What? You didn’t like him? Why didn’t you tell me?! Those were words muttered by me several times after I had told close girlfriends that my first husband and I were getting a divorce. I reacted as if they could have saved me from marrying him in the first place had I gotten their honest opinion. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I think it happens often. How many times has a close friend starting dating someone you thought was so wrong for them or just plain disdained? Yes, I’m raising my hand as well.
A few weekends ago I allowed myself to indulge in in the Sundance Channel. A film called, “Wedding Weekend” was showing and it was about a close knit group of guys who’ve known each other since college and were getting together once more at a vacation house before one of them got hitched. They all brought their girlfriends and wives and one of the guys just recently got divorced and was down in the dumps. There’s a scene where it’s just him and the guys and he finds out that his ex-wife was unanimously disliked. UNANIMOUSLY. He was completely shocked and dismayed that his closest friends would ALLOW him to marry someone they couldn’t stand.
Their responses that I similarly heard from my friends were: You seemed happy! You were in love! What was I suppose to say to you?
…and they’re probably right. What can you say about someone’s choice of partner? What if you did voice your opinion, wouldn’t it just cause your friend to resent you? It would create awkwardness any time you were all together. And so ultimately, you’re invitations for happy hour and dinners would cease, your friendship wouldn’t quite end but stay in that nebulous standstill, and all just because you had the guts to tell your friend what none of his/her friends are willing to step up and say to their face.
On the flip side, however, it really would just be a futile attempt. When someone’s in love..that is the be all and end all. Sure they know no one is perfect–even their partner has flaws. But they love them anyway. We, on the other hand, the objective-you-don’t-see-what-I see-you’re-making-a-huge-mistake-voice-of-reason think we know what’s best for our beloved. And what’s best for our beloved is to stand right by their side when they need us. And that’s exactly what my girlfriends did for me. They wouldn’t have chosen him for me and didn’t think it was a good choice on my part, but they loved me through it and they were there when I needed them.
So, after the shock wore off after I found out that a majority of my friends didn’t like my ex-husband or rather, “wouldn’t have chosen him for me,” the next question was, ‘Why didn’t you like him?’ I got various replies:
I thought he had a weird sense of humor but I thought you liked that because you like quirky people.
He got mad at you for the littlest thing and I thought he had a bad temper.
He seemed easily frustrated and so he seemed like he’d get upset easily.
You guys had such different energy.
He’s a great guy, but it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.