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When You Hate Your Partner's Friend and THE THREE OF US by Ore Agbaje-Williams

You love your partner. They are kind, understanding, funny, and engaging.

Cover of the book THE THREE OF US by Ore Agbaje-Williams used as a teaching example for what to do when  you hate your partner's friends.

Their friend, though, is the worst. The. Actual. Worst. And always there.

Read on for tips on what to do when you hate your partner’s friend.

Before talking to your partner, do some serious introspection.

  • Are you jealous of the time your partner spends with this friend?

  • Do you have unreasonable expectations, thinking your partner should have no friends but you?

  • Does the fact that your partner’s friend knew them before you knew your partner make you feel uncomfortable?

If you answered yes to any of the above, pause and reflect on the unique love you and your partner share, the importance of independent friends, and the fact that they had a whole life before you.

If the problem is a personality mismatch between you and the friend, try these steps:

  • Get to know each other 1-on-1. Ugh, more time together? I know. But you may find that you have things in common, find neutral ground, or see things from their perspective once you get to know the friend better.

  • Talk to your partner. Use calm tones while expressing your thoughts and feelings, and acknowledge that your dislike of the friend does not mean your partner’s friendship needs to stop or change. Openly and with curiosity (not judgment), ask your partner what they like about the friend, which might change your opinion.

  • Set boundaries. If all else fails, politely avoid interactions while supporting your partner in spending time with the friend.

Remember this: Everyone loses if you and your partner’s friends are enemies.

Teaching Example: The Three of Us

**I’m using the words “husband” and “wife” because the characters remain unnamed in the book. **

Wife and Temi are lifelong best friends. Together, they had young-hearted, hedonistic fun while supporting each other through various life transitions. Four years ago, wife and husband met, fell in love, and quickly married. Wife changed from the friend Temi knew. Husband and wife settled into a pattern where he was responsible for making lots of money, and she was in charge of making their home life comfortable and pleasant.

Before The Skills

Husband disliked Temi from the beginning. He thinks she spends too much time eating his food, contaminating his house, and influencing his wife. The feeling was mutual. Temi and husband tormented each other, leaving wife uncomfortable amid growing tensions.

Apply The Skills: Introspection

Husband could start with introspection. He would hopefully realize that his view of marriage that his wife is always available to him and otherwise doesn’t have other friends, is unrealistic. He would also potentially notice that this viewpoint has made him jealous of wife’s Temi time and uncomfortable with Temi’s frequent comments about who wife was before him.

Husband could pause and re-assess his thoughts on independent friendships and redirect his thoughts away from jealousy instead of focusing on the unique love he and wife share.

Apply The Skills: Personality Mismatch

Since there is both a need for Husband to grow and for change in the dynamic between Husband and Temi, the personality mismatch skills are also applicable.

Husband could try setting a time to talk with Temi alone and, in that conversation, express his love for his wife, the mutual goal that he and Temi share of being close with her, and concerns related to putting wife in the middle of their hatred. He could listen to Temi’s perspective, too. This might help him and Temi get on the same team.

Husband could learn more about the critical role Temi had in his wife’s life in helping her find her voice, providing continual love, and supporting her even when her family of origin wasn’t. This might help him appreciate Temi more and stop upping the ante on his side.

Ultimately, though, husband could also avoid Temi when she is in the home by staying in his study or at work when she is there. Or, better yet, make some of his own friends to hang out with.


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