I suppose it’s like riding a bike – you never really forget.

After 2 1/2 years of frenzied dating, I find myself now in couple mode. Just like the transition between married life and singlehood required an adjustment of attitude and expectation, I’m quickly learning that alterations are also necessary from singlehood to couplehood.

It doesn’t come without its challenges.

For instance, time management.

I’ve recently been accused – jokingly, I think – that ever since I met Ron, I don’t make time for my friends anymore.

The truth is, I’ve been frantically trying to juggle everyone.

With all the time I spent dating and attending singles events, I assumed that once I met someone, I’d have a lot of extra time. Obviously I didn’t have as many dates as I’d thought, because there’s not much extra time.

Maybe it’s just that the obligations increased. Rather than just finding time to go out with friends, I need to find time for us to go out with my friends, with his friends, and our own friends individually (as well as time for just us, of course). Then there are errands, exercise and puppy duties. Add family obligations and that time-consuming thing called work, and there’s really not that much time left in the week.

Being part of a new couple is like being in a state of limbo. The majority of my friends are single and it’s not appropriate for me to attend singles events with them anymore. Since we’ve only been dating a little more than two months, we haven’t yet developed any couple networking either. We’re still in the introductions stage – I’m slowly meeting his friends and family; he’s slowly meeting mine.

So far the big merge hasn’t happened yet – where his friends have met mine – but my dad did meet his mom over Thanksgiving weekend.

Luckily there are organizations, like the Young Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, that cater to both singles and couples. So all of you who are either in the newly single or newly coupled – or established in either – come see all your friends at Mazelpalooza. (It’s a shameless plug, because I’m one of the co-chairs, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention it: 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 24, at Sanctuary Bar, 7340 E. Shoeman Lane, Scottsdale. Get your tickets before Dec. 19 for $20, $25 afterward. It’s best to purchase them in advance so you don’t have to wait in line: www.jewishphoenix.org/calendar/calendar.php).

This will be my third Mazelpalooza; and my life has been a little different each time: At my first one, I was completely single. The next I was kind of dating somebody, but still looking. Now I’m going purely for the fun of seeing everyone I haven’t seen as much as I used to.

Although every year usually has transitions of some kind, this one has been full of major ones for me.

In 2003, I became a first-time homeowner and a parent to two puppies, adding enormous new responsibilities to my life.

Sadly, our family said goodbye to my grandfather and an uncle, both leaving significant gaps.

I suppose that everyone’s life is touched each year by both positives and negatives – may 2004 weigh more heavily with positives for everyone. Happy New Year!

This article first appeared in the Dec. 12, 2003 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.