, your married friends will also probably provide most of the advice and support you need to get through pregnancy and raising kids without losing your mind. You need a strong circle of friend support during pregnancy and through your child's early years, according to Bella De Paulo in a "Psychology Today" article entitled, "Step Away from that Spouse! Another Take on the Value of Friends." If your single friends don't have children, they won't be the best source of support.

3. Different Stages, Different Needs

Your need for friends can vary at different times in your life, according to De Paulo and a 2002 study published in the "Journal of Marriage and Family." As a new mom, you could need other moms to reassure you when you worry over normal kid stuff, offer sage advice and reduce your risk for depression. Your husband, family and friends provide the support network that eases you into the transition from a twosome to a threesomes. Similarly, as you move toward later years and transition from married to divorced or widowed, your friends can provide the support you need to make it through the change, notes De Paulo.

4. Room for Both

There is room in your life for both single and married friends, as long as you, and they, realize that your needs and availability will change. Friends provide wonderful support through life's transitions and prevent you from insisting that your spouse meet all your relational needs. Your friends will change over time, but everyone needs friends, so cultivate the new and the old.

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