| April 22, 2016

It’s a common occurrence in new relationships: You’ve found a new love, and suddenly your friends take a back seat (or perhaps they’re not even in the car). It’s understandable. You’re so in love, you can't get enough of each other. You find yourself spending all your time with this person.

READ: Do Your Friends Need to Approve of Your Date?

While it's highly common for people to dismiss their scheduled friend-time in favor of a new love interest, it’s just as important to remember your friendships so your pals don’t feel slighted, says Dr. Melanie Mills, a relationship expert and author of "The Friendship Bond.

"We make time for the things that are important to us," says Mills. "You want your friends to know they are still valuable to you and they matter, because they still desire your friendship, even though you started dating someone new. You’ve been filling a spot in their life, and they’ve been filling a spot in your life."

The key is to find balance, which might be easier said than done. When trying to balance a new relationship with friends, you need to consider your work schedule, your family demands and any other daily commitments — and you need to be careful not to start neglecting any outright. For instance, If you normally hang with friends three to five nights a week, and then you suddenly stop altogether, someone is bound to get hurt. 

Mills recommends considering your ratio.   
"If you’re used to spending evenings with your friends but you want to spend evenings with the new boyfriend because he works during the day, try carving out coffee, lunch or weekend brunch time with your friends. There’s a way to manage keeping your friends in your life, so that not everyone is feeling left out because of this fabulous new boyfriend or girlfriend of yours,” she says.

READ: 18 Clear Signs You're Having an Emotional Affair With a 'Friend'

Friendships can often be taken for granted, especially if we think our friends will understand why we’re not seeing them as much (because we’re in LOVE). However, friendships are just as valuable — if not moreso — as our new, romantic relationship. When we have a new boyfriend or girlfriend, we might think that we have everything we need, but the reality is, you still need what your friendships have to offer. 

"One of the best things about friendship is the bond we create," says Mills. "When we don’t spend time with one another, we aren’t cultivating the bonds that make us feel more secure in life, more loved and valued."

In addition, not dropping everything for a new boyfriend or girlfriend may even work to your new relationship's advantage. 

"When we don’t drop everything for someone else, it shows that we still keep our commitments, despite dating someone new. Our new flame sees that we have a life, and that we care about our friends, work and other passions."

READ: 9 Do's and Don'ts For Dating a Co-Worker

In summation, don't put off your friends. Most of your romantic relationships won't stand the test of time, but your best friendships will.