Change is hard, all around, especially when strong feelings are involved, like when you start a new relationship. In a time of such emotional intensity, it's natural that the people in your life will question their place. That may even amount to dealing with friends who hate your SO. Sometimes it's just jealousy, and sometimes it's because you're love-blind to the fact that you're dating someone who sucks.
When I worked with couples as both a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and a Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I was surprised at how common it was for friendships to be such a sore spot with couples who were having problems. In most cases, it was because friends recognized unhealthy patterns, but toxic friendships also happened. And in some cases, good friends were simply being neglected in the honeymoon stage of a healthy new love.
As you'll realize, the older you get, good friends are hard to find. If there's a solution to fixing things, everybody wins. If there's no way to salvage the friendship, better to confront that fact and let go than to hold onto resentment, hurt, and drama. Try these tips before you write off your friendship.
1. Check Your Partner's Behavior
Anyone can fall into an unhealthy relationship. Unhealthy partners tend to have skills of manipulation, and they can make you feel so special and loved, while cutting you off from the people and things you love. This type of behavior isn't even always done with malice. Sometimes it's a side effect of insecurity from someone who really loves you. That doesn't make it OK. If your friends are protesting your new relationship, you owe it to them to take a hard look at your life and make sure there's no truth to their claims.
2. Check Your Behavior
You have to put your ego aside, and make sure you're not the one to blame. It could be that your friend hates your partner because they're jealous that they don't have as much of your time. Hurt feelings can often be healed. Make sure you're maintaining your individual identity, and nurturing your friendships. If you haven't been the greatest friend, admit it, and talk about how you can make things better. Then ask that your friend respect your relationship by not taking out upset feelings on your partner.
3. Check Your Friend's Behavior
Your friend could just be wrong, and acting out because of jealousy or anger. Or your friend could genuinely not like you partner for reasons that have nothing to do with how they treat you. Some people just don't mesh well, and never get along, for no real, substantial reason. If that's the case, there is little you can do but talk to both your friend and your partner and ask them to respect you by being civil to each other.
4. Communicate Like It's Your Last Day On Earth
You know you have to have that talk with your friend at some point. It's better to do it sooner than later, because the longer you put it off, the more anger, jealousy, hurt, and resentment can surface. If your friend is a true friend, they deserve to be heard. And they owe it to you to hear your side. The drama and crying talk may reveal some hidden emotional truth that lead to solutions. Whether you pave the path to forgiveness or not, it all starts with communication.
5. Set Some Ground Rules
OK. So, your friend hates your SO, and I'm assuming this makes your SO hate your friend, if there isn't already another reason for the discord. You are absolutely allowed to keep your partner and your friend, if both of those relationships are important to you. But what you need to do is lay down the law. Your partner will respect your friend and your time together, and your friend will do the same. More than just time, you need to set ground rules for communication, making plans, and being around each other when your partner is also around. You don't deserve to deal with that negativity.
6. Change Your Roles
If your friend is just straight up cray, and doing nothing but pumping drama into your happy life, it's absolutely OK to say "I'm out," and remove that person from your life. It's also OK to take a step back and give your friend a lesser role in your life. If nothing else, some time and space can give you both a chance to miss each other, get to the heart of your feelings, and revisit your friendship with a clear head.
7. Ask Around
Go to someone wise — a neutral party, if you can. You're going to naturally be a little biased as you tell the details to your mediator, but if you get the same opinions over and over again from people you trust, then it's time to take their advice seriously. For example, if everyone you know says your partner is bad news, there could be some truth there. Likewise, if they all say you're being a crappy friend, accept that maybe it's time to step up your game.
Whether your friends are wrong or right about your SO, communication is key. Talk it out as much as possible, and eventually things will start to seem less stressful.
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