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I need...a life

I have been with my BF for many years now, and he proposed.
Great, right?
Only I can't seem to get some friends and a life. He encourages me to go out and meet people, but I find myself assuming I'll be disappointed before I even start to befriend someone. This worked ok for a while, but now I get lonely and wish I had more of an outlet than my BF.
I want to make sure I get married as a complete person, with social contacts and all.
Any tips for getting over this? I also don't know how to suddenly make myself available to people that have tried to be friendly before, since I'm afraid of the rejection.

Tue. May 30, 2:42pm

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It sounds like I wrote this posting myself!!! I feel exactly the same way! I'm getting married in September, and I haven't made great friends in my new city (been here for 2 years, not that new).

I'm trying really hard to find some activities for myself. I recently signed up for a book club that I saw posted on Craigslist in my city. Also, my fiance plays in a floor hockey league, and I'm really bored of sitting around watching them play and then feeling like an outsider at the bar (and I do not want to play floor hockey). So, for the upcoming season, I found a dance/exercise class near the gym where they play hockey, so I'll go to my dance class and hopefully meet some new people, and then I can always meet up with the boy at the bar afterwards if I want to. I also invited a neighbor whom I don't know well, but who is also kind of new to the area, to sign up for the dance class with me. I don't know yet if she will, but if she does, maybe I'll make a new friend!

It takes a lot to get out there, and I'm not nearly there. This is just what I've done so far.

I'm in Chicago - are you also in Chicago by chance?


Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:00 PM

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What do you like to do?

Is there something you like to do? Do you like to sew, crochet, swim? How about yoga -- why not try a yoga class at the local Y. You can talk or not talk and get comfortable around people first.

Also, have you thought about volunteering like at a woman's shelter or a food pantry. You can be around folks and other people and serve their needs. This way you can help out, and find others with similar interests first before you try to make friends.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:10 PM

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I'm going to be blunt- You do not sound like you want to get married-- please don't do it until you know it's what you really want. From experience I can tell you that you won’t know what you want until you know who you are.

Spend some time alone! That is the only way you'll be able find yourself. If you and your boyfriend are in love and truly ready to get married- then he will have no problem letting you discover who you are (without him). It may be obvious- but a relationship is made of two people, each with their own backgrounds and unique experiences- A relationship is not two people becoming one (despite what popular culture leads people to believe).

I think it's wonderful that you are recognizing what you are missing, in this case it's friends outside of your relationship. It sounds like your boyfriend is incredibly supportive if he is encouraging you to find some friends, but I suspect that you don't have a clue where to start looking. I suggest thinking about what you really enjoy. Make a list if it helps, write down your interests, passions, dreams, hobbies, anything that makes you who you are. After you have begun looking at who you are you can start looking for ways to enrich yourself. Find a few things you would like to focus on and try to become involved with a group. If you like cooking, take a cooking class- or look for cooking clubs- do this for anything you enjoy like walking, hiking, sewing, anything that makes you happy. Try volunteering as a big sister or at a science or art museum. You will become more acquainted with yourself and meet people in the process. Just remember that friends will not be made immediately- you have to work on it. As you begin to know yourself you will find it easier to make friends- not to mention you'll be amazed that your relationship will also improve.

Trust me! You will be so much happier and big life changing decisions like the marriage one will be a piece of cake because you will know what is right for you. Good luck, and please don't give up no matter what happens.

(side note- I could be totally off base, but hear me out one more time. you mentioned you'd been with him several years now. Before getting married ask yourself why did he ask you? Is it because he wants to spend the rest of his life with such an amazing woman? Or is it because it's about time to move onto the next step of the relationship? I am assuming that you are still fairly young, early twenties/late teens and he was your high school boyfriend. You did not go away to college because you wanted to stay close to each other. Over the years you have grown a lot together, you couldn't imagine not having him apart of your life. There have been a few times that you have given up something that intrested you because it didn't fit into your lifestyle with him- although you didn't mind it. You had many friends in the begining of your relationship, but they have become a thing of the past and you no longer have any contact with them. If any of this resinates with you, please take a close look at your life and make sure it's what you really want. If it is- there is nothing wrong with that- at least you'll know.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:26 PM

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ok, 3:26pm poster :)

Thank you for the insights- but my BF and I are into our thirties.
I do know myself, but the problem is because I have gained a ton of weight in the past 3-4 years, I have felt anti-social. My BF has supported me through these times, both good and bad.
I do have friends I keep in regular contact with, very good friends, but I live in NYC, don't have a car, and they live an hour or more away. I am very ready to marry him, I just don't want to make him responsible for my every outlet and need. Right now if there's an event or movie, I ask him to go. If he's not available, I usually don't go alone.
But recently I've started doing that and love the me time, but I need people to share it with. I just get downright lonely when I realize how I can't just pick up a phone and drop my a girlfriend's house, or make spontaneous plans with a buddy.
We've made the decision to marry based on common goals, a shared love, and a joint vision for the future, but I need to have friends that live nearby. Now that I've lost a significant amt. of that weight, I feel more naked and exposed, and vulnerable to rejection from people.
Thank you guys so much for your suggestions. And thanks for being concerned, 3:26! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:51 PM

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I thought I was the only one!

OP thank you for your post. It sounds so much like me in many ways. My BF and I moved to a new city a little over a year ago, and I often feel the same way. It is so much harder to meet with people when living in another area of the city means an hour drive! I've really been trying to expand and get out and do things on my own, but it's not always easy. Also I dislike doing things alone which can be frustrating when I want to go somewhere that he's just not interested in. Sometimes I've felt like it's a personal failure on my part to not have more of a "life of my own", and that I was the only person who struggled with that.
And thanks to everyone who made suggestions. I like the idea of volunteering, and I just recently started doing to group workouts at my gym rather than zoning on a cardio machine by myself. I guess the next step is to actually speak to someone in my group class. :) Thank you though, I do feel more inspired to try a little harder at getting out there.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:03 PM

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I'm in basically the opposite postition - I just broke up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years, and I realized in those years I hadn't made any new friends outside of him. I had just moved to nyc when we started dating, and I knew a couple of people who were living here when I moved, but there has been no one - absolutely no one - new.

I was pretty worried that I was going to be very lonely and depressed, so I jumped in to city life both feet first (for the first time since moving here almost 3 years ago!). I started taking salsa classes, I'm on a soccer team, and my new pottery class starts next week. I also reached out to my roommates, who were basically just acquaintences, but now we do lots of things together, including volunteering at the local senior center, and I'm getting to know their friends, too, which widens my social circle considerably. You just need one new friend, and then you can be friends with all of their friends, too.

I guess I'm just saying what everyone else has said: just go! I have some self-confidence issues (which sounds like you, too), and for me, getting there is the hardest part. Once I'm there, I have a blast.

If you want to come to my salsa class, let me know! :) (No need to bring the boy - there are most often more guys than girls.)

ps - Have you looked in to zipcar? That could solve the hour-drive problem cheaply...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:12 PM

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3:26 poster here

no offense intended OP!!!! I guess I'm just jaded, I work with victims of domestic abuse and I sometimes forget there are healthy relationships out there.

Maybe my post will benefit someone else if not you... Thanks!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:39 PM

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I've been in NYC for 6 years now and have no friends where I feel that there aren't strings attached (like if I stopped buying them lunch or giving them professional freebies, they'd disappear). I've tried the volunteer thing (freaks, I tell you -- and I mean my fellow volunteers!), I've tried mutual interest groups off, I've tried craigslist, I've tried yoga classes, I've tried meeting zero nada unless you include a compulsive liar that I accidentally befriended for 6 months.

You can look up my public log and leave me a note if you feel so inclined. I'm KatieMc80. And I think you're doing a really smart thing by making sure you have a social life beyond what your fiance provides....been there.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:47 PM

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OP, you are totally right that no one person can be 100% of what you need from other people! Meeting people and making friends takes work and time. Join a team, or a book club maybe?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 5:02 PM

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I wish I had an answer for you and for everyone else including myself. I was crying about not having many friends last night. I have to really close friends, one just lives many miles away. The other hasn't talked to me since she got married a little over a month ago. My husband is awesome and he is my best friend, but sometimes it hurts when he is going out with his great friends.
All I can say is your not alone. Keep active and an open mind and hopefully you can meet some more people. Do any of your bf's friends have girlfriends or wives? Maybe start there? Good luck!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 5:29 PM

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