How To Deal With Your Best Friend's Partner That You Don't Like, According To Experts
Nothing makes me happier than when my best friend is living her best life: whether that means finding success at her job, striking a happy chord with her health, or falling madly in love with a new partner. Seeing her smile automatically makes me smile too. So when my best friend started dating someone I didn't think was good enough for her, I had to learn how to cope with a BFF's partner I didn't like real quick.
One summer, after a series of fights, I grew concerned that my BFF'S significant other was taking their insecurities out on her. They broke up briefly, but immediately got back together, seemingly more in love than ever. I didn't want to say anything that might seem unsupportive of her decisions, but I still had my reservations. I had to face the fact that if I wanted her in my life, I'd have to learn to deal with him too.
"No matter what, you need to honor the fact that your friend is an adult," psychotherapist and relationship expert Dr. Gary Brown tells Bustle. "They get to decide who they want in their life."
Here's what else you'll want to keep in mind if you find yourself in a similiar situation:
1. Don't Put Yourself In The Position Of Thirdwheeling
If you know you struggle to get along with you best friend's partner, don't place yourself in a scenario that might lead to a greater argument. "Keep yourself out of the crossfire," Dr. Brown says. Instead of joining them for dinner, suggest to your BFF that the two of you meet for drinks before. You don't need to sacrifice time with her in order to avoid them.
2. Try To Bond Over Something You Both Have in Common
You both care a lot about her, so at least that's one thing! But seriously, if your best friend has fallen for someone, then surely they must have some redeeming qualities. "You have to ask yourself if this is your friend's problem, or your problem," Dr. Brown says.
Learn more about them, past what appears on the surface. Ask questions: What was their favorite band growing up? A food they despise? The more specific the better. "Focus on the positive aspects of the person and see if they grow on you," dating and relationships expert Pella Weisman tells Bustle. You're bound to eventually find common ground.
3. Make 1:1 Time With Your BFF A Priority
In order to ensure that your best friend knows that you love and support her, way more than you loathe her partner, go out of your way to make time for her. "Remember that your friend is your friend during good times and bad," Dr. Brown tells Bustle. "Do your best to let them know that you are available to them, no matter the circumstances."
4. Write Down How You Feel
Instead of imploding and putting your BFF in a difficult position, try keeping a diary or a blog about your feelings. "Before jumping in, do an honest evaluation of why their partner is a problem for you," Dr. Brown says. Writing down suffocating thoughts can create a cathartic sensation, allowing you to release tension and move forward in a positive direction. Let go of negativity by putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard)!
5. Take On A New Hobby
If you're feeling consumed by the anxiety surrounding your best friend's relationship, and conflicting thoughts about whether or not to confront her, try taking on a new distraction in the form of a hobby or activity. "At some point, you have to come to terms with the fact that you need to accept the situation as it is," Dr. Brown says.
But you don't have to do so alone: join a creative writing group or take an art class. Not only will the pastime fill your head with more positive notions, but you'll have the opportunity to make new friends and grow less dependent on your BFF.
6. Ask Your BFF About Her Relationship
When all else fails, instead of going to your best friend and pouring your heart out about your concerns, try asking her if she has any of her own instead. "Absolutely do not intervene between the two of them unless you feel particularly qualified to do so: you could lose your friend over this," Dr. Brown tells Bustle. "They may be in a great relationship but something in you is getting triggered."
Open up a dialogue, and create a space where she feels safe being vulnerable. It's a win-win situation: she might echo some of the doubts you've been having, or her honest and intimate description of their relationship might help to sway you in a different direction. Either way, by opening the door to candid communication, you can't lose.
My best friend went on to date her partner for the next three years. During that time, I bonded with him over everything from TV shows to sneaker styles. I continued to offer her my undivided attention and emotional support, asking frequently about her relationship and actively listening to whatever she needed to get off her chest. And when they eventually broke up, I was there to answer her midnight calls. Perhaps it's true what they say: sometimes, our best friends are our true soulmates.