Anyone who’s a millennial has probably seen the movie “Mean Girls”. Who can forget the part where Cady tells the crew she has a crush on Aaron Samuels?
“That’s Regina’s ex boyfriend!” retorts Gretchen. “Ex boyfriends are just off-limits to friends! That’s, like, the rules of feminism!”
Yes, I know. I’ve seen that movie over 100 times, and every time I see that scene I cringe. Because, it happened to me. I fell in love with my friend’s ex boyfriend.
Jennifer* and I grew up together. We slept over at each other’s houses and shared all of our secrets. Whenever we had a crush on someone, we would always pass a note to each other in class to notify each other who he was. When we were sophomores in high school, Jennifer was crushing on the quarter back of our football team, Matt*.
Matt was the total stereotypical football player type: he was tall, gorgeous, athletic, smart, charming and funny. Every girl in our sophomore class had a crush on him. And, above all, he was NICE. So, when Jennifer told me she had a crush on him, I thought it was funny because EVERYONE liked him.
Jennifer then confided in me around homecoming that she was going to ask him to the dance. She said that it was a new world and women should be allowed to ask guys out on dates. I said I supported her, but I didn’t think Matt would ever say yes. I mean, Jennifer was gorgeous, but she flew under the radar and didn’t run in the popular circles that Matt did.
To my surprise, Matt said ‘yes’ and the two of them went to homecoming together. After that, they were inseparable. They dated all the way until our senior year of high school and even went to senior prom together. Unfortunately, Jennifer was going to college at Illinois State University and Matt was planning on going to University of Chicago, where I was also going. Their distance would be too hard, so they split.
Matt and I were always friends because I was Jennifer’s best friend. So, it was nice knowing someone at college. We even had some classes together. In our biology class, we were assigned to work together on a project.
While working on the project one night, Matt kissed me. That kiss ignited something in me, and I was loopy in love. Matt and I began getting dinner and coffee and sneaking kisses whenever we had the chance. He confided in me that Jennifer was sometimes very critical of him and he often felt trapped in their old relationship.
Our relationship couldn’t be hidden anymore, and people on campus began to realize that we were together. I knew that I had to tell Jennifer.
At first, Jennifer was upset, and she had a right to be. I explained to her that I didn’t do this on purpose– that it just kind of happened. After a few months of not talking, she called me one night over Christmas break. She explained to me that she had been dating a guy on her floor at school and was very happy. She said it would take some time getting used to, but she was happy Matt and I found love.
Now that we’re out of college, Matt and I still together and very happy. Jennifer is not with her college boyfriend anymore, but she’s dating around and living the single life. What happened in high school doesn’t matter anymore. But, sometimes, when Jennifer is in the mood to tease me, she likes to say: “You can’t sit with us!”
*Names have been changed