real life

'I got engaged and lost all my male friends.'

I gained a fiance. Then I lost my male friends.

For the first few years of my life, I only had male friends — but today, none of my nearest and dearest are in possession of a Y chromosome.

The thing that changed in those intervening years was not just 13 years in an all-girls’ school. Sure, all that time in gender-specific isolation certainly laid the groundwork, chipping away at my ability to banter platonically with boys and narrowing my social circle to resemble Ladies’ Night at the local.

But the nail in the coffin of my male friendships came in the form of a solitaire diamond, set on a platinum gold band: A single token of my relationship that marked me out as committed to one guy only.

Yep, ever since I got engaged earlier this year, I’ve lost my male friends.

“Friendships change, subtly but surely, when you decide to marry — and while I’m finding it easy to gently mould my female relationships to fit my new life, I still haven’t learned to navigate the changing dynamic of my male friendships.”

Before you ask: No, I haven’t just put off my mates by getting engaged to a douchebag. On the contrary, the guy I’m planning to marry is not only inoffensive, but gets on with everyone I introduce him to.

He’s not competitive, nor jealous. He wouldn’t care if I grabbed a drink with my old mate from uni, and he’s not the creepy sort to check my phone or get weird over in-jokes with male buddies.

The problem is this: Friendships change, subtly but surely, when you decide to marry — and while I’m finding it easy to gently mould my female relationships to fit my new life, I still haven’t learned to navigate the changing dynamic of my male friendships.

Related: ‘People started treating me differently when I got engaged.’

Exhibit A: I used to be all about late-night drinks with my mates — but now have a fiance to factor in.

I now occasionally swap my girly wines for a walk with a girlfriend or a sleep over with my girl gang as a chance to catch up. With my male friends though, there are fewer substitutes: I can hardly imagine my old uni drinking mate coming on the Bondi-to-Tamarama beach walk with me. And yeah, sleepovers with my male friends just seem… awkward.

It’s the same with weekend mini-breaks. While it’s cruisy and fun to grab the girls for a weekend away by the beach, it’s all a bit too cosy to shack up for a weekend with my childhood guy mate. (My fiance may not be jealous, but I have to draw a line somewhere, right?)

“While I’m gaining one hell of a great husband, I’m losing the other men in my life. Please tell me I’m not the only one.”

Then there’s Exhibit B: One particular male friend that, I realised, must have been in the friendship for the wrong reasons.

ADVERTISEMENT

I briefly dated him many years ago, and thought we’d moved on. But as I realised from his slightly hurt look when I told him I was getting married, I was wrong about that. Exhibit B simply hasn’t acknowledged my fiance since the engagement — not a congratulatory text, not a question after his wellbeing — and hasn’t RSVPed to the engagement party, either.

Maybe he just doesn’t approve of my choice in husband. Or maybe, as my best friend has theorised, he’d only approve if he were the one waiting at the end of the aisle.

“Maybe he just doesn’t approve of my choice in husband. Or maybe, as my best friend has theorised, he’d only approve if he were the one waiting at the end of the aisle.”

The rest of my old male friends, we’ll call Exhibit C. They’re the category of mid-level work mates that I used to see for lunch maybe once a month, catching up on general chit-chat and swapping travel tips. They’re the sort of pals whose little adventures I ‘like’ on social media, but whom I’d never ask to pick me up from the airport.

Well, you know what? My life is wedding planning right now. I cringe to admit this, but I’m at the bridesmaids’ dresses-and-cake-tasting pointy end of the event preparations, and it’s hard to decide between boring old mates with details of my big dress decisions (pink or mauve?) or pretending I have something else more interesting going on in my life.

Especially when they’re guys, and the neckline of bridesmaids’ dresses is a foreign language to them to begin with.

Related: ‘Engagement ring judgment is the only reason I’d be getting a nice ring.’

I have to take some responsibility for losing my male friends. All relationships take work — and right now, I’m channeling my energies into one particular guy and one particular day.

Maybe I could’ve taken the time to follow up on what’s happening in the lives of my old male friends — but when they find it so hard to tune into my wedding zone, it’s hard to project energy and interest into my old guy friends’ lives.

So while I’m gaining one hell of a great husband, I’m losing the other men in my life. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Did you lose any male friends when you got into a relationship?

Related:

Mamamia editor-in-chief Jamila Rizvi gets married.

‘It’s just a big party, right? Erm no, it’s my wedding.’

The one thing that changed when I got engaged.