Serious question: Can you make friends after you commit to a long term relationship? Given the fact that we live in a liberated world where choice is abundant through every facet of life, from socks to gelato flavour, choosing friends should be pretty straight forward. You meet someone, realise that their love of Aperol Spritz made with passion-fruit and just a slice of ruby red grapefruit reflects your own pedantic attitude to cocktails, or who will willingly go along with you to every warped sci-fi movie in which the plot revolves around Jodie Foster turning into a silver, silicone vase and trying to save the world from giant hornets and that’s it, you’re mates. Beautiful.
Friendships and the paths that they take us on fulfil various components of human chemistry and its effect on mental health. More on that later, but simply put, great moments in friendships promote a release of Oxytocin and Serotonin (love drugs) in the brain and by default make us happy. Ipso facto, friendships are important to being a happy human.
When you sign up for a new relationship you do the dance of introductions; meeting the who’s who of friends and their assigned level of importance or closeness. There’s family friends, work friends, old acquaintances, party friends, friends of friends, and those that you don’t purposely miss or include.
So, what then happens if and when you or your partner make NEW friends? And more to the point, what happens if this person is of the opposite sex? And moderately attractive? You can’t exactly disallow your partner from making new friends because that’s immature and kind of possessive (and a little bit psycho). Rest assured, this is a recurring issue which teases out insecurities and jealousies in couples. The story goes both ways; I’ve heard just as many men tell me that they don’t trust their girlfriends male friends (because they know men always have a hidden agenda and she’s a BABE) as I have the opposite; women thinking another woman is after her man, or gets some sort of sick enjoyment from being his go to girl. This is a common alpha female thing. Snooze. For more insight see article Flirting with Intent.
How do you remain reassured that a friendship is merely platonic and you shouldn’t worry when your partner is going to the movies with their new hot friend and you’re not invited? Where do the boundaries lie?
Naturally I can’t give you an answer (c’mon you should be well used to my mental ambiguity by now) but I can give you hints…
Always engage your sense of intuition to understand if you’re okay with the friendship.
Be honest with yourself. I get that everyone wants to be agreeable and not look like the psycho partner in a relationship but if something isn’t making you happy it’s best to be honest with yourself and communicate your anxieties to your partner.
If the friendship is there to stay and you’re so far okay with it then it’s only natural progression to meet them. This is where you will lean on your sense of observation; how do they interact with your partner? What do they talk about? What is the dynamic between them like? How do they treat you? How does all of this make you feel.
In the end, the elements of comfort and trust are most pertinent here. If you trust your partner and their new found friend and nothing about their platonic hangs, chats, pot plant shopping upsets you then you’ve successfully added a friend, after the fact.