My Best Friend's Girlfriend
982 words long
She's nothing but bad news—a real snake. But he can’t see it.
Notes from the author:
Captain Awkward is an internet advice columnist. Letter writers ask her for help with their relationships–friendships, romances, family members, coworkers–and she gives uniformly wise answers: Use your words. Protect your boundaries. Consent matters. Informed, enthusiastic consent matters. ‘No’ is a complete sentence. ‘Closure’ is a myth. Your safety, your comfort, your happiness all matter just as much as everyone else’s. You matter.
A frequently repeating theme is “How can I get my friend to break up with their significant other?” A frequent answer to that is, “You don’t.” Persistently pressuring the friend to break up is more likely to end the friendship than the romantic relationship. It’s a frustrating situation at best. Often it’s heartbreaking. In several of the letters, the significant other is out-and-out abusive; the writer is watching their friend get eaten alive, slowly, piece by piece, making themselves smaller and smaller to avoid the next physical or emotional blow. The letter writer wants nothing more than to pull their friend free from the snake’s coils. But all they can do is be there, holding out a lifeline ready for if and when their friend decides to grab it.
I've been reading your advice column for years, so I know this is like the hundred and twenty-seventh time you've been asked this, but hear me out. This is weirder and scarier.
My problem is this: My best friend's girlfriend is nothing but bad news--a real snake. But he can't see it. He's infatuated. How do I get him away from her before it's too late?
Me and my friend--I'll call him "Adam"--are both in grad school. We've been best friends since seventh grade--he's like a brother to me. But suddenly it's like he doesn't see me anymore. He's stopped enjoying all the things we do together. On study dates, he can't concentrate on the material. During LAN parties his attention wanders away from the game and our whole party gets wiped out.
It's because he's thinking about his new girlfriend--let's call her "Lily." She's all he can think about. She's all he can talk about. He talks about her all the time. When he's not talking about her, he's staring into space daydreaming about her. Sometimes whatever he's remembering makes him giggle. It's actually kind of creepy.
All right, so, new relationship energy takes you that way sometimes. Sure. But it's more than just NRE. Everything about him has changed. It's like my friend got replaced with a pod person. A pod person with bags under his eyes and a weird rash on his neck....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for April 13, 2018. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (982 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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