My two best friends have both recently had broken engagements – one left her fiancé, the other got dumped. At first I felt for them, and was sympathetic. But now they’ve recovered, are seeing lots of guys, are having a really good time – and my feelings are starting to get more confused.
On the one hand, I love my own fiancé very much indeed. We’ve been a couple since I was at school, we do everything together and I can’t imagine life without him.
On the other hand I’m envious of the fun that my friends are having, the sort of life they’re leading. I’m finding it harder and harder to meet up with them for a drink as we used to do. I don’t want to lose them, but it feels bad to be around them.
It’s absolutely natural that you feel envious of your friends. They’re living a new and different life, with few responsibilities, few commitments and a lot of freedom. Plus, while your future is all mapped out and certain, theirs is absolutely unclear and therefore very exciting.
But remember that what you’re seeing isn’t necessarily all that’s going on. Your friends are not telling you about the downsides of being single – which are as real as the downsides of being partnered. They’re telling you about the passionate nights, but they’re not telling you about the guys who don’t then call. They tell you about the thrill of the chase, but they don’t confide about the lack of day-to-day support. The grass in their world isn’t necessarily any greener than the grass in yours.
It could be that you and your friends have simply gone your separate ways. Before, you were in the same ‘life stage’ of being partnered, but now they’ve gone back to the life stage of being single. In time they’ll get partners and you may develop common interests again – if you’re still in touch.
Just one warning for you. You could be feeling so bad about all this because you need to experience a few of the joys of being single – which are many. It could be that you’re feeling envious and restless because you met your fiancé when you were so young that you never got to be independent and making choices for yourself. And the danger is that without ever having had a period of living your own life, in the future – when you’re married and with children – you may start feeling seriously restless.
So take a good hard look at your situation. I’m absolutely not suggesting that you leave your fiancé. But maybe you need a bit more of your own life, the chance to explore what you want to do, think and feel. It could be very healthy for your relationship if you and your man started to be just a bit more independent of each other.
Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here