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    You Are The Company You Keep

    Written by: Alexandra Lotzgeselle

    Although I do believe my husband and I can and will make it through anything, I think there is one aspect to our relationship that is a big reason why we have such a wonderful marriage- we surround ourselves with equally as happy relationships. All of our close friends that we spend time with regularly also have amazing marriages. They are all equal partners that constantly offer support, admiration, and unconditional love to their spouses. They are all each others perfect counterparts.  I think this can sometimes be overlooked once we enter adulthood. As children we often hear “you are who you hang out with”, but as adults, that seems to go by the wayside. Instead of wasting our time with people that are constantly complaining about and diminishing their significant others, we are encircled by friends that have the same marital beliefs and ideals as we do. These are people we feel comfortable going to for any advice and questions and know they will always give us answers that are the most beneficial for us as individuals and partners. By spending too much time with people that are on a different page than you in terms of how they handle their relationship or partner, their issues and attitudes can often times bleed out and become toxic.

    This is not to say that we only hang out with married couples. Some of our best friends are single and we spend a great deal of time with our single and non-married friends. I also don’t believe it’s a requirement for success that you love all of your spouses friends. My husband has a friend or two from long before we were together that I don’t necessarily care for. I however would never tell him, or even suggest, that he shouldn’t spend time with them. It’s important to trust your significant other enough, and respect that you are not truly the same person and have different opinions and preferences…but I digress! Back to our single and married friends: someone’s relationship status would have no impact on the amount of time we spend with them, however if they are in a relationship, we think carefully about how their relationship functions and whether or not its detrimental to be around it too much. For example, I’m sure we have all been around a couple when their fighting. You or your partner start to discuss their argument, and realize maybe you side with different members of said relationship. That brings up bigger questions. “Oh, you don’t think it’s that big of a deal that he was talking to his ex?”. We all know how that goes. Their argument has nothing to do with you, and yet it becomes a bigger ordeal. That somehow finds its way into your perfect bubble for no reason at all. And really, who needs the added stress of someone else’s problems?

    We knew another couple who got married shortly after my husband and I started dating. Everything seemed great at first, but less than a year into it the wife became pretty brutal. She was constantly demeaning and putting down her husband in front of us and it became incredibly difficult to be around. While we all loved and adored the husband, nobody wanted them as a couple at any functions or events, because it was so hard and draining to watch what they were going through. Of course, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors, but I am a big believer in what happens in front of the curtain is probably an edited and glossed up version of reality. It got to the point where their issues were so serious and public, that everyone in our friend group began to get pulled in. We all know that men think very differently than women. For my husband and his friends, it seemed simple: If all you do is complain about each other and talk about how unhappy you are, get out of the relationship. The husband was very devoted and loving, but it was clear that his wife felt stuck for the wrong reasons. You can imagine how his wife felt when he told her about the discussion with his friends. Needless to say, many of us were attacked by her for things we didn’t do, and we now have not seen them for years.

    It was completely draining to be around them. Never could we just have a fun time as a group of great, close friends. There was always an underlying sense of dread and unease that changed the dynamic of these get-togethers.  Now that they have chosen to remove themselves from our little family of friends, things are radically different. Everyone enjoys being together and we truly are more like family than anything else. If you asked me to go around and point out the marital problems of our closest friends, I wouldn’t be able to tell you a single one. If they do have any issues or strife’s, they keep them very much private. Every time we get together, it is just fun. There’s no stress, there’s no dread, there’s no drama. It’s just healthy friends in healthy and satisfying relationships.

    Does this mean you should go through and say goodbye to all your friends that make more relationship choices? No. That’s just not practical or fair. However, I would simple caution you to not get too involved or saturated by these problem relationships. The saying is so true that misery loves company, and spending a great deal of time with other couples that have toxic relationships can never end positively for you and yours!

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