It’s an anecdote as old as time that you and your boyfriend get along so well together, feel super connected, and nothing seems to get in the way of that dynamic. That is, until they fall in love with someone who does not do it for you. But should your boyfriend’s attitude about dating someone you don’t like be the nail in the coffin for an otherwise great bond?
The main topic of discussion during this week’s episode was figuring out how to handle when your boyfriend is dating someone you don’t like Good + Good Podcast. During the conversation, author, psychiatrist and friendship expert Marisa Franco, Ph.D.Give tips on how to handle the situation with your friend and do everything you can to protect your relationship with them.
listening to full episode here.
First and foremost, know that it’s normal for friendships to run into conflict – and not liking your own person definitely constitutes a conflict. To keep the quality of friendship at its best, it is important to work through those who have the same intention and interest as you do with romantic relationships.
“People are too afraid to admit conflict in friendship.” —Friendship expert Marisa Franco, Ph.D.
“People are too afraid to admit there is a conflict in friendship,” says Dr. Franco, adding that people often assume a friendship will end when they need to bring up a difficult topic — like, ahem, if a friend is dating someone you don’t like. She says that this The assumption is largely misplaced, as conflict is natural and conflict resolution may facilitate growth. “Ringing is part of intimacy in friendship – as in romantic relationships, as in family relationships,” says Dr. Franco. “That’s exactly what it means to be intimate with someone – there will be miscommunication and disagreements, [and] The different needs you have to negotiate.”
And to be sure, not liking your boyfriend’s guy is an absolute reason why you might be conflicted in your platonic relationship. Once you understand that conflict is a normal part of friendship, you will become less afraid to approach your best friend and tell them that you are not completely in love with their partner.
How do you tell your boyfriend that he’s dating someone you don’t like
Instead of starting the conversation with the hard news that you don’t like your friend’s partner, Dr. Franco suggests focusing on how you feel, as well as how much you value your relationship with your friend.
“You want to start with a framing sentence, and that sentence should emphasize how important friendship is to you,” says Dr. Franco. To open up a healthy dialogue, Dr. Franco suggests saying something like, “Hey, I love you. I appreciate you. You’ve always been my person,” and then admit that the friendship is going through a change because they are now in a relationship.
This way you are indicating that you are coming from a place you like them, so there is no need for them to jump into a position of defense. “It’s really different than being like, ‘You’ve been ignoring me,'” [which comes off as] attacks,” says Dr. Franco.
From there, you can think about how your friend will respond. Good signs, according to Dr. Franco, include:
- Your boyfriend doesn’t get defensive because he knows you want the best for him.
- They hear all your fears and ask you why you are there.
- They are open to meeting your needs in friendship.
However, to communicate your needs to your friend, you first need to determine what those needs actually are: How often do you want to see your friend in a one-on-one place? What kind of activities do you want to do with them? What did you miss when they were single? These questions can help you come up with a solution that makes you feel closer to your friend, even if you don’t like your boo.
And since friendship is two-sided, it’s also necessary for you to consider your friend’s needs (as well as just yours) and how those needs have changed since they started with their partner. So, ask them about their friendship needs so you can assess whether or not you can meet them. Once you determine what your friendship needs are, you can find an overlap and find the right compromise for all parties involved.
What to do if you’re not sure it’s worth talking at all
Dr. Franco says it’s important to be careful that your biases don’t play a role in evaluating your friends’ partners. For example, consider if your friend is dating someone you don’t like or agree with or someone who shows worrying red flags about romantic relationships, such as excessive jealousy. The difference between these situations may indicate how you communicate with your friend.
To help you determine where you fall, you may want to chat with a mutual friend, says Dr. Franco. “Sometimes it can be helpful to engage in some kind of consensus-sharing with your other friends,” she says. Like, ‘I heard this happened – that was my reaction. What do you think that? Is this a concern I should raise? “
If your other friends don’t think it’s worth bringing up, ask yourself how your own experience affects the way you think about your friend’s partner. If you still feel that this is not the right person for them, then report it from the place of love. As long as you are open, honest, and conscientious in your communications, a friend dating someone you don’t like is not a reason for a platonic connection to end.
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