I have seen it happen too many times to too many people and it has resulted in too many heartbreaks. A friend of mine will meet a significant someone and when things heat up from “just dating” to “in a relationship,” this friend will come around only once in a while to hang out—usually when the significant someone is detained. A girls’ night out is skipped for a couple’s night in with the boyfriend. Guy time is interrupted by the frequent phone calls of a buddy’s girlfriend, and before you know it, your friend has fallen off the face of the earth into a couples-only zone. This situation is all too familiar. I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it and I’ve lived it.
During my freshman year of college I began dating this guy I met on Facebook who unexpectedly became my first love, and unexpectedly is still my boyfriend (Brandon). When I was supposed to be meeting and mingling with all of the other UC Irvine freshmen, I was in Brandon’s dorm room trying to spend every minute I could with him. I consumed myself with our relationship, and every night spent with him became another night I wasn’t spending getting to know other people and trying to make new friends. I relied on my friendships at home to keep me from feeling lonely when Brandon wasn’t around. I tried to rationalize my way out of making one friend other than Brandon at school, but I still felt empty after yielding only one lasting relationship from my anti-social freshman year.
Before I could allow myself to travel even deeper into the couples-only zone, I resolved to join a sorority my sophomore year because I figured it would be the easiest way to catch up on those long-lasting friendships and college social gatherings I missed out on. Being accountable to an organization would make it impossible for me to blow off people and events to hang out with Brandon. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I had made as a freshman, and in the worst case scenario, I really didn’t want to be left alone if Brandon and I broke up because I would be left with no comforting shoulder on which to rely.
Harrison, a friend of my brother’s, recently broke up with his girlfriend and he is struggling with all of his newfound free time and the lack of good friends he has to spend it with. He and his ex began dating when he started college and, like me, he didn’t make much of an effort to reach out to new people because he was too busy lavishing his girl with his undivided attention. Now he is bored and lonely and finds it even more difficult to move on without a group of friends to distract him.
It is easy to get caught up in the throes of a new relationship and become enraptured with a new significant other to the extent that it seems there is no room for other people in the midst of your busy, lovey-dovey haze. But dwindling friendships will make you regret this over-abundance of couple time once you realize that one person cannot fulfill your life. It is important to recognize how valuable your friendships are, and to keep them a priority while new people spring up in your life. Thankfully, now I have the best of both worlds: a boyfriend and friends who are always there for me.