When we were first married, we socialized a lot. We had friends from high school, friends from college, relatives, and a great group of friends from work. We were always doing something with one group or the other each weekend. We were actually very happy with all our activities. Then kids came. I joined playgroups and socialized with old friends and new. We got together as families and had dinner or went to the drive in. Then the kids got older and all of a sudden our socializing stopped.

Somehow, it was easier to stay home than find a babysitter. Somehow, as the kids got older they were not as easily entertained with other families. Somehow, we started to value our time as a family or as a couple over time with others. Somehow, socializing became stressful.

For a span of about ten years, we rarely socialized with anyone outside of our relatives. Once or twice a year I met a friend for lunch. Once or twice every year or two we met another couple for dinner. It was just so much easier to do things by ourselves, and we really enjoyed it! It was simple.

Lately, since our children are both over 18 and busy with their own lives, we have started socializing again. I have been planning more lunch/dinner dates with girlfriends. We went to another couple's house for dinner. We met another couple out for dinner a few times. We planned to have a couple here for dinner. Then they cancelled. We planned a weekend outing with various members of my family. Then they cancelled. Then we sat back and reevaluated what was happening.

It was so simple when it was just us. We could do whatever we wanted, when we wanted. Sounds selfish, but we were happy!. The cancellations gave us reason to pause and reevaluate what we were doing. Were we socializing more because we wanted to? Or because we felt we needed to? I really think it was more the first reason. However, it was causing stress in our lives again.

We have now taken a step back to our ten year hiatus on socializing. We have decided that we will continue to plan things together as a couple. In fact, we have started a once a month date night on our anniversary date (the first of each month) and have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We are also not reaching out to others as much to plan events. We have not rescheduled the cancelled dinner date yet. We did not reschedule the family outing, instead my sister initiated that and we will just go along, without making huge plans. That way if it works out, it works out. We will accept invitations as the arrive. (I know, invitations own't arise if we never reach out to others, but we are ok with that.)

The bottom line is to keep our lives simple. We will not go gung-ho on socializing, but will do a little here and there. Once every quarter actually seems to work out really well for us, or even less. We value our time together and the simple life we are trying to create. Socializing will just continue to simmer on the back burner.