In an ideal world, your partner and your best friend’s partner immediately hit it off, and the four of you become your go-to group for hangouts and events. If you love your partner, your best friend and theirs partner should feel the same way, right? As many of us know, that perfect scenario doesn’t always go according to plan. As much as you may hope they do,
your partner and your best friend’s partner sometimes just don’t get along.
When this complicated situation arises, it can be difficult to maintain solid and supportive relationships with both your partner and your best friend. But that’s not to say it’s impossible. “If you [and your best friend] are both mature and purposeful, it can work out,”
David and Jonathan Bennett, dating and relationship experts with Double Trust Dating, tell Bustle. Rather than approaching the situation with an expectation for the worst outcome, it’s important to remember that there are steps you can take to keep the peace between you, your partner, your best friend, and their partner.
Here are seven tips on what to do if your partner doesn’t get along with your best friend’s partner, according to experts.
1 Talk To Your Partner And Best Friend Separately
The first person you should talk to if this situation arises, according to
Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist, and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, is your partner . Since it could be difficult to tell your best friend that your partner doesn’t like their partner, especially if your best friend really likes their companion, it’s helpful to sit down with your partner first and gain a greater understanding of the extent of the problem.
Once you evaluate the situation with your partner, you can raise the issue with your best friend. That said, it’s important to remain
transparent with both people. “Don't go behind your partner's back and plan a bunch of secret things to get everyone to get along,” the Bennetts say. “That will just make things worse.” 2 Isolate What Bothers Your Partner About Your Best Friend’s Partner
When you speak with your partner, you should
ask questions that allow you to narrow down their dislike to a few key issues. “Understand the details and get specific,” Klapow says. “What don’t they like? What situations? Is it your best friend’s partner only, or is it a dynamic between your best friend and their partner?”
If you can identify the situations and interactions that most consistently bother your partner, it will be easier to actively avoid those scenarios and set your partner up for more positive exchanges with your best friend and their partner.
3 Ask Your Best Friend How Their Partner Feels About Your Partner
After gaining a complete understanding of your partner’s feelings, you should ask your best friend how their partner feels about your partner. “Is this a
one-sided situation? Does your best friend’s partner think they get along with your partner?” Klapow asks.
Just as you should talk to your partner to understand their side of the story, your best friend should also talk to their partner to “figure out what might be the problem,” the Bennetts add.
By grasping each person’s view of the situation, you can determine the most productive way to proceed and preserve your relationships.
4 Decide On A Compromise
If it becomes clear that both partners dislike each other, it’s time to go into
compromise mode. You and your best friend should independently ask your partners strategic questions to decide the extent of their willingness to cooperate.
Klapow recommends finding out how much they dislike each other and whether they're willing to be in the same room with one another.
The answers to the questions will inform your next move, clarifying whether you can push your partner to tolerate your best friend’s partner in controlled situations or not.
5 Allow Time For Your Partner To Evolve
While the situation may immediately lend itself to compromise, in some cases, it may be best to keep your partner and your best friend’s partner apart for the time being. “Let it go for a while,” the Bennetts say. “Putting pressure on your partner to get along with someone will only make them like the other person less and strain your romantic relationship with them.”
This can be a tough situation to come to terms with, so you should also remind yourself that
people can change. “Your relationship with your partner and best friend are going to change over time,” Klapow says. “Your partner’s relationship with your best friend’s partner can change, too.”
Just because these two people don’t get along now doesn’t mean they will always remain that way.
6 Reintroduce Your Partners In A Low-Pressure Environment
Once time passes and the dislike between the two partners becomes a distant memory, you may want to reintroduce the pair in a more conducive environment.
“It's possible during the first meeting there were factors that created problems,” the Bennetts say. “Try a
low-pressure second meeting.”
This means arranging a casual hangout where there’s no pressure for either party to act in a certain way. Rather, allow your partner and your best friend’s partner to organically reconnect and hopefully see each other in a new light.
7 Remain Committed To Your Friendship
Sometimes, taking these steps will work out and everyone will learn to get along. Other times, your partner and your best friend’s partner just won’t see eye-to-eye. Either way, it’s important to remain committed to your relationship with your best friend.
“There is no rule that says you have to hang out with a best friend only in a couples’ situation,” the Bennetts say. “In fact, having close friends and hanging out with them without your partner there is
Your partner and your best friend are two of the most important people in your social circle. While there’s no doubt that it can be draining to navigate a situation where your partner and your best friend’s partner don’t get along, there are still ways to maintain healthy relationships with these key players in your life.
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