I didn’t set out to get married at 25, and in fact I was only hoping to meet a man with a heart inside of his chest and the capability of calling me back in a timely fashion after having had no such luck in college. I figured I’d get married one day, but thought it’d be closer to the end of my twenties and maybe even early thirties considering my penchant for choosing men who refused to choose me.
When I started dating my husband a few years later and knew he was serious about me, I still wasn’t angling for a ring. I was content to have a standing Saturday night date and someone to share my Buy One Get One Free Dairy Queen coupons. So, when he proposed two days after my 25th birthday, I was genuinely surprised.
Being married in my twenties has definitely been interesting to say the least. Marriage itself is fun, but the rest of the world makes me feel like I got married young. Especially since it can feel like everyone else is waiting until way later in life. I’m actually more surprised to meet people who are married then people who aren’t – no matter what the age. They say the median age is 26 for women and 29 for men, but it seems that number is really 31 for women and 35 for men. I could be exaggerating though, but not by much.
There was one major adjustment I wasn’t ready for after marriage and that was the odd feeling of being left out.
Friendships after college can be hard to come by, but something I realized after the wedding and even shortly before the engagement is that women bond over being single. Look at Sex and the City and Girlfriends. When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s it seems it’s all about finding love. Women can exchange war stories for hours, calling each other up to rehash “theee worst date eveerrr” or simply laughing about how we got our revenge on the guy who did us wrong.
When you’re not in that place anymore, people have no qualms about leaving you out of bonding time. It’s true that sometimes I am with my husband and therefore not free for dinner, but sometimes I’m working and not free either. Other times, I’m sitting home alone and watching television or browsing the mall by myself. I have the same phone number, still live in the same city and judging by my thirty thousand plus tweets, I’m still available for conversation even if all I can do is listen.
Getting married doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about the latest drama or can’t empathize with what’s happening in my friends’ lives. Getting married doesn’t mean I’m going to talk about my husband every second like I don’t have a thing else going for me in life. I don’t separate “married friends” from “single friends” but sometimes I feel like I get put into a “oh she’s married now” box. It’s as though people think I don’t want to hang out now, don’t want to talk anymore, or won’t open my doors to a friend stranded in my city and needing a place to crash.
Yes, I’m 25 and married, but I’m still the same person.
When I was struggling for employment, I didn’t cut off my friends who had bourgeoning careers simply because we didn’t have the struggle in common anymore. Friendship doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work like that. But it seems that being married young(er) than most puts you in this “other” category despite being the same.
Of course, this could be the result of the scores of women who’ve dubbed themselves dating experts because they’ve had a successful date or two and now feel they’re in the position to tell other women what’s “wrong” with them. I hate those women and I vowed a long time ago that I would never be that woman. I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be doing everything right yet keep getting done so wrong. I don’t think the best way to find love is to stop looking. I don’t believe there is a place of “completion” in oneself to arrive to that opens up some cosmic universe and attracts love to out of nowhere. I still don’t believe any of that hokey-pokey stuff that women have used to explain what’s so simple: people get married at different times in their lives for different reasons.
I don’t feel that I need to cut my single friends off because I’m married and they’re not, so they shouldn’t feel that they should have to cut me off. Friendships are born and built on commonalities, I understand that. However, what I don’t accept is that friendships should be lost simply because you don’t have that one thing in common anymore. It’s just marriage.
What do you think? Do you find yourself drifting away from friends depending on their relationship status? Have you ever felt disconnected based on your relationship or marriage?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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