Simply Solo Spotlight: Three’s A Crowd
Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Mr. Smith, a friend of mine with, let’s just say, a unique sense of humor. He cracks me up all the while making me cringe, but at his heart, he’s a good guy. I think many of us can empathize with Mr. Smith’s story.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: email@example.com.
Three’s A Crowd
Just because someone is your friend does not mean the person they date has to be your friend too. In some cases, I have gone on to be friends with the women my friends have dated even after they broke up. In other cases, friendship has not been possible. While I am civil enough and engage in conversation, sometimes it just doesn’t pan out. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like chocolate and peanut butter. And as it happened years ago, my best friend proposed to a woman who hated me. It was a case of loathing at first sight.
Oddly enough, I am entirely responsible for their union. Years earlier, when we were fresh out of college and living the bachelor life together, he would come home night after night pining for a girl he knew at work. After a week or so of his constant whining, I told him to either ask her out or to shut up.
He asked her out for ice cream (my idea, I might add). She accepted. I died a little.
From the first time we met, she despised me. Yes, I can be crude, blunt, sarcastic and well, a guy. My sense of humor is not entirely politically correct, and sensitivity is not a strength. I am not easy to get along with by my own admission. A friend describes me as an acquired taste. I use the phrase “charmingly abrasive” to describe my personality. My friend’s girlfriend found entirely abrasive sans the charm.
At first, nothing was different. They went on their merry coupled way, and he and I went on our merry drunken adolescent male way. Eventually the two worlds began to collide. She accused him of acting differently around me (behaving like a drunken adolescent male). I said he acted differently around her (not behaving like a drunken adolescent male). She was jealous of our close friendship, and, frankly, I was scared of losing him to her.
We would come home from being out to see the answering machine (this was pre cell phones) blinking with 4-5 messages. All or most were from her. “I just left work and I’ll be home in 15.” BEEP “I just got home and thought you might be back. Call me.” BEEP “I hadn’t heard from you so I thought I would check in.” BEEP. I warned of the needy and dangerous signs this showed. He shrugged it off. They were both a tad mentally unstable as well. Both were on Prozac. I used to joke that they could not only share clothes, but meds.
While they were dating, I almost never saw her. If we had reason to converse, it was forced. The more serious they became, the more problematic it became for my best friend. Relations between his girlfriend and me were so strained that at one point he organized a group outing for the three of us.
He demanded that the two most important people in his life should be friendly to each other. He was determined to make us get along. Apparently he had been watching too many sitcoms and took them all seriously. The sitcom friend tries to make his girlfriend and his best friend like each other. It accomplishes nothing, except driving home the fact that the only thing they have in common is the best friend.
Now, I am not a bad guy, though I have done plenty of things I am not proud of doing. But the worst thing I have ever done was utter the phrase, “I want a green card, too.” This happened while I was inebriated at the wedding reception of the girlfriend’s sister. She was marrying a guy from Mexico who was not a U.S. citizen. This statement echoed what some family members were already saying under their breath, however, the bride’s parents heard my loud whisper. I was quickly escorted to safety.
Years passed after my slightly inappropriate comment. My friend proposed. She accepted. I died a little more.
When he asked me to be the best man, I was terrified of meeting the family I had humiliated years earlier. His fiancée was terrified of what I might do at their wedding. The whole week leading up to the wedding, I tortured her with fake, bawdy speeches. When the big moment arrived for my toast, I delivered a heartfelt message wishing them the best of luck. As I finished my speech, I looked over to see not only the bride, but also the groom, smile in relief.
Since then, his wife and I have simply agreed to ignore each other, without ever actually having discussed the matter. We’ve established a civility that has been completely unspoken. She never answers the phone when I call the house. And when I visit Arizona, she is nowhere to be seen. They have been married about nine years now, and the last time I saw her was the wedding day. I have not complained one bit.
They just had a baby about two years ago. And the last time I saw them she was pregnant. The last time he spoke to me was before the baby was born. He wanted to come out to Virginia for one last vacation sans wife and before the baby was born. And then nothing. No phone calls. No emails. I tried to reconnect but to no avail.
I am sad about this and think about it every so often. For years he was my best friend, and friends have a tendency to grow apart as the years go on and life changes. Should I have tried harder to become part of his new partnership? Would it have made a difference?
I don’t know. I honestly don’t think it would have. He made his choice. I tried to keep the lines of communication open and he shut the door.
He isn’t the only friend I have lost to marriage and a family and he probably won’t be the last. Has anyone else lost a good friend to the clutches of marriage and kids?