Why Can’t You be Happy for Me?

Why my friends stopped finding me interesting after I fell in love:

BY LAURA MCREYNOLDS

“Do you fight often?” was the first question my friend asked me about my boyfriend. It was the first time I had seen her in years, and we were meeting for coffee. I felt a familiar panic— lie or tell the truth. I find myself telling her about an irrelevant spat we had, making the story angrier and more dramatic than it truly was. I did this because I didn’t want to face the familiar glazed expression, the feigned enthusiasm followed by silence that follows when I tell the truth— I am happy with my boyfriend, and we do not have any serious relationship problems.

image by Ambro from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
image by Ambro from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I find myself doing this increasingly often with friends— making my relationship seem more tumultuous than it is because I’m afraid that people will accuse me of bragging, or talking too much about my boyfriend. I hear complaints from single people often, and I don’t want to offend them— I’ve been there too. Being single when you want to be in a relationship is frustrating and lonely. I’ve learned there’s a new kind of loneliness that comes with being in a loving relationship though, and it’s this: no one wants to hear about your love life anymore. Your happiness is boring.

I spent much of my university life in and out of pseudo-relationships where we treated each other poorly, and nothing was concrete. My friends were a source of comfort. They listened to sex stories, what happened on dates, and what was said in text messages. They laughed with me about the awkward things that happened when hooking up. They held me when I cried about men, and passionately explained that I deserved to be treated well.

I’ve learned there’s a new kind of loneliness that comes with being in a loving relationship

When I met my boyfriend, there was no drama; we entered into a relationship about a month after first meeting with no hesitation on either side. We wanted to be together, so we were. Soon after, I started to notice my friends’ faces would glaze over when I started to talk about my relationship. Sometimes people would make subtle comments about “enjoying the honeymoon phase,” implying that our love could not remain as strong or happy. I would read online articles cautioning me about letting my guard down. A while after that, I began to notice an undercurrent of frost when I spoke lovingly about my boyfriend.

Most worryingly, I notice that some of my friends have begun to censor themselves— unless I directly ask them, I don’t hear about their hook-up stories or dates. I still love them and want to know about their lives— I can still offer a sympathetic ear or be someone to laugh along with, even if I am in a happy relationship. I know that I’m lucky to have a boyfriend I connect with on many levels. Still, it doesn’t mean I can’t participate in discussions with my friends regarding sex, love and relationships.

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