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Your Bestie Just Got Married. Here's What You Should Expect From Your Friendship.

When your BFF is no longer single, what does that mean for your friendship when you're still a single lady?

What About Your Friends?

Lord, y'all. When you get to be my age (mid-40s), when it comes to your friendships, you've kinda gotta suck it up. "It" being the reality that, if a lot of your social circle isn't already married or have children, they've got the combo. This means, for every wedding (or baby shower) that you attend, you've got to adjust to the fact that no matter how much you and your sista-friend adore each other, there are some pretty major changes that are in store—even if they aren't intentional. Even if both of you say to one another that things will remain just as they've always been.

I'll speak from personal experience and say that the changes aren't always easy either. Although I consider myself to be one of the biggest advocates for my friends and their life transitions, there's nothing like wanting to call one of my married ones at midnight and realizing that, unless it's an emergency, that's basically inappropriate. Or, after spending time with their new hubby, coming to realize that he's not your absolute favorite person on the planet (see "I'm Not A Fan Of My BFF's Man - This Is How I Make Our Friendship Work"). Yeah, navigating through a single woman/married woman friendship comes with its challenges.

So, if you've got a wedding coming up and one of your closest friends is the bride-to-be, here's an emotional cheat sheet to make getting used to y'all's new normal a bit easier. On the both of you.

Her Time Is Going to Be Different

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There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken." (Deuteronomy 24:5—NKJV) I dig it because it's a reminder to 1) marry a man who has his own house in order before saying "I do" so that he can give you some much-needed quality time, and 2) expect newlyweds to be all into each other because yeah, those first several months, you may not see them much. However, I'll just say that, you shouldn't assume that once the googly eyes and daily sex on the kitchen floor have subsided that your friend's time will fully go back to normal.

If she and her man are taking their relationship seriously, they become one another's top priority. This means that a lot of what was going on in their lives when they were single, it now becomes a concern of the other partner. This means that if your friend was already pressed for time as a "Ms.", things are definitely going to be more congested for her as a "Mrs." Meeting up with you at the last minute after work is going to be a lot more difficult and staying on the phone with you for hours on end is going to be pretty unrealistic. In short, time together will need to be planned. Spontaneity, for the most part, will be a thing of the past.

To a Certain Extent, Her Husband Will Be a Factor

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There are a few married couples I know whose marriage blew all the way up because one of them ignorantly (and semi-arrogantly) went into the relationship thinking that each other's families weren't going to be an issue. What I mean by that is, while some of them were dating and not getting along with their partner's mom, dad or sibling, I would ask them, "So, how is that gonna translate after you get married?" Many times, their reply would be somewhere along the lines of, "I'm marrying them. Not their family." Uh-huh. While that mindset works in theory, if your spouse has a relationship with the very people you don't get along with, there are going to be some pretty major bumps along the way for you and your marriage. You'd be better off trying to smooth things over before your wedding day, not after. Family drama has caused more than a few divorces, believe you me.

Although I'm not a blood relative of any of the wives that I am close to, we are, what I call, "love family". And since their husband is their family too, I try my best to not only tolerate their spouse but cultivate my own connection with them.

That way, even if the husband doesn't see me as a "love sister", they can at least treat me like a "love second cousin". You might not think this is super important, but when you want to come over and have dinner or you need to cry over the phone about your ex at 9pm, you'll be amazed how much being cool with the hubby will make that so much easier for you to do.

Her Focus Will Shift. A LOT. At Least for a Little While.

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With life transitions come new experiences—and new perspectives. As it relates to marriage, when a woman becomes a wife, it's impossible for her to be 100 percent the same person that she was when she was single. She's got to consider her husband's feelings about things. She's got to balance his needs with her own. Now, his family and friends are a part of her world. His finances become an area of concern just like her own. There are things about her marriage she can share and things she has to keep to herself. She's got to figure out how to make quality time for her hubby as well as herself. In short, being married means that she has a lot more on her plate; a lot more to focus on.

If you don't emotionally prepare yourself for this, it will be really easy for you to get your feelings hurt. I can't tell you how many times I've called a wife to tell her something ridiculous a guy said and she finds a way to bring up a disagreement between her and her husband or, I want to talk about Queen Sugar and she wants to talk about a meal she's surprising her man with. When someone is in love, they talk about the object of that love a lot. When they share a house, bed and name with that individual, prepare for that to multiply exponentially so. It's not that your girl doesn't care about what you care about; she simply has to find balance now that there are a whole lot of other things to focus on too.

Her Social Circle Will Expand

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Something that makes two people friends is the commonalities that they share. They like the same things. They share similar experiences. They know some of the same people. That makes it easy for them to have plenty to talk about so that they are able to remain emotionally connected. But once your friend gets married, while the things that you share will still exist, she will now have a whole new social circle that you probably won't be a part of. Her husband's boss. Her man's college buddies. If marriage included them moving to another city, state or country, an entire network of folks who you may never meet. As those individuals become more of a part of her life, those influences will expand her world and probably her views on things as well. To a certain degree, she will change.

Most of my close friends, our social circles don't cross much at all (I actually like it that way, but that's another article for another time). This means that a lot of the time, we're talking about people that we're not personally associated with. The way that we make that work is to try and care about each other's social lives simply out of respect for the friendship. That way, when I bring up a co-worker who has a slick mouth or my friend talks about her hubby's BFF who is still ho-ing out in these streets, we're still able to engage the topic because we've made it a point to invest in each other's lives; even the parts we're not directly a part of. Just so that we can remain connected.

If the Friendship Is Solid, She'll Relish the "Single Time" Together, Though

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While recently doing an interview, someone asked me if it would freak me out if I never got married. Nope. Personally, I believe that once you learn how to embrace and enjoy your own season in life, you start to see all of the benefits that come right along with it. In other words, a lot of women who hate being single, they are typically the ones who are more concerned with what they are "missing" by not being a wife than what they already have by not being one. Unfortunately, what they don't realize is, some of the things that they've got, most wives miss. Maybe not every day but definitely some of the time.

Most of the wives in my life, they have told me, at least a dozen times, things like, "Girl, be glad that you always get to sleep on your entire bed" or "Girl, I wish I could just go out and spend money without consulting my husband first" or "Girl, do you know how lucky you are to be able to do whatever you want on the weekends?" Know what else? When a lot of these wives find themselves walking down memory lane of their singledom, guess who they want to call to go see a movie or hear me talk about what the single world is like? They say that you don't know what you had until its gone. Many wives will attest to the fact that while being married is great, single living has its benefits and privileges too.

A writer by the name of Arnold Bennett once said, "Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomforts." I won't lie to you—having a close friend get married can result in a little bit of sadness and even some grieving (which is why taking a girls' trip, even if it's for a day, sometime before the wedding can be helpful). Life as you knew it, it is going to shift. But if you choose to embrace and adjust to the love that she has found and she makes sure to keep you as a priority because she values your presence, your friendship can remain intact. It might not be the same anymore, but it will still be good. As time goes on, possibly even better.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends

You REALLY Want To Get Married. Why Is That?

10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships

How To Own The Power Of Your Single Season

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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