Setting boundaries. You have seen many married people slowly cut ties with their single friends. Is it just natural that they instantly cease to have things in common or is it a society expectation? Esther Oluka talked to Phillip Luswata, an actor, and Crystal Newman Kavule, a radio personality, and they shared their thoughts on whether it is necessary to abandon your single friends once you get married.
What is your understanding of marriage?
Marriage is a stretching of friendship. It is a response to the pulls of nature, including loneliness. It is the reason you will find even confessed bachelors marrying while in their late 40s. They cannot stand to see most of their age mates wedded and having children while they stay single
Can single friends be bad influence on their married friends?
The reality is that the behaviour of single individuals is different from that of married people. Can single friends be bad influence on their married friends? I do not think so. It is very difficult because married people have different priorities from singles. A married woman, for instance, knows that her responsibility after work is to go back home to tend to her husband and children.
On the other hand, a single woman may decide to do whatever she wants after work. Probably go out with friends to see a movie or to the bar for a drink. Even if a married woman went out with single friends, at some point you find that she will excuse herself to go back home. As you can see therefore, married people live totally divergent lives, meaning that singles do rarely have a bad influence on them. Problems only set in if a married person is immature and has failed to realise that the single person they are hanging out with is different from them.
Do you think that married couples cease having anything in common with their single friends?
Married people should know that after tying the knot, there are single friends they will lose because they no longer share anything in common with them because naturally, they will cease being similar. Married people sometimes prefer to hang out with other married individuals whom they want to hold the same kind of conversations with, for instance, talk about children or family developments. On the other hand, if a married individual shared this kind of conversation with a single person, they might look at the subject as boring or fail to understand their frustrations. In case you realise that you no longer share the same kind of interests with your single friends, it is better to at times do away with them for the sake of peace of mind.
For those interested in keeping their single friends, how should they do it?
Definitely inviting them for family occasions and gatherings is the way to do it. The problem probably sets in when one fails to blend in and feels out of place.
Should married people discuss their marital issues with their single friends?
I do not think it is such a good idea. If one is having issues in their marriage, they should probably talk to another married couple because the kind of lifestyle they share is the same. The moment you begin dumping marital problems on your single friends, chances are that they might share it with other singles.
Do single friends get jealous of their married friends?
Of course they do at a certain point because they feel that they are being left behind, until the time they also get married.
Are you married?
Yes, I am a married father of three children. This is my sixth year of marriage.
And how was your relationship with your single friends after tying the knot?
It did not change much because most of my single friends, who happen to be around my age bracket, also have children, despite not being married. Therefore, it is easy for me to identify with them. For instance, if I am paying school fees, they will also be doing the same thing.
Do you sometimes miss being single?
No, I do not miss being single. No one wants to be alone in a house minus a wife and children at my age, (41 years). It is the worst thing that can happen to a man. Most of one’s peers are married with established families at this age. And when they have functions, they will hardly invite you because they will feel that you will always feel out of place.
How have your single friends had a positive impact on you?
Most of them are involved in different developmental projects which I am also motivated to partake at a certain time in my life.
What would you want to tell a single person out there looking at getting married some day?
Marriage is a beautiful thing, although it does not always come smooth just like the way you see a rose. As much as it is beautiful, it still does have thorns. In order to make a marriage work, all that one needs to do is give it the right kind of ingredients.
What is your understanding of marriage?
Marriage is a serious commitment and journey that two people take for various reasons, including forming a strong partnership and having children.
How long have you been married?
Almost 10 years now.
How were you relating with your single friends soon after you got married?
Among my close group of friends, I was actually one of the first to settle down. Shortly afterwards, I had my first child. Despite these changes in my life, my friends understood that my priorities had now shifted to family and not them. Soon afterwards, some of them jumped onto the same bandwagon and got married as well.
Can single friends be bad influence to their married friends?
I agree to a certain extent. Some friends can actually be bad influence to a married woman. Just imagine you are married but often hanging out with your single friends at a bar, what would happen? I feel that if your single friends do not bring such a positive influence in your life, it is better to let them go.
Do you sometimes miss being single?
I think it is only natural that every married person does at some point in their lives. For instance, there are moments I would wish to travel with my single friends for a trip somewhere but cannot because of family engagements.
How should a woman deal with a single friend who was against the marriage from the beginning?
Once you have gotten married, they have to accept your partner and embrace the two of you as a couple. If someone cannot, it is better to then terminate the friendship. Just imagine spending time with a single friend who is often speaking ill of your partner. It is not good for one’s marriage.
Should married women discuss marital issues with their single friends?
Married women ought to be very careful with what they discuss with their single friends. If one decides to share a problem with them, it should then be minor. If the problem is a very serious one, it should not be shared with single friends because sometimes telling them will just make them dislike your partner even more.
Single friends, on the other hand, may not really understand the institution of marriage in that they may not keep whatever you have told them as confidential. They will go and tell other people about your marital problems.
That is why I would advise that in case one is having very tough times in their marriage, they should at least talk to an older trusted family member, such as a sister or an aunt rather than a single friend.
What positive impact have your single friends had on you?
Life sometimes becomes predictable when one gets married as one has to go through the same routine over and over again. So, sometimes my single friends come in to break the monotony of this lifestyle. We go out to different hangouts and have fun.
What advice do you have for all the single women planning on getting married in the near future?
Marriage is a commitment that should be taken seriously and not lightly. They should also know that once they are in that institution, there are going to be some serious tough times. Marriage is not all that glossy and wonderful as it might look because the involved parties have totally different backgrounds and personalities which each one has to adopt and adjust to. Despite this, however, if you always work hard on your marriage, you can always overcome any kind of obstacle you meet along the way.