So my best friend got married this past weekend. And I’ve been wondering what that means for our ‘best friendship’. You see, my best friend is a guy. We’ve known each other twenty years and we’ve been best friends for sixteen of those years. So I’ve literally known him longer than any of his girlfriends. I was there when he fell hard for his secondary school sweetheart; there when he got hurt and decided to go off relationships and just mess around. I was there when he decided to try again and I was there when he met this sissy eko that he married last weekend.

Now, these girls haven’t always liked my existence, but being a girl, I know what the potential pitfalls of having a female best friend are for a guy. So I have always found a way to not ‘get in the way’ of things. My best friend, silly as he is, always raised objections when I did/didn’t do something because I didn’t want ‘trouble’ from his girlfriend of the moment. He always claims that she’s cool with it, as if the mere fact that he has been open with her about the fact that his best friend is female is enough for her to be cool with it. But boys are not very smart in that regard. They miss the quiet looks and side eyes, and the territorial vibes that the madam is giving out when said best friend is present. While there might not be a girl code for managing boys, there certainly is a universally understood subliminal message – ‘stay away from my man’. And I respect that.

The day before the wedding, I called my best friend in the morning, like I have done every day now for Lord knows how many years, and I said to him “this is probably the last time I’ll call you in the morning for these long conversations that we always have”. He started to raise an objection, but then I think he thought the better of it. And I think it hit him just then, the enormity of the decision he had made to get married. Because he went quiet, then sighed heavily. And then he said “yeah, I’ll probably only be able to call you once I get to work”. And we laughed about it. But it wasn’t funny. Not really.

It occurred to me that I won’t have as much access to him as I used to. Not because it’s not possible, but because it’s the right thing to do, if I really care about him and want him to have peace in his home. But then again, I might also argue that the girlfriend-turned-wife should be able to deal with it, since she dealt with it before they got married. Isn’t what you accepted before getting married supposed to be the same thing you’re ready to accept after marriage? Why do people expect their other halves to change once the ‘little handcuff’ (as one of his groom’s men described it) is on their finger?

I don’t want to lose my best friend. And in truth, he really can’t afford to lose me. Twenty years of knowing each other and supporting each other, of being there no matter what, of rejoicing and crying (I did the crying mostly) together, of sharing gist about escapades and adventures and silly things and amazing things; twenty years of walking through each other’s failed relationships, and comforting each other when it all went south, years of being the only ones that knew each other’s innermost thoughts, fears, faults and flaws; twenty years of not judging… it can’t just go down the drain because he married a beautiful young woman who he’s only known for three years J

Or can it?

As I watched them dance up to the stage, being welcomed as the proverbial latest couple in town, as I watched him help her up and pick up the train of her dress which seemed very heavy, as I watched him remain standing until she was sitting down comfortably, I wondered how we would manage ‘us’ going forward. I wondered if someone else had taken my place. And I know it may sound silly, but I was jealous. Happy for him, but jealous of her. And I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it’s because I know that it means I have to adjust my best friend behaviours. Maybe I worry that because she comes first (and I expect nothing less from him), I will be relegated to a far off background. Maybe I worry that I won’t be able to talk to him about everything anymore because his first duty is to have a listening ear to his wife’s problems, not mine.

I’ve also tried to turn the tables around in my head – what if I was the one getting married? How would my husband feel about me having a male best friend? How would he like knowing that there was someone besides him who I could talk to about everything, and probably things I wouldn’t even be able to talk to him about? How would he accept for me to call someone else my best friend? Worse still, what if my husband was the one with the female best friend? Would it be so easy for me to accept? Would I expect him to curtail those best friend behaviours by himself or would I demand it from him? I’d like to think that I would draw that best friend of his closer and make her my friend, so that it’s more difficult for her to do anything that would hurt me. It would also mean that I can run interference and be able to easier sense if things weren’t quite right. I’d like to think that I would trust my husband enough to know that he wouldn’t do anything ‘funny’ with his best friend.

I think it’s easy for me to say these things because I’m talking based on my present situation. I have never had and will never have any amorous feelings towards my best friend. And it’s the same with him. I think being able to be friends without the pressure of boy/girl things is what has made our friendship last this long. Yes, we had lots of mutual friends who couldn’t understand why we were there ‘forming best friends’, people who didn’t believe it when we said we were just friends and people who said outright that we should go and get married. And I remember one day long ago while we were sat in one of our living rooms (can’t remember which, might have been his parents’ or mine, cos we were in each other’s houses a lot), we brought up the question about the two of us getting together. We must have each pondered it for like half a second before we both simultaneously said “Naaaahhh”. And it was hilarious. That’s the stuff that our friendship is made of. Good, comfortable, feel-good stuff. And we both vowed that we would never let anything take that away.

We didn’t consider what would happen when marriage came knocking for either of us.

So, here’s my dilemma. How do I keep what we have without ‘disrespecting’ his home?

Responses

  1. Larz
    Hmm.
    You are a very lucky gal to have experienced that kind of friendship with your friend. You are also correct in saying there will be some changes to your relationship with him now that he is married.
    Contrary to what people think, marriage is more friendship that it is love. Those who succeeded the most in marriage are couples who are friends first before anything else. For as long as you continue in the current capacity as friends, it is likely his marriage will suffer for it. Because you will continue to be his confidant over his wife (20 yrs of history will ensure that) and no matter how supportive you are, when the going gets tough in his marriage (which is inevitable), he will wonder why she can’t be like you.

    I am not saying your friendship with you friend will die but I am saying, it needs to evolve into something new. Give your friend time and space esp in these foundational years to build a friendship with his wifeg

    21+
  2. Phil
    Ask yourself “why did my best friend not marry me?”.
    If you can be honest with your answer, you will know to give him space.
    Selah.
    14+
      1. MissO Post author
        No, you’re not @reniy
        I probably read it a few times to try to understand.
        What I think was trying to say is that my best friend would have married me if he wanted to.
        But I didn’t want to marry my best friend. And he didn’t want to marry me. We never talked about getting married to each other. So i don’t think his not marrying me is a bad thing
        0
        1. Reniy
          Exactly. You already made it clear that neither of you wanted to marry the other.

          I think more people need to understand that people of the opposite sex can be friends without there being an expectation to marry. That the don’t end up married doesn’t mean that there’s something with wrong with any of them. It just means they, or at least one of the them, didn’t want to get married to one another.

          Much ago about marriage sha, it’s not that deep.

          0
  3. Lipglossmaffia
    This is tough but yeah like @larz said, give him time to grow with his wife these foundational years. I know from experience that the relationship can’t remain the same. In my own case, iyawo even sent me a lengthy email. Sigh. It’s tough but you’d be fine.
    4+
    1. MissO Post author
      It is tough @lipglossmaffia but i know they need the time and the space. And that, they are getting already. I just don’t want to wake up one morning and realize that my best friend has become a stranger 🙂
      i don’t expect any emails though…
      0
  4. Miracle Nwokedi
    Lengthy email? Some women cannot just hide their insecurity sha.

    To anwser the writer’s question, I should point out that whatever you had with him should be thrown to the oblivion. Life happened…the road diverged…so, embrace the idea that your best friend’s best friend is now his wife.

    Allow them to build a solid relationship birthed out of trust in this early stage of their marriage.

    Put up a call once in a blue moon where you also find a way to engaging ‘iyawo’ in the conversation (that’s if she’s not an uptight kind). That way, you will go about with the feeling that you haven’t lost everything after all. (Laughs)

    2+
    1. MissO Post author
      I don’t quite agree with throwing it into oblivion. I expect changes, but I don’t expect it to disappear. Unless he makes it disappear.
      I will try to keep in touch with both of them – myself and Iyawo are on talking terms – but I don’t intend to get in the way of their building a solid relationship with trust e.t.c.
      1+
    2. Omabee
      Hi Miracle,

      Why should a woman have to hide her insecurity? Or maybe I did not place what you said in proper context to get the true meaning. Insecurity is a valid state of mind. As is with every thing else in life, its what you’choose’ to do with it that becomes the bone of contention.

      2+
  5. Og
    It’s cool that you understand the whole dynamics would change although you don’t have to altogether stop being friends. Wifey would probably never be comfortable seeing that you’re unmarried, yes? You guys should still be cool but not that close anymore because things have changed. My mum’s closest friends are guys and it transcends to the entire family. Like my dad becomes friends with both the men and their wives and vice versa. So I’m thinking if you get married and your hubby is cool with the idea, you could build a family relationship where everyone is cool with everyone. I might not know sha.
    2+
    1. MissO Post author
      I like the idea of one big happy family/friends unit. Seems like a solution. but what if the one starts to wonder if the other has told their best friend about a problem they’re having, and if that one has told his wife or her husband? Could get dicey…
      0
  6. mollie12
    See, if you both wanted this friendship to continue to the end of your life, you’d have found a way to get married. I don’t know anyone in the older generation that has married and maintained a long-term friendship with a member of the opposite sex, and I’m guessing it’s because of the unspoken wisdom around this dicey area. You yourself have already stated how unwise is it for your married male friend to continue to share his deep issues with you – which is bound to happen if you insist on staying best friends. Have a toast to the good times you had, acknowledge the end of a beautiful friendship, and move on.
    1+
    1. MissO Post author
      The end? Just cos he got married? That’s a bit drastic, i think. i would feel very bad if he decided to disappear were i the one who got married. of course i’d expect him to understand if the rules of engagement changed, but toast the end? hmmm. i don’t know.
      0
      1. Reniy
        I like how you’re so reasonable and calm I’m your responses. I should work on myself. Because the kind of responses I’m conjuring in my head Ehn :X
        1+

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