Dear Prudence

Help! My Best Friend Is Getting Married. I’m Losing Her Forever.

Read what Prudie had to say in this week’s Dear Prudence Uncensored.

Each week, Prudie discusses a tricky letter with a colleague or friend, just for Slate Plus members. This week Jenée Desmond-Harris and Joel Anderson discuss Prudie’s response to: Lovesick in Louisville.

Dear Prudence, 

I don’t want my best friend to get married. “Christine” and I have been close since we were 8. Now we are in our early 30s. Christine and I have dated other people for a long time, and we both love our partners very much. She is getting married next month and I want to be excited for her (I pretend to be so excited!). Actually, I feel heartbroken. I feel like I am losing my best friend and like no one will know her better than I do. How do I move past feeling like my heart is broken because my best friend is getting married? Does it say something bad about my relationship with my own partner that I feel this way? Please help!

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—Lovesick in Louisville

Read Prudie’s original response to this letter.

Joel Anderson: That’s a good catch on the “Christine and I have dated other people.” Because that’s an interesting turn of phrase. But let’s say they have been in a romantic relationship or the LW has nursed a huge crush on her bestie since they were in elementary school. It really doesn’t matter because that’s not the relationship they have or are going to have, presuming Christine’s marriage is for the long haul. So, she’s going to have to find a way to get used to this.

Jenée Desmond-Harris: I mean, Christine’s marriage might be for the long haul. Or it might be for a year. We don’t know. I think what’s important is that marriage only changes friendships as much as the married people decide it will. Some people act like they’re married after two weeks of dating and never call their friends again. Some people are just as social and close to their friends as ever after a decade. Do you know what I think would really be something to get upset about? A kid.

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Joel: That’s a fair point. Not about the kid. But about how marriage only changes a friendship if the people in the marriage decide that it will. Which raises the question: What’s the friendship been like this whole time, and what is the LW’s relationship to Christine’s partner? Because if they’re as close as she says they are, surely she would have spent time with and around this other person. Is Christine’s partner giving her the indication that things are going to change? Have things already changed and the marriage will only hasten that dynamic? What have they all been doing this whole time? What does Christine say about how her relationship is impacting her life outside of it? They’ve been friends for more than 20 years! She should know some of the answers to these questions.

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Jenée: You know what else I thought was interesting and didn’t address in the response because I was just like “Huh?” Does it say something bad about my relationship with my own partner that I feel this way? I kind of think “If you’re asking, yes!” But what would it say??

Joel: Oh, for sure. Like, did she take stock of her life now that Christine is getting married and realize that she feels … lonely? And it’s not exactly uncommon for people to take stock of their own relationships in the wake of this kind of change among their friends. It’s really hard not to, especially if you’re at the stage of your life when you’re flying around the country to all of your friends’ various weddings and wondering if you’re ever going to find yourself in the same situation. Like, I was the last of my close friends to get married—I’m from the South, so we get started a little earlier down there. And I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life and relationships when I was trying to get my own friends down the aisle. Maybe LW has done the same thing and feels that she’s missing something.

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Jenée: Or I was thinking, maybe she plans to retreat into her relationship with her partner once she gets married? I just don’t know. Either way, I just feel like there is so much that’s not being said in this letter. But I’ll add one thing: I appreciate that LW is pretending to be excited! She is following one of my big rules for being involved in weddings: Hide your feelings, nobody cares.

Joel: LOL. You are big on people tucking it in and getting on with it for weddings. But my other thought here is: Change is a constant in friendships. Relationships. Children. Aging. Loss. Personal and professional moves that can take you halfway or all the way across the country—ahem. If you’re going to be a friend to someone, you have to decide how you’re prepared to support them through all of that and vice versa. Or not.

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Jenée: Hey, sorry I moved you away from D.C.! But yes, I completely agree. Just think about how in our 40s “I was in his/her wedding” or “She/he was in my wedding” is a thing you say to explain how close you are to someone in a friendship that is ongoing, it’s not a thing that you look back on as marking the end of a relationship. That’s why I just want LW to have some perspective, to look around and see how marriage has been just one chapter in the stories of many close friendships.

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Joel: Absolutely. And as someone who’s given a handful of toasts at weddings, let me offer this line that is kind of fake but is nonetheless a good thing to say: “I thought I was going to lose a sibling, but today I’m actually gaining one.” Hey, you never know!

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Jenée: So fake. I mean if Christine gets divorced she’ll never think about this guy again. But yes, great inspo for the speech.

Classic Prudie

I have an honesty problem. No, I am not a compulsive liar or cheat, but there is one thing I rarely enjoy answering honestly. To reference a Slate article from the summer by L.V. Anderson, “I go to school in Boston.” Even as a college junior, I still feel uncomfortable when people ask where I go. Anderson is a proponent of being upfront and declaring my school emphatically, but in reality, that tends to not work well and often serves to alienate people or have them treat me with sudden coolness.

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