We all have that one friend who is anti-marriage and all things committed relationships. Jake was that friend. Typical of such characters, he was the life of the party. Jake attracted the babes easily. He was funny, witty and charming. He was also the friend you went to whenever you had a problem. Jake was a solutions-oriented person and would be the go-to guy for most of his friends when in trouble.
I met Emma on a Friday night out with Jake. She was in the company of two other friends. The other two girls accompanying Emma were loud and often left her to watch over their belongings as they went to the dance floor. Jake, a bubble of energy, instantly clicked with one of the girls. Shortly after, the girls joined our table, and I had a chance to talk to Emma.
We bonded over our mutual indifference to dancing. Over the next two hours of conversation, I knew I liked Emma’s sense of humour. She piqued my interest, and we exchanged contacts. We talked nonstop for the next few days and met up the following weekend.
Naturally, I told Jake about the progression of my friendship with Emma. He was excited for me. Three months in, my relationship with Emma got more serious. We were now spending most weekends together. On one occasion, I happened to mention to Jake that I was going on a picnic with Emma.
“Wait, aren’t picnics too romantic for a casual relationship?” Jake asked.
“Who said anything about it being a casual relationship?” I asked him.
“Dude, are you serious about this girl?” Jake asked, sounding surprised.
“Am I missing something? Is there something you know that I don’t?” I asked in concern.
“No, I have nothing against Emma; it’s just surprising that you’re getting serious with her. Anyway, let’s have some fun. I have a couple of girls coming into town,” Jake said as he opened the door, signalling we needed to get going.
I felt a bit confused about that conversation. I wondered whether Jake was holding out on information about Emma for a moment. He had become friends with one of Emma’s friends, so I thought he had probably learned something negative about her. On the other hand, I decided to interrogate everything I knew about Emma so far, and I couldn’t think of anything alarming. Besides her inability to keep time, I liked everything else about her. She was thoughtful, rational, intelligent, funny and adventurous. She was a perfect balance of serious and fun-loving. I followed my gut and trusted that if there were anything to know, it would reveal itself at some point.
Jake wasn’t lying when he said he had some girls coming into town. He had flown in three girls from the coast. Jake was wild and could easily handle the company of several girls. However, he mentioned that he had asked one of the girls to come and meet me. He felt we would enjoy each other’s company, or so he said. We took the party to Jake’s place. While engaging in conversation, one of the girls suggested we should go for an activity out of town. We all agreed that that sounded like a good plan.
The following day, we decided to go zip-lining. We had great fun and took many pictures of the day. Later that evening, I got a text from Emma.
“Hi, I see you had quite a fun day,” she wrote.
“Yes, I went zip-lining with Jake and his friends,” I responded.
“Oh, I wouldn’t have minded an invite,” she said.
“It was very impromptu.”
“Oh, I see. Anyway, glad you had fun.”
Being oblivious, I didn’t read her tone from the texts, so I asked how she knew about it since we hadn’t spoken about it. That was a rookie mistake.
“Was it a secret? Were you hiding it from me?” Emma texted with many emojis that stated anger.
“No, I’m just asking.”
“Are you sure the girls aren’t your friends too?” She asked.
That night we had our first official fight. She went as far as to mention that we had also met similarly when I explained that Jake had come with the girls. Emma claimed that although she felt bad that I hadn’t invited her, she was okay until I asked her how she had found out about it, which raised suspicions. Eventually, it turned out that one of the girls we had gone zip-lining with had tagged Jake in a picture, and Emma’s mutual friend with Jake had informed her.
Once I told Jake about it, he said Emma was behaving like a possessive girlfriend, which was why he never committed to any girl.
“Committing to girls only limits you from having fun. You have to explain every move to them,” Jake said.
“I understand how she could have felt hurt.”
“Dude, you have a soft spot for this girl,” said Jake.
“I would probably feel some type of way if she had done the same.”
“Why? Shouldn’t you have fun with other people when you’re in a relationship?” Jake asked.
“I didn’t say that. Of course, you can interact with other people but that doesn’t mean it might not elicit a bit of jealousy every now and then.”
“This is why I’m never committing to one woman,” Jake said emphatically.
“I think finding someone you can build something tangible with is a wonderful thing.”
“Yeah, sure, but you can’t tame a man so she should get used to it,” Jake said dismissively.
That incident was the genesis of problems with Emma, and Jake seemed to always have a hand in it. Jake often advocated against Emma whenever we had issues. He would bring girls and create situations that would trigger problems with Emma. Finally, Emma had had enough.
“Babe, why do you let Jake interfere with our relationship?” Emma asked.
“You know how Jake is. He’s just one of those guys who don’t believe people can be happy in a committed relationship.” I defended Jake.
“But you let him put you in compromising situations unless you support his school of thought.”
“Emma, you know I want to be with you but Jake is my boy.”
“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe he doesn’t want you to get into a serious relationship so that you can keep having “fun” with him?”
“It’s not that deep; it’s just Jake being Jake. I will do a better job staying away from trouble if it makes you feel better.”
“How do you plan on doing that?” Emma asked.
“I’ll avoid Jake’s parties when I feel it’s something you would disapprove of or invite you.”
“Jake is one of your closest friends, and I can’t ask you to avoid him for me. You will resent me at some point. This is not going to work out given the current situation,” said Emma and ended our relationship.
Although I didn’t tell Jake why the relationship had ended, he seemed relieved that it had ended. Reluctant to believe Emma’s perspective of Jake, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had been my friend for a long time, so I didn’t see a logical reason why he would sabotage my serious relationships. However, over time it became clear that he would go out of his way to put me in compromising situations whenever I started getting serious with a girl. Emma had been right, but I was blinded by loyalty to my friend to see it at the time.
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