Friends are a vital part of our lives and even when some people get married and have a spouse, they can never be a substitute for the friends you have.
However, when it comes to relationships – marital or otherwise – not all friends have a positive role to play.
Take the case of Suman and Kartik, who developed problems in their relationship because of Kartik’s very close and single friend Karan.
“Every weekend Karan would call and plan up a meeting with Kartik for a quick drink or a drive, and Kartik would jump at it. I was in my initial years of being married and did not want to stop him from going ahead with their plans. But Karan made it an every weekend thing. I would never get to spend the weekends with Kartik and it led to major problems between us,” says Suman.
Kartik on the other hand, resented it when Suman started stopping him. He said he didn’t want his close friend to think that marriage had changed him in any way.
But the rift caused by the friend started taking its toll on the marriage.
“I felt miserable that Kartik could not see how toxic his friend was and that it was affecting our relationship,” Suman says.
It was only after she threatened to walk out of the marriage and he went to a counsellor that he realised what role his friend had played into their marriage breaking down.
Counsellors says that while friends should continue being an important part of our lives even after we are married, there should be no overlapping of the space that they occupy in your life.
“I never stopped him from meeting his friends. But it was only when it started encroaching upon our time together that I started having a problem,” Suman said.
Similarly, Rohit and Kyra almost went to court because of her friend, who was also Kyra’s mentor, counsellor and confidante.
“Every time we had a fight she would rush over to Sonia and tell her everything. And Sonia, who was divorced herself, would add fuel to the fire by telling Kyra that she should not tolerate anything especially since she was a strong independent woman. I could feel the negativity every time Kyra came back from her place,” Rohit said.
Kyra, who in good faith told every minor detail to her friend, would only hear negative things about the whole institution of marriage, about men in general and eventually about her husband.
“Every time she would come back from that friend’s place she was irritable, cranky and rude. I tried telling her that all this male-bashing came from her friend’s own experience and she should stay away, but for Kyra I was the bad one, since her friend who was her counselor, told her so,” Rohit rued.
It was only after their fight increased and things came to a point where Rohit suggested they part ways that it hit Kyra.
“I realised that for all my cribbing and complaints I didn’t want to lose Rohit. When I told him that he said he didn’t want to leave me either but with her friend constantly working towards driving a wedge, their relationship would not last,” he said.
Kyra was glad she had a frank conversation with Rohit without making it an ego issue and saved her relationship.
Experts say that friends should be treated as companions, not counselors, because at the end of the day they give their views and opinions based on one side of the story. They also say that allowing friends too much space to interfere in your life is most likely to backfire, since friends have their own biases and prejudices, which come into play when they offer their advice.