In a completely irrational but sadly characteristic way I am suffering a bout of jealousy. My green eyed and monstrous friend has once again called round for a cuppa, and like all unwelcome guests I’m struggling to get rid of her.
Somewhat predictably, this clichéd and rigid triangle has been created by the appearance of another woman. I haven’t met this woman and I only know her first name but nevertheless she has me stewing on my insecurities like casserole in a slow cooker. Under normal circumstances, I suppose I would tell my husband that a burgeoning relationship with a co-worker was completely unacceptable. But the problem is, it isn’t my husband, it’s my best friend; and as far as I know having other friendships outside of our own is not yet a punishable offence.
With romantic relationships and ultimately marriage, it’s a given that we expect fidelity, that the two of you have a relationship that is not to be replicated with any third parties. In the most basic sense this means not having sex with other people, but it also means reserving a little bit of yourself for your significant other, and knowing that there is definitely one other person in the whole world who shares your irritations, daft jokes and has signed on to put up with you no matter what. If this essential pact is ever broken, it’s not only justifiable but entirely expected that there will be repercussions.
The same cannot be said for partnerships of the platonic kind. There is no such statute binding best friends together forever. They can even jump into bed with another woman and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. My best friend is one of the few people I will share mattress space with, not even flinching if we brush feet, so my horror at finding out she had slept soundly next to this imposter was a blunt knife in my back.
They met at work and had enough common ground to start sharing after work drinks. This led to full blown nights out, the aforementioned sleepovers and now, well now, they are going backpacking together for five weeks where they will inevitably get closer and closer and closer until I am not only miles away in distance but also far from my former best friends thoughts. I’m getting hysterical now, I need to rationalise.
We’ve reached a point, after eight years, where we are comfortably settled in each other’s pockets. So despite having lots of mutual friends it’s always each other that we come back to. Which would perhaps suggest that I have nothing to worry about? It should also be noted that I have a couple of other relationships on the go myself and I suppose it’s more than a bit selfish to not allow her the same privilege. In my defence though, one is my husband, who is my best friend in an entirely different male-like way and the other is my sister, which is surely a get out clause in itself? And, and, they all bloody love each other; in my quest to make all the people I love, become bosom buddies in their own right, I’ve done a damn good job.
This girl, this new girl, well I don’t know her at all. I don’t know what it is about her that my friend likes so much, I don’t know what she has to offer that maybe I can’t (apart from being single, that’s quite a biggie) and I don’t know how my best friend acts with her when they are together and if she (big gulp) has a better time with her than with me. I found out the other night that she had even been round for tea. She had sat round the table with my best friend’s mum and dad and chewed the fat, while I chewed on my jealousy; and now I’m chewing it all over and am left with a bitter taste in my mouth.
I shouldn’t blame this girl, I know that. As far as she is concerned she’s found a great new friend who she can do fun things with; and I can’t exactly blame my best friend, who has similarly found someone she enjoys spending time with, can I? The only thing at fault is me and my insecurity, the fear that someone I love will cease to love me as much and that everything I enjoy about our friendship will slowly fade away until all that’s left are lonely trips down memory lane. Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but I have been in a friendship threesome before and so I find it hard not to join the threes-a-crowd club. It’s the fear of change and of the unknown, where unlike with that bit of paper you sign when you get married, you don’t get an official looking certificate to waft in your mate’s face when they don’t return your calls. I suppose that’s because you don’t need a contract to be a good friend (or reap the tax break rewards). You just need an unspoken promise, one that clearly lays out that all I can do is be the best shoulder to cry on, tequila drinking, mix-tape making friend possible and if I can’t manage that due to my insane jealously I’m not really worthy of my best bud’s time anyway and I only have myself to blame (I wish I could blame it on the boogie that would be so much more fun). So yes, you might meet other people and your friendship might alter a little but just as with marriage, as long as your hearts still in, you’ll always have someone to share your bed with.