Q: “My boyfriend just proposed to me and I haven’t given him an answer yet. I couldn’t because I think there’s only one person I can spend the rest of my life with – my childhood bestfriend (who treats me just that – his bestfriend too.) What do I do?”
I am tempted to tell you to give a flat “no” answer to your boyfriend and fix whatever needs to be fixed with your bestfriend because that seems to be the noble and right thing to do. That’s what chick flick movies are telling us—not to rush into marriage, wait for a perfect moment and perfect guy, ride into the sunset with your soulmate. But this isn’t a chick flick movie. This is the real life. And real life is complicated.
Movies, for instance, give us the impression that life’s struggles end with a perfect proposal with a perfect person. In real life, however, we are well aware that there are no such things. You, for instance, only think that your bestfriend is the perfect guy for you, because, as what they say, the unfulfilled love is the most romantic, but if ever you find yourself with your bestfriend on his knees offering you a ring, you’d probably think of thousands reasons to doubt. And life’s struggles really do not end at that point when you finally tie the knot. You are going to have a bad time if you believe that. Real life love stories do not end with you walking down the aisle. It only starts there. Right after the wedding, you have to contend with who takes the garbage out, struggle with the TV remote, putting down the toilet seat, poor personal hygiene. Even if you marry your bestfriend, after the wedding, your partner’s humanity and human weaknesses would slap you in the face. Your wedding, or that proposal, would be just one day of your life, but marriage would be for the rest of your life after that.
So no, I do not believe that your bestfriend is the perfect guy for you. You can only know that for sure when you are both in the twilight of your years and have won all of your struggles together because you struggled together. I am also not sure if your boyfriend is the perfect guy for you for the same reasons. The sad thing about life is you can never be sure about it.
What we are sure about is that your boyfriend is there on his knees, sure that he wants to marry you, probably also aware that you are human with human weaknesses (and probably still patient to wait for you even if you are not that sure to give an answer right there and then). Your bestfriend and how you imagine life would be being married to him instead, is not part of the equation on your decision on what answer to give to your boyfriend. The only thing you need to consider with your answer is the very thing that your boyfriend is asking you: are you willing to experience life with him together and do everything to make it work?
It seems complicated, but it really is a very simple question. Sure, that life with your bestfriend that you imagine to be perfect is haunting you. It really does not matter. There are a lot of things that can haunt you, but it does not matter to you. Other than having the perfect guy on his knees in front of you, things around you are also not perfect. A perfect job may be haunting you, a perfect car, a perfect house, a perfect life. But it does not matter to you, right? If not for that little imagined thing with your bestfriend, you’d otherwise be willing to face the imperfections of life with your boyfriend, right? So why not dismiss that thing as you dismissed the other imperfect things in your life? He was good enough to be your boyfriend even if that thing is haunting you, you dealt with it together, so why did it suddenly become overly complicated with the issue of marriage?
It’s really a very simple question. Unless you kept your boyfriend because you’re the type of person who’d settle for whoever is available and willing to take you because you can’t get the man of your dreams, it’s a very simple question. But if you are that kind of person, a person I have a lot of things to call but not free to do so, well, what’s the problem? He’s there, available and willing, and you still can’t get the man of your dreams.
It’s a simple question if that’s just the only thing haunting you.
Three questions: (1) do you want to get married? (2) Who do you want to be your husband? (3) Does the one you want to be your husband wants you to be his wife? Marriage is not the end of a fairy tale or a romantic spin in one’s life. It’s a contract akin to what decent people use to carry out legit businesses. It’s also not just between two people but between two families or even two clans at times. Though some would want to believe that a trip down the aisle is all about love or romance, there’s a practical side to it. To escape that practical side, there are those who’d rather elope. But that’s just for the wedding. If it’s marriage we’re talking about, the meet-the-parents stage is just the beginning.
Chances are, your family members, relatives, and friends already know your boyfriend for the purpose he serves in your life, precisely as such, being your boyfriend. If you are to turn down his marriage proposal, be sure you can explain things clearly to him, to your family, relatives, and friends, and most importantly, to yourself. Your best friend on the other hand, if you want to be fair, also deserves an honest explanation on your part as to the kind of relationship you desire to have with him.
Best friends do spend their lives together. Some deliberately become next door neighbours, with their respective kids growing up to be friends too. Some try to keep in touch as much as possible. The cyber space we now enjoy makes that possible and easily manageable. If that’s the level of relating you want to have with your best friend, then there’s no problem. Trust your best friend to not cut ties even if both of you start families of your own.
If you want your best friend for a husband, then focus on question number three. What does he want from you? Does he want you to be his wife? Or does he want you to stay as you are? His best friend. Period. If that’s the case, then give him the freedom to choose. If he chooses another bride, then the adult thing to do is to accept it. He wants you as a best friend, not as a wife. Learn to live with that and move on with your life.
As to your boyfriend’s proposal, be fair to him. Tell him exactly what you feel. It is not fair to even have him for a boyfriend while you’re having more-than-friends feelings for your best friend. You have to make a decision. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Come clean. And accept other people’s decision.
Written by Rene and Lallie for worldurbanista.com
Rene, a sociologist. He claims that all his life, he’s been surrounded by women, but it only counts his mother, four older sisters, college roommates, and coworkers who all bossed him around while he listens to them talk about their periods and complaints about their husbands and boyfriends. Now that he has a baby girl, he believes he really is cursed to listen to talks about periods his whole life.
Lallie is a four-time Palanca awardee, a playwright, a screenplay writer, a tabloid erotic columnist, and a chick-lit novelist.