Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Growing Up and Apart.

I've been in a small group for almost five years now, since October 2008.  We started off with five women and currently have five women, but only three are the same.  We've added and lost others throughout the years, but for five years this group has been my stability.  They've also been my best friends.  April and Emily (the only two, along with me, who have been there the duration of the last five years) were even in my wedding.

But life changes.  I got married, Emily is moving to Vegas, Jen and April are now roommates that live 30+ minutes from Sara (our newest member) and me.  So, there's some natural separation that is occurring in our group.  But if I'm being honest, there's been separation occurring with me for a while.

I've started to feel distant from them.  And I know that's natural.  I have a husband now, and he's my priority.  Before I met Donny (and even when we were dating and living in different states), I hung out with my friends all the time.  Small groups on Tuesday, NBC comedy nights on Thursday, and usually something on the weekends or lunches during the week.  Now, he's here, and I spend most of my time with him and my family.  I can't (nor do I want to) spend all my free time with my friends (who, btw, are all single).  I do see them once a week at our small group, but they hang out a lot now without me.  So now when I do see them, they all have inside jokes and stories that I don't know about.  And it's not their fault-- it's no one's fault, really.  It's just a reality of our changing lives.

I also feel the desire to find some friends who have husbands (or at least boyfriends) so that we can have couple-friends.  None of the women in my small group are married or even dating anyone.  So, when we all do hang out, Donny ends up being the lone testosterone contributor, and I know that's awkward.  Not to mention, you deal with some different issues when you're single vs. when you're married.  They all still talk about how they want to find a husband, and I feel like I can't talk about Donny without making them feel lonelier.  So, I want to find some friends who are in the same stage of life as me now.  Not that I want to abandon these girls because I have a husband now and they're losers with no man, but I want some people that I can talk to now who understand my situation too.  And marriage is something you can't possibly understand until you're in it.  And when we start to have kids, I know this gap is just going to be even bigger.

So I'm left at the point of deciding whether to stay in the small group that I don't really feel a part of anymore or to leave it.  It makes me incredibly sad to think of leaving and not seeing these girls regularly anymore.  But I also have come to dread our Tuesday night meetings, and that's not really the attitude that I should have going to Bible study.  With one exception a few weeks ago, I haven't felt renewed or uplifted after leaving a meeting with them for months.

I just don't know what God wants me to do-- renew my efforts with these girls or find a new group.  Because the one thing I do know is that I should have women around who challenge me, pray for me, and encourage me to be in God's Word.  I know I need that in my life.  I just don't know if THIS is the group anymore, and I'm praying that his desires will become evident.

Growing up is hard, y'all.  And doing it at different paces as your friends is tough.

10 comments:

  1. I feel you, girl. I never "left my group" because it didn't feel natural, and I still love the girls so much, but there are definitely changes as you get older and life goes in different directions for all the different members of your group. One thing that made me really want to hang on to my older group of friends is that I do know, someday, they will be where I am and hopefully we can grow closer in a new type of friendship then. Until then, I'd hate to "write them off" because we don't have as much in common as we once did. And if even started happening about a year ago! My closest friend, the ultimate single girl, is now seriously dating someone and we do things as couples together all the time and she now knows how I felt when I fell for my husband. It's great, and had I left that friendship for dead long ago, I would be missing this lovely new phase of her life and our friendship.

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  2. I understand what you are going through. My problem is the opposite though. I am the single girl and all of my friends are partnered up. I'm really happy for them, but I need to meet people that are in the same stage of life I am. I still love my girlfriends, but it's hard being single sometimes.

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  3. Just came across your blog :) IT is natural to grow apart, buuut you can have more then 1 group. I have a group of my "originals", but I moved away, and they are all married. I still love and care for them, but we can't get together much. In my current town, I mostly hang out with couples because of the kids, and it sucks that they don't include me in things because I am single. I know they do it so I don't feel like a 3rd wheel, but it makes me feel left out :( Maybe try and make some couple friends, but still make sure to hold on to those other friendships! Good friends are not easy to find!

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  4. My friends and I (who I meet through a small group too!) are going through the same type of things. It's so natural for friendships to ebb and flow. How honest can you be with your friends? Are you able to tell them what you're feeling? Maybe they have insight that you hadn't thought about before and the other way around.

    My heart breaks when I hear stories like this. Makes me want to reach out and give you a hug!

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  5. I can definitely understand what you're going through and I really think it is important to be in close relationships with others that are in a similar stage of life as you are, especially for things like Bible study! As you say, there are parts of married life that only those that are married can understand and I get not wanting to talk about that with your single friends. It is a difficult choice-- could you maybe do both? Still hang out with your single friends and then join a group of married ladies? I will be praying for you :)

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  6. Back in 2011 I got the idea to start hosting Girls Night In. I sent out an email to girls I knew would be interested and we started a monthly thing. Its usually always on a Friday, someone hosts at their place and they can theme it whatever they want. All but 1 is in a relationship, and while she may dwell on it at times, she doesn't let it get to her. Year 1 was great. Year 2, 3 of the 7 girls announced they were pregnant and all babies arrived one month apart. We are now in the middle of year 3 and its almost like a mommy & me group as the 4th girl is due in Aug. Keith and I have no plans for a baby anytime soon, timing isn't right, housing isn't right, it just isn't right. The other two are further from having one than we are. So outside of the group, my "best friend" hasn't spent much time with us for that kid reason. I have not considered folding the group yet, its kinda crossed my mind but I'm at the point that if people don't want to come, they don't have to, because any amount of ppl there is great.

    I agree with your thoughts of couples too - I would totally hang out with you guys if you didn't live in Texas ;)

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  7. Oops I hit publish too soon. So honestly I would follow your heart. People may get mad but then again they may not care. Know that what you choose is what's best for you!

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  8. One of the things Jason has taught me is that it is ok to not maintain the same level of friendship with people indefinitely. In other words, just appreciate relationships for where they are at and don't try to make them what they aren't. It is natural for relationships to sometimes grow apart with the changing of seasons in life. Look at us - you were my best friend for a lot of my formative years, but we naturally grew apart through college, etc. I loved the time we spent together, but things shifted for both of us as we moved to the next stage. And that's ok! I had another very close friend in college that I kept trying to hold on to, even after we were both obviously going in different directions. As I grieved the loss of the friendship, Jason really helped me take an approach of gratitude for the awesome times we had and look forward to meeting new people who I would relate to better in my stage of life. Doesn't mean you can't still be friends, it will just be different.

    With that said, it's never easy to make a break. But I think you probably know in your gut the right path. And our husbands are full of wisdom in this area, since they aren't so emotionally directed. If it were me, I would ask the hubby what he thinks I should do, because honestly, he is almost always right. :)

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  9. (Sorry this is way behind...)

    I think you have to go where you are comfortable. I have been struggling to find a small group to join BECAUSE I'm single! I would love to go to a young adult study or something at a local church, but the majority of the ones I've found are all couple-oriented. Obviously that doesn't fit me right now. Likewise, most of my close friends around here are either married or dating someone. Actually, ALL of my friends are in that boat--I can't even think of one who isn't. It's a frustrating part of life, and I've been tossed to the side because my friends are out with their significant others, but I look forward to the day where I can spend my time with a boyfriend and not worry about what to do on the weekends when I have nothing planned!! So, basically what I'm trying to say, is that I hope you followed your gut and did what you are comfortable with. It doesn't mean you have to forget about these women forever :)

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  10. As the single gal with so many married friends, and then when they have children, I can say it's difficult! I wonder if you could find a small group that is a mixture - singles, marrieds, older, younger, etc. Then perhaps you could stay with these women, but add in a whole new dynamic? I think you are right, relationships are a bit more challenging when we end up in different life stages, but I also think they are worth it. You'll find your balance and I'm sure God will direct your path. Perhaps you can find a small group Donny can attend with you? That would be my dream when I get married.

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