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The importance of maintaining friendships while dating
By Alex Matveeva - Let'z TO

We've all been there, you start dating someone and you fall absolutely in love. Before you know it, you are spending every waking moment together - it feels amazing and you don't know how you've managed to live without them your whole life. Hey, let's admit it: falling in love is great, however, all too often, I hear about couples isolating themselves and losing touch with their friends because . . . Well, it's just what happens. But friends are important and not just for hanging out. Real friends are going to be there when you need another perspective, when you just want to hang out and when your girlfriend is out of town and you want to brunch. Yes, it may feel really hard to tear yourself away from the embrace of a new love. So here is a list of reasons why you should do it anyway and hang out with your old buds:

  • To keep perspective - One of the most important things that your friends provide you with is perspective. It's always great to get a fresh point of view on an issue or sometimes just to rant to people who have your back. Sometimes, in order to really examine the issue, you need to step away from it and look at it from another point of you. Your friends can offer you that fresh perspective that will be different from yours and from your partners. Better yet they might even know what to do if they've dealt with similar situations in the past.

  • Keeps the pressure off of one person - When you start a new relationship, as much as you have a new spring in your step, the issues you were facing before don't really go away. In fact, if you start using your partner and only your partner to vent, it may very well put a strain on your relationship. Besides that, your partner may simply not be into the same things you are. For example, my girlfriend loves board games and I find them a little boring. So when her friends want to hang out and play board games I am all too happy to know that she can spend her time doing what she likes. There is also the added bonus of taking the pressure off me to do something I don't really enjoy.

  • More than one person to talk to - When you get admitted to universities or when you search for a new job, counselors and recruiters often tell you to put down your hobbies and extracurriculars. All for the simple reason that when you have something other than just work that drives you, you become more resilient. That's why when something goes wrong at work, some people can quickly shift their attention without dwelling on their failure too much. The same dynamic applies when it comes to your relationship. If you have a fight or a disagreement (and every couple inevitably does), it may serve you better if you spoke to your friends. You don't even need to speak to them about your disagreement, just hang out with them! Once you've distracted yourself enough from your immediate pressures you can reassess the situation and potentially bounce back faster.

  • You're making a hole in their life if you're not there - It is common in the community to refer to your friends as your chosen family. There is a reason for that. Your parents might be the most supportive parents in the world, but they may not fully grasp what it's like to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. So when you meet people who understand you, they feel like family as well. But once you disappear out of their lives, you are making a hole in theirs. Friends who are used to relying on you and love hanging out with you will sincerely miss you. They will feel that a part of their family has gone away. It is just as important to still show that love for your chosen family of friends. I am a big believer that a healthy balance can be struck between hanging out with your friends and your significant other.

Alex Matveeva - Let'z TO

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