Getting married is a super exciting time in life, but it’s also a time where things can change—including friendships.
While your girlfriends may be a vital part of your wedding planning process, after you get hitched, it’s easy to get caught-up in that #marriedlife (unless you’re Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams, who are legit friendship goals). Maybe you moved further away from your BFF, or you’re spending more weekends with your partner’s friends, whatever the reason, it’s not fun to drift away from your pals.
Maintaining friendships within a marriage is something that Molly Rosen Guy, owner of New York’s hip bridal boutique Stone Fox Bride, tackles in her new book, Stone Fox Bride: Love, Lust, and Wedding Planning for the Wild at Heart (Penguin Random House, $60). Rosen Guy—whose circle includes Girls star Jemima Kirke and jewelry designer Pamela Love—gets honest about how love can change relationships, and why it’s important to keep your #girlsquad by your side, for better or for worse. (She also talks about everything from picking a dress to staying chill on your big day, but you’ll have to read the book for all that.)
FLARE chatted with Rosen Guy about why weekly girls night can dwindle after you tie the knot, and how you can still keep your BFFs by your side. Here, her tips on how to maintain friendships after you get hitched.
Understand why your friendship may have changed
Even if you’re the most amazing friend in the world, it’s normal to put more energy into the relationship that’s immediately in front of you when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night—especially immediately post-wedding.
“When you get married, your relationship with your spouse generally becomes your primary relationship for emotional support, financial support and security,” Rosen Guy explains. “The exciting, emotional relationships that we have with our girlfriends tend to take the back burner.”
Despite this natural and totally understandable shift, Rosen Guy says it’s important to not let your spouse replace your BFF. “Your [spouse] is your lover, your life partner, your co-homeowner and (maybe) your co-parent,” she says. “Your best friend is the person who knows your every weirdest, darkest secret, who is always there to bitch to over a glass of wine… and who knew you before you were married.”
While Rosen Guy acknowledges that it’s hard to have that kind of closeness with two people at once—especially if one relationship is romantic and one is platonic—it’s not impossible to keep both parties priorities. “There has to be a lot of negotiating that goes into balancing both those relationships at the same time,” she says, “But it can be done.”
Talk about your feelings
Ok, so things have changed: maybe you two hang out less often or maybe you’ve stopped sending daily texts, but the important thing is, if you feel something is off with your friendship, say something. Chances are if you know something is up, your pal senses it, too.
“Acknowledging that there might be tension and that things might be awkward is really important,” says Rosen Guy. “Honest dialogue is always the best way to maintain any relationship.”
Having #realtalk over coffee will help clear the air, and give both of you a chance to express how you’re feeling about your relationship. If your friend (or you!) has been feeling neglected, talk about your expectations and needs within the friendship so you both know where you stand.
“Most likely, at the end of the day, all your friend wants to know is that you still love them and you still care about them, and that they’re still a priority,” says Rosen Guy.
Put in legit effort
In order for a friendship to remain strong, you need to make your pal feel important and loved. You might not be getting wasted and eating pizza in bed together every Friday night anymore, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a vital part of your day-to-day life.
Show your friend you are thinking of them by calling to see how their day was, sending texts often (the more inside jokes the better) and making concrete plans to hang out. “The more gestures that you can make that show her that she’s still your main bitch is really important,” says Rosen Guy.
“Relationships are amazing and they’re what keeps up getting out of bed in the morning, but they’re very complicated and they require a lot of maintenance. There’s constant work that goes into making sure that both people feel loved and fulfilled.”
Make your hangs partner-free
Unlike the glory days of living alone, if you’re hitched, chances are you live with your partner now. Ugh, growing up, amirite? While your BFF hopefully likes your spouse, they probably like you more, and want to some quality one-on-one time once and awhile.
“You are absolutely forbidden from ever even suggesting that you bring your husband out on a girl date!” says Rosen Guy.
If leaving the house isn’t an option or you want to have a low-key night in, Rosen Guy suggests asking your partner to leave your shared place for a bit so you and your friend can have honest, uncensored conversations. “Toss some pillows on the floor, pop open some wine, order Chinese takeout and make like it’s old times,” she says.
When you hang out, don’t make it all about you
You’re excited! You’re married! You’re not excited! You’re fighting with your spouse and your job sucks! Whatever emotions you have about the current status of your relationship, don’t use a friend catch-up date as a bitch fest. “You might feel like your world has just turned upside down, but that doesn’t give you license to talk only about yourself,” says Rosen Guy.
Make sure to ask your friend how she’s doing, and actually pay attention to what’s going on in her world. Regardless of whether she’s single or in a relationship, your marriage does not trump her personal life.
Rosen Guy speaks from experience: “Once, when I was having a crisis at work and had been taking about myself nonstop for months, I took my friend Rachel to brunch, set my phone timer for 30 minutes, told her to fill me in on everything going on in her life and put a piece of masking tape over my mouth.”
If you and a friend have drifted apart and it’s eating you up inside (we’ve all been there), be patient; friendships ebb and flow. “Don’t lose faith. Best friends are, in a way, best friends forever—whether or not you want them to be,” says Rosen Guy.
Even if you two haven’t talked in months, sending a friendly “Hope you’re well text!” might just be enough to spark a conversation again. And even if you two don’t get back to how you were before, there might be a time down the road that you re-connect.
As Rosen Guy says, “When it comes to relationships, there is never a real end to any story.”
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