The letter request:
Good friends of mine, Matt and Elena, split up last year and while I thought I was equally friends with both of them, only Matt has stayed in contact with me. I’ve tried to reach out to Elena but she seems to be avoiding me. I feel like they’ve decided amongst themselves who gets to keep me as a friend but the thing is, if I only get to be friends with one of them, I’d actually prefer Elena.
Dear Matt and Elena,
Let’s start by saying that I know you are no longer ‘Matt and Elena.’ It’s for simplicity (and transparency) that I address you both in the same letter. You know that biblical passage that people read at weddings: Love is patient and kind…Love never fails…? It’s a wish that gets stated as a truism. The reality is that sometimes love is an arsehole and fairly often it fails us dismally. I don’t need to tell you guys that.
It’s absolutely none of my business how the divorce proceedings panned out. I will never enquire about how you guys decided who kept the house, or who got the kids when or, perhaps most poignantly, who got to keep that super comfy couch.
What I am interested in is how your friends were divvied up. Specifically, how did you decide who got to keep me? I’ll tell you how things look from the outside: it appears that, like the dog, I’m staying with Matt. It appears that the decision has been made that Elena and I are no longer friends.
I’ve imagined that this decision was a result of bargaining. That Elena said to Matt, ‘You can have the coffee machine and Raj’s friendship if I can have the blue floor cushion and Sue and Nick from up the road.’ But maybe it was simply based on gender and I ended up with Matt because we’re both blokes. I’ve wondered if maybe it wasn’t even discussed. I’ve wanted to call one of you up and ask, ‘Did Elena even put in a bid for me?’ But I’m not sure I really want to know.
I’m assuming you guys aren’t up for sharing me… I can understand this. You want to feel comfortable to mouth-off over a few beers without worrying that I’m also getting the other side of the story. You want to know that, when I invite you round for a party, you won’t have to spend the night avoiding eye contact in opposite corners of the backyard.
I guess what I’m asking is whether there is any scope to contest the settlement. Whether we can go back to the drawing board and this time I can choose who gets to stay my mate. If you’re open to this I’d like to state upfront that I like you both a lot, I really do. I just like one of you slightly more than the other…