At the age of 25, I have been through my share of breakups. I’ve gone through a first love and the painful, heart-stomped-on breakup that usually follows. I’ve been in highly dramatic on again-off again relationships that leave my friends and loved ones rolling their eyes. I’ve been cheated on and had some pretty nasty revenge. I’ve had short relationships and long ones and everything in between. I’ve rejected marriage proposals and I’ve accepted one, from my husband, Mike. When it comes to relationships and breakups, I’ve been there and done that. But no amount of heart break could have prepared me for the worst kind of breakup ever, from a best friend.
Kay (as we’ll call her) and I had been best friends for ten years. We met my sophomore year of high school. We bonded over boys and not having access to a vehicle. She had a newly broken family but was adjusting just fine. She was really into sports and music and I was really into music. We were in a lot of the same activities and had a lot of the same friends. As years went by we dated guys, went to dances together, and had tons of fun together. We had very different taste in guys and were never the type of friends to steal a boyfriend from one another. In fact, we rooted for each others’ relationships to work out, and when a guy messed it all up, he had to deal with one of us and it wasn’t pretty.
Our friendship continued all the way through college for me, and tech school for her. I came home on the weekends and we hung out just like old times. When I graduated, we moved into a disgusting little shack of an apartment together, and it was one big party. We would go on double dates, invite the guys over for a big home cooked meal, and go out on the town. Not long after, I met the man who would become my husband, and made plans to move out of our place and live with him. Despite my words that we would always be best friends, Kay felt rejected. I promised things wouldn’t change between us and started packing my things.
In the months to come, Kay became increasingly distant towards me. I tried to shake it off as jealousy that I had found someone and she was bitter to still be in the dating game. Things were going great, and Mike proposed to me. I immediately called Kay and asked her to be my maid of honor. She seemed happy for us, and I was eager to find her a potential suitor. She told me she had been seeing someone for a while and was dying for us to meet. Mike and I met him shortly thereafter. He was tall, dark, handsome, and…married.
There were times when Kay had dated guys and I thought she could have done better. I’m sure there were times when Kay thought the same of guys I had dated. But to meet someone my best friend of ten years was dating, and find out later that he was married with six kids was so far out of my comfort zone I didn’t know where to start. When I learned later he had a record a mile long, I was left truly speechless. When I brought up my concern for Kay, I was deemed judgmental, promptly cut out of her life and cast to the wind.
It’s hard to explain to your new fiance why you can’t stop stop crying during what is supposed to be the happiest time in your life. My new engagement was bittersweet. I loved Mike, but I loved Kay too, and with the birth of our newly formed life together, I was mourning the end of a life with my best friend. I learned through mutual friends that Kay continued to see this man for several months. It was heartbreaking to see someone so dear to me succumb to a lifestyle like that. Mutual friends tried to mend our friendship to no avail. I replaced her position in my wedding party and tried to move on. As much as our relationship meant to me, I was not willing to sacrifice my morals. I did not want someone who had contributed to destroying a marriage standing next to me during mine.
It was hard to let go of ten years of friendship. Many times I questioned my decision not to fight for our friendship. I relapsed and called her and asked her to meet for coffee. I asked other people if she was still dating “that guy.” I uninvited then re-invited her to our wedding multiple times. In time, the wounds healed and leaning on family and other friends strengthened my bonds with them. They reminded me that there were still people in this world who had values and respect for the sanctity of marriage. They told me I made the right choice.
Many months have passed since my wedding, and we have moved across the country. Our going away party included a jaunt downtown to the bar scene to say goodbye to friends we wouldn’t see for a while. Kay was at one of bars we went to. I didn’t speak to her but one of our mutual friends said she had recently broken up with “that guy.” Apparently he never filed for divorce after all. My heart goes out to her because I’ve been through some nasty breakups too; breaking up with her was the worst one of them all.
These days, my relationship with my husband is stronger than ever, and I’m grateful for our vows to be faithful and loving to one another always. I have friends and family who love me, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been, and I’ve been true to myself and my morals. I have everything I could ever want in life, and I truly wish the same for Kay. I hope she has found love within herself and will find someone to respect her like she deserves. The passing of our friendship was not in vain; I have discovered within myself a person who is unwavering in her love for true friends and family.