Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The New Relationship Juggle Struggle


A recent phone conversation...
*Ring-Ring*
"This is Michele."
"Is it? Is it Michele? Because I used to have a friend at this number but I haven't heard from her in weeks!"
"Hey girl, I've been swamped."
"You're always swamped, what's really happening? You got a new man?"
"Well there is someone I've been seeing..."
"For how long?"
*mumbles* "About six months or so?"
"Heffa, did you say six months?"
"Mayhaps."
"It's a good thing I love you, when do we meet him?"
"I'll set something up."
"I cannot BELIEVE you have turned into one of those chicks who gets a man and ditches her girls!"
"Ma'am, we were only catching up once every few months before I got a man?"
"Whatever, how fine is he? I know he's fine. Is he finer than-"
"See, that's why you haven't met him yet. Get your mind right and I'll call you this weekend."
"You betta. Don't make me come out there."
I'm not that girl. I'm not the girl who gets a man and ditches her girls. I am a woman who is doing entirely too much. In the scheme of things, there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. When deciding what to do with the spare 4.7 hours a week I don't have carved out for something else... my bad, I decided to get in some time with the man. But I'm in a different kind of situation, most of my girlfriends are married with kids and live 40+ minutes away. Even before the man, we would catch up by phone and see each other every other month. I have girls I consider to be my close friends that I haven't actually laid eyes on in years. It's definitely not like it was in my twenties and early thirties when me and the girl crew were hanging tight every weekend and twice during the week. Those days are done. Chele needs naps.

But I am familiar with the get-a-man-ditch-your-girl phenomenon. I had a close friend that we could always tell when she had New Man syndrome. She would go from meeting us for workouts and dropping by to get her TV watch on to going complete radio silent for weeks at a time. I used to tease her, "Does your phone only dial one number when you've got a man?" We actually had a huge falling out years ago (for a number of reasons), but the last straw was that I was moving to California and instead of coming by to see me the week I left, she decided to spend time with her new man. Umm... sisterhood FAIL.

3N gets teased everyday (every. darned. day) by his crew because the old "Open Door - All May Enter" policy is no more. The days of the fellas falling into his spot on their way home/out/after church/before a date/to grab a bite/to play Xbox... done. Keys had to be relinquished, alarm codes got changed, visiting hours and protocols put in place. These things sometimes happen.

There just doesn't seem to be enough time to get it all in. And do it all well. But I guess that's life.

Ladies and gents? Have you gone through the new relationship juggle struggle? Have you seen it in action? Thoughts, comments, insights?

56 comments:

sunt97 said...

Yep my late nights with the girls slowly fizzled out because I much rather had been curled up with dude. I still did make time for hem and we had a girls night out instead 3 evenings a week it was 1. And Chele I so feel you on the friends point. I have 2 besties that I rarely lay eyes on. We have known another since childhood. Might not talk for months with but when we do we pick up exactly where we left off. That's true friendship.

Peace, Love and Chocolate,
Tiffany

Nicole said...

Going through it  and have gone through it. On either side, it is not easy. I simply try to fall back and be cool whenever one of my friends going through the New Relationship struggle and I hope the same friends will cut me some slack when I go through mine. Whether in/out of a relationship, once you are about something besides sitting on the couch whole day it means you have to juggle priorities. Even with the best of jugglers, balls can get dropped. The key is when you caught slipping in one area just pick up the ball again.

Big October said...

An exciting new relationship is a wonderful thing. I'm guilty of spending less time with friends to cultivate a new relationship. At the time I felt it was necessary to work on my dreams of having a stable, happy and functional love thing and we all know that takes time and considerable effort. I will admit I temporarily forgot that my friends have feelings too and certain bonds are hard to break but I assumed as friends they would understand because I would understand if the shoe was on the other foot. I think sometimes it's not so much about neglect, it's about personal satisfaction and growth and we naturally feel our friends will be happy as long as we are happy, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Jazzy Jazz said...

You know, I fall back when my friends have men. BUT I dont think its asking too much to ask that they not bring their man on our outings. I understand that they have a new relationship, but why should  I be forced to hang out with their new man? Im not talking about situations where I invite the both of them out - Im referring to when I plan a girls day and the SO tags along. 

I feel you on the friendship thing. I have friends (actually most of us ) who I only see/talk to  ever so often. I am just not the type of person who has to be all in your face all the time. 

Brandon St.Randy said...

When you do get into a relationship at this point in life, that person is really supposed to be your second priority behind your family. When we were younger, it was cool to still keep your friends and SO on a relatively equal basis, and split time. But if you're actually trying to build a life with someone, that's a slightly different endeavor, especially if you work a lot of hours and involve yourself in other fruitful pursuits (mentoring, teaching, volunteering, etc). Now if you're ignoring your friends for someone who's just a fun, replaceable kick it partner, that's not that cool, but I know I'm going to see my married friends when I see them, not when it's convenient for me. If they bring their husbands/wives around, I have to respect that bc they're now part of the crew. We're so bawdy that some of the wives have decided they don't want any part of our tomfoolery anyway, but many of the women my friends have married are just as ignorant if not more so than their husbands, so they fit right in. Like Plies with pearls.

CaliGirlED said...

Exactly! It's crazy how when you're going through it your friends trip. But those same friends get into their new relationships and do the same thing. I just laugh about it.

maureen said...

I have a friend with" the get-a-man-ditch-your-girl phenomenon". When that girl is in a relationship you can't  get a phone call out of her.  Early stages of our friendship (I have been known to cancel on s.o  to hang out  with the girls. It is learning a process folks), I used to be  mad.  she explained it to me in no uncertain terms,  "I get cocoa from him, I can't get that from ya." Yes ma'am.
 Like u,  most of my friends are  booed up/married with kids.  Gone are the days we could do  happy hours  twice a week and jet on trips across the U.S. Truth be told, we are in  recession too, can't just be blowing cash.

MsJamie14 said...

Hey, going into a relationship is like being struck by lightning (sometimes literally, lol). You're not the same after and like "physical therapy" *wink* it will take some months to get into a new rhythm again. Folks who can understand, will. I've done the good natured teasing to my girls who fall off, but they know I am most supportive of their relationships. Heck, you can't get to the alter vowing to "foresake all others" unless you start to foresake all others. LOL

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I used to commit the cardinal sin of disappearing when in a relationship. But, after many years wasted trying to get that Mrs. to go w/ the B.S., I doubt I will ever fall into that trap until I have more on my plate ( e.g. children). Even w/ an SO, you can find time to call, text, or have brunch with your friends. I'm at the age now where everyone has a lot of obligations, and the fair weather associates have fallen off, so there really are only a few key friends that you need to keep up with.

Maybe I've overcorrected too much in the opposite direction because of my poor choices in the past, but I just will not let myself get to the point of totally neglecting my few friendships. I even sometimes make myself scarce so that my guy doesn't become improperly entitled to coming before everything else. I tell my SO that part of why he was attracted to me was that I had a life before I met him, and that I need to have a life outside of him so that our life together will be happy.

SingLikeSassy said...

I have been out of pocket for a few days traveling for work so I need to note here that yesterday's post about Trey almost made me late for work today. I was laughing so hard this morning as I read that, I could barely catch my breath.

Thanks, "Microphone Checker" Trey

Marion Edwina said...

I am too old for that nonsense and so are most of my friends.  Our kids are older (teens to young adults) and we relish the time together, with or without the husbands and/or  boyfriends.  We neeeeeeeeeed to exhale.  I think as you get older you realize the value in those relationships and how much they sustain you!

JaymeC said...

It doesn't get any easier, there was a ten year stretch where I couldn't tell what I was doing besides running from school functions, to work, and the grocery store. Now that the kids are older and almost gone (Amen), Owen and I can put together some sort of social life again.

thinklikeRiley said...

It's all relative. I might shut down da whole crew fo Girlie or I might shut down Girlie fo da crew. Depends on what's up and where my head is at. Girlie feelin' extra freaky, da homies iz excused. Crew got tix to Monday Night Football, I catch Girlie later. Pri-or-it-ties.

Natasha Hunter said...

I don't mind if my friends disappear, but in those few stolen moments you aren't with your boo, don't call me to talk about being booed up.   That irks me.

ASmith said...

I'm experiencing this, but that's because I'm in a relationship with school...  In 2 weeks, my friends will go back to being salty because I have less than no time for them.

And that really illuminates the bigger issue.  Priorities.  Everyone wants you to prioritize them and that's just not possible.  Interesting since a lot of people want to be high on your list, but don't want to put you high on their list.  And even further, it's all gravy until they need you and you can't help for whatever reason.  It's like, well where was all this indignation 2 weeks ago when you didn't need anything but I was still busy?  When one of my friends got into a relationship for the first time since we were in high school, she told me how unnerving a lot of the comments she'd gotten were.  Folks were mad, before she'd done anything, that she didn't have the same amount of time.  Like... what'd you expect?

All that being said, I really think it's shady to drop your friends because you got a man.  Friends need to be understanding, but it doesn't hurt for a person to make a good effort to make a regular "event" once or twice...

Says the girl who can't find time in her schedule to go have drinks with a friend. ::sigh::

ASmith said...

church! tabernacle!

Some people think that's a negative viewpoint -- that "my friends were here before and will be after..." but you need those friends even in the middle of a relationship.

ASmith said...

girl...

I've stopped hanging out with one of my friends because her man has to come to EVERYTHING.  Partly because he's got some weird jealousy/fear problems and partly because she's insistent that all her friends be friends.  I'd actually just deal with it if he didn't act like he hated spending time with us.  She wasn't tryna hear me when I pointed it out, so I've removed myself from that situation.

GrownAzzMan said...

*Fist bump*

MichelleG said...

^^This. All the animosity I received over grad school made me move some people OUT of my priority zone. This was after all the support and understanding when they were the ones pursing various degrees, getting married, having kids etc. Its disheartnening to see how some folks react when they realize that your life doesn't revolve around them.

Any guilt I felt over the changing dynamics of our friendships disappeared post my mothers (ongoing) battle with cancer. After being everything to everyone none of you can make time to come over and just sit with her for an hour so I can catch my breath? Then when you think things have cleared up you start back with the kids fundraisers/requests to babysit/need to vent over the no good fool you married(while sharing all the things you think I'm doing wrong)? Do you really not get why I can't muster a d#mn? Yeah, we USED to be good friends but the new man you don't know about is not the reason you don't see me anymore.

CaliGirlED said...

Mr. Sum-It-All-Up is your name!

"Girlie feelin' extra freaky, da homies iz excused. Crew got tix to
Monday Night Football, I catch Girlie later. Pri-or-it-ties." This.right.here!!!

And even though I LOVE football, I know that sometimes a man wants to watch that shit with his boys! NO problem, me an my girls will be at another sports bar watchin it too!

Bryan Anthony said...

When I first met my wife, we were all still in our mid-20s and rolling six or seven deep everywhere. Since I was the first one to "get serious" I caught hell. All of a sudden I wasn't at 50 cent wing night, I was at the mall watching the Mrs. pick out floor rugs. I know, we sexy right? So we have Boys Night without the ladies and we have group outings with everybody. When you're a grown azz person, you make it work.

Andrea M said...

Just curious, what would happen if one of the fellas picked a woman who didn't get along with the crew?

Bryan Anthony said...

I'm going to defer that question to @anotherword43 and @guessImJay - they are so highly qualified to answer. #shotsfried

CaliGirlED said...

Had a couple of married friends ask me why I don't call them like I used to. You did not get married to have late night talks with me! Chile please you betta make a happy home!...Please believe it's always good to have Girls' Nights Out and Man Caves, everybody needs a break sometimes!

Bottomline like Riley said below priorities! And yes it will take some juggling. But like Aretha Franklin said, "Oh when me and that man get to lovin! I tell ya girls, I dig ya but I just don't have time to sit and chit and sit and chit chat and smile"!

Don't know ol' school? Ok Jill Scott said,
"Four thirty, can't wait to get home
Nah, girl I got somethang else to do
(Damn Jill, don't be frontin' on your girls for real)
Go 'head, really get your groove on
Cause tonight my man's coming through
(Oh word)
We gonna have to connect some other time
As much as I like to shake my thang on the dance floor
I got another nasty, freaky just right way in mind
Tonight I'm gonna beat the high score"

Grown folks understand this, don't have time for reindeer games!

CaliGirlED said...

Oooh to the damn Weee!!! How people get so caught up in their own damn shit that they don't even see what you're going through!

CaliGirlED said...

Hollers!!! The Georgia Boys are TOO damn hilarious for words! (That is the name right?)

Penny said...

This I can certainly understand-I have 3 friends in PhD programs.  We can only communicate (even emails become difficult for them to answer during the semester)  during breaks.  Even then, they are so busy catching up with the rest of the world, their time is still limited.  We have to schedule telephone calls weeks in advance.

Trey Charles said...

Bry - Ratchet!
If a woman doesn't get along with the crew, the rule is usually "it's her, not the crew"
But we're really not that hard to get along with, are we? Chele? Jayme? BB? Annette?

Grace said...

This sounds like a problem I would like to have.

BB Waite said...

Chele, you don't ignore your friends for men. You ignore everybody to write. But you're excused because we love you and we want more Michele Grant books/blogs/articles in the world.

BB Waite said...

You boys are "special"

ASmith said...

Oh yes. I tell folks not to come at me the week of trying to get on my schedule.  It just won't happen. They don't listen.

Big October said...

Ya know.

diamond life said...

I started a job recently that is very demanding and everyone is like "Diamond, you can't live for work"
In this economy? Let me try and secure this paycheck, please and thank you?
What gets me is that they are too used to having me around to lean on. Fall back for a minute, I'll catch up.

OneChele said...

O__o Thank you Miz BB.

OneChele said...

Nosy as hell with a whiff of messy but overall good people.

Jubilance said...

Good point. I tend to give my friends who are in relationships or married more space - I know their mate is more important than me so I'm  not expecting them to have as much free time as they once did. Not saying the friend should completely fall off the face of the Earth tho. Both parties have to recognize that some level of scale-back of the time is gonna have to have, just means the time spent needs to be quality.

CaliGirlED said...

True friendship trumps all this! My best friend from high school lives in New Jersey (originally from New York) and we sometimes go months without talking, for various reasons. She will always be my girl and vice versa and we just catch up when time allows. She came to see me when I had my daughter, I went to see her when she had her 1st son. And she's so busy right now that I couldn't believe she came to L.A. for my dad's funeral! *wipes a tear* That's friendship, damn all the other stuff!

CaliGirlED said...

*raises hand* Me too!

CaliGirlED said...

 Girl please, cause if you lose said job, they are not going to pay unsaid bills! LOL

BlackButterfly said...

Been there and done that.  For most of my "relationship" life I have always had to juggle multiple endeavors (school, work, family, S.O. and then a child) at difference stages of that "relationship" life. Exhausting! But I have always been available if at all possible and I am a champion at understanding that life gets complex and busy and the 'BFF team' is always available when needed. No apologies expected or necessary. 

Most of us are getting to the stage where the childr'n need us less and we get to catch up and hang out more often.  But I am no longer that chic that can stay up to ridiculous hours and then function before late afternoon the following day.

Penny said...

You are so right about true friendship-not to be confused with those that pass through your life for a brief period of time (helpful as they might have been.)  All relationships (friendship, intimate partners, relatives, etc.)
require work and attention, and "the juggle."  Sometimes family is #1,
other times, work or school may take the priority.  Your true friends
understand this.  At times, a quick text or phone call is all you can
manage.  People move due to new jobs, marriages, family issues, etc.  True friends work around those things. 

However, any relationship also requires regular maintenance.  You can't realistically expect someone who you have been ducking (for whatever reason) to drop everything when you have a crisis or are in need. 
It was my girls who held me up and carried me through the deaths of my
parents, psychopaths at work, and through the break up with Mr. "I
Thought Was the One." I know your friends' presence at your dad's funeral made a huge difference to you.  I hope you are feeling even a little bit better each day.  :)

Mykeia said...

The juggle is hard.  It stays hard when you get married.  True friends understand that priorities change, they will come back.

Good luck.

GuessImJay said...

Dude, you were whipped. Furniture shopping during the Final Four? It's against all known man laws.

CaliGirlED said...

"But I am no longer that chic that can stay up to ridiculous hours and
then function before late afternoon the following day. ". Le Damn Sigh

CaliGirlED said...

Thanks Penny, I am!

JoycelynC said...

True friends always understand.  They may complain a bit but they are not serious in it.  I have dropped off the face of the earth for law school, work schedules, and even once or twice a man in between all that and they were always right there when I came back around.  I may have missed a few things but they caught me up and we kept it moving.

rozb said...

I just got "laid off" from a job because my BP shot up, I wasn't sleeping, and my health was sliding downhill fast. Not to mention I felt like I was neglecting my man, my family, and friends.

But guess what? Other jobs come, and you can sometimes chart your own path from this. However, if you are doing what you love, and it isn't killing you, enjoy it. True friends will be there when you take a breather!

rozb said...

So true!

CaliGirlED said...

I have a friend who every so many months that we talk we start out fussing about who called last and who owed who a call back. Then we die laughing and  proceed to catching up on all the good/bad stuff that has happened.

CaliGirlED said...

Take care of you Roz!

GrownAzzMan said...

What exactly is a whiff of messy? Jus axin...

GrownAzzMan said...

Going to see Jilly tonight. I'm sure she will break us off with that one...

Singlelif said...

You ain't neva lied !

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

One of my good friends is engaged AND locked down in law school - when she's not working. I have my own Final Year project to tackle, my money making side-hustles and MAYBE an s.o. on the horizon (maybe).

We're both busy, we both understand each other's situation, and we touch base when we can - even if it's a drive-by message on Facebook.  When we do get to face=to-face connect like old times, though? It's like there was never any distance at all.

Singlelif said...

Mature grown folks should relate and understand your post without getting salty. If you dropped everything and reached out to the complainer, they themselves wouldnt have time to offer a response/

My last serious relationship ended two years ago, so I dont have a man.  I have men.  Okay, what I really am is a serial dater. and I've been kissing way too many frogs these past couple of years. Don't judge me.

Anywho, as the only "unmarried" cousin in a family of 34 female first cousins, I am the "fun one", I'm the one planning all the get togethers, weekends, and "cousin vacays, etc - and I am here in the DMV alone (no family).  I speak to my BFF on average of once a week, and we both will move mountains for the other.   Get in where you fit in. Grown folk get down like that, and truthfully, I dont know many people who REALLY like sleeping alone.

I'll take 6 more hours added to my day for $300, Alex.

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