You’ve fallen in love with a guy but, in all honesty, you’re haven’t fallen in love with his friends. In fact, you can’t even stomach some of the people he’s tight with. You may feel that they’re immature or don’t treat him well. You may think they are underachievers pulling him down with them. Or you may be resentful that in the past, they tried to sabotage his relationship with you. One of them may even be an ex- of a close friend of yours. These friends have interests you don’t share or understand.
Despite your feelings, your lover, partner, or spouse chooses to get together with them regularly for card games, a guy’s night out or just to talk. He sees them differently: These are pals who were at his side long before he met you, friends with whom he has a shared history. You’re especially perturbed when the get-together is at your house.
How do you handle this tricky dilemma so it doesn’t have a negative effect on your relationship? Here are some things to think about:
Whose Friends Are They Anyway?
Don’t forget that they’re his friends—not yours. You may love each other but when it comes to friendship, you may not like all his friends and he may not like yours.
Friendships are volitional and these are the friends he’s chosen as his tribe. Your partner probably has a long history with these guys that you aren’t privy to so you may not understand the basis for these bonds.
Some people, especially extroverts, come alive when they are with groups of people. Your boyfriend may be one of them and seek out opportunities to socialize in a group. If you tend towards introversion, you may prefer spending time alone, reading, listening to music, or pursuing other interests or passions.
Remember too, that these friends may have played an important role in molding the personality of the person with whom you’ve fallen in love. Just like his family, his workplace and you, they are an integral part of his life.
Are You Inadvertently Being Too Overbearing?
Even though they aren’t your friends, you need to treat his friends with the same respect as you would any of your acquaintances or family members. Don’t make the mistake of putting your boyfriend in the middle and asking him to choose sides. That would be unfair and could cause problems in your relationship with him.
It is acceptable, however, to let your boyfriend know how you feel about his friend (or friends) and to place limits on your own interactions with these individuals. So if the guys are watching the game at your house, you may want to use the time to shop or meet up with girlfriends.
Have You Examined Your Motivations?
Step back and think about what you find so annoying about these friends. Could it be that there really isn’t anything wrong with his friends but you resent your boyfriend spending time with them that could be spent with you? Are you being too clingy and possessive?
Could you be resentful that he has a circle of close friends and you don’t? If that is the case, you may want to think about nurturing the friendships you have or finding ways to meet new people. One person can’t be everything to another; even married people need friends outside the marriage.
Could This Reflect A Problem In Your Relationship As A Couple?
Could these friends be filling some gap in your relationship with your boyfriend or husband? Is he leaning on them emotionally because of conflicts in your marriage that haven’t been discussed or addressed? Is it a matter of him running away from you rather than him running to them? If this is the problem, you may need to work on the relationship.
Not All Friends Are Good Friends
On the other hand, it may be that your concerns about these friends are quite valid. Perhaps, they are a bad influence because they engage in unhealthy behaviors. For example, you may have noticed that they drink to excess, use drugs, gamble or take other risks.
Moreover, you may worry that your partner has the same characteristics or propensities and they bring out the worst in him. If this is the case, express your concerns. You need to focus on helping your partner as opposed to focusing on his friendships, per se.