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The Backup: Real-Life Marriage Pacts Gone Wrong…And Right

J. Hunter

We’ve all seen that episode where two main characters in a TV show have a moment and make a pact to marry each other by a certain age if they’re both single. First taken as a joke, the show ultimately ends with them getting together after many years. But it’s not just the stuff of TV shows—sometimes, real people actually make these types of pacts and follow through with them. Whether it be an unspoken love, rekindled love, or simply a business agreement for tax reasons, real people share the happy or unhappy endings days, months, or years, after they made a promise with their best friends to get married by a certain age.


1. Nobody Else but You

I dated my first girlfriend when we were about 17-19. Then she broke up with me, but we had said such a thing before while we were still dating. We both had a few boy/girlfriends over the years, but about 15 years later we met again and essentially said, “I really didn’t find anyone with whom I felt like I did with you.” But it wasn’t with resignation; it was more of an epiphany.

We started dating again, and married soon after. And couldn’t be happier.

herbys

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2. Sign Here

We left our spouses around the same time—not for each other—and decided to share a house. We got to talking one night and decided we each had all the things the other was looking for, plus we got along really well. We were in our mid-30s by then and sick of the dating scene, so we just laid it out like a business arrangement—but I never could’ve predicted what it would turn into.

What started off as an “arrangement” eventually evolved into something extremely serious and passionate. We’ve been together now for almost seven years and married for almost one. We are extremely in love and I have zero regrets.

1throw9away79

3. Instant Message Received

We were friends through high school and went to college apart. Using IM one night, we were chatting. She just had a bad break up and I was striking out. I said let’s get married if we’re single at 30. She posted on Facebook that she was single one week after her birthday. My birthday was a week later and I sent, “Gee, we’re supposed to get married soon. We better go on a date.” Married seven years and one kid so far.

Kdj2j2

4. It Only Takes a Spark

When we were 19, we joked that we should get married if we’re both 35 and single. Two years later, I came home for a week from college, we hung out in our normal friend group, and she and I hooked up for the first time. We ended up starting a relationship, got married when we were 27, and are still together at 30.

iNeedScissorsSixty7

5. A Relationship Has Risen

We had dated in high school and into college for four years. Life just kind of made us go separate ways (like, countries apart). We would occasionally keep in touch throughout our early 20s. Both of us went through multiple bad relationships and made a joke that if we were both single by 30, we would get married. He came home for Easter one year and asked me to go on a date for old time’s sake.

Well, we made it about five minutes into the date before we remembered how much we were missing out on with each other and what we had had. Got married the following year! Now we’re five years in with a three-year-old and sitting on the couch, debating who should post this story.

mkgordo

6. A Bit of a Leap

My grandma had jokingly said she’d ask some guy she knew to marry her the next leap year if they were both single. When it became apparent that this guy was actually expecting this to happen, she asked my grandpa to marry her instead.

Sugarnspice44

7. Thanks to Elvis Presley

I met her in high school, we grew apart over the years, we reconnected and said, “Let’s get married if we’re both single when we’re 40.” Then we said, “Screw it, let’s go to Vegas and get married by Elvis.” Our first kiss was Thanksgiving Day and we were married in December. We’re still going strong after seven years! Longest relationship I’ve been in, best decision of my life!

alexmunse

8. When Stars Align

We were both never single at the same time, but always best friends. Made a pact in high school that, if at 30 we’re both single, we’d get married. We stayed friends after graduation. And at 25 we started hanging out more and more. We fell deeply in love, and on our 30th birthday—yes, we have the same birthday—we were married. Life couldn’t be better!

tightnrain

9. I’ll Be Waiting

I had this agreement with a good friend who lived across the country to be each other’s fall back plan when we both turned 30. Whenever we were both single, we would be on the phone together basically all day. However, when one or both of us was dating someone we would fall out of close contact. This went on for a few years.

After a bad breakup for me, he said that he was coming to my part of the country for Christmas to visit family and that maybe we should not date other people between now (September) and then. After that, there was no question of not being together even before he actually arrived at Christmas. That was almost 15 years ago. This year is our tenth wedding anniversary and we have two boys.

sblade77

10. Pretty Cheesy

My wife and I went to high school together and never dated. We were movie buddies and I had a little crush on her. We did make out one time at a party. I was a year ahead of her, and right before I graduated, we made a pact to marry each other if we were single in the distant future, can’t remember what that date was, but…

Fast forward 20 years. We reconnected on social media and two years later we were married. About five years later we were going through some boxes and I found a photo of her from 1987 with a note written on the back saying how she can’t wait until our wedding day. We had both forgotten about the pact until we found the picture.

Then about six months ago, my parents cleaned out their attic and gave me a box full of stuff they saved. Inside was a note from my ex in high school and in the ramblings of teenage angst she mentioned that she had a vision of my now-wife and I together. Odd for an ex to say but we had a good laugh about that. Tomorrow is our 12th anniversary. Thanks for letting us walk down memory lane for our anniversary.

shadattack

11. Switching Zones

I knew he had a crush on me for a while, but I wanted to be on my own for a few years. I didn’t believe in love at the time and was against it due to childhood trauma. I told him one day that we should get married if we were still single by 35 and he said he was down. After a while, I realized that he was the one that was always there for me/did right by me/showed up/would leave food and giant bouquets of my favorite flowers on my doorstep/icky romantic stuff/etc. I could go on.

There was no doubt in my mind then that he would treat me right. One day, I decided to spend the night and I haven’t slept a single night without him since. I’ve become immune to his loud, incessant gas-passing, we’ve gone full weird on each other, we finish each other’s sentences, and we can’t wait to pop some babies out. This man was not only friend-zoned, he was bro-zoned.

Now, I want 10 of his babies and can’t imagine my life without him. This thread helped remind me I could’ve missed out on something great like this had I not given it a chance.

Vyxs

12. No Expiration Date

I met a girl when we were around 22 and we ended up moving in together. The relationship lasted a year and a half before falling apart because we were young and dumb and didn’t know how to safely communicate our feelings. We stayed friends and at some point over the following years, we made a pact that if we were both single by the time we reached 40, we’d marry each other.

When I hit 40, I was married to a different woman so the pact went unfulfilled. That marriage didn’t even survive for three years and I’m now nearly 50 and planning my second marriage. This time to the girl I met 28ish years ago. Does it still count if we fulfill the pact 10 years later than originally planned?

Punchclops

13. Girl Code

My best friend of 10 years said to me one day in a group conversation that if we weren’t with anyone by the time she was 30 (she was 25 at the time), that we would have to be together. As beautiful as she is, I never ever made a move because I used to date her best friend. I thought the “girl code” would halt my advance.

Sure enough, once she said that, I was like, “Hold up, she’s possibly into me?!” I made the move! Six months after that conversation, we got married. It was a fairly easy transition. Currently married for three years with two children. I’m loving every moment of it.

BioKlean911

14. Travel Buddies

I had this with a girl I “kind of” dated years ago. I’ll call her “M.” We were able to travel some together, always got along, but we weren’t official. We eventually went our separate ways for “life reasons” and made this deal for age 60. Not as cute and romantic as most stories here, but the idea was, “We travel well together, and I could get old with you.” Little did I know what the years would bring.

Fast forward 13 years of only sporadic contact. I was getting divorced and M was in a four-year relationship. We live in different states now but start talking again on the phone and become good friends. I get into a relationship with a new person I fall head over heels, crazy in love with. About six months into that, M’s relationship ends.

My relationship starts slowly turning south. Turns out my new love has a personality disorder. I had never heard of it, but it is really hard to maintain a relationship after the “honeymoon phase” with someone who has it. Over the next year, it goes from my best relationship to my worst, and collapses in spectacular fashion. M is my confidant through this. Just a friendly ear. Never inappropriate.

I was pretty brokenhearted. I had a birthday trip to Europe planned that I had wanted to take with my now-ex. I decide to go alone. Two weeks before the trip, I was texting M and jokingly said, “You could tag along if you’re not busy.” She said, “Yes. I want to come,” in possibly the fastest reply I’ve ever gotten.

We kind of sheepishly agreed we should swap selfies. That was a funny convo…it had been a long time since we’d seen each other. She was just as beautiful as I remembered. Apparently, I also “passed” the selfie test and she bought herself a ticket. We flew separately. The first time we saw each other, in almost 15 years, was when she hopped in my rental car at an airport 4,000 miles from home.

We had the most wonderful time. We never talked about if the trip was “just friends” or not. Just went with it. It turned romantic the second night. We talked on the phone when we got back and she said, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait for 60. I think we should explore this now.” I agreed. That was four months ago.

We talk every day and I’ve gone to see her three times. She has a job interview in my city soon and is coming to spend the whole week. We’re in our early 40s now. Life is crazy.

relativex

15. You’re the One that I Want

We dated in college and broke up over something stupid. Then for the next decade we were never both single at the same time for long and things didn’t time out well when we were both unattached. We never explicitly said it’d be marriage if we were both single at 40 but that’s because neither of us believed in the institution for long.

And I guess it doesn’t entirely count because at 35 I just woke up one morning, 2.5 years into an otherwise successful relationship, and said, “Nope, this is garbage, I’m with the wrong person,” and without even consulting my future wife I broke it off with the present girlfriend, called future wife and was like, “Look, I know what I want and it’s you.” So maybe my case doesn’t qualify because we actually happened to be in love without admitting it.

limprichard

16. And They Were Roommates

A couple of friends from high school made such a pledge, I believe “…by the time we’re 35…” He always had a crush on her. She was always interested in other guys and straight-up said she’d settle for him if no other takers. They moved in together, as “roommates,” in their late 20s, had an awkward hookup one night a few years later. And a few years after that they were basically a couple though she insisted they weren’t.

At 35, I asked him if they were finally official. His answer was bizarre yet hilarious. He told me, “She says she just uses me for her lady needs, but I asked her once how she’d feel about me dating someone else. She told me to feel free to date anyone I want if I’m okay with getting something cut off in my sleep. So yeah, I’d say we’re official!”

michaelsiemsen

17. Fate of the Festival

My aunt met a friend a long time ago at a festival and always said I’m never going to marry someone and he thought the same, so they said “if we ever meet again.” Years later, they both saw each other at the same festival again and now they’ve been married for a little over a year.

anonymousdutchperson

18. A Thor-ny Ending

We were friends since we were 15. We said, “If neither of us are married when we’re 28…” We got engaged when he turned 28, six months before I did. We had just gotten done with a nighttime geocache. It was like 3 AM and our friend was in the car with us. He was driving, I was in the backseat, with the friend sitting up front. He mentioned the agreement. I literally said, “I mean… your birthday is tomorrow. Why not?” So, we bought rings and announced it to family and friends.

It did not go well. Neither the announcement(s) nor the engagement itself. I moved out and broke off the engagement within four months. We were meant to be best friends. We were NOT meant to cohabitate. He didn’t even seem to care when I sat him down to talk about it. He wouldn’t even turn off Thor. His parents were devastated and mine were relieved. He and I went right back to being friends as though nothing happened.

Songs4Soulsma

19. Lifesaving Techniques

Three years ago, I was married to someone else. I’d known my friend for 17 years and we kept “missing” each other. She was at my first wedding. We always stayed friends. Her boyfriend got rough with her and she was miserable. He was a deadbeat. I was miserable with a very grumpy wife that cared less for my ambitions than her domestic ideals.

I drove to my hometown, helped her pack her stuff, left my wife, and followed her to her new place, and married her last year. We had a couple of those agreements—30, 35, 40, “childbearing age.” She’s amazing and I can’t believe that I’m the person who gets to treat her the way she deserves.

onlyhereforalittlebt

20. All You Got

I’m engaged to my “backup husband”—although I guess we were technically engaged from the moment we made the pact. My fiancé Adam and I made the pact in January or February of 2011. I was in a crappy relationship and he was my sister’s handsome roommate who was recently single. We became friends and I jokingly told him, because of my bad relationship, that he could be my backup husband.

Adam responded, “I’ll be your backup husband, but you’re not my backup wife. Right now, I don’t have anybody to marry me so you’re all I’ve got.” That freaked me out. But eventually, my boyfriend broke up with me and I started to fall in love with my sister’s roommate. Now we’ve been together for 21 months, and are actually, for real engaged!!! ????

kennacoconut

21. Not Kidding

My best friend and his girlfriend had been dating for several years. I didn’t know that they were having problems, but when I asked why he hadn’t proposed, I told her, jokingly, remember, if he didn’t marry her in a year, I would. We were friends, never dated, never kissed, nothing. One year later we were walking down the aisle. I can’t stress how big of a surprise it was for both of us when we got together.

That was two kids and almost 24 years ago. Our oldest starts college this fall. Best thing is, we’re the way we were when we were just friends, being married hasn’t changed much.

emmettfitz

22. Best Friends for Life

It kind of unintentionally happened like that. We never really outright said, “if we are single in X years, we should get together/get married,” but it worked out that way. I met him when I was 19 and he was 27, thought he was an egotistical tool. He thought I was a weird, angry little goth chick. Neither of us were wrong about the other. Both of us resolved never to be around one another if we could help it.

Ten-ish years later, I start hanging out at the bar he bartended at. We’d both emotionally matured a bit and started to become friends. We both were also dating other people. Five years after that, we were basically inseparable. Best friends. We did almost everything together and dragged our respective partners along. Still didn’t dawn on either of us that we would ever date because we both were in serious long-term relationships. We were basically fine with just being BFFs.

Last year, his wife asked him for a divorce and I broke up with my partner of 10 years a short while later. He moved in with me. Took about six months before it dawned on us that we had fallen in love years ago and could now do something about it. We are ridiculously, disgustingly happy. Marriage is going to happen as soon as his divorce is finalized.

kittydentures

23. Time Stood Still

We fell in love in 94. I was 18, she was 15. I told her we should get married when I come home. I went to war, time and distance compounded and we both got married a few times to others. I just made it back to her 100 days ago. Now were 42 and 39 respectively and I knew what I knew then. I love this girl like in the movies and time stood still for that.

ghoastel

24. What a Name

In 2013, I messaged this girl on Facebook because I thought she was cute and we hit it off quite well. I have a pretty quirky last name, and her reaction was amazing. She said, “OMG, let’s get married so I can have your last name.” Anyway, seven years later that same girl is now my wife sleeping peacefully beside me and I could not be happier.

probandaidputeroner

25. Love Always Finds Its Way

My friend’s great grandmother met her great grandfather when they were 10 years old and she says she fell in love the instant they met! 10 years old, can you believe it!? They spent every single day together for eight years until he went off to the army and she vowed to wait for him for the rest of her life and beyond. He joked and told her, “Just wait until you’re 40.”

They laughed about it—but their laughter would soon turn to tears. He never came home and she was inconsolable for years. He was her true soulmate. She moved around a bit but she never dated and never married. She received a letter when she was 39 with no return address that only said one sentence: “Thank you for waiting for me.”

He showed up in her town the next day with a single yellow rose. He had been injured in combat and sent to a few different hospitals and ended up staying in country with no way to reach her, and she moved around as well so they lost contact. She had four children including my mother after they were reunited. It’s my favorite love story!

MightyJoSlim

26. Bye Becky

We met in the late 80s. I was a stylist and he was a client of mine. We became friends. He was the nicest person I’ve met. It was like I was choosing a family member. We joked that if neither of us are married by the time we’re 40, then we’ll do the deed. We stayed friends and when my roommate moved out, he moved in.

We dated other people for about two years until “Becky” started hitting on him. And I didn’t like that at all. So, I told him, “I don’t want you dating Becky or any other gal. Except me.” Then we lived together happily for another 15 years. We were past 40 then so we said we’ll get married when gay folks could also get married in our state.

Well that happened, and his pension grew and he was worried I wouldn’t get it. So, we got married. It was supposed to be transactional but when the judge was doing the ceremony, it was actually awesome. We both felt like we were levitating about six inches off the floor.

whatwouldbuddhadrive

27. Florida Keys to Your Heart

We met when I was 20 in Alaska while he was working on his PhD. Over the years we traveled to many places together and maintained contact almost always. We both went through different relationships at different times. Obviously, they didn’t pan out. I had a life in the lower 48 helping out the family and Mike was perusing his career back in London where he is from. Understanding we had geographical issues, we left well enough alone.

Then, one year, when we were traveling around Colombia on holiday the question surfaced, “If, when you’re 30 and you haven’t settled down, assuming I haven’t either, would you want to have a life with me here back in London?” to which I jokingly said, “Wasn’t that always the plan?” But sadly, it couldn’t be that easy. At the time I was 26 and needed back home in the States and had no business living abroad. My father had CHF and time with him was very precious to me. When he passed, dark times followed.

The following year, Mike and I had planned to bring the new year in together. We promised each other that the coming year was going to be the best year yet, as most friends naturally do. We were in the Florida Keys on December 31st when he asked me to marry him. Without hesitation I said, “I thought you’d never ask! YES!” And it was at that moment the conversation we had four years before was recalled.

I would be lying if I said marrying him was never in the back of my mind when I was younger, but I never would have thought we would have as wonderful a life together as we do. If there is anything worth taking away from this story, it’s that love is very patient and worth the wait.

toklatfish

28. Not Just a Silly Deal

I was casual with a guy who was my really close friend. We were drinking one night and being silly and made a deal that if we were both single in five years, we’d get married because why not. He got in a relationship with someone else soon after this and I dated around. When he and his girlfriend broke up, we got together properly and our wedding was five years to the month after we had made the joke.

PoisonAlii

29. No Time to Waste

I really had a crush on her then, but we grew apart after graduation. We went to different colleges. She got pregnant and eventually moved home to finish school. I went to our hometown college, but was more interested in drinking and womanizing than anything else. 11 years later, she’s at my office as a witness in a case in January. Before I knew what happened, I was falling.

We schedule a date in March, fall in love in April, get engaged in May, and married in June. It was quick, but every single piece of it felt right. I’ve had my fair share of bad or meaningless relationships, but I realized what true selfless love was when we reunited and got to know one another. Now we’re a happy family of six!

Non_Sub_Homine

30. And Then There Were Two

I didn’t make the pact directly but I married the guy who was asked to make a pact with another girl. At 19 I was really good friends with two guys and one of them was friends with another girl, let’s call her Kelly. One guy, let’s call him Kyle, kept asking me out for a year and a half and I didn’t want to ruin the friendship.

He chalked it up to me needing time and that I would eventually fall in love with him as “Friends marry each other all the time.” At the same time the other male friend, let’s call him Rob, was asked by his female friend Kelly to enter into the “If we’re single at 30 let’s get married” pact, to which he politely declined.

I had a couple horrible relationships and swear off dating until I’m 22. That year, in a private conversation with Rob. He makes a bet I won’t be single by the holidays, which were in two months. After I was in a vulnerable situation, in which he graciously rescued me like a knight in shining armor, he professed his love. I felt a spark I had never felt.

We started dating at 20, lost the two common friends, and got married at 26 and have been married over five years. I never believed in soul mates but man oh man it’s hard not to sometimes.

throwaway334455667

31. In a Moment, Everything Changed

My husband and I became best friends when I was 24 and he was 21. We spent so much time together and we both had a hard time finding someone worth dating but there was no way we were going to date each other. He randomly told me that if I wasn’t married by the time I turned 30, he’d marry me. I agreed. We were both joking.

We ended up going separate ways for a while because of life, but five years later our schedules allowed us to hang out again. We literally woke up one day and everything was different. Started dating a month later and immediately realized that we should have been together all along. We accidentally kept our pact because we were engaged by my 30th birthday and married a few months later. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

littlebittyoctober

32. Rough Start

My best friend and I met in 2016 when I took over the job he left, which was a management trainee program. I was engaged to be married and in a rough relationship and he was also in a rough relationship. He didn’t know mine was rough because I didn’t talk about it and I didn’t know that his relationship was rough for the same reason.

New Years’ Eve 2017, I hadn’t seen him since August and he said, “Where have you been all my life, and will you just marry me already?” I was having an especially bad time as my fiancé at the time walked out on his job, we were arguing via text about something incredibly stupid, and I was the only one providing for our home while going to school full-time. I said, “With the way things are going right now I may take you up on that.”

He joked he would be the “fill-in” at my wedding if anything happened since I’d already paid all that money and I told him I was sorry I was mad that night but if I ever have a second husband, he was a shoo-in. He laughed and said he’d happily take me up on that offer. Neither of us took it terribly seriously, we stayed good friends. Fast forward a bit, I got married, he and his girlfriend broke up.

Within two months of being married, I was separated from my then-husband because of his bipolar disorder running rampant. He was unmedicated for months, he tried to fight my cousin for “not helping us move the right way,” he lost his mind and showed his real self to my family and not long later we were divorced.

I was sad and embarrassed. In this whole thing, I found out my best friend’s house was two doors down from the house I had just bought with my ex. When I saw him after everything happened, I semi-jokingly asked him if he still wanted to be my next husband and he said he absolutely would. We started dating September 1st, 2018 and we’re getting married this November.

caseynavarro

33. Unavoidable Love

My girlfriend and I joked about this in university before we were together. One day she just said, “Can we do that when we’re 30 instead of 40?” And I knew what’s up. Now we’ve been happy together for more than three years. Marriage unavoidable in the near future. She’s the one.

BehavioralProcrast

34. Only Time Can Tell

I was married to a man and being a female in a male-dominated progression, I was into a lot of stuff they were. PC gaming, specifically. So, I became “one of the guys,” in his group of 5-6 guys who have been friends since high school. They’re all 35ish now. I bonded with one of his friends as he was a cop, and since I’m a firefighter, we talked a lot of first responder stuff.

He and I became best friends in the truest sense. We could talk about anything. He was the best man in my wedding. He’d help me with relationship advice as he’d known my husband for almost two decades. He’d never had a serious relationship and was still a virgin. I never told him I knew the second half part but I’d often joke that if he made it to his 30s in the same situation, I’d just leave my husband and marry him because we know we both hate the same things so clearly soulmates. It was never a serious thing as I was happily married. For a while…

My marriage started to tank as my spouse started to turn the verbal assault to physical. We have two kids and he even progressed to hitting me in front of them. I finally told my best friend who was livid. I began to spend a lot of time at his house as a safe spot when my husband would get bad. I began to develop serious feelings for him as I’d lost all of them that I had ever had for my husband the second he hit me. My friend was helping me slowly save money and plan getting my own place.

I finally told him how I felt. He told me he knew I did but he didn’t think he’d ever love me like that as I was his best friend and nothing more. It hurt but it didn’t change our friendship. I finally left my husband for good. I had my own place and a real divorce. A year or so of spending pretty much all our free time together because we both worked crazy hours but the same hours, I could tell things were changing.

One day, he kissed me. I just stood there, almost in shock, as I never knew they had changed THAT much. But it made me incredibly happy. He admitted he was in love with me and probably had been a while and he stupid to realize. We got married a year later. When he was 31. Promise fulfilled, even if I didn’t actually mean it when I jokingly made it. Four years later, and I know he is my true soulmate.

WonderishWoman

35. Testing the Waters

We met when we were 11 and were friends for years. We made a pact when we were 20 that we’d get married if neither of us were married by 31—giving ourselves that one year in our 30s, ha. It turns out just that discussion alone got our wheels turning and we started dating by the next year. We’ve now been together for 10 years, married for three years, and had our daughter six months ago. I think the “pact” was us testing the waters a bit before we dove in.

Humhum5

36. How About Now?

It started off as an honest joke. We set 30 as the age when we were 21. We kept lowering the age to see how far we could take the joke. One night we both realized how weird it would be to be married to someone else and still be best friends with each other. It turns out we couldn’t imagine anyone else we would give up our close friendship for.

So, the age moved down to 21 and we decided we better get cracking on wedding plans. We never dated, just went straight from best friends to partners for life. We have been married 13 years and no matter how hard things get, we have always been best friends. Neither of us would trade it for the world.

twofedoras

37. Back Up Plan

I am soon to marry my version of a “back up plan.” We’ve known each other since the sixth grade, became sort of weird friends in high school. We were friends with different cliques and circles, so while we were friends, we would occasionally for public opinion be mean to each other. I was at the time super obsessed with this girl who I thought I loved. That girl and I had been in a really odd relationship, mostly due to her being a Christian fundamentalist.

Fast forward. Senior year it’s prom time. Fundie girl, who I was still quite obsessed with, and I had hit the rocks like a week before prom. All the while, I knew my “back-up plan” had been wanting to go with me. I had blown her off repeatedly. While I wasn’t surprised at the time, to this day I still can’t believe she agreed to go with me when I came with my tail between my legs. We went to prom, had a decent time though it was still overshadowed by the obvious air of “you’re my second choice.”

Fast forward some more. I’m in my early 20s now. High school has ended, we sort of lost touch. She married a guy she met, mostly to get away from her crazy parents—but there was a terrible dark side. He was abusive crazy Marine, and they ended up having a kid. The marriage failed. She moved home, we went on a few dates here and there nothing super serious ever. I knew she still loved me, had all along, but at the time she was a new mother, I was still young and dumb, it just wouldn’t have worked and she knew it.

Fast forward again, we’re in our mid-20s now. We reconnect, real casual at first, then it starts to get more serious real quick. I would think this as odd, but we’ve dated before and known each other practically our whole lives. She’s been living with her parents and now her young son. Parents are still crazy, but she’s kind of trapped.

One night about a month into dating, it really hits the fan with them. She comes over late at night, with kid, all upset. We had to figure out a plan, going back clearly wasn’t going to work. I put her and kid up in nice hotel for a little bit, kicked out the lecherous roommates, and moved her and kid in. I honestly didn’t know how it would play out at the time. I cared for her for sure, even loved her, but moving someone in with you (with kid, too) is not an easy thing especially after such a short time.

Fast forward three years, we’re pushing 30 now. We lived happily together this whole time and always found mature ways to settle any differences while being the best parents we know how to be. I’ve become “dad” though kiddo knows I’m not biological. I couldn’t be happier, she’s arguably the best thing to happen to me. I love her so much and she loves me more. We still joke to this day about the whole “back-up plan.” And we keep a prom picture on our nightstand.

throwawaymiazda

38. Love You Always

I dated my husband during high school for about a month. After that, he maintained that he loved me and wanted to be with me, but I was head over heels for another guy. When I was in my second year of college and single again, he came back into my life. We were sort of not really dating at that time, and my life was pretty much going all wrong. I was failing out of college and was suffering from uncontrolled depression.

After we had been hanging out for a couple of weeks, he had to go to boot camp because he had joined the navy, this was in May. For the next year, he was gone and in training. In July he proposed, October we were married, and by March I was moving across the country and leaving home for the first time. Over the course of one year, this guy who had been my best friend and stuck by me for years even though I didn’t want him (I’m talking ultimate friendzone situation) saved me from myself and offered me a way out.

We hurried the marriage so I could get insured so I could get treated. I think my intentions were selfish, because I was in such bad shape, I was hoping to have a better life with him in a new place, but I did love him. Since then my love for him as my best friend has grown into a truer love that has bonded us beyond anything I expected.

It’ll be seven years in October, and though it’s been hard sometimes I truly think that this is where I’m meant to be, and I’m very happy. I think the way we started is preferable to obsession, intoxication, and all the other things that come with relationships that wear off eventually.

Permalink

39. Broke the Pact

We’re not married yet, but have a kid. This all takes place over the course of a decade. We met at work, when he was 16, and I was 18. He always had a crush on me, but I never felt anything other than friendship. So, we jokingly made a pact that when I turned 30 – because that was a million years away!— and if we were both single, we would get married.

Life progressed with our friendship and various dating partners between us. We lost contact here and there, we quit working together, he had multiple girlfriends who hated me, because of his crush—I was oblivious. I had a couple of boyfriends, some great, some not so. I regret what happened next, but it is what it is.

My previous boyfriend and I were very serious. We were engaged and had actually bought a house together. I should have opened my mouth and said I wasn’t ready, but I didn’t. I happened to go to a birthday party for my friend’s daughter—my old friend who I hadn’t talked to in forever was there. We started talking again, then texting, then yadda yadda yadda. My fiancé found out and I moved out, we sold the house, don’t speak anymore, and I started dating my friend. I don’t regret that we started seeing one another, just that I was a bad girlfriend about how we got there.

We’re now engaged and have a beautiful eight-month-old girl. Life’s a funny thing. If you had told me this was going to be my future 10 years ago, I would have laughed at you. Now I’m so thankful.

Yorissa

40. Online Status

Long-distance prohibited an actual relationship at the time. We dated others but stayed in contact over the years. On her 30th birthday, her cousin, whom she used to babysit, offered to find her a husband on the Internet. She posted the statement online. I waited the two weeks and then said, “Well, we’re both 30. I guess we should go out once before getting married.”

11 months later we were married. Our marriage like all marriages has its ups and downs, but I love her like no other. I’m glad I asked.

Kdj2j2

41. Shy Guy

When I transferred high schools, I developed a huge crush on this guy in my chemistry class. I tried flirting with him, but he was way too shy. This led me to go out briefly with his friend (because 17-year-olds are fickle), which led to me becoming “the chick” of the group. After being friends with Shy Guy for a few months, I get the courage to ask him out and he turns me down. Hard.

We remained friends and I went on to date prolifically while he went on to date no one. Fast forward four years, and we’re both single. I was still in love with him, but I figured if he turned me down then he’d turn me down now. He was still shy and couldn’t muster up the courage to ask me out seriously. We were flirting in around about way, neither of us taking the leap of faith to just lay it all out there for the other person.

The marriage pact was just our way of expressing our feelings without really expressing our feelings. It was 2007, and we said that we’d get married in five years if we weren’t dating other people. We started dating in 2009, moved in together in 2010, and started planning our wedding in 2011. Guess when we got married? 2012. We kept our marriage pact.????

rulerwithaspear

42. Your Womanizer

I knew my significant other for about 11 years before we got married. I’m 45 now. We got married when I was 40. I’ve basically known her since I was 29. At 35, I told her if we both not hooked up when I was 40 and she would be 35 then we’d get married. I was a bit of a womanizer in those days and we were really just friends who fooled around a bit nothing serious though. I told her about all my weekend shenanigans and she just laughed.

I was kind of surprised she accepted after only dating for months. At the back of our minds our “pact” was still in play, I guess. As most marriages go, it’s tough going especially since she knew my past. That’s the hardest part—giving up my “ways.” But I’ glad to say I’ve never cheated on her. Wait, I did mess around with another guy in a state of intoxication. I told her and she laughed it off. Five years married now with one beautiful kid. We’re happy!

lasherza

43. A Declaration

We’ve known each other since fifth grade and at some point, in high school agreed to marry each other if we hit 30 without either of us having serious prospects. I ended up being moved across the country my senior year of high school, but we stayed friends. Fast forward to my college roommate’s 21st birthday. I drink too much and call her, like usual.

I tell her I’m sick of all the dumb chicks I’ve been dating, that I’ve always loved her and I don’t want her to be my back up. We start dating, she moves east to be closer to me, we get engaged, and five years later we happily live in the mountains with our two daughters.

irishelcid

44. Sticking Together

I met my wife when we were both five. Our parents went to the same church and we ended up going to the same schools. When she was 16, I took her on her first date as a friend. Senior year was we started dating exclusively. While dating we made the deal that if we ever made it to 25 and were still single, we would give it a shot.

After high school she went to college out of state, so we broke up. She would come back for summers and it was decided that if we weren’t dating anyone we’d hang out. When she was done with college, I drove 3,000 miles to bring her home from school. I had a girlfriend at the time. She started her masters in another city and we remained friends.

At 25 I had just gotten out of a bad relationship. It was so bad that I took a year off from dating to work on myself. On the night of my 26th I was coming out of retirement as it were. I had two girls invited to the party who were eager to break my year-long celibate streak. A friend actually brought a third. So of course, this is when she showed up and laid it down.

She said something along the lines of: “I don’t care about these girls. Have fun, but I’m here and I’m ready. It doesn’t have to start tonight. Let’s give it a try for six months and if it works great, if not we’ll still be friends.” It didn’t start that night. But I politely let the girls know that I wasn’t interested any longer. We got together and reconnected. I asked her to marry me the day she got her masters. She said yes.

We were engaged for a year and a half so that we could time the wedding to happen when most of her family was in town for a family reunion. So, flash forward, we’ve been happily married for 16 years and have three amazing kids. I think this might be working out.

namtam0007

45. Rehabilitating Love

When I was a kid, we got a new neighbor—he was great, had a cute dog, seemed to have his life together, but was chronically single despite his best efforts. Then, we hear some surprising news. He got married, much to everyone’s surprise, because he clearly hadn’t been seeing anyone prior. Turns out he had made a pact to marry his best female friend when they both turned 30, if they weren’t in a relationship, and they followed through.

She was the world’s sweetest person, and really pretty to boot—frankly, everyone was surprised that either of them felt this was necessary to begin with. She’d moved across the country to be with him, so she didn’t have any family nearby and that’s probably partly how we all became so close. Anyhow, they were actually crazy happy together, got another dog, etc. The only thing that seemed “off” was that despite several years of him and her talking about desperately wanting kids, they were still childless. Everyone assumed it was a medical issue.

Then we learned the disturbing truth. While an absolutely fantastic and loving husband when sober, he was terrible after a few drinks. This culminated in her snapping and pulling a knife on him and leaving. They were separated for a few years—during which time neither wanted to explore divorce/other relationships because they still loved each other—and her leaving was definitely the boot he needed to get his rear in gear.

He spent those years in AA, became incredibly involved in his church and community, and spent a lot of effort winning her back/convincing her he’d changed. They’re now together and seemingly happy as ever. We only know all of this because he was super open about his problems with his community, doing some advocacy stuff. He had one brief fall off the wagon, but checked into rehab almost immediately, and has since been doing well. They’ve both decided not to have kids because they’re not sure he could handle the stress and the temptation to start drinking again.

They’ve recently moved to an acreage in a very remote area, so we don’t hear from them as often, but last I heard they were doing really well.

Anne_Anonymous

46. From Across the Dance Floor

We met at a school dance in seventh grade, the day after her 12th birthday. We “dated” for just over three years into 10th grade, then she broke up with me just before Christmas because I was a foolish little boy. Luckily for me, she’s the most kind-hearted, caring person I’ve ever met, and we remained friends despite my general jerk vibe.

We both dated other people through the rest of high school and college and into our mid-20s, and somewhere in there we agreed to get married if we were both single at 35. I’m not sure either of us really meant it, but I do know that we both cared deeply for each other. I had gone south for college while she went north, and neither of us stayed in contact with many people from high school, but we always made a point to catch up once a month.

Then, this past Christmas, almost 11 years to the date that we broke up and the first time we had been single at the same time, she asked if I had ever seriously considered the two of us getting married. A few days prior she sent me a text asking if I wanted to “get together and watch Christmas movies,” which was a bit different from any of her previous invitations to hang out, so I was anticipating (or maybe mostly hoping for) this very conversation.

I had bought her a gift reminiscent of the one I gave her back in seventh grade. I gave her the gift and told her she had always been the most special person in my life. Long story short, that conversation may have saved my life. Over the preceding year, I had become depressed and used drink, amphetamines, and opiates. I opened up to her about all of that, and she accepted me in spite of it.

Two months later, I quit my job, which I hated with every ounce of my being, and I moved to be with her. We’ve lived together for the past four months, I’ve quit all of the nonsense and gotten back on the career path I wanted, and two weeks ago I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I’ve never been happier in my life. We were about eight years early, but I’m not complaining.

OsStrohsNattyBohsHon

47. Friend Zone

She was the loud, popular, social butterfly, I was the awkward sheltered kid. By way of sheer luck and proxy we became very close friends in high school—nearby lockers, nearby seating, I had a car and could drive her home, that sort of thing. Like I’m sure many of you have experienced yourself, I couldn’t not crush on her something fierce, but I obviously wasn’t going to make the move on someone so far out of my league and ruin our friendship.

I forget exactly how the conversation came to be, but at one point she brings up how we should totally get married if we’re both still single by the time we’re 30. Obviously, she’s joking or she’ll find someone way before then, so I sheepishly agree and forget about it. I even set her up with a friend of mine and they were great together. Graduation comes, she moves to the other side of the country (her parents got reassigned), and we effectively drop out of contact like so many other high school friends.

Two years later I make a Facebook profile. We get back in contact and she starts unloading on me about her failing relationship with the guy I set her up with. Apparently, the long-distance wasn’t working too well and he had become distant to the point of outright ignoring her. It sucked and I was disappointed in my friend, but I was happy to hear her voice again and being her shoulder to cry on again works just fine.

But then the conversations get longer. Like, phone calls that last from midnight to six AM and texts first thing in the morning-long. And then she brings the pact back up. And then she tells me the relationship with the friend is effectively dead and she’s tired of waiting for him. And then she says she loves me, she’s always had a thing for me, she just didn’t want to say anything for fear of ruining our friendship.

We were together for three years long-distance, only ever seeing each other during holidays and long breaks before I graduated college and moved across the country to be with her. We’re getting married in October, five full years before the pact would’ve happened. I still like to joke that, since we said “I love you” before even starting the relationship. I’ve never actually dated anyone.

BattleStag17

48. Always Had a Connection

My friend Danny and I made this pact when we were like 12. We went to camp together for a few summers, then tragedy struck. His mom passed and they didn’t come back after that. But we were pen pals for years, real ol’ fashion letters in the mail, and eventually email. Until one day, I’d say we were in our 20s, and he said, “I met someone… and his name is Scott.”

Now I’m married to a lady…so maybe that’s why we got along so well as kids.

meatloaf1212

49. Making the Right Choice

My now-husband and I have been friends since we were about 15. I watched that episode of Friends where they make a pact, so my girlfriends and I went ahead and “chose” one of our guy friends to settle with if we made it to 40 unmarried. I chose my very good friend at the time who even had a serious girlfriend. I knew that even if we weren’t in love, that we’d still have a great time together and that he’d always treat me well.

We started dating about seven years later and have been married for almost two. Didn’t need to wait until 40, but I’m happy we got started early and happy we’re actually in love.

shanksta3

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


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