“You need friends,” my now ex-boyfriend blurted out one evening. I stared at the phone in disbelief. Surely, this could not be the man who once referred to me as his “best friend” saying this. I had just given him the rundown of my day during one of our nightly chats. Looking back, I can admit that I had informed him of all of the nitty gritty details of my day—including those details that would prompt most men to holler, “TMI!” and that most women would have sense enough to only share with a close female confidant. But we were best friends, so those rules didn’t apply, right? Life experience and better sense now tell me that my then-boyfriend referring to me as his “best friend” was only a cutesy way of expressing how close we’d grown; however, when I called him my BFF, I meant it in every sense of the word. To be perfectly honest, he was probably my only friend at the time.
I mean, once upon a time (i.e., prior to hooking up with him in the past) I had friends who I could call on and hold such conversations with, but I, like many women, began to neglect those friendships once ol’ boy came into the picture. Of course, we never set out with those intentions. Things usually start off innocent enough, but then cuddling up with your boo on a Friday night begins to sound a helluva lot more appealing than taking advantage of “ladies free before midnight” with the crew. Slowly, you begin to pass on more and more outings with the girls, until you turn around and realize you haven’t seen or spoken to them in days. Sadly, those days turn into weeks and those weeks, eventually, into months of not hanging out—totally unfair to them and you. The most obvious thing to consider is the fact that these were the people who were there for you way before Mr. Wonderful (or in my case, Mr. Not-so-wonderful) emerged on the scene and more than likely, they’ll be the ones to rally around you in the event that things don’t work out. Aside from that, in my opinion, maintaining outside friendships is also crucial to the prosperity of a healthy relationship. Love can be overpowering at times, and it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in a relationship. But real friends force you to remain true to who you are. They provide balance. They keep you grounded.
After being in the previously mentioned relationship for a substantial period of time, I found myself greatly resiting the urge to cling. After months of fighting this urge that seemed to come so naturally, I came to the painful realization that the life (and friends) that I had outside of our relationship, had somehow been drowned out by the waves of our “honeymoon” phase. Needless to say, the relationship did not last. And in addition to piecing my heart back together, I had to put my life back together.
Thankfully, this was a lesson that I only needed to be taught once before I got the message. A new romance can be wondrous, thrilling and downright breathtaking, but in the midst of all of that excitement, don’t forget about the other important people in your life: your girls. A healthy balancing act between your pals and you boo isn’t always easy and in many cases, it requires conscious effort, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.