Well, maybe hate is a strong word, but dislikes? I know we’ve all been there, the ever nerve-wracking moment when you bring a new partner before the council of your peers and see what their verdict is. Sometimes they’re in favor, and sometimes they talk shit about them almost immediately. Mature right? But that’s what friends are for.
I’ve learned that the only people who know you in this world are your friends and your parents. If your friends and your parents don’t like someone you’re seeing, it’s for good reason. Now mind you, sometimes one friend dislikes your partner, and that’s fine, that happens, bad interactions can off balance a budding relationship. But if you don’t like someone’s partner, at least have the decency to give them a second shot, unless of course an animal in your household won’t stop barking and growling, a bad sign, or a cat that is normally docile attacks. Animals are a better judge of character than people are.
There are cases where your friends are right about a trash ex, wrong upon first meeting them, or completely wrong and don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. I want to give you three times I’ve experienced friends hating a significant other, how they differed, and how you can use these cases to identify whether your friend is being helpful, jealous, or spiteful.
Case 1 – The College Sexual Exploration Phase
Two friends from college begin dating, they’re both female. One of them is a lesbian, and had recently come out, the second identifies as bisexual, but leans more towards men. We find out, as a group at the beginning of the year, and are all equally shocked, as we hadn’t known they were close at all. The two friends, who I will refer to as Lezzy and Bia (creative I know), Lezzy was more sincere and we worried that Bia was going through a sexual experimentation phase.
This relationship ended up ripping our friend group, of six into a group of four, and the pair. Now before you lose your minds and complain about judging Bia harshly or “bi-shaming,” you have not met her, and there are those girls in college who experiment with their sexuality. You can tell when someone is genuine in their affection, but in this case we knew how it would end. We loved both of them individually but as a couple we felt conflicted because we knew Lezzy was going to be hurt when Bia decided having a female partner wasn’t for her.
Our resolution? We had a friendship intervention, where we all sat down and openly discussed what was bothering us. On our end we spoke about how we supported the relationship, as they were adults, but we were worried that the subsequent break up would tear our group apart. Lezzy and Bia spoke to the fact that they felt left out and divided from the group. There were other issues I won’t go into, but in this case, it came off that we hated their relationship, when really we were happy they were happy, but we didn’t know how to act around them. If they were alone in the room, did they want it to be the two of them and we were intruding? Our group dynamic was just off. By openly discussing our issues we moved forward as a group and resolved a lot of pent up issues.
In case you were wondering, yes, they did in fact break up, as we predicted, with Lezzy being hurt and Bia being the “winner” of the break up. We knew to never say how we felt to them, because they were happy initially, and decided to stay out of it. Today Lezzy is happily with a new partner, as is Bia, and our friend group is still intact despite distance. But Lezzy and Bia will never be friends like they used to.
Case 2 – The Boyfriend Who Doesn’t Suit You
I really don’t know what I was thinking, I thought I loved him, but really it was pity. He was nice enough, we met in class, starting hanging out, then starting making out. Then he told me he liked me and ruined a good thing. I won’t go over the whole thing, as it is clearly laid out in the post I mentioned before, but basically I got broken down over the course of a few months and decided to date him.
It never felt right, or healthy, or normal by any means. Having never been in a “healthy” or “normal” relationship I was going off knowledge of other relationships. After spending a week with him, I wanted him to leave so badly I ground my teeth until my jaw hurt. But during this week we had a brunch with my two best friends from high school. I thought it went well. My ex got along with my friend’s child and we ate and then my ex and I headed out. My friends stayed behind and did what friends do, discuss.
They concluded that they didn’t understand why I was with a guy who was so outside my type, which to be fair, I don’t think “Bearded” qualifies as a type. They both felt he was nice enough, but didn’t like the two of us together. In opposition when I introduced him to a larger group of friends, they liked him, and didn’t have a mean thing to say about him. But as friends go, you gotta trust the best friends, the ones who are there for you during all the shit times. Playing silly drinking games versus having serious conversation give two very distinct impressions of a person.
In the end, after a week together non-stop, I had breakfast with one of my friends, and he told me what he thought, and I expressed my annoyance after spending what should have been a honeymoon type week together. He agreed with my concerns and helped me make a well-thought out decision to break up with him. Well honestly I had already made the decision and just needed to talk it out and get confirmation. In this case, my friends were absolutely right, and I don’t feel I made the wrong decision. Because don’t forget, it’s YOUR relationship, and you have the final say. I wasn’t happy, and it wasn’t a healthy relationship, so I ended it by listening to my friends who mirrored my concerns.
Case 3 – You Should Break Up
Every couple argues, and my current partner and I are no different. When I reach out to a friend to complain, it is simply to get things off my chest, because that’s what friends are for. One of my friends and I had a bitching session about things that annoyed us about our partners, it was nothing serious but felt good to talk about it.
Now I love my best friend, and if you’re reading this, I am not trying to hurt your feelings, I am simply stating the facts. My best friend is single, and has been for most of her life, having non-serious boyfriends now-and-again. There’s nothing wrong with this, being selective is a part of dating. If I wasn’t selective I would’ve ended up with the guy who wore purple all the time and looked like Charlie Day.
As condescending as it may sound, sometimes the only person you can talk about relationships with, is someone else in a relationship. Being single and not having a serious partner makes it hard to talk about issues. Just like sometimes you bitch to your mom about your friends, it’s just venting, you aren’t going to cut friendship ties because she ate the last slice of pizza. When a friend is complaining about their significant other, it’s one-sided. I have as many complaints about my partner as he has about me. So I’ve learned to take everything friends say about their partners with a grain of salt. I can weave the saltiest of dramas against someone, but I’m usually exaggerating.
I was complaining recently, as one does, and my best friend kept hinting like my partner isn’t right for me, and that we should break up. I know we’re not perfect, but I love him and am willing to work to keep us together. Complaints are just that, complaints. The rest of my friends like him and know that he makes me happy and that’s all that matters.
When giving relationship advice to friends, don’t let spite or the desire to have a single friend once again, cloud your judgement. In the case of my ex, my best friend didn’t like us together, but I came to the conclusion to break up on my own. No couple is perfect, I’ve seen couples I thought would last forever tear at the seams, and couples I never thought would last coming in on six years. Sometimes the most unexpected of pairs, are the ideal couples.
In this case, I am working to be a better partner every day, and have since discussed my dilemmas with my partner, and will ignore the words of my best friend. I appreciate her concern, but I have to make my own decisions.
So today’s lesson? Friends are friends, but partners are partners. They’re the ones who are with you all the time, love you unconditionally, and want to spend all their time with you. Well, this can be applied to both, friends and partners, can’t it? Your friends only want to help, so if they have some real beef against your partner, hear them out.
All relationships, sexual or not, need communication, and if you can’t put in that much effort, why put in effort at all? Know when to give advice, when to hold your tongue, and when to be supportive. Friendships and relationships are built on love, and we all deserve the right to be happy in both. So don’t ignore the advice of your friends, but also remember, your partner is that, your partner and sometimes that issue you’re complaining about? Yeah, it can be resolved if you just talk about it.