My best friend and I grew up with my now-husband of five years. Their relationship, as far as I know, has never been substantial. It’s the hi-and-bye type.
The first two years of our marriage, she lived with us. An incident occurred during that first year when he was showering and she went in for her morning rituals. (There was another bathroom in the house.) I told her I wasn’t comfortable with that scene; we talked about it and resolved it then.
Circle back to a few days ago (four years later): She tells me she called my husband for advice on a new phone (I knew this), and he didn’t seem to want to get off the phone with her. She says that they could have been great friends if I wasn’t insecure, and that she thinks I am insecure because she is smaller than I am. (My weight has increasingly gone up.) She also explains that she never saw him in a sexual way before.
I can understand that I may have handled the situation poorly, as far as making them uncomfortable or on guard with each other, and for that I do feel bad. But in my defense, she was never close to any of my boyfriends before, none of them had ever moved in with me or anything of the sort, and it never occurred to me that she wanted to develop a more substantial relationship with him. Their friendship had always been how it is now, touch and go. But now I’m partly confused and hurt as to why, four years later, she would basically hit me where it hurts about something that shouldn’t matter. Should it? —Anonymous
You’re a good friend. Or a really naive one. I can’t figure out which just yet. Maybe both.
Something about this story reminds me of Jill Scott’s character in Why Did I Get Married?—specifically the part about the best friend and the husband creeping. I’m not saying that your husband is up to something. I am directly, blatantly, saying that your friend is, and chick gotta go. You (and your husband) may have grown up with her, but she ain’t living right, boo. What does she mean, she never saw your husband “in a sexual way before”? Before? Does she see him that way now? I need answers. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Your bestie probably shouldn’t have been your bestie anymore after she entered the bathroom when your husband was showering. Anybody with basic common sense knows you don’t go around someone else’s husband when he’s naked. This is 2 + 2, not algebra. At best, you should have had a conversation about inappropriateness and suggested she find another place to live, because clearly the current situation isn’t working out too well. But really, the friendship should have received the ax and she should have been kicked out. That episode was no mistake. I mean, there was another bathroom in the house. Her actions were intentional and sloppy.
If you want to feel bad about how you handled it, feel bad that you were too tolerant. Most women in your position would have unceremoniously asked her to leave the house. You let her stay for another year. If your friend and husband felt uncomfortable after you addressed them being in the bathroom together, well, they should have. In fact, they never should have felt comfortable enough to be in the bathroom together while your husband was showering. But you stuck by her, and four years later she hits you with this.
I have questions. If they have a “hi and bye” relationship, why is she calling him for phone advice? Is there something that prevents her from calling someone she actually has a chatty relationship with and asking him or her? Was there something preventing her from heading to Google and researching phones on her own? Was there an occurrence that prevented salespeople at the phone store, who are paid to be informed about phones, from being able to assist her? Does your husband work at a Verizon store? If the answers to all these questions aren’t “yes,” then I’m unclear why she needed to talk to, of all people, your husband—with whom she has a hi-and-bye relationship—about phones.
Your bestie doesn’t need to be “great friends” with your husband or have a substantial relationship with him. It’s nice when husbands and friends get along, but given that murky bit of history between them, they both need to be on their transparent p’s and q’s with each other to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing. That’s not asking a lot after they put themselves in this position.
Now, as for this little crack your alleged friend made about your weight. Genuine friends don’t make you feel bad about yourself because of your weight. They might hit you with the, “I’m concerned; let’s hit the gym or head to Zumba,” but they don’t point out your insecurities and pull the “You’re jealous of me” card.
To be clear, she’s deflecting. Does your weight play a factor here? Maybe. Maybe not. Even if it’s a reason you’re no fan of her building a relationship with your husband, it’s not the core reason. The core reason for your trepidation is that she has behaved inappropriately with your husband in the past and she’s conveniently pretending that it never happened.
You’ve gained weight; she’s smaller. And? Maybe you do envy her size. Maybe you are insecure about your own. But what does any of that have to do with why she suddenly, after all these years, wants to be better friends with your husband? That’s what you need to get to the bottom of.
Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Ask Demetria: “My Cheating Husband Wants Us to Keep Up Appearances for the Holidays”