Friendships : friends without kids(38 Posts)
OK so I am really struggling with a very dear and old friendship (20yrs plus and include relationship breakdowns / divorces) I have 2 children am married and work part-time. Dear friend works full-time, single, is financially much better off and lives about 40 mins away in a beautiful and immaculate home!
We normally meet about every 6 weeks with me traveling to see her, I don't take the kids as there would be nothing for them do and they would get bored, so I go alone. We will only meet at the weekend as this suits her better.
I am struggling with the friendship, for although it's very dear to me, she seems to take little interest in what's happening in my life, not interested in my kids and will not travel to see me because she doesn't like driving that much and she has far a similar distance when going to work.
Does anyone else have similar friendships and how do they survive without resentment?
She just doesn't get it. Many people don't until they have kids themselves. So I'd let her off the hook on that.
I'd continue to keep going to see her as long as I enjoyed her company. I don't mind things being a bit one sided for the meet-up effort if I get something out of it.
I have a friend just like that. I've just sucked it up tbh. I've always travelled to her area even though I've always needed to rush bck to pick kids up etc. She never asks me about them, although asks after Dh, she just isn't interested.
I still see her, about 4 or 5 times a year, and have to accept that's just the way it is. I saw her less when the children were very small but our friendship survived.
I do entirely understand you. If the relationship isn't worth it for you, I'd let it peter out.
I have several friends who don't have children. I absolutely love seeing two who don't have partners/DH - I have known them for 20+ years. We do all the stuff I can't do with DC in tow. Proper adult time.
I struggle with my friend without children who has a DH... They are glued to each other and come as a unit. As a couple they annoy me with all their little flirtations and 'in jokes'.
My friends with DC? Well, let's say we haven't got much in common apart from having DC the same age but that's ok!
People may well tell you that she doesn't have to be interested in your children, but I would find a complete lack of interested a bit odd. Most of my friends don't have kids, but will ask after them and enjoy the occasional anecdote. If you feel it's one sided, leave it. It could you try meeting at a restaurant? Somewhere in the middle.
What was your friendship like before you had children? Presumably you having kids hasn't affected the fact she doesn't like driving and/or that she lives 40m away, so I dont see how the children thing plays a part in that. It is unfair though that you always have to do the driving and see her at her place, why not meet for lunch or dinner somewhere in between both of you?
RE not taking an interest in your kids - I can sort of understand this. I dobt have children and TBH I'd say most of my parents friends do seem to assume I am more interested in their kids than I actually am. Then again, I think part of being friends is taking an interest in important things in your friends lives, so I do my best to ask the right questions and contribute to child based discussion.
I just met up recently with a friend who had had moved abroad and had a baby. She was back for a visit and I had been dying to see her, we were really good friends. TBH sometimes during the time we spent together I resented the fact she had had a baby...that her attention was so demanded by him that it was impossible to talk properly the way we used to. That when she left the baby with her husband and went out for dinner, she would still be worrying about the baby, talking about him etc, it wasn't possible to recapture 'old times ' the way I had hoped. I dont think she or I are U, it's just a way that friendships change when one has children and their whole life changes, and the other doesn't and is disappointed by the way the friendship changes.
Yanbu to expect compromise- her coming to you, asking after your family etc.
Yabu to moan that your kids would be bored at her house. It's not her place to set up for your children, and (as I said with compromise), sometimes it's good for friends to meet up with just each other, no family being there as a distraction. I assume she works during the week, therefore makes sense why the weekends would be more convenient for her to meet up.
I'd cut down on visiting her, or perhaps suggest meeting in a town half way between the two of you. If she's not willing to come to you once in a while, perhaps the friendship isn't worth it.
Could you raise the travel issue with her: explain its a treck for you get every time and invite her to lunch somewhere close to your house?
Re talking about children, is she child free by choice? Could it be that taking about them is painful for her?
Thank you for all the comments, I am sad that the friendship is struggling. I have mentioned to her previously about the difficulties in always going to her and me always being the person to organise our meetings, she is now much better at contacting me but simply won't compromise on the travel any further, I travel 40mins compared to her 10 mins.
I understand that she shouldn't need to be involved with my kids and I have never pushed it. She isn't particularly maternal, has never expressed an interest in having children and for many years, was happy either single or in relationships, with no plans for kids.
Edmund,It wasn't a moan about her being unable to keep my kids occupied, the reality is her house is beautiful, she is very house-proud. She would not thank me for bringing them, they would be a massive distraction and I would feel dreadful if so much as a drink got spilt.
Do you enjoy her company?
I don't think her lack of interest in children is necessarily a problem, provided she's interested in you as a person. Sometimes it's nice to see old friends who you can be the "old" you with, rather than just mum friends who only talk about mum things.
The travelling thing would piss me right off tho- but I'm not famed for my generous and giving personality TBH.
I think YABU about her lack of interest in your kids, about meeting at the weekends and about her house being too perfect for kids.
YANBU about the fact she travels 10 mins and you 40. That is very unfair. Have you considered that maybe she simply doesn't like the option near your place? Could it be that she thinks that the place near her is a lot nicer? Could you maybe suggest a few places near you? I think it's fair enough she doesn't want to meet at your home - she probably thinks that the kids would take over.
Thanks again for your comments, I am not so bothered about her lack of interest in my kids and the explanation about her house, was mentioned merely to explain why I don't take my kids to her house and we always meet on neutral territory.
What does annoy me is the not asking if my kids and dh are well? Not asking what I have been doing since we last met and the previous requests to meet somewhere closer to me falling on deaf ears. last night I asked something of this friend, she point blank refused. It wasn't anything big or something that couldn't be compromised upon, as dear friend put it "I can't believe you are upset" but to me it was just one more thing which she couldn't consider my feelings for and would not compromise upon 😟
Ps I have suggested places half way between, but they are few and far between and she doesn't like any of them 😞
We normally end up at a box standard harvesters type pub, which she seems to like
It wasn't a moan about her being unable to keep my kids occupied
Well why mention that you can't take the kids there? You used it as a pretty focal point in your op - you always go there without the kids but she never comes to you. Adding later that she has a 'beautiful house' does not distract from what sounds like resentment that she doesn't make room for your kids in her life.
I think this is odd, I have several friends with no children, and they are relaxed about saying hi to my kids and showing interest in them, even though I do prioritize time on our own to chat, although I do that with friends with children as well. In short, it's nice to be interested in each others lives and meet half way, physically and emotionally. This doesn't sound like that.
Her home is all glass and mirrored surfaces (thinking handprints), it could be a showhouse. She tends to move cushions on the sofa as you sit down, so they don't get flattened. She has a lovely house, she's worked hard for it, she's proud of it. Why would I take my children there, she's not interested, they would get bored? Not a criticism of her or my kids, just a reality and explanation of why I keep the two parts of my life separate
I also really value my friends advice about problems with the children, even if they don't have children themselves. They are often very insightful, and see things a little differently, or the bigger picture rather than the specifics (and aren't comparing their own children). I take interest in what is important to them- relationships, friendships, their parents, traveling or whatever. I think a good relationship is built on mutual interest in each other's lives, whatever that encompasses, and the fact she's not even interested enough to ask how your family are, and to meet nearer to you means she's happy on her terms but isn't going to go out of her comfort zone for you. I wouldn't keep going with someone who never mentioned my family, that would be bizarre!
putting everything together
she wont put herself out for you (favour/travel/type of meeting place)
she rarely contacts you first
you do all the running
she isnt interested in your life
why do you bother? maybe downgrade to once every 6 months then once a year meet ups. just dont ring her and it will happen naturally
friendships wax and wane. maybe in a few years you will be more in tune again
Thank you bounty bar, I always talk about my kids but I think last night was just awful and it's on reflection that I am realising where it's all leading. Last night I mentioned xmas presents and what we had considered buying, her reply was "you're asking the wrong person" 😭
I have an older friend like that who won't travel and in 15 years has been to my house or near my house precisely twice! It really really irritates me and I probably only see her a couple of times a year now as I find her so intractable. She does ask after my family though but she has children so possibly a bit more relevant to her.
I totally understand you not wanting to take your DC's over to your friends' immaculate house though, you would be so worried all the time and the visit would be of benefit to no-one.
Were you talking about kids presents? Because if you were discussing the latest Power Ranger with your childfree friend, I can get why she said you were asking the wrong person....
Thank you, I will take on board the comments. Most have made me feel a little better
I have sent her a message saying I am sorry we fell out, she hasn't replied. Maybe that says it all or maybe she hasn't seen the message. Time will tell and I guess if she is interested in the friendship, she will respond.
Gosh even I wouldn't talk power rangers 😀 Just mentioned what I had bought for Christmas so far (the big present)and that I was struggling for ideas on second child and what the 2 contenders were! Probably a bit of a dull conversation, but my life is quite dull. I don't party much these days 😂
hmmmm your topic of choice was probably not v interesting, to be fair!
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