A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

On friendships and marriage

Posted by Pepper on June 25, 2014

I had an argument with Mint yesterday. Since we’re in Chennai, he wanted to use the opportunity to catch up with one of his school friends. This was a friend I had never interacted with. They would be meeting after years. I was sure they were both looking forward to all the catching up. So when Mint suggested I accompany him, I outrightly refused. This got him mad. Why would I choose to stay home and get bored when there was an opportunity for me get out? Why was I being so difficult?

I tried explaining to him what I felt. This plan was made by Mint and his friend. How could Mint think of just tagging me along? How could he assume his friend would be as comfortable with me as he is with him? What if my presence interfered with the flow of their conversation? What if their long sought catch up session was filled with awkward moments? His friend might want to discuss somethings with Mint and why take for granted he may want to discuss those things with somebody he’s just met? Mint ofcourse, told me I was overthinking. “He’s my friend and he will be happy to meet my wife, okay?”, was all he kept saying.

This disagreement has been a recurrent theme in our lives. Mint asks me to accompany him when he goes to meet his friends. If I have my own plans, then well and good. I can carry on with those. But if I am choosing to stay home and feel bored and lonely, I might as well go with him even if it is an all boys outing. He explains, the ‘all boys’ outing is only a matter of coincidence because the boys are either single or their respective spouses are busy, and not because the boys want to catch up alone. Beside that, since I am good friends with the boys myself, what is to stop me from hanging out with them?

In such cases, I do agree with him. Many times, I find myself hanging out with a group of only boys, because they’re my friends too. I see my presence makes no difference to their talks. I always end up having a good time with them. Yet, something keeps nagging me and I can’t place it. When Mint asks me to accompany him when he is meeting a group of guys I don’t know, I put my foot down and refuse. Even if I am comfortable with an all boys scenario, I am not sure all of them will be comfortable with my presence.

Friendships are special. I believe we all have unique relationships with our friends. Just because I am married, I do not expect my friends to develop the same relationship with my partner. I have never subscribed to the “If you love me, you got to love my partner too” theory. It is probably why a lot of people fear losing their friends to this thing called marriage. I would never expect my friends to treat us as one single entity just because we are a couple.

Every now and then, I always make sure I get a chance to catch up with my friends alone, without my partner in tow. Similarly, I always encourage Mint to catch up with his friends without me (depending on my relationship with them), even if it comes at the cost of me spending a dull evening by myself.

Having said that, I know I border on the extreme. I know my vehement resistance when it comes to hanging out with Mint’s friends and vice versa has been uncalled for at times. Perhaps I try too hard to not come across as the ‘wife who never leaves her husband alone’. Perhaps I go the extra mile only to portray myself as the partner who believes in the concept of space and independence. Perhaps I need to loosen up. Because I might be missing out on some amazing friendships and fun times in the bargain. And I am sure they’re worth much more than the image I am trying to create for myself.


34 Responses to “On friendships and marriage”

  1. R's Mom said

    Your last para makes sense…yes perhaps you are…go and see, if you are comfortable, why not??

    RD goes out with his friends often, and I dont accompany him..thats more because the brat is around, and you know what happens when she is taken to a hotel *shudder*

    Its totally okay to be friends with the spouse’s friend and infact, totally okay not to be as well…but if Mint and the guys dont mind, you really shouldnt think too much into it 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Haan, like I said in my post, I *do* hang out with his friends a lot and I already know I am comfortable. I only wonder how they perceive my presence. The thing is, I already am good friends with most of Mint’s friends and he is good friends wiht mine, which is why Mint does not understand why I would consider my presence to be an intrusion..but like I said, I try too hard to come across as somebody who doesn’t always tag along with her partner. I know I should forget all this and just be.

  2. ashreyamom said

    hmmm, when i am meeting my old friends, i always prefer going alone.. surely my talking style changes when i am with my friends and with what all we discuss i dont want my husband to judge me. I also accompany him, only when he asks me to, or i wont. i to believe in personal space.

    • Pepper said

      Well, I don’t worry about judgement. I worry more about the other person’s comfort. But I know what you mean. Sometimes people get more conscious in front of their spouse. That’s when the idea of personal space helps.

  3. I get this pretty well myself 🙂 I have had this issue with The Dude too. I think they feel guilty leaving us behind assuming we might eventually regret not joining them. However, I think I have him convinced now that he CAN have some time off from me.
    P.S. He is on a trip to Goa with his college guys this weekend, his FIRST ever weekend away (for anything other than work) from me in the 7 years we have been married!

    • Pepper said

      Okay, I am carried away by your last few lines. Wow! First ever weekend in 7 years? That’s impressive! Mint and I have been away from each other on several weekends whenever he has his frisbee tournaments across the country. I must admit, I do give him a hard time when it comes to traveling for tournaments. And beginning of this year, he even went for a bachelor party to Goa. I must tell him how you guys have had only ONE weekend away from each other in 7 years. 😀

  4. The Bride said

    I think maybe men are more women to take their wives along because men don’t have the kind of heart to hearts that women do, perhaps. Like, I insist on time alone with my girlfriends. But V most often invites me along when he’s out with his friends – unless it’s a work group – and the guys seem to expect it also. Though he wouldn’t insist I come alone, if I was bored and alone in a strange city, I would go.

    • Pepper said

      Yes, I didn’t think of that. Men don’t have the kind of heart to hearts that women do. Perhaps why they’re more open to inviting their wives.

  5. Thisisme said

    I think it is actuallyu good that u believe in maintaining ur personal space…
    i am currently single but there is this friend of mine..who is actually a very good friend and even her hubby is a very good friend of mine..
    but to every outing, she drags her hubby along after marriage.

    so much so, though i do like him and am comfy with him too/…but i do wish at times, she would come alone/..its just I can be completely myself.

    All in all..i do believe that married life is one thing and friends should be separate from this…

    • Pepper said

      I absolutely hate it when people decide to never separate themselves from their spouse. They get no time off with friends alone. If I were you, I would try indicating how I felt to my friend.

  6. Bikramjit said

    hmmmm well I think I believe what Mint has said .. he will know which friend will feel out of place if you went along etc etc .. Its like I know my friends and there are some whom I have not met for years but I know when i meet them it doesnot matter who I am with or if I am alone they will be THEY and I will be ME always .. but then there are some with whom i will meet just alone .. that is because there are some friends whom you bring inside your home and there are some who are for outside only 🙂

    and you are right in that if you dont go how will you know those friends 🙂 and you might be missing on a great friendship … and just be you .. why do you need to create a image … 🙂

  7. Deepa said

    Chillax sweetie as V would say:-) I have the same dilemma wondering whether I would appear too clingy if I tagged along(like projecting now that we’re married you gotta bear with me too) or it would be totes cool. First few years of marriage I behaved like you and then over time as we got to know each other pals we instinctively settled on who we’d socialize together with and who we’d meet sans the other. So now I do both, sometimes I go along if I know the guy(s) from prior meet ups and other times I don’t. Ditto for M. Although must say guys are most chilled out about stuff like this and don’t over analyze the whole shebang or so M tells me.

    I think you should go along because Mint simply cannot do without you:-)

    • Pepper said

      You and M seemed to have it worked out perfectly. 🙂 And you guys have been married for a while too. I guess by now you have it all covered.

      Lol! I’d like to believe your last line, though I am not so sure 😀

  8. NityaNitya said

    Oh you spoke my mind here. I find myself bordering on the extreme as well for this one. Kar and I hang out alone with our friends and then sinc the families get along well, we get thrown in together as well. Win- win so far.
    I hate to be thought of that wife who never leaves her husband alone..ughh..

  9. I agree with you! He might be okay with spouses but sometimes his friends might want to just hang out like old times. Personally, if my friend’s spouse accompanies our group all the time, I would get totally irritated. I never let my college bf hang with my group cuz he just did not belong. Here the xBF, abhi and I were housemates before I got a job in another town and we are damn good friends. But they went to play golf and did their thing on saturdays. I let them have their boys time and then hung out rest of the day.

  10. Sumana said

    Pepper i see your angle of thoughts, have been in it myself so many times. I too wonder i should always be tagged along when i can stay back home.

  11. I have the same issue with S as well. He believes his friends wouldnt mind my presence in their all boys meeting whereas I feel uncomfortable. As you rightly pointed out, his friends would have to be extra careful to not talk about some stuff when I am around. I seldom accompany S for such meetings except its absolutely necessary – like weddings or functions. May be I should loosen up more too – only that seems difficult 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I do accompany Mint a lot when he meets his friends. I say no only in specific situations. Even those times he accuses me of over analysing it!

  12. Well…if I were in your position and the partner himself insists and assures that they will not feel uncomfortable with my presence, I would not think much, if I feel like going i would go and if not I wouldn’t. But not for a reason that my presence might make them uncomfortable, but because I would feel uncomfortable.

    And if there is something important that they want to discuss without you, they would do it anyway.

  13. Stu said

    I agree with you. I like to meet my friends without any spouses : Whether I’m meeting a boy friend or a girl friend, i’d rather they didn’t bring their wife/husband along, just as i’d like to go without my husband. it’s much nicer that way – you can catch up without worrying about keeping a “third party” involved in the discussion. Having said that, i do get the concept of “family friends” and i wish i had some of those (right now we only have one family which can qualify for that) – but if you’re meeting somebody after a long time, best to let friends be. maybe if it’s a frequent and recurrent affair, it’d be good for spouses to be friends too. I’m in a lucky space because my husband and I studied together during graduation and post grad, so a big part of our “circle” overlaps.

    • Pepper said

      It’s a different equation altogether when your spouse’s friends genuinely become your friends.. but for that to happen, you have to overcome the initial few awkward moments i guess. Even so, I worry about how it will come across…

      But yes, if you’re catching up after a while, I think it is best to let friends do without any spouse around.

  14. I agree with u Pepper and mature couples know how to draw the line when it comes to space pertaining to friendship. We need our space as human beings and it’s important to draw the line between relationships and friendship. It’s very healthy to our relationships.

  15. MR said

    We very rarely go off on trips with friends spanning days without each other. byt we visit and lunch and wine and dine with friends, especially school/college friends by ourselves. sometimes we go together but only to friends who are close. he knows a few college buddies of mine he gets along with and i do too but predominantly i dont want him hanging around my old friends and neither does he. plus we are the couple that needs space…i tell my kids i go by the 25% rule, approx , i need 25% alone time, 25% time with spouse alone , 25% time with kidsalone and 25% time as a family 🙂 plus my lots of time with friends that doesnt fit inthis 🙂

  16. This is tricky and I have dealt with it on a pure case by case basis over the years. Some friends of the husbadoo’s I get along great with and can spend hours joking and then even shift to serious talks with ease. They feel like they are my friends too now. Maybe this is because we were introduced when we were younger (21-23 yrs old) and had no reservations. Off late, with newer friends like a local cricket league he has joined here, I hesitate intruding and going along, baby in tow just so that it appears that he has his space..I ended up however being the only female ( and our Bandar ,of course) who showed up this weekend for a few hours to watch them play , and though everyone was super friendly I felt odd and won’t do it again. The husbadoo like Mint is more than happy that I tag along and cannot understand why anyone would mind. Says he feels proud and happy to have us with him.

    • Pepper said

      I agree. I think in the end we just have to take it on a case by case basis only. Like you, I end up feeling a tad odd when I am the only female in a new group too..Mint says it is all in my head. Maybe it is, but ultimately, we got to what we find comfortable.

  17. Ashwathy said

    Both of you are right in your own way. Don’t be on the extreme. Find a median path. In my case, when I meet with a friend after a long gap… I spend the initial couple of hours with him/her catching up on old stuff. Then hubby joins in the second or last part of the meeting so that he can also get acquainted with the person or catch up with remaining stuff. This works since there is space for me and the friend to hang out separately and yet hubby is not left out. Only in the case of friends whom I particularly don’t see the need of meeting with the hubby do I avoid hubby altogether, and he just spends the evening by himself. That’s fine too.

    • Pepper said

      That’s what we usually do too. Plus, I also try to gauge how eager my friend seems to meet my husband. I know some friends who really want to, at those times I ask Mint to join us. If I am unable to judge or find them neutral, I take a decision accordingly.

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