Every so often people ask, “Would you date someone with a best friend of the opposite gender?” If you had asked me this question a couple of months ago my answer would have been a resounding yes. But as I sit here replaying the events of the past couple of months, I would probably tell any woman in that position to run for dear life.
I met Bill on Friday rave with my colleagues. He was there because he was a friend of one of them. We had gotten salary increments and everybody was in a good mood. There was lots of laughter and dancing. Given my two left feet, I leaned more towards the laughter than the dancing. So as others danced, I watched their belongings as I gobbled down mshikaki (skewers) and cocktails. Bill wasn’t a dancer either and that was how we started talking.
“Not joining your colleagues on the dance floor?” Bill asked.
“I wouldn’t say I’m much of a dancer,” I responded.
“Makes two of us. Cheers to that,” he said as he raised his glass.
We continued chatting until his friend and my colleague, Patricia, joined us.
“Oh, I see Bill you’ve met Annie.”
“Yes, I have. Where have you been hiding this one?” Bill said playfully.
“Annie, this is my best friend, Bill. A charmer, as you can already tell.”
We all laughed and enjoyed the rest of the night. As people left, we exchanged contacts and promised to stay in touch.
It didn’t take long for Bill to call. A couple of hours later he invited me for a date. He was the perfect gentleman. He picked me up at the time we had agreed, opened the door for me and pulled the seat for me at the restaurant. I had mentioned I like wine so he had intentionally picked the restaurant because it had a good selection.
Our conversations felt so natural so within weeks, we decided to officially date. At the office everyone knew I was dating Patricia’s best friend. Patricia seemed happy for us. Some of the girls asked me how I managed to date someone with a female best friend. At the time, it felt like they bore ill intentions so I often shrugged and told them to stop making a big deal out of nothing.
Then I started to notice things. One Saturday I had thought of hanging out with my boyfriend so I texted him.
“Hey babe, up for a chillout?” I texted.
“Maybe later, I’m at the garage,” Bill responded.
“Okay, see you later.”
Later on in the day, I saw photos of him bowling with his best friend. I got upset, took a screenshot of the photos from his best friend’s timeline and asked him if that was the garage. After getting angry at me for not asking him what had happened before reacting, he explained that he was at the garage with his best friend and they decided to go bowling afterwards.
I let it go because I didn’t want to have conflicts involving my best friend since we were also colleagues but their friendship started bothering me. A couple of days later we went shopping for his house. As I stretched my hand to pick his usual shower gel, he stopped me.
“Oh, I’ve changed from this one. Patricia recommended a different one,” Bill said.
“Oh, how is the new one better?” I asked curiously.
“I don’t know what Patricia said, you know how she is about scents,” Bill responded.
I wanted to ask him if he typically went shopping with Patricia or did he always follow Patricia’s recommendations but I decided to let it slide until I could come up with a good argument.
It didn’t take long before I was in the same situation again. Bill had been thinking of moving houses. I offered to take him house hunting, after all, he was my boyfriend and I loved looking at spaces and interior decor.
The next weekend we were talking on the phone in the morning when he casually mentioned that he was waiting for Patricia to get ready so that they could go house hunting.
“Oh, so Patricia is also looking for a house?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’re looking to move to the same hood so we’re going to have a look around,” Bill said.
“I thought I was taking you house hunting,” I said as I hung up on him.
He called several times and when I didn’t pick up, he texted, “Are you angry over house hunting?”
I didn’t respond. Later in the day, he texted me asking to come over and talk things through.
I agreed. He had called as I was preparing dinner so I set up the table. I made chicken, wedges and a salad.
I served Bill when he arrived. We decided to have dinner first. Meanwhile, we avoided talking about ourselves as we ate. When he tasted the salad he asked, “What did you put in this?”
“Just a salad dressing, why?” I asked.
“There’s a way Patricia does it. It almost tastes the same,” he responded.
I had had enough.
“Bill, what exactly is the nature of your relationship with Patricia and do not tell me you’re just best friends,” I said angrily.
“I can’t believe you’re picking a fight over Patricia when she’s the one who even advised me to come to and apologise for the house hunting issue,” Bill said confidently.
“She told you to come? Before I even get into that, do you even understand why I was angry about the house hunting thing?”
“You were a bit jealous that I went with Patricia instead of you but it made sense to go with her since she’s moving there too. However, I should have told you I was going with her,” Bill responded.
“I am jealous- you think that’s the problem here?”
“You seem to have a problem with my relationship with Patricia just like my past girlfriends but Patricia has always been there for me.”
“I can’t speak for your past girlfriends but maybe they felt they were third wheeling in their relationship. Patricia decided we are changing shower gels, Patricia decided we’re going bowling, Patricia this, Patricia that. Frankly, I think my only role in your life is physical intimacy because she does everything else. That’s even assuming you’re just “best friends” as both of you keep claiming.”
“Annie, now you’re being petty, it was just a shower gel. I also don’t appreciate being accused of cheating when I haven’t given you a reason to be suspicious,” Bill said.
“I’m being petty, Bill? You know what, you probably need Patricia to explain this because you clearly don’t get it. Regardless, get out of my house, I can’t do this anymore.”
I cried because I really like Bill but I knew it would never work with Patricia in the picture. I also had to endure all the gossip in the office when my colleagues found out that I had broken up with Bill. “We told you, no relationship can survive a female best friend, you should have listened,” some of them told me to my face.
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