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Simply Solo Spotlight: Three’s A Crowd

July 26, 2011

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: simplysoloblog@gmail.com.

Three’s A Crowd

three's a crowd, third wheel

Have you ever felt like the third wheel? Photo courtesy of Moth

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?


12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 9:26 am

    “She accepted. I died a little.” Oh, I’ve been there. I lost my mind for a minute and introduced my cousin to my best guy friend. It was all Awkward McAwkward Pants after that. They are still really close and I haven’t really seen or spoken to either one of them for years.

  2. July 26, 2011 11:08 am

    I lost all my friends to Christianinty and the pastor-hood. At the time going to a Christian college seemed like a good idea, oh well.

    • July 26, 2011 12:46 pm

      I actually once dated a pastor. She was amazed at how many preconceptions people had about those who enter the ‘hood. An amazing woman.

  3. July 26, 2011 11:54 am

    I have a few friends that whenever they get a guy, whether I get along with him or not, they completely bunker down with him and the rest of the world doesn’t exist. These are friends that are AMAZING when they are single – we have great times, we connect over problems, etc…. but then the minute they have a boyfriend they can’t make the time of day for our friendship. It’s really frustrating and I’m about to get off this merry-go-round with them and just be done. It’s exhausting.

    BUT – on the other hand – I’ve had a few friends this past year that I’ve lost and I hold a lot of regret about it. I miss them deeply. And that makes me think it’s always worth another try – maybe reach out to your friend and see if you guys can connect? The thing is, if he loves her, she has to have some redeeming qualities. I don’t think you guys just ignoring each other is effective… I’m not saying you and his wife need to be bff, but maybe there’s some common ground you can find for the sake of a friendship?

    • Mr. Smith permalink
      July 26, 2011 12:55 pm

      Maybe you’re friends just didn’t really like you?! I joke, I joke.

      When it turns into a one-way street of trying to get my ‘friend’ to spend time with me then I just have to give up. We made multiple plans for trips and excursions only to have him cancel or just not talk to me for a month or so. Quite frustrating. This is over about four years mind you. There are plenty of fish, friend or otherwise, in the sea. And if you are vegetarian then there are plenty of carrots in the ground. And my friend in the story did love her. And no I could not find any redeeming qualities. She was a shrew of Shakespearean proportion. He even said himself that she had no friends and was a little off. I am sad about the loss but I am over it.

      Want to be my new friend 🙂

  4. July 26, 2011 12:16 pm

    I lost all friends due to marriage and relationships. I was left behind in life while they moved way ahead. I dont connect with them at all now.

    • Mr. Smith permalink
      July 26, 2011 12:48 pm

      I feel the pain. Here is the interesting thing. One of my best couple friends are empty nesters. If you can hang on till the kids are gone then you might get them back!

  5. July 26, 2011 1:38 pm

    I’ve not lost friends to THEIR marriage and family, but I got married and had a child way before all of my friends did, so I’m guilty of putting all of my focus on my family and forgetting about friends. As the person who’s made the mistake of doing so, I encourage Mr. Smith to give it one last go and try to contact the old friend. I know I’d love to reconnect with some old friends of mine.

  6. July 26, 2011 2:02 pm

    I’ve been fortunate so far that the friends of mine who have gotten married, I’ve become fabulous friends with their signficant other (both guy and girl friends). I suppose I am one of the very lucky few who have not been stung as deeply as other due to ‘the-seemlingly-natural-course-of-marriage-and-family-American-lifestyle’.

    I have one friend who got married to a woman the rest of the group did not like, and it did nearly kill our friendship with the guy. Then I wised up and said I wasn’t going to let something like that get in the way of a friendship I had had since the third grade; so I apologized for the groups actions and said all that matters is that he is happy and if he sees something in her (the rest of us don’t) then that may be all that matterss.

    We talk maybe once/twice a year but both know we’ll be there for the other without hesitation should the time ever come about.

  7. July 26, 2011 5:07 pm

    Unfortunately yes. Through a very difficult time I managed to find a friend in a guy, who became like an older brother to me – however, his girlfriend is INSANELY jealous of anyone or anything in contact with him – so eventually he moved in with her, even though I could see his decreasing happiness and telling me how much she’d yell and throw things at home – but he said he loved her and we were reduced to talking via IM, ONLY when she went to stay with her family for the week.
    Thus I was torn between supporting him in his relationship and pleading with him to do what makes him happy. I last spoke to him about a year ago, I’ve tried emails and all sorts. Nothing.

    I think both parties should make an effort to get along, but alas, when someone already has a sworn hate for you – that makes it rather difficult.

  8. July 27, 2011 6:01 pm

    Your first few paragraphs sounded like me and my husband’s best friend. I seriously dislike him, and I go out of my way to avoid him. They’ve been buds since they were 5. My husband says his friend is pretty bad at keeping in touch … but now you’ve got me wondering which of the two is dropping the relationship. I don’t begrudge their friendship, so maybe I should try harder to encourage it. I still don’t want to see the dude, though.

  9. December 25, 2011 1:01 pm

    I never really grew up around much family. My family always lived in another city very far away. A city I always wanted to live in. When I got older I was given an opportunity to move to the same city and finally get closer to a cousin I was always fond of.

    My cousin and I were becoming great friends, especially since we were both single.
    In sharing my life with him, he fell inlove with a friend and the moment that happend, he couldn’t make the time of day for our friendship.

    I felt like a third wheel and our friendship never felt the same again. Soon after that, all the things we dreamed of doing together was unheard of and done with her instead. Its a deep dissapointment because I had so much faith that family would be the right way to start in developing rich successful friendships especially in a new city. Since in following my dream I had to let go of many good friends back home.

    I am happy to see him happy. But sad to loose him to her. Sounds like a sick twisted childish jealousy. Im embarresed to even feel this way. But I do.

    You don’t always get what you want in life. But there are many other ways to find meaningful realtionships with not just family but with everyone. Perhaps when I meet a man of my own.. it wouldnt hurt as much.

    I guess.

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