Best Friends at Odds When One Takes a Mate: Relationship Advice

Dear Veronica,

My name is Trina and I’ve been reading your hubs for a while now. I don’t think you’ve written one for my situation so I am hoping you will for me. Me and my best friend have known each other since the second grade. We are now both 27 years old. We’ve been through everything together. We went all through grade school and high school and even cosmetology school together. We worked at the same salon up until a few months ago. We were roommates up until then too when she moved out to be with her boyfriend and then got a job close to them. I never thought this would happen to us but she’s letting this boy come between us.

She loved her job here and just up and quit. She said it was too far a commute so she got a job closer to their place. I guess I can understand that but it’s just so much at once. We used to text and call each other all the time and now she only texts me back a few times a day.

I don’t know what boys we were dating we always put our friendship first. We never blew each other off because a boy asked one of us out. But now she will cancel plans with me because his parents are flying in or because they have to go do something. I only see her maybe once a week now and this is all I talk about every time. I bring this up and tell her everything I'm feeling and she just sits there quiet and listening. The our time is up and she goes. She just doesn’t get it.

I know girls that are like this, blow off their friends because of some guy but I never thought my best friend would be one of them. Everyone I’ve tried to talk to says I’m jealous. I am not jealous. I just don’t understand how she can be like this now. Any words of wisdom?

Dear Trina,

What’s going on is just that this has happened for her first, and you’re having a hard time understanding the bigger picture.

It’s probably because at your age, 27, you’re just short of your Saturn Return or Rites of Passage. I’ve written about this quite a bit. A change happens in all of us at around the time we turn 28. Everything becomes clearer. The dust settles. We can see the future we want, we outgrow behavior from our pasts, we understand how to make decisions that will bring value to our lives.

It’s not usually a change you’re aware of as it’s happening. It’s more something you become aware of in retrospect. At some point when you’re around 30 or so, you’ll look back and realize how the last couple of years things really started coming together. You’ll see that it wasn’t just luck, you did things for yourself. It was you: your decisions, your actions, your clarity.

It sounds to me as if your friend made this transition. It doesn’t mean she’s more mature. It’s just something that happens when it happens, just like your menstrual cycle around 12 or 13 years old, or your frontal lobe development around 20 or 21 years old.

Be very clear about this: it wasn’t that she met this guy and she changed. It was the opposite. She went through this womanly emergence. She changed. She emerged as a more focused and prepared woman. And then she attracted this man. This man, that she’s building a life with.

You said she’s letting this boy come between the two of you. But I don’t see that. Maybe it’s you that’s letting him come between the two of you.

There’s a lot of tells in your letter about how well you both did as young adults. It sounds like you were both independent; going to school, finding jobs, dating, not depending on a partner to give your lives purpose. Knowing what relationships to value and prioritize is not something that comes easily for a lot of people.

Prior to this relationship for her, you were both young. No matter how much either of you thought you were into a boyfriend, you were obviously both well-balanced and strong. You used a healthy frame of reference to help you in your romantic relationships. You’re right about those girls that sacrifice their friendships and independence when they meet a boy. But what you’re failing to see is that this new romantic relationship of hers is not one of those unhealthy self-sacrificing things those other girls cling to. Trina, this relationship she’s in is one of those real ones, just like the friendship she forged with you.

This isn’t just some boy. This one is the real deal.

Most people can manage to have more than one healthy, vibrant relationship at a time. Your friend can be a partner, a friend, a sister, a mother, and all those relationships can be strong and special. Just because she’s a girlfriend now, doesn’t mean she can’t still be a great best friend to you.

You haven't mentioned her doing anything like this before. That's very significant. She doesn't leap, she waits. That's healthy, and that's why even you have to see she must really be very serious about this man. This may be her first committed adult relationship. It may the love of her life. This could lead to marriage, and a lifetime together. You said she still gets together with you once a week, and that you spend that time nagging her about how she doesn’t spend more time with you. Instead of that, try behaving like a friend. Have you ever told her you’re happy for her? Have you asked to know more about her boyfriend? Have you shared her excitement about how the seriousness of this relationship for her? Instead of speaking as if she’s done something wrong, try celebrating this very exciting time of her life.

The people that are telling you that you sound jealous may be on to something. I don’t think you’re begrudging your friend her happiness, I just think you sound jealous and begrudging from here. And if as you said, you spend the one time a week you see her ragging on her, then I’m sure she thinks you sound jealous and bitter too. You’re expressing yourself in a way that isn’t coming across very friendly

If you didn’t like this man for her I believe you would have expressed that amongst the rest of your angst. If you thought her new living space wasn’t safe, or her new job was a bad one, you would have expressed these things too. I think it’s pretty clear that your friend isn’t making bad decisions, she’s just growing. Wanting to live with her man and work close to home sounds sane to me.

What you’re going through is normal. It’s hard to be the one that feels left behind. I hope that you can take a deep breath and a step back. You may find that the more you embrace your friend’s choices, the more she may want to include you. She sounds like a good friend if she continues to get together with you every week despite the attitude she gets from you.

It’s time you accept that this man is part of her life. Invite the two of them on a double date. Spend the time you have with her showing support and excitement. And accept that your friendship has entered into a new chapter. Best of luck to both of you.

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Njackson22 4 years ago from KY

I'm posting this here because this is the closest to my dilemma. He has been my best friend for 10 years now he knows everything about me and I do mean everything. We recently told each other that we have feelings for one another we've both been hurt in the past and in a way both fear commitment. Things can't change but eventually they can't stay the same either. I'm lost on how to approach this. Part of what made him realize his feelings is his extreme dislike for the guy I've been seeing for the past 6 months. In the last two years my friend and I have grown so much closer to each other, understanding without words, encouragement with a look, no bad mood can win when he decides to cheer me up and vice versa. I tell him everything about my crazy life and he gives advice and it entertains him. I'm afraid that if things change there wont be much left to talk about (as I have a pretty crazy life). I need help I really don't know what to do. He's the only person in this world that knows every deep dark secret that I have, with no judgement not to mention the only person who understands that I tell the truth in everything that I wont censor or sheild a person from something just because they want to remain blind to it. Thing is I can't see us in a relationship, and st this time he doesn't see himself in a relationship at all. We're afraid to lose each others friendship more than anything else because of how we feel. Something always seems to go terribly wrong when we truly care for someone romantically. I let the guy I was seeing go because I just didn't think it would be fair to him with the way that I feel. I don't know exactly what I want from this, I want my friend more than anything in this world our friendship is the most important to me more than these feelings. How does one even begin to figure out where to go from here? He cares about me but I know that within the next few weeks he will bury the romantic portion of them completely. It's just how he is. What in the world do I do because even if time passes and I get into a relationship with someone else they won't like our friendship. And normally as honest as I am with people I would not be inclined to tell my significant other just how close me and Nova really are.

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