"We aren't Steven and Stacy."
It's one of the first things he says to me Saturday morning. Amid all of the chaos in my life right now, our best friends are on the verge of breaking up. It's a shock to me and a shock to her, but Fellowology and Steven are unsurprised.
"I've been expecting this for like, two years," Fellowology tells me when I express my confusion.
I contact Stacy once my immediate reaction wears off. She tells me that Steven reports he has less fun with her than with Fellowology. The comment is so bizarre that she and I both observe a period of silence afterwards to absorb the strangeness and process what the fuck it could mean.
"They actually don't have a lot in common." My boyfriend tells me this while we lie on the top of his bed. He isn't wrong, I realize, after I think about it. And he can tell I'm upset about them. I'm unsettled. How can two people be together for 4.5 years in their mid to late twenties, live together for 14 months, and out of nowhere have one person demand a breakup? I'm frightened now of my own relationship. How can any of us ever feel safe? Is nothing ever stable?
I voice some of these concerns, and he tells me that people who are married decades divorce suddenly. This is of no comfort. I make him promise me to let me know if he's ever that unhappy.
Steven and Stacy's situation is a logistical nightmare. They're about 28, sharing a gorgeous apartment full of furniture they purchased (and in some cases custom ordered) together. They've lived life as a couple for so long that their future seemed a given. They've spent countless hours with me and Fellowology and with Maisie and Trent. Steven, Maisie, and Fellowology lived together for a while, and the three couples have gotten together for dinners out and rotating hosted dinner parties for two years. We've all been so close, eagerly anticipating Maisie and Trent's upcoming wedding and the group of women gossiping about when Stacy will have her turn. It looks like she won't.
This is awkward. My own life is an utter mess, so I have little in the way of emotional resources to offer Stacy. It's hard for Fellowology and I not to be affected by our sympathies for Steven and Stacy respectively and allow those sympathies to bleed into our own conversations and relationship. It will be hard to continue to see Steven constantly, as I will whenever Fellowology visits the East Coast, and not be thinking of Stacy and how I care for her. It will be hard not to feel trepidation now when we befriend couples. It will be hard not to feel angry with Steven as I naturally feel closer to his soon-to-be-ex girlfriend. Feeling hostile towards my boyfriend's best friend is not healthy or productive.
It feels self-absorbed to be upset, but I am. I'm upset for them, and I'm upset because I'm projecting it on my own relationship. I need my relationship strong, especially right now as I'm wading in the debris of my life mess; it's my liferaft. It's so upsetting to see longstanding relationships suddenly explode. It makes love seem a dangerous and illogical thing to invest in.
How should couples approach very close couples who disintegrate their relationships? How can I make Stacy feel supported without creating a rift between me and Fellowology? What's the right thing to do? And how do any of us ever feel safe in a relationship?