Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …

Replaced

9 Comments

“The worst part is that I guess I just feel replaced…”

Replaced. Hmmmm. I zoned in as she continued “but I guess, man if I feel this way, you must feel so much worse, right?”

I had to think about that one for a minute before replying. We were chatting about some people close to us who had recently gotten engaged and then kind of fell off the planet if you know what I mean? They become  M.I.A. (missing in action) or in their own little world – I often quote the old Bambi movie and call this stage “Twitterpated” when I see it. (See the cute video below – email readers, try this link)


Ruth, this blog post is for you, as we arrived at our destination tonight before I could reply (and thanks for giving me a topic for today!). I can definitely relate to feeling replaced in close friendships! I don’t know that I feel worse than you do though. Yes, I’ve been ‘replaced’ many more times, but I also think that I learned a few skills which have helped me process it, so it’s actually gotten easier, and not harder for me. So don’t despair!

When your close friends or siblings start dating or get engaged and you are suddenly pushed out into a less central place in their heart and lives, here are a few tips that have helped me over the years (and that I still have to practice on a regular basis!)

 Emotions:

  • Have a good cry. Yes, this helps! In many ways you have been replaced and it’s ok to grieve your loss, even if you are happy for the other person’s gain.
  • Recognize that you can feel two emotions at once – joy for them, and pain for you. Know that it’s a good thing that your spot in their lives has been ‘replaced’. If they are getting married and you still held the closest spot in their heart next to the Lord, than it would be a very bad thing.
  • While your spot and role in their life was replaced, You as a person have not been replaced. They still need you, and you need them. How you interact in each other’s lives is just going to look different from now on.

 Choices:

  • A really important question to ask yourself is:“Is this relationship important enough to me to wait for them?” You have a choice, to close up and move on, or to stay and wait around till their core relationship is formed with their spouse or future spouse. I never yet had a couple NOT reappear after a few months or a few years (the time span varies on their personalities) needing friendship and support from their friends and family.     two way street                                                            Couples need bonding time. As a friend, one of the greatest gifts you can give them is this time to establish who they are as couple. It will be painful to you, and a big adjustment, but if the friendship and investment is worth the wait to you, the friendship on the other side will be all the sweeter and stronger for it. Love is a two way street, but it’s also the sacrifice of a one lane road while the other lane is under construction.
  • You also have the choice to talk to the friend in the relationship and express your needs in the friendship. This can be very tricky to do without coming across as needy or making the friend in the relationship feel guilty. While it can be helpful sometimes, I would approach it with caution and love.
  • Choose to include the person you are feeling replaced by. This can be a tough one, but looking into the future, if you want to continue a friendship with your friend, get to know the person they are in the relationship with. If you have had a close friendship for many years, the new person entering into the relationship with your friend could easily feel threatened. You have the opportunity to bless this couple by becoming friends with both of them. The dividends of this investment will be more than you can comprehend.

It’s so easy to become offended and upset when we feel we have been replaced! It’s ok to grieve the loss, but it’s not ok to let it destroy your relationship with your friend. (Please note the other person always has a choice too – but we are responsible for 31 DAYS OF Being Single our own choices and how we respond to them).

How do you think 1 Corinthians 13 applies when we have been replaced in a friendship? (Please read it slowly).

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Replaced” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read the pervious post please click here.

Advertisements

Author: notunredeemed

Jesus follower, people lover, truth scribbler. Addicted to pain (growth). Passionate about relationships, identity and the transforming power of Christ.

9 thoughts on “Replaced

  1. I was actually told once, when I expressed interest in getting to know or trying to be friends with a friend’s boyfriend (now husband), “I don’t know if I want you to be friends with him.” Hmm…

    • Hmmmm that is a tough one! Without knowing the circumstances, it’s hard to say why they would say that, but it sounds like some insecurities. I’m sorry you experienced that. It must have been painful.

  2. Can I speak from both sides of this? I remember when my best friend got married, the feeling of loss while also feeling extreme happiness for her. So hard to realize everything was changing. Yet, although things have changed, we are still just as close- we just may talk about different things. But she still needs me.
    On the other side, as my wedding date approached I started to get worried- many of my single friends were under the impression that as soon as I got married, we weren’t going to be close anymore. I was so scared because whenever I told them, “I’m going to need you, or I’ll get so lonely,” they would argue that I couldn’t possibly get lonely- I would be a new bride who had a whole new life. I felt like I couldn’t get through to them that although I loved my now-husband, I still. Needed. My female friends. It really worried me that I would lose my friends because of the false assumptions they had.
    All that to say, remember that sometimes that friend is just as worried as you are about losing friendships!!

    • Alex! Thank you so so much for commenting on this. You bring up some excellent thoughts and points. I think one of the biggest lies singles believe is that the other person is supposed to be, or will become everything to them and for them. Singles are just as guilty as the married folks in distancing themselves from relational transitions. Thanks for being open about the “other side” 🙂 I would really love to address this later this month!

  3. This is stellar, Katie! Practical and full of grace.

  4. Pingback: Today is the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive | Not Unredeemed

  5. I second what Alex said above. I’ve been on both sides. I can only speak from my experience, but I can say that that was something my husband and I tried hard to do, was to not “replace” people. I mean, yes, our marriage is something new and different (obviously), and it’s a whole other side of intimacy, but… my perspective is that as a friend, I have had, do, and will have a responsibility to my friends. Yes, I’m married, and yes, my husband and I need “us” time, but we don’t get to suddenly drop our friendships off a cliff for months on end. I don’t think it’s respectful to a girlfriend to expect her to wait for you for several years, especially if the friendship was a very close one. I will be the first to say that I’ve gotten a little more spotty in communicating with a few of my friends (the long-distance ones, especially), and I wish that weren’t so, but I would feel *horrible* if they felt excluded or like I’d drawn away from them just because of getting married. And ditto for any of my husband’s friendships. Marriage is a priority. And there are a few times that means an either/or choice. But I don’t think it should end up being a lifestyle. People with anything resembling a reasonable life and schedule should be able to maintain a marriage and some good friendships too.

    I know that sounds harsh… and I do realize there are sometimes extenuating circumstances, etc, etc, and that every relationship is different. I just think it shouldn’t be common practice, and honestly the burden for that falls on the newly dating/married to maintain their relationships.

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s