Why Don’t We Talk Anymore? ~ Marriage, Friendship and What We Choose to Share…

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I can remember the first time I saw my husband.

I was 19 and part way through my first training shift as a waitress in a local cocktail bar and restaurant. Carl, 22, was a chef. As I stood at a till with another new girl I caught sight of him through the kitchen hatch. He was tall, blonde and handsome, dressed in whites and wearing a baseball cap to cover his hair.

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but I can remember nudging the other waitress beside me to bring the attractive chef to her attention. ‘I saw him first’ I whispered with a grin on my face.

Just as the chef behind the counter eventually became my boyfriend and later my husband, the other waitress at the till that day became my best friend.

Over the course of that summer the friendship developed out of stressful work shifts and drunken nights out. We went shopping together, spending our tips faster than we earned them on clothes to wear dancing each weekend. We nursed hangovers with food from the restaurant, and sat nestled in one of the booths at the back as we chain smoked between mouthfuls.

I remember we talked a lot. About boys mostly. We shared every detail of our love life with each other that summer, and analysed it all with great precision. There was my fling with the smiley Irish barman, and her dalliances with another. There was much talk of ex-boyfriends. Was it wise to see them again? Could we ever ‘just be friends’?

We weighed up the pros and cons of relationships, comforted each other when things turned sour, and offered words of support when arguments raged and everything began to crumble.

When, under a year later, I found myself leaving the home of the chef I’d lusted after for so long, having finally secured the elusive first kiss, I reached for my mobile and dialled my friend’s number.

‘You’ll never guess where I just woke up.’




My patient friend rode the waves of my fledgling relationship with Carl. She celebrated the triumphs {‘He wants to spend Valentines night together… and I’m sure he almost said I love you the other day’} and held my hand through the darker times {‘We broke up. Maybe for good, I don’t know. Can we just get drunk? Whatever you do, don’t let me text him.’}.

When I fell pregnant unexpectedly the summer after Carl and I got together, my friend knew before he did. She came with me to my first scan and helped me compose the letter that would eventually break the life-changing news to Carl.

The point is, she knew as much about my relationship as I did. And I hers. We confided in each other, shared the good stuff and the bad about the men in our lives. It wasn’t, as any episode of Sex and the City would have you believe, all about dissecting their performance in the bedroom either. It was about helping each other find our way through the maze that is life, love and relationships.

Maybe it’s part of growing up. Maybe it’s about being in a ‘serious’ relationship. Maybe it’s engagements, or marriage, or kids, or owning a home. Whatever it is, almost ten years later, we don’t talk anymore. Well, not like we used to.

Surely growing up and getting married doesn’t negate the need to share these things with our friends? I may have a ring on my finger, but there are still arguments. Carl still leaves me baffled at times. There are occasions when I don’t know what to do and working at our relationship seems overwhelming. It’s just that these days, I rarely say these things out loud.

I don’t think it’s just me either. I’d venture a lot of women leave behind the breathless conversations about their latest love with other the remnants of their single life because they believe they are no longer needed once they’ve ‘settled down’.

Moving in with someone, getting engaged or saying ‘I do’ can all be considered very public declarations regarding the status of a relationship. Perhaps, once these have been made, women are afraid to potentially risk undermining the image they’ve created through these choices. Are we all just ‘keeping up appearances’? Can we only share the good times?

Do women stop confiding in each other once a relationship reaches a certain point? And if they do, who is supporting them and helping them through the tough times? Are we supposed to just suffer in silence? Does marriage mean you can’t tell people when things at home are, well… rubbish?

Or am I totally off base? Is everyone else still staying up all night, talking to their girlfriends about their innermost thoughts and feelings?!


31 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Talk Anymore? ~ Marriage, Friendship and What We Choose to Share…

  1. Interesting.. maybe it’s a kids thing…? Because my girlfriends and I (some, married, some long term partners, some single) confide in each other just as much as we ever did. Girly natters are what keep me sane! x

  2. I definitely do talk to a select few about ups and downs in my relationship, to get their view, their opinions, any advice they may have, and similarly I have a few friends who are recently married, and now I think about it, I don’t think the depth or subject of our chats has changed much! However further down the line, who’s to say? I am a pretty open person anyway, I find it hard to keep things to myself, so perhaps its the over-sharer in me that keeps the chatty nature of the friendships going?

  3. Maybe it is. I guess I don’t have as much time as my friends now as I did pre-kids, and I’m certainly not totally alone with them very often.
    I suppose it’s more that I’ve noticed a big change in the way we talk over the years… but perhaps that is just part of growing up.
    Franky xxx

  4. Such a thought provoking read. I feel a little saddened that I felt I never really had that close female companionship. I had close friends, enough to count on one hand, but most seemed to fade away especially when I went through dark times (parents breaking up, family deaths…) so I guess they were never really good friends not wanting to stick it out with me.
    Where I feel am lucky is that after being bullied at Uni and flying off to the US to a kids camp to escape (dramatic I know) I ended up finding a new best friend. Someone to share stories with, someone to create new memories with, and that someone quickly became the love of my life. No one can ever understand how quickly relationships form in these situations. You’re in each others pockets all day, every day, and a day feels like a week. After 2 months we’d already said those three words, at 12 months we were already engaged (shocking a lot of our family ‘you’re too young, it’s too soon’) and now we’ve been happily married for 3 years. In fact, we’ve been together 10 years in total but it feels like I’ve know him forever. I really have married my best friend and we go through life’s ups and downs together. At the moment we’re happy to be open and honest and it works for us. We see too many of our friends break up over things and it turns out they never really communicated their unhappiness and just hoped the other could read their mind or it would just fix itself. There are days when I’m stood in my wellies in a muddy field watching him play football and I wish I was painting my nails and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a girl friend but I wouldn’t change what I have for that…It would just be nice, that’s all 🙂
    I do feel people keep up appearances. You see it all the time on Facebook, friends with their smiley children and oversharing declarations of love etc, but they’re not so quick to post their darling child having a tantrum or the tiff they’ve had with their husband over the toilet seat…I think it’s just the way the world has gone with social networking….

  5. Hmm.. so maybe it is just me?! Having said that, I know that in a real crisis my friends would be there in a flash {as they have been in the past} but I think I share less of the day to day trials with them now we’re older.
    Nothing wrong with oversharing, it’s why the internet was invented after all! 😉

  6. That’s a great topic….I don’t have kids, so I cannot speak to that. I do think that children, for obvious reasons, take energy and time, especially really young ones….but still, even with my friends with younger children do make the effort and time. It means I have to be more patient sometimes…and I don’t mind getting interrupted, holding a kid, helping with a diaper change, taking a walk…the friendships have changed. We don’t go out as much for a drink or dinner, but I might meet them at the playground and we talk and hang while the kids play…we still have a cocktail, but it’s much rarer.
    I do think part is that as we get older, we kind of loose the “OH MY GOD GUESS WHAT HAPPENED” urge mostly because I think “damn, she’s probably in a meeting or in class or busy, I will call tonight.” I don’ really have an answer for it.
    I think I have to work on maintaining my relationship with my girls and they have changed since many of them have had kids, but I know they are still there for me at the drop of a hat…..

  7. Great post Franky 🙂 I had an argument with the fiance this morning on the phone (although I was in the supermarket at the time so quite public on my end!) and when I got home a friend came round and we talked and laughed about it. It’s hard to talk to some friends though but the close special ones you just pick up where you left off don’t you? xxx

  8. I think it’s like any relationship, you need to work at it, and when kids are involved you work harder. My best friend lives abroad and has a child (and another on the way). We haven’t seen each other face to face for over a year, but technology keeps us together! We skype when we can, even if its for 5 minutes while her daughter is eating her lunch (and therefore stationary!) just to find out how each other’s day is going. The other day her husband looked after their little un so that we could have a proper natter. We discuss different things than we used to as teenagers, but with the same intensity and the same care for one another’s problems, hopes and dreams.
    I love my husband to be (obviously!) but I’ll always value her perspective in a different, but equally important way. I know if I needed her to, she’d still drop everything to help me, and so not actually seeing each other that often, doesn’t matter that much.
    We’ve been friends for half our lives, and so far our various changes in circumstances haven’t changed that friendship.

  9. I love this story, you are very lucky to have such a wonderful friend! I wish I could say that I had the same but sadly over the years I’ve lost nearly all of my girlfriends. Two girls I went to school with stopped talking to me when I got engaged, and my best friend disappeared after she told me she was too busy to be a bridesmaid. But honestly? My Mr is my best friend, I gossip with him, tell him all my stupid girl problems and though he sometimes can’t answer them he always listens. I’d love to have a girlfriend who I could ask about relationship stuff, but I’ve done so far so good on my own! Perhaps I don’t know what I’m missing!?

  10. I agree Franky. None of my friends had kids when I did and their dramas of not finding a outfit for sat night is really inconsequential/annoying when you are sleep deprived! They will always be friends but we are just at very different points in our lives. x

  11. I don’t go into detail about my relationship with my friends anymore, though I know they will listen and they know I’m there for them. I share with my partner. Even when we’re arguing he’s still my best friend, he’s still my other half. Nobody else is part of that relationship so any advice they give, even well-meant or well thought out, won’t feel right. What I have with him is private.

  12. With you on this. Although I’m less inclined to tell all about my relationship with my fiancé than i have been with other relationships i definitely think it’s children that make the biggest difference. There’s just not enough hours in the day and things that were once hugely significant just don’t seem to matter as much when you’re a mum. I had my son quite young and it’s only now 13 years later that my oldest friend has had her first child. It’s been difficult at times to keep that friendship as we were at such different stages in life, and now as a new mum she’s finding some of her childless friends moving away from her. It’s sad to lose touch with people who were once so close but the ones that do stay in your life are well worth hanging on to 🙂

  13. I think it’s natural to out-grow friends to a certain extent. I don’t mean that in a dismissive way, but sometimes the people we know as teenagers aren’t necessarily the people we want to spend so much time with as we grow older. People are shaped by their experiences, and sometimes this evolution process just means we don’t always have so much in common with old friends anymore.
    I don’t have kids, but I imagine if you are the first in a group of friends to have them, your attitudes to things will change and this is surely a natural progression from child to adult (or mother at least!). I think what the scariest thing about becoming older and out-growing friends is that it’s really bloody hard to make friends as an adult! You don’t have the same shared experiences of growing up / first kisses / university and living away from home to bond over, and I think that’s why a lot of people are hesitant to admit they no longer have such a bond with more established friends, as there is the worry they will find no-one to fill that gap. Social networking is the absolute worst for this – it’s a whole lot of “doing things for appearances” rather than because you want a relationship with certain people.
    Obviously though there are always friends who will stand by you no matter what, and thank goodness for them. Sorry for rambling!

  14. Franky, this is such a well written post – the first thing I wanted to do was hunt for the guilty stamp to whack it on my forehead! But then I considered why I have lost ‘actual’ {not so much virtual} touch with so many of my friends and I am left thinking – is it social media – laziness – is it really my marriage? I do think that getting married, having children and all that leaves so much less time to hang out {over the phone/in real life or via Facebook!}.
    This article has really made me think about how I *keep* saying I’ll make more ‘actual’ time for my friends and yet somehow I keep failing. I really must do something about that;
    ‘Its Not The Number Of Friends You Have During The Good Times That Matter Its The Ones That Are Still There After The Bad Times Are Over’
    …this saying reminds me how important it is to still invest in friends – you never know when you’re going to need them in a crisis. I’ve learned that before!
    Big love,
    Annabel xXx
    ps – We need a massive friends goss-session on the phone/skype ;))))

  15. I think itsd also partially to do with how good friends your friends are with your husband/ fiance/ long term partner, if that makes sense? I’m very close to a few girlfriends, but they are almost all friends with my fiance too, ranging from really good mates to happy to have a chat in the pub type friends. They certainly all know him and I know that if he and I have had an arguement or soemthing has gone wrong then it can be hard to say so to the girls, because while at the end of the day they are MY friends, I don’t want them to think badly of him either, so I often end up not telling them, or not as much as I would have done with a casual boyfriend at least…

  16. This is such a lovely comment. I definitely feel I have a friend in my husband, and he’s great at listening to my problems, but I do miss the input of my female friends at times.
    I hear you on the social media front too. Although, it really is just an extension of behaviour that has always existed. People will only ever present themselves in a way they want to be seen. It’s no differnt to the Victorians making their parlour look particularly pretty and ornate because it’s where they took tea with guests! I huess it’s human nature to want people to think the best of us?

  17. This comment really resonates with me, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head so to speak.
    I know my friends would drop everything for me in a crisis, as I would for them. They have proved their worth countless times and I wouldn’t change them for the world, whether we still talk boys or not!

  18. Thank you Jess. It’s so important to surround your self with people that make you smile. Laughter is the best medicine 🙂
    I totally agree with your final point. I don’t see as much of my friends as I’d like to since moving away from London 7 yrs ago, but when we do meet up it’s relaxed and uncomplicated, which I think is a sign of true friendship.

  19. I suppose you don’t need me to tell you those girls weren’t real friends do you?! It’s lovely to hear your Mr is as good, if not better, than any girlfriend though.
    I would say that I don’t think you’re ever too old to make friends, so maybe there will be other women in your life at some point. I’ve actually made some new friends in the last couple of years and I can’t imagine them not being in my life now.

  20. I know what you mean about being at very different points in your life, but I do try to remember that everyone’s problems are big to them, however easy I might think they have it!
    I also know that when my friends do finally get round to having children of their own it will open their eyes to what I’ve been doing for the last decade! I suspect a big hug from all of them!

  21. Definitely, I feels very blessed to have such amazing women in my life. I really felt it on my wedding day when I was getting ready with my bridesmaids, they’re amazing.

  22. Not rambling at all Lynsey!
    I think you’re right, there will always be some friends that don’t stay with you throughout your whole life. I must point out though that I don’t think this is the case with the friend I mention here. She is still very much in my life in really positive way and I love her dearly. I think our friendship has changed a lot though, and it is intersting to question why. Perhaps it will change even more over the years to come.
    I know that after I had my first baby I struggled with certain friendships as I really felt I didn’t belong anymore. Equally, I didn’t feel I fit in with other new Mums I met as I was usually so much younger and unmarried. It took me a while to get used to my new persona as a Mum, but as soon as I did, the real friends were still there waiting for me.

  23. I totally agree Annabel, we are all time poor. But there’s a lot to be said for just letting someone know you’re thikning of them I think. A quick note in the post, or even a text, can be enough can’t it?
    And big yes to catch up soon, can’t wait to see you next week 🙂

  24. I love the idea of a note in the post. I few friends I hold dear – I send texts and Twitter private messages reminding them I love them/am thinking about them – but it always feels like a bit of a cop-out! x

  25. Oh this is so true, I feel my relationship with my closest friends has changed. I think it is the time thing, through uni we could spend all day gossiping, disecting and analysing but now we only see each other for an evening every few weeks so some time is spent just catching up. I miss the time we used to have for each other.
    I also noticed a distancing after I moved in with my now fiance, and could never work out if i had changed and therefore what I discussed had changed or if they had backed off.
    I try and make an effort to keep up with my friends but like others have said there just isn’t enough time. And I don’t even have kids yet!!
    Thanks for a lovely post

  26. I think you’re spot on. I often feel like I can’t talk to my friends about any relationship issues I might be having, because I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years and lived with him for 2 of those. But I also feel that some of my single friends don’t feel they can talk to me like they used to because they believe I’m ‘settled’ in a way that they’re not. I think it’s a lot to do (in my experience) with keeping up appearances. And for me, I know that my minor irritations, or difficulties will probably pass, and I don’t want to be perceived as someone who bad mouths their other half. But the simple truth is, that it’s normal to have ups and downs in any relationship, and I wish I still had friends with whom I felt ready to share these.

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