The people we tend to be closest to are our best friends and romantic partners. These are the people who not only love you — they also get you. They are your chosen family and, like family, not everyone is going to get along all the time, which is totally to be expected. But what happens if these two special people in your life simply don’t like each other?
If a friend isn’t completely sold on your new partner, that’s one thing, and there are ways to deal with that situation to make it less awkward. If it’s your significant other who isn’t a fan of one of your dearest friends, though, that’s a different problem, especially if neither relationship is new. You’ll want to handle the situation with care to make sure you stay true to both of these important people in your life, as well as to yourself. Here are a few ways to cope when your partner doesn’t like your bestie.
Look at the facts.
Nobody is perfect. If your partner or your friend is prone to drama or getting into feuds, take that into account. Find out what your partner’s reasoning is for not liking your bestie, and try to be objective when thinking about it. Does your significant other have a point? If you love your pal, but realize they have flaws that might rub someone the wrong way, accept it. You’re not the same as your partner and you may be willing to overlook certain things they aren’t. They’re your friend, not your partner’s. You don’t have to agree with everything your significant other thinks.
If your partner has more serious reasons for not loving your buddy, though — if this person is toxic, puts you at risk or in danger physically or emotionally because of their behavior, etc. — you might want to have a talk with your friend and set some boundaries.
Figure out your priorities.
This is no easy feat, but you might find yourself in the position of deciding who has the more significant role in your life. When we’re younger, the rule of thumb tends to favor loyalty to friends over romantic partners, and for good reason! It wouldn’t be good to put every partner in a position in front of friends because many of them come and go, but a true friend is forever.
On the other hand, if you choose to make a serious commitment to someone — whether it’s through marriage, having children or moving in together, whatever that looks like to you — that relationship will often take priority over other relationships. And, over time, similarly to romantic partners coming and going, sometimes friendships do, too. People change, and with that they may grow apart from their friends, even their besties. Obviously, this doesn’t give your partner a pass for bad behavior — if they treat your friends badly, it doesn’t mean you should stick up for them or even tolerate it — but it does mean, overall, they may be the priority.
Make some rules.
Both are important to you, and whatever the reason for your partner not liking your friend, you may decide you don’t want that to affect your friendship. Tell that to your significant other, and establish some ground rules that will help you avoid getting stuck in the middle. For example, you may want to tell your partner (and bestie, for that matter), that they aren’t allowed to bad mouth the other person to you. Each person should be able to act like a respectful adult and not put you in a position you don’t want to be in.
Try not to pick sides.
When you don’t have to, try not to choose one side over the other. Don’t make the problem worse by encouraging their fighting. If they really can’t get along, avoid seeing them at the same time whenever possible. If it’s important to you for both of these people to be at the same place at once, make sure they understand that and hopefully they will both be on their best behavior.
Make sure they remember what’s important: YOU.
At the end of the day, you have the right to choose who you are friends with — not your partner. They should accept that. Surely there are things you can do to try to coax your partner and friend to get along, including helping them find common interests, but you shouldn’t feel responsible for their liking or disliking of each other. People who love and respect you — including partners and friends — should be able to handle their disdain for someone important to you. At a minimum, you can ask them to tolerate people you love because they care about you.