Why it’s okay not to like your friends’ partners
What do you do when you don’t like your friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend? I’ll go on a limb here and assume it’s not personal that you don’t like them, but rather it has something to do with who they are or their influence on your friend.
If that’s the case, it’s totally okay not to like your friend’s partner. It’s a scenario many of us are very familiar with.
Most of us have friends, and most of those friends will have multiple partners over the course of their lives.
Some relationships will last a few years, others a few months, some a matter of days, and, based on how co-dependent you are with your friendship group, you’re liable to meet any and all of their significant (or not-so-significant) others.
Essentially, all of us are going to come across plenty of friends’ partners in our lifetimes, and it’s inevitable that we’re not going to like all of them. That’s just basic probability.
That’s not to say disliking a friend’s partner means it’s game over for your friendship and/or their romance, though. As with most things, there’s a sliding scale to consider here.
Frankly, most of the time, disliking a friend’s partner is no big deal. Maybe they rub you the wrong way. This is fine. So long as you’re polite every time you see said partner and your feelings about them don’t affect your friendship, then I wouldn’t read too much into it.
Just make sure you don’t start bad-mouthing them all the time in social settings; gossip always finds its way back to the source.
On that note, I’d say it can be helpful to move away from the slightly idealistic view that every friend’s partner will seamlessly fit into your friendship group.
In some cases, this might be true; they’ll become part of the fold, bringing something new and sparkly to the friend group. But, most of the time, this just isn’t the case.
We might enjoy casual chats with our friends’ partners, and we might invite them to parties, but they don’t become our friends, at least not in any lasting, meaningful way.
The world just doesn’t work like that, as much as we’d like it to.
Now, let’s move up the scale a little, where apathy and irritation grow into fear and concern. In these cases, it’s less about what you think of the partner themselves and more about how you think they’re treating your friend.
If you notice them putting your friend down a lot, or constantly starting arguments with them, you have the right to say something because not only are these indications of a toxic relationship, but they might be indications of an abusive one, too.
And in these instances, it’s not just acceptable but vital to discuss these issues with your friend. But you have to tread carefully. Why? Well, because they might not see it themselves. And trying to convince them otherwise could have long-term ramifications on your friendship.
That’s not to say that every friend’s partner you don’t like is abusive. Of course, that’s not going to be the case.
But it illustrates just how carefully one needs to tread in these scenarios because, very often, a partner’s bad behaviour will be far more obvious to people outside of the relationship than it is to those inside it.
What happens in other people’s relationships isn’t always our business. But it’s important to recognize the times when it is.
Because in those circumstances, talking openly to your friends about the things you don’t like about their partner is not just acceptable, it’s necessary.