How To Deal If You Can't Stand Your Partner's BFF

Photographed by Renell Medrano.
Unless you wind up stranded on a deserted island with your new partner à la Blue Lagoon, chances are you're going to have to interact with each other's friends and families. Unfortunately, those interactions don't always go all that smoothly. And if you find yourself butting heads with your S.O.'s BFF, you may be wondering, "What am I supposed to do?"
You may feel the urge to mention the friction to your S.O., but that's not always a great idea. "If the friend hasn't done anything egregious, it's probably best not to bring it up to your significant other," says Paulette Sherman, PsyD, a psychologist and relationship coach. Instead, just try to let things slide by maintaining your distance from that friend in group settings. "It's perfectly ok for your partner to spend time with that friend while you spend time with your own friends," says Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex therapist. "You don't need to be spending time with each other constantly. But try to suck it up in group situations."
But if your partner starts to notice that you're purposely avoiding one of their friends, it's best to come clean. "Don't lie and say that they're imagining things," Marin says. "Instead, fess up. Let them know that for whatever reason there seems to be some tension between the two, and you feel it's best to maintain your distance." Try not to get defensive, Marin says. Just be level-headed and recognize that not everyone gets along — and that's totally fine.
The worst thing that you could do is offer your partner an ultimatum and ask them to choose between you and the pal. "It's important to remember that they had that history and relationship [with their friend] before you, and that it's your partner's choice with whom to be friends," Dr. Sherman says. In other words, you can't force your partner to "break up" with their friend just because you don't like them.
That said, if things escalate, and the friend in question starts to harass you verbally or physically, then it's time to have a serious conversation with your S.O. "Explain what happened, let your partner know the impact it's having on you, and then let them know that you'd like them to have a conversation with their friend," Marin says. Be clear with your boundaries, she says, and let your partner know where and why you were uncomfortable.
"It's easy to want to judge your partner by their friends, but that's not always a good idea," Marin says. "We all have those friends that if we'd met them today, we might not be friendly with them. But when there's history, things get tricky." Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, especially if they go to bat for you if the friend gets abrasive. You don't necessarily have to get along with everyone, but your partner should be invested in making you comfortable with their pals.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series