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?