A story published today by Canoe.com discusses
the problems experienced by men when their male friends marry and start a new lifestyle.
While both sexes suffer feelings of loss and abandonment when a
friend gets married, single women are more likely than their male counterparts to be
included in their friends' new relationships.
The story suggests that at the heart of this tug of war is the way
men and women bond.
"Because men connect through activities like sport and work,
and women through relationships, men feel a sense of abandonment when, in fact, it's a
loss of sharing activities with the person," says John Henderson, a registered
marriage and family therapist.
Friends should realize there's a new relationship formed and to
renegotiate their expectations, says Henderson.
"Maybe Bob can come out once a month or once every two months
now that he has other commitments," he explains.
Even when single people, especially men, are included in new
couples' social lives, they feel uncomfortable if they're surrounded by couples.
Henderson says both sides have to realize that with a new
relationship comes decisions like what to let go of and what to incorporate into the new
"What I hear is, 'She won't let me go'," and 'He's always
out with the guys.' It all needs to be renegotiated. You don't have to do it all at
once," he says of the situation that usually gets discussed only after such conflicts
While single people should recognize that a married friend can't be
in the single system as often, there are events where singles can be accommodated.
"A newly married couple needs to honor the inclusion of singles
in some of their experiences that aren't all to do with couples," Henderson adds.
Diane Marshall, clinical director of the Institute of Family Living
in Toronto, says male bonding activities like golfing and guys' night out tend to exclude
"Women feel left out and are sometimes resentful when men go
out," says Marshall, who's also a registered marriage and family therapist.
Men are starting to become more aware that they want the same level
of intimacy with their male friends that women share with their female friends.
"They realize their friendship networks aren't as strong as
women's," she says.
Bev Behar, president of the Ontario Association of Marriage and
Family Therapists, says newly married people feel torn and try to divide themselves into
little pieces to please everyone.
"It's not healthy because it's easy to get into trouble with so
many people to please," she says.
"In different ways you can," she says. "I recall an
older neighbor telling me it's important not to neglect friends because they'll be
important in the future. I had two young children and a very hectic family life at the
Behar often hears from clients and friends about the lack of time to
"Unfortunately, they only realize the totality of their loss
years later and wonder if they could've done things differently," she says.