We've all heard those stories of people making marriage pacts where two friends agree that if they're still single by a certain age that they'll settle with each other. A lot of marriage pacts have ended in success. After all, marrying your best friend sounds like a dream, right? Well, sometimes they go horribly wrong. Timing in key and unfortunately some people missed the chance to be with someone they'd be truly happy with. Read on to find out the reasons these marriage pacts went south. Content has been edited for clarity.
She Was Actually Crazy!
“I had one in middle school. We were both loners and we had a thing for art. The school we were in was a middle school and elementary school. She was a year younger than me, but she asked me out and we went out together being innocent kissers at a park down the ways from the school. The end of middle school came and my mom decided to move to another city for a better school option. She and I promised to get married after she got out of high school since we would be 50 miles away.
The day I left high school, I got my first job and in the middle of her last year she said she would be dating a guy from school. I wasn’t so heart broken since she was my friend first, so I kept it at that. I decided to date a girl who moved to my city for me and we dated for four years and lived together for three of those years. One day, out of nowhere I get a call in the middle of the day and she asks to live at my place for a while. She told me she had a falling out and she remembered I was kind to her before. I agreed and the same night she came with a car full of her stuff and she walked into my home with hugs lasting for so long. She was happy until she saw that she had the separate room and left when she saw I was in bed with another girl already.
Turns out her boyfriend had proposed to her and left her pregnant while he went to the army. He was booking out of state contracts to not see her and she was desperate. I realized how crazy she was when she said she was pregnant a month later and said I was the father. My mother stepped up and said I never spoke with her for five years.
I would not ever do that again in any other life.”
“Neither Of Us Got The Partner We Wanted”
“I did this. It was someone I had dated for four years. We made the pact when we were breaking up at age 21. He wanted to settle down and I didn’t want a family yet. We agreed we would reconnect and marry later in life.
He dated someone else and I dated a few people in the meantime. His girlfriend left him for someone else about a year before we reconnected. I assumed he was the same person we were when we were younger, so we spent a few months living together and then got married!
Yup, nope, that didn’t work. Currently working on the divorce papers!
He was very suffocating. He had trust issues, which I can understand given his ex. It was fine. It started with him just going through my phone. That’s okay. Then he started checking up on me at work. Then I couldn’t go out unless he went, not even to the store. He started to get a temper and had explosions of anger. He wanted kids right away again. I said ‘let’s wait’ because I had a year left of school, but he packed his bags and went to his sisters.
Turns out, he had some very serious depression and other issues going on and had not seen anyone for it. It was serious to the point of threats, psychosis, and violence. He ended up being admitted to a psych unit. This was two years ago. We’ve spoken recently and he’s doing much better. The problem was that we weren’t close when we got back together, so he didn’t feel like he could lean on me, let me in on these feelings, and his emotions came out as restrictions and explosive anger. I’m sure I wasn’t the most receptive to his problems. Neither of us got the partner we wanted out of the deal. It was a great learning experience for me though! And I’m glad he’s doing better.”
You’re Gonna Need Some Tissues For This One
“I have a story about this. We met in college, and were instant best friends. I was 20; she was 18. We spent all our time together, and were briefly lovers, but we never formally dated because both of us were very much into being wild and free and enjoying our youth. We dated other people on and off, but we talked about it and agreed that a committed relationship between the two of us would be an all-or-nothing kind of thing. Since neither of us wanted to give up our hedonistic, promiscuous, irresponsible lifestyle, we made a point of not committing to a relationship. A few years went by that way, and we were very happy, right up until her sisters died.
It was a car accident. They were 16 and 18, and both were killed in the crash. Dead on arrival at the hospital. My friend was utterly, completely devastated. It still hurts me to remember it, even now. Her father, though, was even more devastated, to the point where he was legitimately willing to let himself starve to death rather than try to go on living. She moved home, from out of state, to take care of him. She cut ties with everyone for awhile, even me. I didn’t see her again for two years. She was so different after that. Before the accident, she’d always been the most joyful, exuberant, positive person I’d ever met. After she came back, she was quieter, sadder, maybe wiser. I wanted to be there for her more than I’d ever wanted anything in the world. Not being able to fix things for her, not being able to make it better, that hurt more than anything I could ever remember. I guess that’s when I realized how in love with her I was.
I told her that I loved her, that I wanted to be there with her, and she told me that she couldn’t handle the idea of any kind of emotional connection for awhile. Maybe a few years, she said. Maybe never. Maybe she’d never be able to open up emotionally again. She said she needed space from me, particularly from me. She said she needed to figure out what it meant to be alive in a world where her sisters were gone. She asked me to give her time, and I told her that I’d give her anything she wanted. She told me that she’d never been happier than she was when we were together. I told her the same. I told her that I understood, and that’s when we made our pact. I was 25 then, and she was 23. We agreed: if she turned 30 and I turned 32, and if she had learned to heal, and if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else, and if I hadn’t fallen in love with someone else, then we’d get married. So that’s how we parted ways. She moved to Wyoming, to be alone. I moved to Germany, to get as far away from her as I could.
We didn’t keep in touch at first, but over the next few years we built up a correspondence. We wrote letters because we both liked writing letters. We emailed now and then. Sometimes we’d mail each other books that we thought the other would like. Years went on, and we became closer and closer. When I turned 30, I half-jokingly brought up our marriage pact. I told her that I hadn’t ever fallen for anyone else. (I didn’t mention this, but I couldn’t have fallen for anyone else. I always compared every other woman to her, and in my memory she was perfect.) She replied that she was still very serious about our agreement, and that she’d never fallen in love with anyone else either. I asked her if she thought she had begun to heal, and she said she had, as much as a person could ever heal from something like that. A year later, she told me she’d like us to meet and spend some time together, to see if the spark was still there. It was. She was living in California at that time, and I found a job there. I’d always wanted to live in California anyway. I proposed to her six months later, and she smiled and told me ‘no fair,’ that I had to wait another few months when she’d be turning 30. I thought it was silly, but at that point things were going so well that a few months didn’t seem like they could matter at all. But I’m crying now, so I’ll have to wrap this up quickly.
She died. That’s how the story ends. She was hit by a wasted driver and spent two days in the ICU before her body gave out. I went to her funeral. I spoke to her father but I barely remember what we said. I’ve never spoken to him since. I don’t have the willpower to make myself find out how he’s doing. That will be four years ago this November. I’m in therapy and trying to learn how to have feelings again, other than blank, mindless, miserable rage. I often wonder if this is what it felt like for her. She made progress. She learned to feel again. That thought is what keeps me going. She did it. She’d want me to do it.
That’s it. That’s the story. It’s a sad story, and I hate it.”
If Only She Would Have Kept Writing Letters
“I most definitely would have gone through with it. I made a marriage pact with my very good friend in 10th grade, around 1988 or so, that we’d get married at 27 if we were both still single. We had every class together for three years straight, got along famously, and were just greatly compatible. She went overseas for college and I joined the military. She just stopped responding to letters after around 9 months.
In 1992, I get engaged, and suddenly run into her in a mall. It had already been an interesting week. I’d actually took her out with some of my old High School friends a few nights previous, and two of them were just incredibly rude to her the whole time for no apparent reason. So let’s just say her patience for my old group was wearing thin already, and then this happened.
I introduce my future wife, and my old friend loses her freaking mind. Right in front of my future bride and in middle of the shopping center, she starts screaming at me about how I betrayed our agreement and that I belonged with her. As calm as can be, my wife asks her why she stopped writing me then?
Like a light switch flipping, old friend starts bawling her eyes out, and plops down on the floor. We hurried out of there, and I never saw her again. Bullet dodged.”
“We Were Best Friends Who Were Having A Baby”
“My best friend in college. We did everything together.
We told ourselves that if we got to 25 and weren’t seriously dating anybody, then we’d try dating.
We lost touch after college. I went to grad school and she moved away and was dating some guy.
She was back home for the holidays a few years later and we ran into each other at a friend’s holiday party. We joked about the pact, especially since we were now both single and 27 years old.
We got really hammered at the party and banged in her car without protection. She stayed at my place that night and we did it a few more times. When I woke up, she was gone.
A few weeks later, she calls me and tells me she’s pregnant. She was really excited about it and I think I was genuinely excited too. We agreed that we didn’t have to get married, but that we would both do whatever we had to for the child.
She moved back to the city and into an apartment in my complex and during the first few months of the pregnancy we got along really well. We were best friends who were having a baby.
Her ex-boyfriend found out she was pregnant and asked her a bunch of questions about how she was going to bring a baby into the world without a father and basically accused her of sleeping around before offering to marry her to ‘make her honest.’ Yeah, he’s a piece of work.
Well, she came over to my place all upset and asked me to marry her. I told her we needed to think about this more and she got really mad at me and said a lot of hurtful things like she was just going to marry her ex if I wasn’t going to be a part of her life. She left.
I was very hurt and we didn’t speak for a few days. A neighbor friend of ours came over and we ended up hooking up. We didn’t bang, but she spent the night.
I woke up to a bunch of texts from my best friend. One saying she was sorry about getting so mad and it wasn’t fair that she sprung that on me and that she wanted to talk. The next one was early in the morning saying she was craving peanut butter and was coming over to get some (this was not unusual, we had keys to each others apartments and frequently went in). The last three or four texts were angry messages after she had gone in and seen the other woman sleeping there.
She refused to return my calls and moved away to her brothers house. It’s been several years since I’ve seen her, and I’ve never met my daughter, who she named after me. This was a surprise to me, and something that makes me choked up about.
I love her. I think I always have. It just didn’t work.”
He’ll Always Love Her
“I would have married her.
We met in high school. I was a sophomore, she was a freshman. I student taught her Japanese class because a friend had done it for my class, and it was fun and a great experience for me. We bonded hard, and ended up dating. It only lasted a few months, but we stayed good friends and realized we were just better friends
We went every year together to the annual Cherry Blossom festival in D.C. and we always caught up. That trip, just for 3 days out of the year, was like a little time bubble. Nothing back home mattered – none of the drama, the troubles, stresses that a high schooler could or would have. All of it washed away, and we got to spend 3 heavenly days together.
The first time we went together was when the marriage pact was made. At first, it was at 25. We settled on it, then a week later renegotiated to 30. Every year we reminded each other; every year made it more real for me, and something awesome to look forward to while simultaneously knowing we could still do what we wanted to before then.
I graduated. We fell apart a bit. She went downhill a bit and got involved with pills and drinking, until she got pregnant at 18. I drank heavily and slept my way around trying to fix my crippling depression. I remember hearing about it. It didn’t shatter my dreams of marrying her. If she was single at 30, kids or not, I was putting a ring on it. It never bothered me.
Kid Two came a few years later. A few years after that, we bumped into each other and caught up. It was like no time had passed, and we done right back into our old friendship, incorporating all the things that has happened over the years. She was 24, I was 25. We spent the next two years trying to put a relationship together before the pact was due. It worked between us, but what didn’t work was that we both has established, busy lives apart. I worked 50-60 a week; she was a full time mom and social services worker. We tried, we really did. But it always came down to ‘Work needs me another night this week’ or ‘The kids are sick so I’m on full nurse duty.’ I loved her more than anything.
She died two months ago this coming week. We never got to carry through with our pact, but we’d gotten so close. My buddy moved up after a divorce; she was getting over a bad injury from her time in the military. Time was again working against us. Then she was just gone. Blood clot from her lungs to her heart. And so it goes.
I would have carried out the pact; I would have married her anytime between the past few years and 30. But I didn’t. I beat myself up a bit for it, even if I had just had a few years to call her my wife. She’ll always be in my heart, and that voice in my head that stops me from treating myself poorly. She has become my voice of reason, and maybe that makes me a little crazy, but it keeps her close to me, knowing full well I’ll never smell her hair again or feel her hand on my face.
She was my Sunshine and I was her Buoy. That’ll never leave me.”
“My cousin did, and it was heartbreaking. She is 6 years older than I am and was 35 when this happened.
She made a marriage pact with someone she knew. She watched her cousins and friends all get married and/or have babies back to back in the span of a couple years, so they enacted their pact. He proposed Christmas Day, got married on Valentine’s Day, and fast tracked a pregnancy.
Well, apparently the guy she made the pact with was a Momma’s Boy cranked up to 11.
In the first trimester, things went south. Momma’s Boy got his mother involved in their marital squabbles and she convinced him to leave his brand new pregnant wife. The wife gave him an ultimatum: show up for the birth or stay gone. Guess who is back living with her parents with a new baby and a divorce in the works?”
Hopefully It’s All Water Under The Bridge
“Yup, in my early 20s. The person I made it with has literally ghosted me when I got married. It started as a joke, but I think he actually had some hopes there and I feel bad about confusing him. I think if someone suggests a marriage pact, there’s a good chance they’re carrying a torch for you and pretending not to.
I am still a bit hurt that he treated me this way. We’d known each other since we were teenagers. Even though he had interest in me years ago, he swore blind it was a crush and he was over it. If I’d known he was secretly still into me, I’d have distanced myself earlier instead of staying closer. I feel a bit betrayed that he had an ulterior motive all along and lied about it. It was like ‘Oh you’re married, there’s no point me keeping up this charade any more.’
I guess sometimes people don’t quite realize their feelings until you settle down, but even then, that’s a cruel way to put it. I actually find it easier to make male friends now that I’m married and clearly very devoted to my husband. There’s no ambiguity now.
Frankly, if you don’t want to be with someone now, there’s no point suggesting that you might in the future, even in jest. Sure, friendships can turn into love, but it’s good to be very clear about your feelings and not make people feel there’s a small chance you’ll settle for them. It’s demeaning to both sides.
Recently, I decided to give the guy a hello on Facebook, just for old times sake and got a nice reply. Turns out he’s met someone he really likes and settled down, so hopefully we’ll get past this now that it’s been a few years. He’s one of my oldest friends and I can understand how things might have gotten a bit confused, so here’s hoping it’s all water under the bridge.”
The Night That Still Haunts Her
“When I was 17, I fell head over heals in love with my high school sweetheart. We lost our v-cards to each other and shared so many firsts together. I was convinced he was my soulmate, and about 6 months into the relationship he proposed to me. I said no, because we’re we’re 17. Instead, we made a marriage pact planning to marry each other at the age of 30 if we were both single, knowing that in a month I would have to move back across the country, and he didn’t want to do long distance. So we broke up. I spent the next year thinking I had lost my soulmate forever, and he spent the next year repeating suicide attempts.
After the drama from the break up was over, we became good friends again. He joined the navy and we talked as much as possible, given he was deployed a lot of the time. I dated other people, although never being in love the way I was with him. Older people told me it was because he was my first love, that I’d never experience that again, and I believed them.
Fast forward 10 years from when we dated: we’re both 27, getting close to 30, and both single. A couple years before, he moved across the country to be in the area as me, but I had moved to the south and then back home because I had gotten very sick and needed my parents to care for me. My high school sweetheart offered me to move in with him and he would support me financially and take care of me physically, but I didn’t know he understood how expensive my medical bills were and decided to move in with my parents instead.
Once I was home, we started seeing each other again, sleeping together, and talking about our future. We were both excited that our love story had a happy ending and then three months into it, he took his own life. I was on the phone with him five minutes before he did it. One of the last things he said to me was that he loved me, but he didn’t believe I loved him back. That night haunts me every day.
Depression can mess with your head so much. I know it was his depression talking at the end, but I wish I could have reasoned with him. The cops I had called were at the door when he did it, so I got the cops there on time. It’s not like I didn’t take his threat seriously, but in my head I thought it was just a bad night and we’d get through it. Had I known it was his last, I would have said somethings differently.”
The Bar Napkin Agreement
“My good friend made me sign a bar napkin marriage agreement. I laughingly told her that we were both too messed up, on top of our drinking problems, to be getting hitched. But she was very adamant about it. From time to time, she would remind me of it and when I would laugh and yeehaw around, but she would dig in her purse and produce this very fragile bar napkin. And I would relinquish any protests for her sake and agree: ‘Haha, okay. We will at this age. Blah blah.’
There is more to the story, but eventually she took her own life. She had tried to kill herself before. She had problems; pills, coke, and bad life choices, but was beautiful inside and out.I guess most of my guilt is that I had been in a bad place and she had been texting to check in on me. I would say ‘I’m fine, hope you’re well, etc.’ I should have been checking on her. Maybe she was reaching out and I failed her.
She had a little boy that she gave up to her sister. She calmly told me one time she wasn’t a good mom and her boy was happier with her family. There were times I refused to hook up with her…one of those times was after rehab. She walked off into the night and I spent hours looking for her. I have my own problems and couldn’t always carry her. I did love her. But as friends. And I know she never truly loved me. I was just stability in her eyes. A life jacket to someone drowning.
A week or so after her passing, her sister calls me assuming we were very close. She, the sister, had found the bar napkin and felt obligated to contact me. We talked for a long while on the phone. Another week went by and I attended a small gathering/tribute for my friend. It took me about a year to stop beating myself up over it.”