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It’s the question everyone getting into a relationship worries about: what if your partner and your best friend don’t get on?
As two of the most important and influential people in your life, you hope that they will immediately like each other, but it’s not always the case.
They can’t help but be in each other’s lives because of how close they are to you, so how do you manage a scenario where they don’t like each other?
You don’t want your relationship with either of them to be damaged because of the other, but some sort of solution must be found so you’re not awkwardly stuck in the middle.
It might be that they need some more time to get to know one another or encouragement to give each other a second chance. But how involved should you get and when should you distance yourself from the conflict?
If you’re stuck in this difficult situation and aren’t sure what to do, read on for some suggestions on how to cope and what to try when your partner and best friend don’t like each other.
1. Is it a control issue?
Is this animosity between your partner and best friend more to do with their relationship with you than each other? Your partner’s dislike for your best friend could be a sign that they’re trying to control you and the people you see.
It doesn’t matter how happy you are in a relationship, you still need a circle of trusted friends you can rely on. Spending all your time solely with your partner puts unnecessary pressure on your relationship. Friends help ground you and remind you of your identity as an individual and not just as one half of a couple.
Your partner might be jealous of the time you share with other people or not have the same social network you do to fall back on. They might have trust or self-confidence issues and imagine the worst when you’re away from them. They may think that you’ll enjoy the time away more than the time you share together and maybe even meet someone else.
Motivated by their own insecurities, your partner could be trying to turn you against your best friend or emotionally manipulating you by making you feel guilty whenever you’re away from them.
This behavior is unhealthy and controlling. If it sounds familiar, then you need to find out if your partner is willing to work on themselves to stop their own fears negatively impacting your relationship and friendships.
If you don’t see any improvement, then it’s best to step away from this relationship before it becomes even more toxic.
2. Did something happen to cause a rift?
Have you considered that their dislike for each other is justified?
They may not have done anything to deliberately upset each other, but it’s easy for a miscommunication to escalate into a much bigger issue than it ever should have been.
These two people care about you deeply and they’re going to be extra critical of each other when they first meet to see if the other is doing everything they can to make you happy and be a good influence.
When someone is put under a spotlight, even the smallest offhand comment could be misunderstood and cause offense. Once a bad impression is made, it can be difficult to move past.
If you can see how a misunderstanding has occurred between your partner and best friend, then you can try to help by talking to them about it or encouraging them to give each other another chance. If it really was something insignificant that set the wrong tone to their relationship, they’ll soon realize and hopefully give friendship another go.
3. Is your best friend’s behavior a reflection of their own insecurities?
When your best friend sees you happy in a relationship and at a high point in your life, it can bring their own relationship, or lack of, into a harsher perspective.
Your best friend will want to be happy for you, but if they are going through a breakup or yet to meet the right person, it’s going to be hard to keep those pangs of jealousy under control.
It doesn’t mean that your friend wants you to be unhappy, or even that they really do dislike your partner. But their dissatisfaction with their own romantic situation could be influencing their behavior towards yours.
It can be hard to adjust when a friend gets into a serious relationship, and if you’re used to spending a lot of time together, spare a thought for how your new relationship could be impacting your friend’s life too. Your single life together has come to an end, and their hostile attitude could just be a sign that they’re missing your company.
Give them some time to get used to the situation and reassure them that just because you may not have as much time to spare, they’re still a priority in your life. If your best friend genuinely cares about your happiness, they’ll soon move past these negative thoughts and try to have a better attitude towards your partner.
4. Try to see your relationship from your friend’s perspective.
If you’re frustrated because your best friend is hesitant about trusting your partner, you might need to take a step back and see your relationship from their perspective.
You may not have had the smoothest journey in your love life so far, and even if you believe you’re in a good place right now, your friend might need longer to trust that’s true.
If you’ve had difficulties in your relationship, or past relationships up to this point, and have often confided in your best friend for support and advice, then their perception of your partner is going to be much more critical because of this.
They’ve seen you upset or angry, and have been there for you through your heartbreak, so it’s a lot to ask of them to suddenly form a positive opinion of a partner just because you’re feeling good.
It’s important to have friends you can go to for support when things in your relationship aren’t working, but be mindful of how much you complain about your partner and the impact this could be having on your best friend’s opinion of your relationship. If you want them to see your partner in a good light, then you need to make sure you’re sharing the highs of your relationship as well as the lows.
Be patient with the situation. Ultimately your friend cares about you and doesn’t want to see you hurt. Their distrustfulness towards your partner is coming from a place of worry and protectiveness over you and they may just need time to see that your partner is a keeper.
5. Try spending some time together.
Sometimes, just spending more time with someone you don’t think you like can help you realize that you may have judged too quickly and there’s more to them than you first assumed.
If your best friend and partner don’t get along, it could be the case that they just haven’t had the opportunity to get to know each other well enough yet.
If your best friend is distrustful of your partner because they are overprotective of you, seeing you interact and genuinely happy in your relationship could help put their mind at ease and feel more positively towards your partner. Equally, your partner might just need more time to get to know your best friend and see all the great qualities in them that you value so much.
The meeting might be awkward at first, which is why it’s important to do it in a place where neither your friend nor your partner feel as though they’re in control. Choosing a neutral space like a new bar or an activity none of you have tried before puts everyone on the same level so no one can show off or make the other feel inferior.
You wouldn’t be so close to either of them if they didn’t both have great qualities. Encourage them to give each other another chance and hopefully they’ll start appreciating why it is you care about each of them so much
6. See if they’ll talk it out.
You may not be able to fix the relationship between your partner and your best friend, but ignoring it completely isn’t an option either.
It may feel as though you talk to them about it all the time, but unless they actually talk to each other, you’ll always be the go-between and nothing will be properly addressed.
Ask if they’d be willing to talk to each other directly about how they feel. It might not be pleasant, but sometimes an honest conversation is what’s needed to just clear the air and find a way to move on. By encouraging them to talk by themselves, you’re letting them take control of the situation and there’s less chance of miscommunication.
You’d hope that your partner and best friend are able to handle this awkward situation without resulting in a confrontation and try to find some way of accepting each other for the sake of their relationships with you.
In an ideal world, they’ll clear up any misunderstandings and be able to start fresh, maybe even growing to become friends. But if that’s too much to ask, at least they can air any grievances and come to an understanding that whatever they feel towards each other, even if it’s unlikely to change, they’ll at least do their best to not make things worse.
7. Ask them to be civil.
They may not ever learn to like each other, but they can learn to live with each other for your sake.
When it’s your partner and your best friend, neither one of them are going anywhere, and being around each other is a condition of being close with you.
Their animosity may not be easy to live with, but you don’t want it getting to the point that they can’t be in the same room. It’s not fair on you to miss social events because you’re worried how they’ll react around each other. If you’re trying to hide your relationship with one of them when you’re in front of the other, it will eventually become exhausting and put a strain on all of you.
Talk to both of them and see if they can come to a compromise to at least try to tolerate each other. They don’t have to spend unnecessary amounts of time together, but they can work at being polite and civil when they’re in each other’s company so your social life doesn’t need to change.
We’re always going to come across people in life that we don’t get on with, but we learn to live with them. If they both care about you as much as they say they do, then they can learn to live with each other too.
8. Try to remain neutral.
You want to avoid picking sides between your partner and best friend if they have an argument. So if you find yourself stuck in the middle, try to remain as neutral as possible.
They might get angry at you and accuse you of disloyalty because you won’t take their side, but it’s never a good idea to get dragged into the drama or comment on either one of them. You’re not being disloyal or biased by staying out of their argument, you’re protecting your relationships by not being seen to agree with either.
If they try to involve you, just tell them you’d rather not be and explain to them the impossible position they’re putting you in by forcing you to choose between them. If they need to let off some steam, they can complain to someone else.
9. Remind them that it’s your happiness that matters.
As much as both your best friend and partner may have opinions about the other, the real person here getting hurt is you.
They may not have thought about the impact their dislike for each other is having on you and the reality of the position they’re forcing you into just because they can’t get on.
If they both love you as much as they say they do, then it’s their relationship with you they should be focusing on rather than each other.
They might prefer it if you didn’t have a relationship with someone they don’t like, but ultimately you are free to make your own choices about who you want around you. You may need to gently remind them that your relationships are your own and just because they don’t like the same people as you, it doesn’t mean that you have to change because of it.
If they truly value your happiness, then you being friends or in a relationship with someone they don’t like shouldn’t be a problem. It might not be the person they would have chosen to be in your life, but the choice of who you spend your time with is not theirs to make and they need to accept that being close to you means learning to live with each other.
10. Are you making them jealous?
Have you thought about whether you could unconsciously be making the situation worse between your best friend and partner?
Think about how much time and attention you give to them both and if your relationship with one has made your relationship with the other suffer. Their dislike for each other could be coming from a place of jealousy that you never spend quality time with them anymore and blame your friend or partner for it.
To help this situation, make sure that when you do spend time with each of them, your attention is fully on them and not somewhere else. Don’t be texting your partner or constantly talking about your relationship when you’re with your best friend, and try to make sure you’re spending enough time one on one with your partner and not taking them for granted,
It can be difficult to balance your relationship and social life. But although you may not have as much time to go around, it’s the quality of the time you spend with your loved ones that counts rather than the quantity. Make sure you’re giving all of your relationships enough of your time and energy, and don’t give anyone a reason to dislike each other because they feel left out.
11. Set and enforce boundaries.
You can’t force people to like each other, and your best friend and partner not getting along could be an unfortunate reality you have to learn to live with. But you shouldn’t have to suffer because of it.
They don’t have to be best friends, but they should respect you enough and the difficulty of your position to not make the situation harder for you to cope with.
Don’t let them make seeing or talking about the other become a negative experience for you. Put in some boundaries around how they speak about each other in front of you or react when they’re in the same room together. You’re not asking them to force a relationship, but you can ask that they don’t project their own feelings towards each other onto you.
Be strict in the boundaries you put in place. Make it clear you don’t want to be dragged into an argument and that they need to respect that you do have a relationship you want to protect with each of them, even if they don’t have one.
It’s not the ideal situation for you to live with, but stand your ground and you can at least make sure it doesn’t get any worse.
12. Realize when there is nothing more you can do.
As much as you might want to fix the relationship between your partner and best friend, you must know when to step away from the situation and leave it alone.
Worrying about something you can’t change will only make you stressed and unhappy. If you’ve tried everything you can think of to help improve their relationship and nothing has changed, then you have to learn to accept the situation for what it is.
The more you try to force something, the less likely it’s going to happen. The best thing you can do is hope that their feelings might change in time.
There’s no simple solution when your best friend and partner don’t like each other.
When you get into a new relationship, you hope that your partner and best friend will naturally get along, that you’ll be holidaying together in no time and become one even bigger group of friends.
It can be disappointing when this dream doesn’t become a reality and it can make you question whether or not you’ve chosen the right partner at all.
But just because your best friend doesn’t like your partner, it doesn’t mean that the relationship isn’t the right one for you. You are the only one to judge how happy you are and can’t base how you feel on other people’s opinions.
There’s only so much influence you can have over two people who don’t want to be friends. In the end, the more you get involved, the more stressed you’ll become, and it’ll start to have a negative effect on your own relationships with all those involved.
Your partner and best friend may never see eye to eye, but they do at least have one thing in common and that’s you. Even if they can’t be friends, they should agree that they both want you to be happy. It’s this shared love for you that will bridge the gap between them and help you find a way to move forward together in the end.
Still not sure what to do when your partner doesn’t like your best friend and vice versa? It’s tough on you to be in the middle of this, but it might help to talk things through with a relationship expert. They can guide you and perhaps even mediate between them to help smooth out some of their differences or issues. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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