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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    Coping with Distance in a Friend's New Relationship

    A good friend can be difficult to find and even harder to keep. When one of your closest friends enters a new relationship, there can be different ways you handle the situation. Relationships should always include mutual commitment and respect-- between two people involved and also those around them that care about their well-being. It’s understandable if your concern for your friend causes you to feel uneasy when they become increasingly distant and uncommunicative after entering into a new relationship. The question is, how would you handle such a situation?

    When it comes to dealing with a distant, uncommunicative friend, it is important to pay attention to the cues they give and act accordingly. If they are pulling away, it makes sense to ask them the reason(s) why and take it from there. The last thing you want to do is assume you know what’s best for them and do something without regard for their feelings or needs.

    This does not mean that you should passively sit by if your friend is behaving in a manner that is out of character or potentially causes distress. A good response is to extend the offer of open dialogue— letting them know that you are there if they need someone to talk to. Show them you respect their right to privacy but make it clear that you are still worried and are willing to help in any fashion.

    When navigating a friendship during a partner’s transition period, it is important to ensure that both parties benefit from the interaction. Ask yourself if your support is really helping, or if you are taking too much of their energy and providing nothing in return. You could even offer to take them out on a fun activity or plan a special celebration together. It may help your friend to be reminded that you are still here for them, despite their involvement in another relationship.

    In some cases, your friend may decide that their partner requires all of their time and attention. This can be difficult for those wishing to maintain their strong relationship, as it can leave less room for everyone else in the picture. Try to avoid reacting negatively— instead of getting upset with your friend, show that you understand they are happy and want to share that with their new partner.

    Sometimes a little space can be all your friend needs to get back on track. When trying to decide whether to reach out or give them space, consider what will be most helpful in the long run; remember, the relationship should always be a two-way street. Focus on creating a space in which your friend feels comfortable enough to come back and make requests when needed.

    No matter the circumstances, always strive to maintain a warm and supportive relationship with your friend. Keeping communication open and honouring each other's feelings is key. Remember, your friend is making an effort to be open and honest with themselves and anyone else in their life. Respect that, be understanding and gentle throughout. Though it can be hard to witness, giving your friend the time and space to define the boundaries and terms of the partnership is healthy for both of you.

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