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Best Friends and Best Men


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BetrayalWhen her nine year-old marriage was in trouble, N—– began feeling an almost irresistible attraction to her husband’s best friend, S—–. “In the beginning, I would just laugh and talk to him about general stuff. The thing was, he had been such a part of my life with my husband – I met him on the day I got married, and we were very close as a gang of friends, doing many things together. All the rest of us wives felt very bad about how such a great guy had found such a dragon of a wife. She was generally not interested in the things he found wonderful. After their kids were born, she was rarely seen with him.”

S—– began to drop into their home in the evening as a regular pattern…and N—–‘s husband began to be delayed getting home with a demanding new boss. That hour or two before her husband came home became N—–‘s lifeline – what she looked forward to most of all in the whole day. “It was getting to dangerous levels. I had begun confiding in him, not only about the past, my friends and college life, but also my present, the loneliness I felt when my husband just refused to see things my way,”N—– remembers.

Then one chat with her best friend, who had arrived from America, changed N—–‘s perspective completely. “It may definitely have ended up in an affair if my friend had not made me realize how similar S—– was to my husband,” says N—–. “They have the same faults and weaknesses, the same beliefs, even the same sense of humour. What my friend asked me was this – if you want to get out of your marriage, why not try to find a completely different kind of person, who will not rub you the wrong way like your present husband has? What’s the point of falling for your husband’s clone? Instead, you may as well put more energy into repairing things with your husband.”

Responding to this excellent advice, N—– was able to retreat from the dangerous levels she had reached with her husband’s best friend. “Its nice that S—– is still a part of our lives,” she says. “But when I think of how close I came to disaster, I really shudder!”

The phenomenon of women falling in love with their husbands’ best friends, and men falling for their friends’ wives is quite common world-wide. Some notable examples that have become a part of history include Pattie Boyd, who was first married to George Harrison, and then his best friend Eric Clapton. It is not for nothing that so many Hollywood films show the Best Man as the foremost rival of the bride-groom in screen weddings.

With a husband’s best friend, one has the same level of informality that can lead to greater intimacy. Under stressful conditions like the one N—– was facing in relation to her marriage, this informality can deepen into a full-fledged relationship. The thing is, such a relationship is also likely to have the highest baggage of guilt for both – the wife who has betrayed her husband, and the friend who has betrayed his best pal. While individual lives have to be lived on merit and can never be dictated by social mores alone, it is wise to remember all these factors when one finds oneself in a predicament of this sort.

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