Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Wouldn't Understand

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I hear this a lot more than I should. it's no secret that I went through a lot from the moment I got engaged, to the moment I actually walked down the aisle. Even up till now. I was not prepared for how much your relationships change, and this has implications for all your family and friends.

Though I was never a wedding-y type of person, I just always thought that weddings were times that families come together and love really is the order of the day. Let's just say I was very much caught off guard when it turned out that the phase when this great event was happening in my life, was also when my entire life went topsy-turvy. In the interest of not ranting on and on, I'm just writing this post on one of the aspects of my life that changed when Bo put a ring on it.

Maybe out of my naiveté also, I always read about the divide between single friends and the married lady, but for sure I thought that was something that only happened to people with strange friendships anyway. In my mind, I saw and really intuitively still see no reason why one's marital status should change the relationship between girlfriends. Either way, I resolved that I wouldn't be one of those married women who all of a sudden transform themselves into this weird creature called wife, and decide they are suddenly too good for their single girlfriends. To me, that's just ludicrous. I expected my relationships to stay the same. Then it started. I would just be chatting with a girlfriend, and they'd just dismiss whatever it is I had to say and exclaim, "well, you wouldn't understand you're married," or they'd be talking about how good men are hard to find in Nigeria and before I'd even say anything I'd hear, "Kemi, we're not talking to you, you wouldn't understand". What? Why wouldn't I understand? Did I just drop from the sky? Or was I born married? Or is it not just yesterday that I even married. It's not even like I've been married for years. This irks and bothers me to no end.

Though I never say anything.

I just keep quiet. It's a bit of a catch-22, yes I am married but I'm not going to make excuses for being married. It shouldn't matter. I firmly believe this and have proof. My best friend/MOH is nowhere near being married. She does not have a boyfriend in fact. She hasn't had one for years. Yet, she and I can talk for HOURS about everything in our lives. I can tell her about baby obsession and she can tell me about signing up for an online dating service and we laugh and laugh at the crazy things. I value her friendship so much because she's never once said to me, "you wouldn't understand, you're married". Unfortunately, she's the only one. The truth is of course I understand. Trust me, I can never forget how lucky I am to have the good man that I have. I can't forget it because I remember all too well what it's like to feel like someone's playing you, or someone's being untrue, or someone's just being a general jerk, or just generally feeling lonely. They are like badges that I've collected and pinned on my shirt. I feel like if I say I truly believe someone's too young to get married, well, that's how I feel. That's how I've always felt. Yes I'm married now, but my feelings are still valid. Right? Like if someone (who's already a mother) says to me, Kemi, you guys are newlyweds, enjoy your marriage before you bring a child into it, I'm not going to discount what they're saying and say well, "you wouldn't understand, you're a mother". This just really bothers me. I mean I have friends who have children, I don't stop talking to them, or dismiss whatever they have to say because they have children. Even if their entire day is consumed with washing onesies, sterilizing baby stuff, and pumping breastmilk, things I can never claim to understand right now. Sometimes I feel like some ladies have in their heads that when you get married, they usher you into a room, wipe your brain completely CLEAN, then hand you an apron and a broom and then release you into the world. This is not the case.

If you think like this. Stop it.

I mean, if we put the shoe on the other foot, it'll be clearer to see that this is just unfair. I never say to anybody, you wouldn't understand because you're not married. I could, oh, how I could. But I don't. I don't because it's annoying. I could say to single lady friend, "gosh, I'm so tired from having to work all day then come home and cook, but nevermind, you wouldn't understand you're single." Or any other combination therein. I don't believe that we all have to be in the same phase to understand and appreciate where the other person is coming from. Especially in this case where I've been single for twenty-something years of my life and married for not even 1 year! Just those numbers would suggest that I know a lot more about being single than about being married.

It's sad but I've started to think to myself, maybe I DO need to change the balance of my friendships to just married people. Maybe this is just one of my lala pipe dreams that reality intrudes upon. At least with my married friends, it's less drama, I'm allowed to have opinions, especially on BOTH single and married things, plus there's the maturity that comes with crossing the chasm into being a married lady.


I'd just like to put my thoughts out there. Yes, marriage changes how you look at life. It does. But it doesn't change life itself. After everyone's eaten the cake and danced to the band, you have the ring, you're the lady of the house. The next morning, it's Monday, and there you are. Life continues.


Adenike said...

Wow, I'm actually still trying to digest this.

I love your last paragraph.

You know what? Sometimes its the other way around, i.e married women seemingly thinking that their single friends wouldn't understand. To alot of women especially within the African culture marriage is looked upon as some kind of 'promotion'. I've heard of it happening to others, watched it happen and yes its even happened to me and you know what I admit that as I watch some of my other now engaged friends I fear it happening with them(so no doubt you know that I'm unmarried).
So as not to write-up an essay here I just think people need to understand that life doesn't end once married, life does continue and that there is something more than life. If people take this on board then there wouldn't be "I'm inferior to her because I'm not married" and the "I can't hang with her because I am married".

What people need to also know is that single today does not mean you won't be married tomorrow and married today is no way guarantee that you'll be married tomorrow and I'm not talking about divorce here. One of you could die hence making you single again or the rapture could take place which Christ has said there will be no marriage in heaven.

Hmmmm it leaves me questioning whether guys have the same problems...

Myne Whitman said...

Hmm...food for thought.. I think the reality is as you've realized. I'm still getting used to it myself.

Jaycee said...

I totally feel you. You didn't add the part where some of your so-called friends "ex-communicate." It's hilarious, really.

H said...

I'm not married but I would say that friends come and go but real friends always stay.

Its sad, but as you've said life continues. I'm sure you've lost friends from advancing to high school and from high school to college. It's always going to be like that.

Try not to think about it. Dwelling on it would force you to distance yourself, which is clearly not what you want. People change, situations change. C'est la vie, sweetie. The beauty is that you would survive.

Old shoes and clothes get thrown out at some point, even though we refuse to let go for a long wyl. #bittertruth.

Mwajim Al said...

I concur, and my dear its not only when u r married... i am merely dating and my friends tell me i wouldn't understand because i have a bf... smh. I have learnt a lesson though - never say that someone!

Eve said...

loved this post!
one thing with life is ..when we experience change most of the people around us aren't willing to accept that change as well or even grow with you in that process. if anyone should be advising single women it should be you..duh!! lol

@ilola said...

Uhhmmm. I am not married o and for me, it is the other way round. I am at a point where most of my friends are getting married, and for most of them, when they get married, the communication lines begin to dwindle. You talk less, they appear on facebook less, they chat less and I am like is this what marriage really does to people?
Since you are married, I am sure you will know why this is so, cos I don't. And these my friends don't have kids yet o. Marriage just makes them go awol

Blessing said...

I feel you!

I remembered when I was in a relationship and I would hear all the time "Well you have a bf" or "At least you have a boyfriend" implying that my life was perfect and I had no challenges...the same ppl that said that are not very close friends...I'm beginning to wonder if we'll go backwards when I'm married...it's so sad...I don't blame married woman for dropping their single friends sometimes.

And like someone said earlier...it goes both ways...I'm tired of hearing "You're single...you have a lot of free time" or "Okay you're saying that now, watch when you get married..." Blah blah blah...at the end of the day we're all individuals...no one was born married

Kemi said...

@Adenike, thanks for commenting. Interesting point about guys, I wonder if they experience something similar, I'm not sure what Bolaji would say.

@Myne, getting used to it is tough but I suppose it's a process.

@Jaycee, I'm really bothered as to how we as girlfriends get so jealous and/or envious because I truly believe that's the root of it all.

@H, it certainly FEELS different than leaving from high school or graduating and leaving your friends.

@Mwajim Al, I think I've learnt that lesson too. Thanks for stopping by.

@Eve, thanks.

@ilola, why not try and talk to them and ask them how it's going? I always say to my pregnant friends, "tell me the truth, what should I know? what's new? what's different? I want to take notes". I want to know about their lives. I'm interested. That, to me is what makes a friend.

@Blessing, oh i hate the "you're saying that now, watch when you get married..." Usually in my point of view that's said by women who are by their ropes end, have given up, and now want their misery to have company. Opinions are valuable because they take into account other's experiences. We all could learn from unlikely sources.

Anonymous said...

I won't lie I'm one of those people who intentionally put a distance between myself and my married friends not with malicious intentions, but because levels don change! You now have more responsibilities and I think it's rude to get in the way.

Like you said when you're discussing with your single friends, you can't really relate when they are male bashing because you go home to a wonderful husband, yes you were able to in the past but at that current time the reality is you can't...I don't think you should take it as a bad thing, just accept it and move on. You have a beautiful friendship with your MOH keep nurturing that.

Yankeenaijababe said...


Wow, great ending , love the post. I would say you have to find a balance between your single and married friends. It's something that you can do or would I say, make new friends...I am married to the most wonderful man on earth, still yet to celebrate my wedding, I have single friends and some married friends and funny, we always have a blast together. When one of my single friends is sad, based on man problems, I advice her, never seen them cursing or abusing men,...so I think it's your circle of friends, you need new positive friends that don't get jealous or bash men cos you married. Marriage changes everything but not this bad..:=)

Gbemisoke said...

Seasons change, so do friendships. It's just the way life is... I guess

Faith said...

my mom use to always tell us that out of the blue you might lose a friend ... but it is because you have done what you were suppose to do for them in a certain time in their life and vice versa. after that has been done, there is no need for the friendship to continue. i use to think that was such an odd way to look at things but now that i am older i truly believe it.

it is hard to think about it but i find it true. in my opinion if i had friends who all of a sudden decided that my opinion didn't matter because i got married they wouldn't be friends. what are friends for but to share our thoughts, etc. and if my thoughts become nothing to you then i become nothing to you. how things change.

Omoregee said...

Hmmmn, the reverse is the case with me. I am not married n presently not dating but a friend of mine just got married recently n moved to UK. Now, when I complain about her lack of keeping in touch, etc., she says, 'I'm sorry dear, u know I'm now married, Mr. Y is my priority'. I mean, just how does that make one feel? I know she has to take care of her husband et al but does she really av to drop her single friends to do that?

I agree with u, marriage shouldn't make one loose friendships, esp the tight long ones. Great post!

.......first time here.....http://fountainflows-omoregee.blogspot.com

Anu A said...

Lovely post. I'm single and in a relationship. I have very few close friend so I gats to keep them tight. However, I believe things change when we change. When I get married I expect some relationships will readjust. Nothing changed between I and my best friend when she got married, she had to move to the States so whenever we can talk we really savour those moments.

Sometimes married friends only want to talk about their hubby and how wonderful he is etc and believe me single friends love you but they would rather talk about something else. Priorities are just different. It doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you Anu A, I am married and live in the USA, have quite a few single friends males and females and I enjoy intellectual conversations. I am the type that enjoys talking about politics, stock market, global events etc. I notice that my single friends over here are cook with our conversations bordering on these topics. Not so with my married friends in Nigeria! All they female ones want to talk about are, the price of pepper, fish, and how their husband does this or that to them! Common it gets boring even for the most patient persons. I have had to lose some friendships because of things like this. As far as I am concerned, I do not want to hear about how your husband bought you a blouse from Yaba all the time!

Anonymous said...

i dont like it when people do that as well. if anything while I was single I loved spending time with people in relationships an dmarried people, just gisting with them, if anything getting tips about life and what they sruggle with etc... i love love and if anyone is in love it makes me happy whether or not i am in it.. i live through them lol.

pele.. hopefully your friends will either come around or get married so you guys will finally be on the same page.

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