Yesterday I read SavvyDaddy's rather profound exploration of what I consider to be one of the strangest phenomena of marriage and fatherhood: thecrumbling of male social networks.
SavvyDaddy talks about how becoming a Dad was rough on his social life, not because he became too busy, but because everyone else around himthoughthe was too busy.
Before I got married, I was a bit of a socialite. I had lots of friends, went to lots of parties, and pretty much never wanted for company. I had a group for sports, a group for video gaming, a group for church activities, and there were a fair number of friends who crossed over between those groups.
When I was first married I didn't care about my social group for a little while, which is perfectly normal, I think. I focused on my wife because our marriage was so new and it made me so happy. After a few months however, I began to want to spend some time doing things that I had been doing before, like playing basketball, gaming, or what have you. Of course I wasn't looking to invest the same amount of time as I did previously.
The difficulty I had was that now that I wanted to go back to those previous activities, I found I had no one to do them with. Friends that were formerly people that I spent enormous amounts of time with suddenly couldn't find time in their schedules. I even had one friend tell me that he didn'twantto hang out with me. When I asked him why, he told me it was because I was married!
I was devastated. I know that the traditional stereotype is for men to be loners and not need anyone. That's what theman caveis for, right?
Wrong. Every guy needs a buddy or two, and I need a social life!
It took some time to readjust. After a while, I began venturing out with people from my new church congregation. I tried joining a club or two during college. I even tried to hang out with some classmates. It was strange to me how long it took, since it wasn't like I moved to a new state. I was in the same area that I had lived for 8 years.
After about 18 months of marriage, I had finally found a couple of guys that I felt comfortable around, that had similar interests to mine, that I was really good friends with. About six months after that one of my best friends from high school got married and we started hanging out again. Another friend moved back to my part of the state and we got together again.
Finally, after about two and a half years of marriage, I had a group of friends that felt somewhat similar to the group that I had before - guys that I could call up to go see a movie, grab a bite, or just hang with for a little while.
It's amazing what that did for my marriage. In the next post, I'll talk a little more about that.