The Perils Of Getting Coupled Up, When Your Best Mate Is Single
The Debrief: When you're madly in love, and your best mate isn't, life can get complicated...
On the first day of University, I met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. She isn’t my lover and she isn’t my girlfriend. She’s my best friend and she’s probably the best person I’ve ever met. One degree in advertising, a relocation to London, a job as partners in an ad agency and a single shared bedroom above a pub later, and you’ll find us sitting opposite each other at our shared desk space by day, and drinking expresso martinis together by night. Our friendship is best summed up by the fact that I have her initials tattooed on my wrist - it’s safe to say, we’re pretty close.
When my first long term relationship came crashing to a sobbing, can’t-eat-anything end, we travelled to Budapest together, working in Hungarian travellers hostels, drinking, dancing and exploring a city with such a huge history that I happily forgot about mine.
Before this getaway she had introduced me to a gentle faced, Australian surfer dude who thought I was 'cute' (stop it, no YOU stop it). Two years later and me and my surfer dude are living together in London happy as Larry. The only thing, is that no one told me what changes when you’re taken and your best friend in the world is single. From socialising to splitting your time, stuff gets complicated.
Going out get political
It’s a social law universally acknowledged that when you’re single you tend to go out a lot. And equally, single people tend to think girls in relationships are not the most fun to hang out with. Thing is, I love going out with my best mate - from telling people we’re fashion designers (we’re not) to accidentally giving people our Tesco Clubcards when they ask for business cards, we get ourselves into ridiculous situations and then spend the next day with food down our t-shirts laughing at how stupid we are.
The difference comes though, when you realise you both have different expectations and needs from a night out. While I want to spend all my (night) time with her, she understandably always has one eye on the prize. And that prize is guyz. There have been nights where I have made a fuss and asked 'WHY CAN’T WE JUST SPEND TIME TOGETHER AS BEST MATES ON NIGHTS OUT, I NEVER SEE YOU, AND WHO IS THIS DICK HEAD STANDING IN FRONT OF ME ASKING ME PERFECTLY NICE QUESTIONS?!?'. You see, a night out is the only opportunity for a best friend bonding session but your single friend sees it as an understandable opportunity to look great and do some serious flirting with potential suitors. Which is fine, provided you’re aware of it, and make her aware of it, so you can avoid the classic ‘I’M SAD AND DRUNK WHY ARE YOU IGNORING ME’ scenario.
Splitting your time is a nightmare
This is the difficult part, so i’ll utilise an early 90s reference to describe it. Remember when you used to play Pokémon on Gameboy? The pokéball’s energy would get used up because all of your mind blowing duels, so you’d have to put them on the Sainsbury’s-esque conveyor belt to recharge them where it did that “doink doink doinki ding!” noise. Nothing? Cool. Well anyway, if you’re just as in love with your best friend as you are with your boyfriend you’ll feel like that pokéball. I live with my best friend and I’m not ready to move out. The thought of not being able to make each other breakfast on the weekend (who am I kidding, she makes me breakfast every single time), makes me feel like the little emoji dude with the single tear. No no no, even though i’m only there once or twice a week, I’m still not ready to give that up completely.
Technically living in two different places means I have to split my time and possessions between them both, and so on top of the guilt I feel for not seeing either of them enough, the only time I get for myself is, well never. And sometimes I need to charge my pokeball (remember that metaphor?). It’s hard being in love with two people. So hard that the emotional torture of splitting my time and my things between two houses that are almost an hour apart, culminated in me and my wifey drunk crying into our martinis in a bar a few weeks back.
She told me she knew how I felt, but that she didn’t have a base going through her parents divorce, that the best thing to do, she said, was mentally choose one place and settle. ‘Our home will always be there,’ she said. ‘You can always come home, but I think you should be with him now.’ Welp.
You'll be out of the loop
When you spend all your time with someone, you know their schedule because it automatically affects yours. I used to know that my bestie had run out of fruit for breakfast so i’d pick some up for her on the way to work. This week she reminded me - she REMINDED ME - about her upcoming biopsy on a suspicion mark on her back. Nothing will make you feel like a worse friend than forgetting your best mate is having a biopsy.
Being in serious relationship means things are going to change and you might not know everything thats going on in their lives. When I told her I was going to Australia next year to visit my boyfriends parents, she had no idea. I thought i’d mentioned it. Had I? I’m not sure. The important thing to remember is to take the time. Make sure that your conversation doesn’t just boil down to things like work, drinking, and gossip. A real conversation is worth weeks of chatting about why your boss pisses you off, and if you don’t find time to spend actual time bonding together you’ll either end up realising you’re not there for your friend when she really needs you, or you’ll feel like the abandoned one.
Me and my best friend imagined that we’d be like Sex and The City characters when we were in our twenties. The only issue is, with me it’s more Sex With Someone You Love, And The City. I fell in love and now our plans have changed. Will we live in that flat together in New York like we always said? Will she find someone and move in with him? Life is never going to be what you imagined when you were younger and single-r.
In fact, if I’ve learnt anything in my early twenties, it’s not to plan more than a year ahead, because the things you thought would happen, don’t and stuff you couldn’t of imagined crops up.
If one of you falls into a serious relationship and the other doesn’t, you’ll both inevitably want different things as you progress and if that means one of you going travelling for a while, or moving in with a boyfriend then that’s okay. Just because you’re not sitting in bed together every night watching Carrie smoke inside an apartment FAR TOO EXPENSIVE FOR THE WHAT SHE MUST EARN, doesn’t mean you’re friendship is petering out, it just means that it’s evolving. You can’t stay in each others’ pockets forever.
If you find yourself in this situation, the only real problem you’ve got is that you have not one, but two people in your life you adore. Oh poor you. What a terrible life you must be leading. Now, go get the shots in and run amok through town with your best friend, before heading home drunk to your boyfriend and think about how lucky you really are.
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Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski
At work? With your gran?