One of the most difficult things about being in a relationship is balancing your time between your significant other and your friends. It’s an issue that’s so problematic that it often times leads to the ending of friendships or relationships. Luckily, there are ways to avoid falling into such ugly situations. Here are the 3 things you need to do to ensure you keep everyone in your life happy.
Carve out a schedule.
I’m not saying that you have to break out the calendar and color code every night of your life for the foreseeable future, but set aside some days for your girl and some for your boys. Is Tuesday night Trivia Night at your local bar? Have you been going with your friends for a while? Perfect, set Tuesday night aside for that activity with the guys.
Don’t be the person that decides to join a cooking class on Tuesday nights just because your girlfriend suggests it. Let her know right away that Tuesday is guys’ night. The sooner you tell her, the better. That way, she won’t feel neglected. She’ll just come to accept it as a matter of fact—that’s what you do on Tuesdays. You can’t start hanging your friends out to dry just because you’re in a relationship now. Be sure to continue spending time with them, otherwise, they’ll grow to resent you, and this will undoubtedly place tension on your relationships.
The same goes for your girl. Set a night or two aside for date nights. Dinner, drinks, a night in for a Nicholas Sparks movie marathon, whatever works. Just be sure to spend time with her. Part of being in a relationship is setting time aside for each other, so be sure to do so.
A relationship is different than a booty-call. She’s going to want to see you during the light of day, so prepare yourself for that. However, don’t be afraid to remind her that setting aside time for friends is something that’s important to you and that she should be setting time aside for her friends too. If she doesn’t, and she spends every waking moment with you, her friends are going to grow to resent you—and if there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s that. Her friend’s approval can be one of your biggest assets, but their contempt can lead to your downfall.
Don’t cave to the chirps.
While Tuesday night is guys’ night, there’s no doubt that there will come a Friday or Saturday when the guys decide they want to get together and hit the bars or the clubs. While you definitely should attend when possible, your availability won’t be the same as when you were single. If you’ve made plans to hang with your lady, you can’t back out on her to go get hammered with the guys. That will certainly piss her off and cause problems you wish you didn’t have. But, when you say, “Sorry, can’t tonight—hanging with the girlfriend,” there will be some chirps heading your way. It’s inevitable, but just brush them off and understand that it comes with the territory. As long as you still make time to hang with them, and you do go out with them here and there, you’ll be fine.
The same applies vice versa. When you do go out with the guys, don’t let your girlfriend make you feel guilty for doing so. She might throw some snide comments your way, but don’t let it get to you. As long as you let her know from the get-go that your friends are important to you and that they’re going to remain a prominent part of your life, then she’ll get used to it and you’ll be fine. Besides, we’re past the age where being in a relationship means being together all the time. If your adult relationships are reminiscent of your middle or high school relationships, you have some work to do.
Find activities you can all do together.
This one is short, sweet, and to the point. The best case scenario is finding some things that you can do with your girlfriend and your friends. The activity itself isn’t important, the act is what’s important. A list of things that might work; having her friends and your friends come out with you guys, getting a few of you to rent a house on a beach or a lake for a long weekend, a monthly game night, brewery/winery tours (am I starting to sound like an alcoholic?), etc. Regardless of the occasion, just getting the two groups together takes some pressure off you, and in the end, what’s better than that?