Dear Rosie & Sherry,

My fiance has a best friend who is always around! Since I don't have a car, but this friend does, he has much easier access to my fiance than I do. But it goes beyond that: When I'm at my fiance's house spending time with him, this friend always calls. I went on a day trip with my fiance and guess who tagged along?

I feel annoyed and jealous at the fact that my fiance sees his friend more than he sees me. There are many little things that are all connected that bother me, and my fiance always has something good to say that makes sense in the end.

What should I do? It's driving me nuts!

Fawn

Dear Fawn,

We can understand your being annoyed that your fiance's best friend always seems to be around, when you are looking forward to spending time alone, and that the friend seems to have unlimited access. Engagement, as well as marriage, often play havoc with friendships because changes in the engaged couple's relationship affect how much time and energy each person can devote to their long-standing friendships.

Once of the biggest adjustments a married couple has to make is balancing each partner's private life with your lives as a couple. Each of you will have your own hobbies and interests, as well as interests you share. Each of you will have things you do on your own time, such as work, taking care of personal needs, running certain errands, and meeting certain responsibilities around the home, and there will be many other things you will do together.

In addition, each of you will have your own friends, and will want to continue a relationship with them even though your spouse won't be a part of it. You'll also have joint friends that you will want to spend time with as a couple. And of course, there will be times that the two of you just want to be alone. There won't be enough time for you to carry on your lives exactly the same way you did before getting married -- some of the time and energy you devoted to private interests will now be channeled toward your lives as a couple.

Right now, your fiance and his friend relate to each other the way they did before you got engaged. This is natural, since they're best friends and you and your fiance haven't yet embarked on your life together. At the same time, now that you are engaged it is natural for you to want to focus exclusively on each other during part of that time. His friend, and perhaps your fiance as well, may not realize that they need to make an adjustment even during the engagement. They may also not realize that there will be an even greater adjustment after the marriage.

This is not an insurmountable problem, and it is not an uncommon one. One factor that will help your situation is that you don't dislike your husband's best friend, and you don't seem to resent the fact that your husband has a close buddy; you just don't want to have to compete with him for your husband’s time.

Hopefully, you and your fiance will be able to find the right balance. However, until you raise the issue, it won't be addressed -- because your fiance isn't aware that there’s a problem!

So really the ball is in your court to resolve the situation peacefully and without confrontation. It’s not going to help the situation to say, "You spend more time with Joe than you do with me! You'd think the two of you are getting married, and not us!" It's far more helpful to say, "I know that you and Joe are best friends and enjoy hanging out together. But now that we're engaged, I feel like I'm competing with Joe for your time and attention. That's especially the case when I come to visit, or when we do something together that I am looking forward to doing as a couple, and Joe joins us. I don't want to end up resenting your best friend. Why don't we figure out a way you and I can have enough time alone with each other, and when both of us will be comfortable having Joe around?"

We hope this will be the start of a fruitful discussion that will enable the two of you to make a positive step toward the adjustments to a happy married life.

Rosie & Sherry