21 June 2010

Day 86: Afternoons with Emily

Afternoons with Emily by Rose MacMurray.  ISBN: 9780316017602.

"I have found the marriage of a friend to be the death of a friendship." Page 117.

Oh fictionalized Emily Dickinson, how droll you are.  But in some ways you're right.  I know there are a couple of friend of mine who are concerned about my some-day-marriage to Danny.  They know that I'm already a pretty big part of his life, and they're concerned I will be the only part of his life when we get married.  There's also the issue where we will probably have to move away from his friends from high school when I (hopefully and) finally get a job.  They're valid concerns.

As close as Danny is to his friends, they can't compete with the relationship he has with me, and there are going to be times when that means less contact with them.  I'm not forcing him to spend time with me over them, but if he wants to be with me it naturally means spending less time with his friends, and at some point possibly moving away from them.  This is something that happens with almost every relationship.   I encourage Danny to spend time with his friends whenever possible, and I will continue to do so.  However, I will also encourage Danny to become a part of my circle of friends. 

Most of my friends and contacts know me as an individual, but they also recognized my partnership with Danny.  This means that we often socialize as a couple, which has been a new experience for both of us.  True, I had some opportunities with my ex-boyfriend, but because Danny and I are closer in age and I'm no longer of the "just barely" age, we are seen as a more acceptable couple.  This makes our transition into the social realm much easier.  We're also both of an academic mindset, and since most of my friends are of the same subset it's easier for us to adapt from individual to couple socializing.

Danny has yet to learn how to incorporate me into his social circle.  He is often greeted in public by former students, colleagues, and other acquaintances.  During these impromptu meetings he constantly forgets or neglects to introduce me.  Part of this is probably because he doesn't remember the names of all the people he's met and we are usually somewhere like a restaurant where we're about to be seated/order our food and they're just leaving, but it's still a potential opportunity to get to know my future husband in a different light.  

I know so few of his friends (most of the friends we have are mutual friends, people he knew before I did, but who I got to know while we were getting to know each other), and it is and would be interesting for me to see him from someone else's perspective.  Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but I believe you can tell a lot about a person by the way that they A) interact with someone else and B) how the other person treats them during that interaction.  For instance, I'm sure that from the outside my relationship with Danny seems very one-sided and maybe slightly abusive.  But this is the same relationship I have with most of my friends (except my friends don't get to have sex with me, obviously).  

My relationship with Danny works because, despite how we may behave in public, we have a good time together and there is a great deal of respect and caring between us.  We also complement each other: I'm a little more outgoing and socially adept; he's the one who makes me think about why and how I am able to function as well as I do.  It's nice to be able to take a step back to discuss and analyze the idiosyncrasies of human communication and society.  In many ways it's actually helped me socialize better than before because I can calculate the proper responses.  This may sound like a somewhat distant and detached way of forming relationships with people, but I've only recently become "good" at this.  

Part of it is probably that I've finally caught up in age to the people I actually want to be friends with, so we now have things in common.  For the longest time I was practically unable to make friends with people my age because I was too "weird."  If you had asked me who my friends were in school, I might have stared at you blankly and then responded with "Mrs. Smith, my geometry teacher...I think."  I just got along better with adults, I understood their behaviors and there was no danger when I made mistakes and social gaffes around them because they had to be nice/polite to me.  Kids my own age were just too scary to deal with, so I had one or two friends my age, and the rest were teachers, librarians, neighbors, or books.

So yes, Danny is mine now, and I'm going to take him away from his friends.  But he won't be completely gone, and there will certainly be opportunities for us to make our own friends, both as a couple and as individuals.  I hope that we both like most of the people we will socialize with.  I know that it's hard on a relationship when you're not in agreement with your friends about the acceptability of your partner and vice versa.  Relationships change though, and if a friendship of 10 years can't stand up to the introduction of something that has been as beneficial to Danny as our relationship is (and I'm not making that up), then maybe it's time to let go of it. 

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