‘Help! My friends hate the person I’m dating’

(Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros)
(Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros)

There is nothing more exciting than telling your best friends that you are dating somebody. There is also nothing more disappointing when your friends hate the person you’re dating.

It is never easy when there is a conflict between your closest friends and your boyfriend or girlfriend. You are caught in the middle, with each side demanding that you pick a side. In some cases, relationships — romantic or not — come to an end. Fourth-year McMaster student, Alicia Breitlow, claimed that her boyfriend and close friend clashed.

“My friend didn’t think he was good enough for me and she would purposely give him the cold shoulder whenever he was around,” Breitlow said. “My boyfriend tried to get her approval, but it was just no use so he would give her the cold shoulder back. It turned into a war for my attention.”

Breitlow, who is still with her boyfriend, saw that her other group of friends were against the relationship. Though they were not aggressive, they made their dislike known.  “I felt like if my boyfriend and I fought, I couldn’t call up my friends and rant about it because they’d just say, ‘I told you so,’” Breitlow explained. “I didn’t even want to tell them about anything sweet that happened with my boyfriend. I felt like they would just be thinking in the back of their mind, ‘that’s not going to last.’ It’s not supposed to be this way with your friends.”
Do not think that this kind of behaviour only happens with girls. Men are just as judgemental of their friends’ girlfriends as women are of their friends’ boyfriends. Thomas Brennan, who is a fourth-year University of Toronto student was in a relationship where his friends didn’t like his girlfriend because they felt that she was trying to change him.

“My buddies kept saying that my girlfriend was trying to make me more reserved and they didn’t think that she was my type,” Brennan explained.“I didn’t think she was trying to change me. They were adamant about it and their dislike for her hung over the duration of our relationship.”

The tensions led Brennan to break up with his girlfriend because he wanted to have his friends for the rest of his life. “I couldn’t be happy in a relationship if my friends didn’t like her. But it was hard because I cared about her,” Brennan said. “Sometimes I resent my friends for it, but I’m sure that the next girl I date they will approve.”
Sometimes the relationships don’t end, but the friendships do. Breitlow was shocked to see that her friend walked away. “The fact that she couldn’t just be happy that my boyfriend was making me happy was probably a sign that we couldn’t be friends,” Breitlow reasoned.

Compromises are hard but essential when balancing love and friendship. It is the key ingredient to maintaining friendships and love, especially when conflict is present.  “I hope no one ever has to choose between friendship and love — it is unfair for anyone to be in that position.”

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