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Even though friends are forever, we sometimes tend to put more attention towards romantic relationships. Maybe you found the perfect partner — smart, funny, and everything you hoped he or she would be. Or maybe you haven’t found a partner yet, but you are having a fabulous time flitting from date to date and dishing to your pals about every glorious moment.
You are in love with a capital “L” and want to spend every waking moment with your significant other. You are so smitten that your calendar soon fills up with movie nights, reality TV-filled evenings, and romantic day trips. Your friends don’t even have a chance to respond to your dating life anymore because you aren’t around to tell them about it.
If this is you: This someecard was popular when the first Sex and the City movie came out. I got such a chuckle out of it because it exactly described what I observed happening to some of the women in my life. The ones who had completely abandoned their friends didn’t have anyone to see the movie with when their partners wouldn’t go.
It’s hard not to get sucked into the Love Bubble*, especially if you are experiencing your first taste of a real relationship. But always, always remember your roots. It’s important to keep up with the people you had in your life BPC (Before Prince/Princess Charming). For one thing, if your relationship blows up, you will need those people. Otherwise, you'll be without your relationship and without your old group of friends because they moved on when you weren’t paying attention.
Even if the relationship is The One and you will be with this person forever and ever, it’s still incredibly important to have a variety of people in your life. Friends enrich your life, bring fresh perspective, and keep you true to who you are.
How to get things back on track: Your friends are your friends for a reason. Chances are, they are wonderful, kind people who will forgive and forget, especially if you acknowledge your mistakes. Depending on how much time has been spent away, it may take some effort to rebuild bridges, but get started right away. Invite one of them out for coffee. Spend an evening just chatting. And shut up about Prince Charming — ask your friend how she is doing.
In the future, make time for your friendships, even if you are in the best relationship of your life. You had people you cared about before your significant other came along and a couple hours apart are not going to kill either one of you. It actually might help your relationship!
2. You are always scouting.
You're out with your wonderful pals having a night on the town. Or maybe you are doing something tame, like having brunch on the weekend. No matter the location, you are always looking around for people you’re attracted to. If you are out and the group goal is to meet as many attractive people as possible, that’s one thing. But using your friends as a means to continually scout potential partners is not only rude, it can be frustrating to the people you are out with.
If this is you: This was the case with a friend of mine. Every time we went out together, she pretended to listen, but she was actually looking around for her next boyfriend. It went a little further than that — she would pick tables, events, and even places to stand and talk based on the proximity of an available man. When we were out she was all dolled up. On the trip back, she would put her hair in a ponytail, put on her glasses, and actually make conversation with me. It’s as if she switched her persona on and off. It’s okay if you want to get all glammed up and then relax when the night comes to a close. If you are becoming two separate people within the course of one evening, something is wrong.
3. You talk nonstop about your significant other.
Your significant other is amazing. She or he does 100 cute things a day and you want to list them, one by one, to anyone who will listen. Here’s the big news flash: No one really cares. Okay, that sounds harsh and it isn’t 100% true. Your friends do care about your relationships and they do want to know what’s going on in your life. But they don’t want to know Every. Single. Detail. The only person who has that level of interest in your daily relationship life is you. That doesn’t mean you have to keep mum all the time. It just means keep things in check.
If this is you: If you are happy, chances are your friends are happy for you. Every now and then, it’s okay to gush about the latest romantic thing your partner did or retell a funny story about his work. Remember, though, the world doesn’t revolve around your relationship. Your friends have stories they want to tell, too.
How to get things back on track: Ask your friends questions. It’s as simple as that. Occasionally, the topic of conversation will be all about you, but make sure there’s a balance. It’s wonderful that you are happy! Don’t feel the need to hide that feeling, but take an active interest in other people. And don’t just wait for a pause in the conversation just to make it all about you once more.
No matter how much we love our partners, chances are one day they are going to do or say something really stupid. Or the two of you are going to get in a fight…or fight about the same thing for the 300th time. When those things happen, you are going to want to talk about it. But if all you are doing is telling friends awful things about your significant other, guess what? They aren’t going to like him or her.
If this is you: Again, wanting to vent about your partner is natural and it happens to everyone. Check yourself, though. Are you only telling your girls the bad things? Your friends love you and want you to be safe and happy, so if the only thing you are telling them is that your S.O. is the scum of the earth, they are going to believe (surprise!) it.
You had unprotected sex. Or are in a relationship with someone who is married. Or are dating someone who is actually dangerous. It is your life and you can make any decision you want, but remember your actions can affect the people who care about you.
If this is you: Part of growing up is learning how to take responsibility for those actions. Your body is your body, and you really can do anything you want, but people are invested in you and your life, so if you put yourself in a dangerous or difficult situation, it can influence their lives as well.
How to get things back on track: If you have had unprotected sex, get tested for STIs and pregnancy (and if it’s been less than five days, use emergency contraception). Then, learn about your contraceptive options and invest in condoms for STI prevention. If you are in a relationship with someone who doesn't treat you well, get out as soon as possible. Basically, love yourself as much as your friends love you. You don’t always have to agree with them, but if they are worried about you, listen to what they are saying. They may have a point.
Life is all about balance — and balancing work, love, and friendship will always be a bit tricky. But it is possible to have a solid relationship while cultivating your friendships at the same time.
*Love Bubble [luhv buhb-uh l]: noun, invisible forcefield around two people who are in love that keeps them focused only on each other. Signs include spending countless days/nights together, googly eyes, pet nicknames, and inside jokes.
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