How important is it that your friends and your partner get on? Should they be best mates or can you handle them just being civil? It can be horrible being stuck between your significant other and the people you are closest to. Well, dating expert Maria Sullivan gave me some tips on what to do if your partner and your friends don't get on. Spoiler alert: there is no quick fix for this.
When it comes to issues of the heart and your mates, I can’t help but look to the deities of girl power: the Spice Girls. “If you wanna be my lover, you’ve gotta get with my friends.” We all know these ladies speak truth, but it turns out that we should maybe be taking their famous mantra with a pinch of salt.
Researched published in Sage Journals in 2015 found that, when you rely too heavily on your friends to help navigate your relationship problems, it can actually make things worse. The study, which looked into how "young adult females ... discussed romantic relationship problems with their partners and their best friends," found that, when women talked through their problems with their partner directly, it generally had positive consequences for the relationship. The study also found "turning away from the partner to a friend may only exacerbate relationship problems and contribute to romantic instability."
So, what exactly are you supposed to do if your mates and your partner just can’t see eye to eye? Dating Expert and Vice President of Dating.com Maria Sullivan told me:
“It’s best to take a deep breath to help avoid a reaction based on emotion. This will help you more clearly understand the disconnect between your loved ones. Where does it stem from? What has changed? Pinpoint the problem and remove the drama from the situation.”
While it is not your responsibility to be ring master to the fights between your loved ones, they do also have one commonality: you. Rather than getting angry (and, believe me, I know it is annoying), try to work out why there is tension in the first place.
Sullivan also recommends that you try to see it from both of their points of view, rather than taking sides. She says:
“When entering into a relationship, it’s important to remember you’re not the only one impacted. Relationships with your family and friends also change. And although you are ready for that change, they may not necessarily be. It’s important to make friends a priority and help them feel they aren’t being forgotten about. The same goes for your significant other. Make a conscious effort to find a balance.”
We all know the story of the friend who disappears off the face of the earth because they got into a relationship. It happens all of the time. Make sure you continue to nurture the relationship you have with your friends. A night with your pals is just as important as date night.
Sullivan also pointed out that, while they may not see eye to eye, your friends and partner must have something in common because they get on with you. Even if it is as small as liking the same sport, listening to the same kind of music, or drinking in the same pubs, there’s something. Sullivan says: “Think about what sparked your connection with each [person] and see if you can reintroduce them with it as a focus.”
And what if it doesn’t work? Are you supposed to just keep having painfully awkward Friday night pub trips until it ends in either drinks being thrown or total silence? Sullivan thinks not. She says:
“No matter how much you want it to work out, forcing two different groups together won’t make anyone happy. Keeping both your friends and your partner close to you while remaining separate is possible. Over time, the pressure of the situation will likely subside and can create opportunity for mended relationships. Although its cliché, if it’s meant to be, it will be!”
It can be seriously frustrating when your partner doesn’t love your friends as much as you do, and vice versa. While it can feel like a bit of an insult that they can't just put aside their differences for you, it doesn’t always work like that. This doesn’t mean that you have to cut ties with either. It is your romantic relationship, and you know why love that person. And the same goes for your friends. I mean, if the Spice Girls taught us anything, it's that friendship never ends.