Over the weekend I finished reading Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, a funny novel about a family sitting shiva for their recently deceased father. It’s really a book about familial relationships–marriage, siblings, parents–but this passage, about the friends the narrator shared with his wife, from whom he is now separated, really stood out to me:
It’s a sad moment when you come to understand how truly replaceable you are. Friendship in the suburbs is wife-driven, and my friends were essentially those husbands of Jen’s friends that I could most tolerate. Now that I’d been sidelined, Wade had stepped in for me like an understudy, a small note was inserted into the program, and the show went on without missing a beat.
This is an interesting idea, that friendship between men might be driven by wives. I wonder if what Tropper writes is true—if married men have their wives to thank for many of their friendships, or that “wife-driven friendships” are actually more common in the suburbs than a city.
I do believe that wife-driven friendships happen. Husband-driven friendships too. And I’m sure that when a couple breaks up, those friendships fade quickly. I’ve often heard women tell me they lost friends in their divorce, and as a city-dweller myself, I see it happen in Chicago all the time. But I can imagine how it might be more prevalent in the suburbs, where maybe it’s tougher to meet new people. I don’t know, I haven’t lived in a suburb since I was 18.
So you tell me: Are friendships of married men often wife-driven? What about husband-driven friendships? Are they less common? And does it happen more often in the suburbs? Chime in!