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What to Do When Your Partner Is Uncomfortably Close to Their Best Friend

Two women having a serious conversation.

You clicked online. You clicked on the first date. You’re clicking in your relationship and everything feels like it’s meant to be. But there’s another click and this one is bothering you. Your partner’s BFF is always around and your relationship is starting to feel more like a crowded threesome. The BFF shows up on your date nights unannounced, interferes in your one-on-one movie and cuddle time, and think it’s okay to be texting with your significant other at 11:00 p.m. at night. You want to be courteous and respectful of their friendship and yet it feels off to you. It feels like they’re more than just friends.

Should you try to remove this BFF from your life with your significant other? And how can you do it without turning off your new guy or gal? Well, if you’ve tried to be gracious and tell them you need more alone time with your partner, and they continue to feel too close for comfort, then you definitely have to do something about it.

Before you say anything, make sure you understand and acknowledge the history of their friendship. If they’ve known one another for many years, share many of the same friends, have even taken trips together, offered mutual consolation over past breakups, and performed countless other BFF duties like being a stand-in date at family functions—then it’s pretty hard to tell your significant other they need to say goodbye to their friend. The last thing you want is to be labeled possessive or jealous, but you do want to be honest about your feelings. This is especially true if what they share as friends is interfering with what share as a committed couple.

Below are a few ways I recommend approaching this uncomfortable but fairly common situation:

Tell the truth. It could be enough.
Saying something like, “I know Joe/Judy is important to you but I don’t feel comfortable around him/her,” will likely result in a response like, “Why not? He/She thinks you’re great.” And, while there isn’t much you can say to that—your point has been made and hopefully, your significant other will get the hint won’t invite them to come along next time you hang out. You can also refuse to accept further invites to parties or events that the BFF asks you and your partner to come to.

At first, this may feel like you’re being selfish or a trouble-maker. But it’s important to remember that if you’re convinced this third person is a threat, then it’s extremely important to be forthright about your feelings and not suppress them. Also, remember that when you’re sharing your feelings, you are only speaking about yourself and not blaming your significant other for doing anything wrong. This is how you set up a constructive and honest conversation.

Time your conversation well.
The time to express concern isn’t as an add-on when you’re having a disagreement over something else. Instead, talk about it in a setting that invites openness like during a walk or while you’re sitting in the restaurant lounge before dinner. The key is to share your feelings in an atmosphere that gives each of you room to breathe. If you’re partner gets upset when you tell them, respect that and allow them to express how they feel. It’s possible they could feel relief because they could use some space from their BFF now that you’re making them so happy—but it’s more likely it won’t be an easy conversation so be gentle with where and when you have it.

Know your limits.
Recognize that this person is meaningful to your significant other, albeit playing a much different role than you. Be ready talk about what your expectations are in terms of when their presence works for you and when it doesn’t. If having them join you once a week for happy hour feels okay but the three of you cooking meals together every weekend feels intrusive, then be prepared to say that. Don’t complain, offer a compromise and be open to any solutions your partner suggests.

Set boundaries.
Sometimes the issue isn’t just the time spent with their BFF but what you know your significant other is sharing with them. Tell your partner that you’re glad they have someone to talk to, but sharing details about your relationship or even talking about plans that aren’t finalized yet should be kept just between the two of you. If you find that your significant other talks about fights or issues you are having a couple, let them know this isn’t okay with you.

Here’s the thing—if you think you can have a real future with your partner, then being honest and open without being demanding or controlling is important. Keeping quiet about something that bothers you, staying frustrated, or suppressing your feelings is never the way to find happiness in a relationship. Authenticity and honesty is the only way to grow and thrive together.

The first step is to determine if this BFF is truly being inappropriate or if you’re threatened because of your own insecurities. If the latter is the real issue, then it’s time to reexamine how you think about yourself. You must believe that you’re worthy of being fully loved and cherished in order to have a fulfilling relationship with someone who will be ready and willing to love, prioritize, and commit to you.

Sami Wunder is a leading international dating, love, and relationship expert whose work has led to 111 proposals/engagements and hundreds of revitalized relationships across the globe. Called the “Get the Ring” coach, Sami Wunder has created one-on-one coaching, self-study programs, a popular eBook, and a series of live-coaching events that help strong and successful women find lasting love and romantic relationships.

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