Help, my girlfriends have kids now – family

– Almost no time or sleep: children turn everything upside down. Also close friendships. How can young parents and those without children master the turbulent early days together – and stay connected?

As our lives change, so do friendships. Friends often do not get their full attention from the beginning of their professional life and their first serious relationship. But the change becomes especially drastic when children are born.

Gone are hours of phone calls, nights of roaming the streets together and impromptu get-togethers. What counts for the parents now is that the little person is doing well.

Felicitas Heyne is a psychologist and author from Heidelberg. She knows that it is difficult for a childless woman to understand how dramatic this “landslide” is. “A newborn baby leaves no area of ​​life untouched. There is not only a shift in interests and energy, but also a paradigm shift.

As a new mother, you are suddenly fixated on another little person around the clock, says Heyne. There is not even time for yourself What about a boyfriend or a girlfriend?

Anger does not help

Horst Heidbrink says that the childless part is particularly sad that this is the case. As a psychologist, he dealt with the subject of friendship for many decades, saying, “New parents lose friendships to some degree because they are so preoccupied with the child.” The childless then lack the emotional closeness to which they were accustomed from friendship.

But: “It is normal that life changes, that other priorities arise, that close friendships end,” says Wolfgang Krüger, psychologist and author from Berlin. If you reacted with dissatisfaction here, it would be quite stressful. “We have to accept that we as friends sometimes take second place and that life is not just about us.”

Allow friends to participate in family life

If it’s a close friendship, one must sometimes put oneself in the other’s place, advises Felicitas Heyne. And at least there are ways to continue to maintain close friendships. Just maybe not quite as intense in time. However, it is advisable that parents especially involve close friends. Then they no longer felt outside or useless.

Wolfgang Krüger also advises new parents to make arrangements with their partner so that they can “retire at least once every 14 days”, for example to call in peace or meet other people. Otherwise, the following applies: “You must adapt the relationship with friends to the new relationships and, for example, invite your girlfriend to you so that she can participate in family life.”

According to Felicitas Heyne, it is also good to show understanding for the situation of the childless boyfriend or girlfriend. You can choose phrases like, “I can imagine it’s not that exciting for you right now, but he or she is getting bigger and it’s going to be different again.” Or, “I can not give you the kind of attention I want right now. But do not assume that I do not care about you.”

The willingness to adapt is important

And what is the best way for the childless friend to behave without endangering the friendship – or stressing the young mother?

The interviewed psychologists are sure that childish insistence on a friendship that existed before life completely changed is wrong. Horst Heidbrink thinks it makes sense to remember what we used to do together. And ask if there is no way to do it. But no one can expect parents to put their child on the back burner. “I have to take that into account!”

Requiring the boyfriend or girlfriend to take the same time for the friendship as before can also backfire, says Felicitas Heyne. “Good friendships are characterized by an understanding of such situations.” But you can already say what you miss and formulate your needs, says Heyne. “I wish …” is a phrase you can always say.

The magic word is interest

And the offer to be able to look after the child is also advisable, says Wolfgang Krüger. “Then you have a common theme.” In order for the friendship to survive despite major changes, a great willingness to adapt is also necessary. “And the childless boyfriend needs to know how exhausting and exhausting her boyfriend’s life is at times.”

One of the magic words of the psychologist Krüger: interest. “About the children, about educational problems, about the other person’s life in general.” Then, as a childless friend, you may become a companion for life.

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