How to Deal If You Don't Like Your Friends Significant Other
You've been BFFs since high school, so by now you're practically sisters. You talk and text multiple times a day and have weathered all of life's ups and downs together, including the hookups, breakups and shacking up. You have what some might call an “until death does you part" friendship.
But there's just one thing standing in your way: her main squeeze. He completely rubs you the wrong way and no matter how hard you try, you have yet to find a redeeming quality that outweighs all the negatives. You've always been on the same wavelength, but you just can't see what she sees in him. Unfortunately, it's looking like he may be here to stay. So what do you do when your best friend finds “Mr. Right," but he doesn't seem quite right to you?
Give Him a Chance
For the sake of your friendship, give the guy a chance (or a few chances). If your friend loves him, he probably has charms that just aren't readily apparent to you. Perhaps he's slow to warm up to people or maybe he's nervous because he knows how much your opinion matters to your friend. Give your relationship with him time to grow. Who knows? You may even start to like the guy. So don't write him off because of a few jerky comments or one awkward dinner. Give him more chances than you normally would, because he's important to your friend, and she's important to you.
Make Sure You Aren't Just Jealous
It's hard not to feel a little jealous or even betrayed when someone else becomes the most important person in your best friend's life, and you don't see her or hear from her as often. So while it's natural to hate the person you feel is coming between you, try to be happy for her -- just like she was happy for you when you found your Prince Charming. But if you're really hurt and feel like you've been completely pushed aside, talk to your friend -- instead of unfairly blaming her new man. Sorry, but unless we're talking about Spencer Pratt, men just don't devise evil plots to split two friends apart. (Hey, there's a movie called Mean Girls -- not boys.)
Work Around Him
If in the end you decide you simply can't stomach the dude, it doesn't mean your friendship is doomed. Just spend time with your friend sans significant others. Plan girls' nights out and avoid hanging out at their place when he's there. And when she does insist on bringing him along, invite a few other couples to join you, so you can easily avoid spending too much time around him.
Respect Her Choice
He may not be your idea of the perfect mate, but he's hers. If she's happy with him (and he's not mistreating her or placing her in any physical or emotional danger), your opinions are pretty peripheral. So bite your tongue and be a good friend.
Throw Her a Life Preserver
But if you genuinely think he's bad for your friend and you can give her reasons why (like evidence he's cheating), then you have every right to tell her how you really feel -- and to keep repeating your feelings until she's ready to listen. If she doesn't come around at first and chooses to learn the hard way, be there to pick her up when she realizes the truth. Remember love blinds us sometimes, and come on, you'd want her to do the same for you. If you think her relationship is endangering her health or emotional well-being, do whatever you have to do to help your friend, whether that means getting her parents (or other family members) involved or staging an intervention with a few other close friends who can back you up. It's okay to be judgmental when the stakes are high and the problem is serious.
Diversify Your Own Friendships
As people's lives change, so do their friendships. If this guy has thrown a kink in your relationship with your friend, you may need to give your friendship some space to breathe for a while. But that doesn't mean you have to cut off all communication and start mourning your “ex-BFF." All relationships have their ebbs and flows, so yours may eventually boomerang back to the way it was before (or she may dump the dude). And in the meantime, don't forget that you have plenty of other relationships to be thankful for, including the one with your significant other (remember him?) and yourself.
Nestpert: Irene S. Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend (TheFriendshipBlog.com).