My friend, you have been dumped

Published on Meld Magazine, Friday 30 March 2012.

SOMETIMES when it comes to relationships, it’s not the boyfriend or girlfriend that gets dumped, but the unsuspecting friends… just ask Marcella Purnama.

For most of us, dating has been a fact of life since we were 12.

We entered high school with anticipation that the opposite sex would look more charming and undeniably less irritable, and suddenly on Valentine’s Day, we’d get flowers and chocolate just like magic.

And so it begins… A boy asks a girl out, says he likes her and boom! Welcome to the Couples Club. Then without any formal announcement, this club starts with the couples-only-activities like double-dating.

After the honeymoon period, congratulatory statements from your peers and being accredited as Facebook official, the couple seems to suddenly have no time to talk to their good friends.

Then they have a fight, and they’re back, asking their friends for advice. Only it’s short lived. The couple gets back to together and, well, you my friend, will be dumped… again.

In high school, I was dumped. Not once, not twice, but a couple of times. Not by a boyfriend, but by my best friend. We’d been friends since Year 7, but when he got a girlfriend in Year 11, he dumped me.

It happened so fast. He was asking this girl out and next thing I know, they were a couple. Soon, I was seen as a threat. Fine, I backed off.

Then the girl got jealous because her boyfriend and I, with some other friends, were practicing in the school’s chapel (I was the pianist, he was the MC). Heck, I never even saw him as a potential partner. But the girl got mad at him, the fights went on and on, and suddenly I was accused of ruining a relationship. Right, so I tried to disappear.

From then on he’d only say hello to me in the school hallway if his girlfriend wasn’t around.

Obviously, I felt a bit betrayed, I was 15 when this happened, remember? So I crossed him off my best friend’s list. But then a couple of weeks later, he was suddenly talking to me, wanting advice on an issue that was very important – a fight with his girlfriend.

I thought, okay, he needs someone to talk to, so there I was. What I didn’t know was I had fallen into the devil’s loop.

When he got back together with his girlfriend, I was dumped… again. When he got a fight, I was sought… again.

This happened for quite some time until I finally confronted him, telling him I was not a puppet who could be summoned at will. He apologised then found another friend who could be summoned at will. Oh well, if that was the price of friendship.

I wasn’t alone though. All of his friends were complaining that he had no time for them. When they broke up, well, it was not a pretty sight.

Although we remain friends and are in a good (or at least healthy) friendship, the loop still exists. When he has a fight with his current girlfriend, he still calls me to chat. When everything is alright, he still gives me the cold shoulder.

Not that I feel any hatred towards him or whatever, but I wonder if this has happened to anyone else. Moving past high school and puppy loves and into our early twenties, I still see so many couples who belong to that very exclusive couple club. Its members consist of two people and they do everything together.

When they break up (not that I jinx it, it just happens), they have no friends and suddenly they’re lonely when they should be hanging out with their friends with a bucket of ice cream and karaoke or all-nighter gaming and paintball match.

Of course, not all couples are like that. But if you have been dumped by your ‘taken’ friends, well, welcome to the club. I was once a member too.

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