Sunday, September 16, 2007

Seeking the Yin and Yang

There must be a memo somewhere, but I never got it. Neither did some of friends. So I'll ask you and see if the pattern plays out:

How many guy friends do you have? More or fewer than you had in your 20s and 30s?

I've been muddling at odd moments lately that I really miss having guy friends. When I was in my 20s, I think I had more guy-pals than girl-pals. We'd meet at a bar to watch a game and drink a beer, they'd come over to eat and catch up on life. Sometimes we'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking about deep and serious subjects. Or maybe not so serious. Depends on the amount of alcohol consumed.

As we all got married, spouses got introduced and some added to the friendships while others started to drift away. Must admit it was hard to maintain a friendship of any kind when my friend's significant other didn't like me or my spouse. Maybe the opposite spouses weren't friendly, giving "the friends" little time together. Either way, across-sex friendships became challenging because of marriage. I have a feeling this has always been.

At this stage in many women's lives, they go on to have babies and concentrate on raising their family. The friends become like them: mommies and daddies. Families circle in on themselves. It's a survival method centuries old. It's instinct. We didn't do the kids thing; and many of our friends were those whose kids were grown or fairly independent.

Relationships still shrunk and got complicated. Still, they remained.

We moved to California 10 years ago and my whole life changed. For the first time I have girlfriends I can rely on; but all the guy-pals of my past are 2000 miles away. I haven't been able to make any new ones here.

I don't know if being part of a couple "marks" me as off-limits for friendship or if it's more simply that people already have friends and aren't looking to expand their circles. It's hard to break into any crowd; there seem to be limited opportunities for developing new friends across the sexual divide.

However, I am feeling the imbalance in my life. I've got too much yin and not enough yang.

Remarkably, I mentioned this to some internet friends the other day, and was surprised to find they are feeling this loss too. Yet we don't quite know how to get it back. Those of us who are married have spouses that don't seem to understand the feeling, either. The idea of a platonic relationship based upon similar interests and personalities? Between a woman and man? The spouses don't seem to get it. They can't imagine that we might have friendship needs that could best be served by another man. Not a girlfriend, not a spouse, but a guy-friend.

Do guys not need gal-pals to feel balanced? Do they expect their wives to complete all their female-contact needs? (And how silly is that??)

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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