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Our Distant and Jealous Friends Didn't Expect Us To Last

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Dear Mona,

Well for starters, I am a 23-year-old male college graduate who is mixed in race and short in height. I am faithfully dating a much taller 42-year-old white male. That statement alone is more than enough to cause controversy or as they say "raise a few eyebrows." My partner and I will celebrate our 1-year anniversary in a few weeks. We both have successful jobs in management with different companies. We've bought our condo together and we've even met each other's parents/family. The whole nine yards. We couldn't be more happy in our relationship.

The problem lies with our friends instead of our families. We both agree that they didn't expected us to last this long, nor did they expect for us to become so close with each other. About 80% of our friends are single and have started to distanced themselves from us. We plan to have our marriage/union in the near future. Even though it would mean the world to the both of us, should we even include them in our plans to get hitched or should we save the headache and be without our dearest so-called friends?

-Mixed Messages


Dear Mixed Messages,

Just like relationships, friendships require continual maintenance. Our friendships are always being tested by the situations of life. Our most rewarding friendships–those that are honored with "life long" status–are usually the ones that can recover from these tests, bringing you closer not further apart.

Tests of friendships come in many forms. The most poisonous of the lot is jealousy. Once bitten by jealousy, a friend can go from being a BFF to an A...S... well, you get the point. Unfortunately, your garden of Evan is surrounded by many thorns known to produce the dangerous poison of jealousy. Every time your single group of friends witness your relationship, they are being pricked by thoughts of what they haven't found. The side effects of jealousy include nasty comments such as, "You guys won't last!"; or thoughts like, "Why him and not me?"; or when the jealousy ailment advances, "Let's drive them apart!"

Don't get me wrong, your single friends aren't monsters. All friends want their buds to be happy. The hidden secret is that everyone wants to be happy first. Your single friends know that you and your man are a great mix. What they don't understand is where their hot stable family-loving career and relationship-oriented stud is. They have to face that mystery each time they see you two together. In their defense, they also may feel like you two have distanced yourselves as well. By you two dating, you've changed the dynamic of the single guys' circle. That's why they choose distance.

Rest assured, there is a remedy. Friends tend to hold on to the way things used to be, but your circumstances have changed. You can't convince someone not to be jealous. But, if your buds are distancing themselves because they think they've lost you guys as the fun singles you used to be, then you need to assure them that being a couple hasn't changed who you both are as individuals.

You won't be partying like a single on the market, but you can show them that they are important people in your lives. The distance obviously bothers you. Don't counter it with anger. Reach out to each friend individually. Plan a private dinner or a brunch or a happy hour . You and your boyfriend should trade off spending time with each one alone. Explain that the importance of your relationship doesn't change the significance of your friendships with them. Let them know that you prefer that they be close, not distant. Assure them that you will do the same when they enter into a serious partnership. Then, don't just send an invite, ask them to be a part of your wedding.

Love is the cure. If your friends don't take it, then let them wallow in their green slob of jealousy. You've got a hunk of a 40-something at home to love. Eventually, that love will attract friends eager to love you two in return. But, before you completely turn away from your old homies, put forth a little extra effort to get them back.

I once asked a friend why the two of us were never that close. "Because you never made me number 1," he pungently responded. He was right. Once I gave him significance in my life he became one of my best friends.

Yours in friendship,
Mona
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