I Married My Best Friend’s Girlfriend

Photo: Sergii Sobolevskyi / Shutterstock
silhouette of bride and groom at sunset

When my wife was 19, her father died suddenly and tragically. He was a healthy 50-something who had a massive heart attack while working out at the gym.

She was in school at the time studying psychology for her undergrad in behavioral science, and his death thrust her into learning how to handle her own mental health and growth earlier than she may have otherwise.

Learning about psychology and mental health was a blessing for her at the time.

RELATED: 15 Dating Tips I Wish I'd Followed While I Was Single

Not long after, a gentleman suitor started coming around to court her mother. Let’s call him Perry. Perry had already been married and divorced twice and had a little house in a nearby town.

Needless to say, on the heels of the death of her father, she didn’t exactly welcome him with open arms.

What she did do, however, was remain true to herself. She handled her own business and finished college, working several jobs along the way.

She lived at home with her mother, and over those years she bonded with Perry. They became as close as a widow’s boyfriend and daughter could be. They found comfort and friendship in one another.

While her mom and Perry were courting, my wife and friends spent time socializing at concerts and bars in the area. We frequented the same places but didn’t know one another. She became friends with my best friend’s sister, who introduced them.

At the same time, good ol’ Perry proposed marriage to her mom, and a plan was set in place for them to switch houses. He would move in with her mom, and she would move into his old place to be on her own.

What I didn’t know then was that he had been my neighbor for 10 years.

Now she would be my neighbor.

She had been in my periphery because she was dating my best friend, but when she moved in up the street all bets were off.

Their relationship stalled, and ours was sparking.

Frequently we exchanged texts with playful banter about the neighbors, commotion in the neighborhood, or the number of empty booze bottles we put out for recycling.

Side note: it was a lot of empty booze bottles.

When the weather was pleasant she’d invite me up for a fire on her patio. It was just too easy since we were so close. I’d grab a 6-pack of assorted craft beers out of the fridge, and walk up the street under the stars.

We tap-danced and flirted, but it took me months — and a lot of liquid courage — to ask her out because she was already dating my best friend.

One night, after the three of us had all been out at the same bar, we headed back to our neighborhood.

She went home, and he and I went into my house for a beer. He and I sat in my living room as I texted her, saying I wanted him to leave so I could come up to her house.

Among other things, I texted her, "He won’t leave. He sucks." I still feel ashamed for saying this about my best friend.

RELATED: 150+ Inspiring Friendship Quotes To Show Your Best Friends How Much You Love Them

When I stepped outside for a quick smoke, he took a peek at my phone.

Thinking back on it, I think I knew he would look at my phone. Maybe I wanted him to see it. Or maybe I was just drunk.

I came back into the house, and everything changed.

He and I had been best friends since we were 10 years old. I had betrayed him, and he knew it, but I wasn’t willing to lie about it. Lying would only make it all worse.

Instead, a dark cloud of reality blew in from the north. It got cold and stark in my living room. Now what?

My intuition tells me we both knew this would happen when she moved in up the street from me.

And, as it turned out, she really didn’t like him that much. They didn’t have much in common besides being single, even having a brutally charged argument about gun control after seeing a movie together.

Their relationship was doomed to fail, but I put the final nail in the coffin — and almost our friendship.

I’ll never forget the look of betrayal on his face. We had been through a lot together. He looked at me through tears and said, "Not you, man. Not you." I can still hear the pain in his voice.

I convinced him to stick around, so we went down to the bar in my game room and poured two glasses of whiskey. The alcohol wouldn’t help anything, but it was a symbol of moving on. An olive branch, if you will.

It’s funny the insignificant things you remember. I remember he had terrible heartburn that night. He didn’t want to drink anymore because of it, but he drank anyway. I still don’t remember what we talked about.

A couple of months later, we were at a friend’s house playing pool, drinking heavily. We made small talk, when out of nowhere he asked, "So how’s the wife?"

I grinned at him. I knew what he meant. He meant her.

RELATED: 8 Basic Dating Principles Men Need To Bring Back

This was the "bury the hatchet" moment we needed, and I knew that meant he had made peace with it. We raised our drinking glasses that night and got back to being friends.

Two years later, just a week before she and I got married, my best friend and I sat at the bar in my game room again. We had just found out she was pregnant, and I wanted him to know before anyone else.

"We have news," I said.

His eyes got big. "She’s pregnant?!?"

"Yep. I slipped one past the goalie."

"I knew it!" He jumped off of his barstool, ran over to me, and gave me the biggest bear hug that can be given. Tears again ran down his face, but this time they were tears of joy.

"I knew it!", he proclaimed again. "We’re going to love that kid like nobody’s business."

Despite how we got there, I had a friend who wanted to love my child like his own. He had let it all go.

It’s hard to make lifelong friends and keep them, especially when you pull the stuff I did over the years. He picked me up from jail when I was arrested for DUI. He took in my whole family for three months while we moved.

He was with me on the Appalachian Trail, and with me on my grandfather’s last trip to the ocean.

He stood beside me on my wedding day and was the first person I talked to after my daughter was born.

I’m grateful for all he’s done for me, especially for his forgiveness.

RELATED: 10 Signs You're Meant To Be Best Friends Forever

Chris Robin is a husband and father of two living in Western Pennsylvania. He writes his innermost thoughts about relationships, addiction, parenting and writing. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.