There are some people in your life who you really want to get along. While a lot of emphasis is placed on your partner getting along with your family—and you getting along with your partner’s family—there’s another very important dynamic that’s often overlooked: your partner and your best friend. Often, these are the two most important people in your life, so it's only natural that you want them to like each other, but the unfortunate truth is that it doesn't always work out that way.
There are a lot of complications when it comes to your partner getting along with your best friend. There’s a good chance your pal has been on the scene for far longer than your partner—even if you and your partner are married or have children together. This can sometimes create tension: Your partner might feel threatened or just not really be a fan of this person you’ve known for years and years.
What should you do if your partner doesn’t like your best friend? Well, it’s all about getting to the source of the dislike. Here’s what you need to know.
Make Sure That There’s Not a Control Issue
The truth is that all of the people whom you love and adore aren’t necessarily going to love and adore each other—and that’s okay. You need them to be respectful and open-minded, but you don’t need your partner and best friend to become best friends—if they’re just a little lukewarm on each other, that can work out just fine. Pay attention to your partner’s response to your friend and try to work out if it’s actually an issue of just disliking them. If your partner feels threatened by your best friend, it may be that he or she has bigger issues—and is too possessive of you. If you get a sense that this is the case, then there's a more foundational relationship problem.
How can you tell when this is the case? If your partner isn’t enamored of your best friend, they’ll probably seem apathetic or, at worst, a little annoyed or frustrated by them. If they have a stronger reaction—if they get angry at you for spending time with them, if they are actively rude to them—then that’s really telling. If that's the case, it says a lot about your partner—and you may need to have a bigger conversation about your relationship, independence, and respect.
Try to See It from Their Point of View
Best friendships are complicated. You may love each other one minute, drive each other nuts the next, and then make up before you even blink. Maybe you’ve been feuding for weeks or maybe they’ve really let you down. Try to remember all of these nuances and complications when you’re trying to understand your partner’s point of view. It’s really, really hard to watch someone mistreat the person you love and, though you might not hold a grudge, your partner has probably heard you vent and be upset or hurt by your best friend from time to time. They often hear more of the difficult parts than the good parts—so it makes sense that they might be a little bristly or aggravated with this person.
Try to show your partner why you love your best friend, rather than always blowing off steam.
On that note, sometimes it may be worth talking to your best friend about the issue too—even if you don’t think they’ve done something wrong. I have totally been the standoffish best friend—and having my friend explain that their partner is a bit shy or awkward has snapped me out of it. If your partner finds it difficult to open up to people generally, then talking to your best friend and asking them to go the extra mile can make a difference.
Set Some Boundaries for Spending Time Together
Even if your partner doesn’t like your best friend, their priority should be being a good partner to you—and that means, within reason, spending time with your bestie. That doesn't mean you should expect them to hang out all the time and start bringing your partners around to girls' nights (that would be weird anyway), but you should be able to explain to your partner why it’s important to you that they try to get along. And, really, your partner should respect that.
Maybe all of your couple friends get together once a month, maybe there’s a friends' trip you want them to go to, maybe it’s just a matter of being polite and asking them a few questions when they bump into each other at a party. Talk to your partner and try to work out how they can make your life easier, without them feeling uncomfortable. You should be able to find some middle ground.
In an ideal world, your partner and best friend will just click and the three of you can run off into the sunset—but that’s so rarely how it actually works out. Try to feel out the issue, whether it’s your partner just being shy or not really on the same page as your best friend—or whether they’re intimidated by your intimacy with your best friend and there are some control issues at play. As long as it’s an innocent case of not getting along, you should be able to talk to your partner and find some middle ground. They don’t have to love your best friend, but they do need to be a good partner to you—and that means being polite and welcoming when you need them to be.