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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Savvy Singles > Dating and How it Affects Old Friends

Savvy Singles
by dating expert Tonja Evetts Weimer

How New Dates Affect Old Friends

A strange thing happens when you meet the love of your life.  You discover that even though your friends and family want the best for you, some of them may have a hard time adjusting.  When they realize that they are about to be replaced as the special confidant or advisor to your life, they may experience a tidal wave of panic.

Being Upset
If your new partner’s friends are in happy, loving relationships, they will be thrilled that the two of you have found each other. However, if they have been avoiding their empty lives by using your partner as a distraction, they are going to feel a big loss.   If they have been playing host, with all the answers to your lover’s struggles, and if they have been the shoulder for your boy/girlfriend to lean on, chances are, they are going to be upset when your new love finds you and emotionally moves away.  Unfortunately, they may be invested in your friend’s staying single.

 

Habits
Old habits are harder to let go of than we realize.  I think about how the electricity went off in our house the other day and even though I knew that, every time I walked into a darkened room, I tried to switch on the lights.  Another example of unconscious behavior happened when I changed the drawer for the silverware a year ago.  The utensils are now in another place.  You would think I would remember that when I get ready to set the table.  But at least once a day, I open the old drawer.  Obviously, my former habits are deeply programmed into me.   From these small experiences, I can understand how hard it is for someone to change or let go of what they are used to doing with an old friend and how they might resent you. 

It happened to me when I met some of my future husband’s friends.  At first, one married couple thought I was great.  Soon, however, the dawning occurred that he had new priorities.  They were no longer the number one social activity in his life.  With his new plans and new dreams he shared with me, he stopped spending every free evening with them.  They were not happy campers.  The friendship did not survive, but the lessons did.

Boundaries
Life-changing events will occur whether we want them to or not.  Since change is inevitable, there are some friendships that will morph into something different, and others that will stop.  Most relationships among family and friends are resilient, and can allow someone new into your life.  But some are fragile, built on unconscious and hidden agendas of the other parties, and are not meant to endure.  One of the ways to navigate those shifts and changes is to understand boundaries and how to set them.  With your boundaries in place, you can let people in or you can encircle yourself and come out when it’s safe. 

Boundaries are the necessary lines we draw to protect us.  They protect our health and happiness from the damaging behavior of others.  They are the limitations we set that let people know how close they can come.  They are also there to keep us from reaching out to people who have shown that they can’t be friends. 

Taking Care of Yourself
Often, we find it hard to refuse people.  Saying “no” can be hard when we think it means upsetting someone.  Most of us are afraid of being rejected or not being liked.  What is important to understand is that whenever we don’t set boundaries, however, we are open to being taken advantage of, and therefore, not respected.

To set tighter boundaries is to say goodbye to people, activities, and habits that drain energy.  If you feel tired, upset, or troubled, time after time, when you have been in certain situations, chances are, it’s time to let go.  When you know what is authentically good for you, perhaps you’ll know when to say “no” to a long list of demands you have been tolerating. 

We cling to our habits and our ways and our existing relationships out of a sense of familiarity or misguided loyalty.  Sometimes, the people in our lives (for reasons they don’t even understand) would rather see us stay the same and be miserable rather than change and ultimately be happy.  So get your boundaries in place.   It’s important to remember that there is always a possible collision course—when your old friends meet your new friend.


Tonja Evetts Weimer, M.A., is an award-winning author and Master Certified Single’s Coach and Personal Life Coach. Her Savvy Singles column appears every Friday in Online Dating Magazine. You can email Tonja at tonja@tonjaweimer.com, visit her website a www.singlesdatingtips.com or www.tonjaweimer.com, or call 864-294-9494.


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