D ear Amy: My friend and I were always the party girls in our group, always up for a good time, drinking and dancing until the sun came up. I treasured the close bond we shared and our fun, carefree lifestyle.
I recently became pregnant, and my husband and I are thrilled. My party-girl lifestyle has dramatically altered. Although my aforementioned friend is very excited for us, I’m having trouble with her and the lifestyle I used to enjoy.
Every time we go out, my friend has numerous cocktails and beers, and the increasing intoxication makes it difficult to have a conversation. If she has gone out the night before, she is hung over and unreliable. I am beginning not to want to spend time with her because I do not like her behavior and attitude.
In a few months, we have a planned beach vacation and I am torn. Part of me wants to cancel simply because I do not want to spend several days watching her get drunk and putting up with her antics. Another part of me understands that I, just a few months ago, was this person as well, whether I like to see the behavior or not. I understand that pregnancy and child-rearing change relationships and perhaps my friend is struggling. I am worried that talking to her about it will start a fight, but keeping it in doesn’t work. What should I do?
Dear Confused: Relationships have to adjust through all sorts of life changes. Childhood friends part when they go off to college, college friends adjust through graduation, and then friendships change when people find partners and start families.
And sometimes people outgrow or simply outpace each other, and the friendship either adjusts or it ends.
Now that you’re sober, you should be brave enough to acknowledge the change in your friendship. The world looks different when you’re no longer viewing it through the bottom of a plastic go-cup. What you should not do is become self-righteous in the face of these changes in your own life. Your friend is simply doing what she has always done. You should acknowledge that you are the one who has changed.
You seem to be dreading this beach vacation, so you should cancel. Tell your friend, “I just can’t party like I used to; I hope you can find someone else who can take my place.”
Dear Amy: My husband and I just got married after dating for almost four years. While we were dating, his immediate family made absolutely no effort to get to know me.
Right before we got married, his sisters tried to stop us. He told me they asked him if he was sure he wanted to go through with this. Why was he marrying me? Is it my looks? My money?
Now that we are married, they are trying to befriend me but I am not interested. They didn’t want to know me for four years, so why now? However, my husband thinks I’m the bad one in this situation.
How do I let him see it’s not simply me being a b—? I think anybody in this situation would react the same.
— No New Family
Dear No New: Your husband should not have passed along his family’s doubts about you. It’s simply not useful, and he has placed you in a terrible position.
However, you don’t seem to grasp something very important: When you marry someone, you marry his family, too. Granted, they have not kicked things off to a very positive start, but they are making efforts now and you should be receptive. Down the road you may discover that you don’t, in fact, like them at all. But at least you will have tried. For the sake of your marriage, you should try.
Dear Amy: The letter from “Middle-Aged” asked about the age gap in a relationship, but for her, the truly important issue is that the guy she was involved with wanted to keep their relationship a secret.
That’s not love.
— Also Middle-Aged
Dear Also: I agree. Thank you.