My boyfriend and I recently fixed up two of our friends on a blind date. We thought they’d be a great match, but they had a horrible time. Even though my boyfriend and I both know the details of the date from each of our friends, we agreed not to get into the details with each other because we knew that we’d take the side of each of our friends, which might cause a strain on our relationship. We’ve managed to not talk about it, but now when my boyfriend sees my friend when we’re out, he’s really cold to her and I’ve caught him rolling his eyes at things she says. I’ve gone out of my way to be nice to his friend and I’ve talked to my boyfriend to ask him to please treat my friend with respect. He’s still giving her the same cold attitude, but he insists that he isn’t. Is there anything I can do to help repair this? My friendships are very important to me.—TT, Los Angeles, California
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
You give a good example of why couples should give considerable consideration to setting up their friends. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy. Sure, it would be great if they got along, plus you’d have fun couple buddies to have adventures with. But what if they don’t get along? You’ve found out the hard way that it can be awkward and stressful on your own relationship … and relationships are hard enough without adding that extra pressure.
Your boyfriend has to suck it up here and be nice to your friend. He doesn’t have to love her like you do, but he needs to be civil and respectful toward her. Also, I wouldn’t force them to co-mingle too much these days. He doesn’t like to hang out with her it seems, so limit that time. Why can’t you make friend time and boyfriend time more separate? At least for a while, let them have more of a break from each other.
In time, he may learn to roll with it instead of rolling his eyes.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
I had no idea that people still fixed up their friends; I though they left that dirty job to Match.com these days.
One thing you said that stuck with me was, “My friendships are very important to me.” Well, good news—your friendship doesn’t appear to be harmed based on what you’ve told us; it’s your boyfriend’s relationship with your friend that didn’t weather the fix-up storm. But your boyfriend doesn’t need to be BFFs with every friend you have, so maybe consider limiting the time that you put the two of them together in a social situation. It does help if he and your friends actually get along, but you’re the common ingredient between them; the only thing they need to agree on is that they both care about and support you. And if him rolling his eyes at your friend because he doesn’t like her is causing you angst, that’s not supporting you. So perhaps present it to him that way. “Babe, I’m not asking you to have a sleepover and brush each other’s hair and tell ghost stories. I’m just asking you not to act like an asshole toward her because it stresses me out and makes me unhappy. So could you please just keep your eye rolling to yourself? And I promise not to force a friendship with her on you.”
And if that doesn’t work, just tell him to sack up and stop acting like a pre-pubescent version of Jan Brady and get over it. Aren’t women the ones who’re supposed to hold grudges? If he doesn’t man up and get with the program, you might want to consider a boyfriend who acts less like a girlfriend.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
I always think it’s a tricky situation when one partner doesn’t acknowledge what the other partner is seeing in them. Is your boyfriend’s reaction to your friend bothering her or is it only bothering you? I hear that your friendships are very important to you, but I would hope that your relationship with your boyfriend is important, too.
What I mean by that is if this guy is truly being rude and 1) doesn’t even know he’s being rude and 2) refuses to consider the observations of his girlfriend, then I wonder what else he’ll deny or ignore later on in the relationship? Are you close to any of his good guy friends? Perhaps you can ask them if they notice the behavior you describe. If he has any girl friends, she/they may be helpful here, too. He may just need to hear it from someone other than you. And if he really won’t budge on the issue, you can’t make him. Then you have to decide how much his behavior is really affecting your friend and how comfortable are you with a guy who won’t change his ways at your request.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
Yes, you should talk about it with your boyfriend. Sounds like you two didn’t have an issue before this incident happened, so find out what the hell each of you knows. It will clear the air and help him understand your side/your friend’s side of the story. Who knows, you may discover something about your friend you never knew.
This is putting an odd strain on your own relationship when all you were doing was experimenting to see if two people you really like could also really like each other. Get it out in the open, take it lightheartedly, and realize you’re talking about other people’s lives. Is one of them a mass murderer? Talk with your boyfriend and find out what went wrong from his friend’s perspective that’s making him so angry at your friend.
But as you talk about it, remind your boyfriend that she’s your friend and she’s not going away. (Unless she did, in fact, admit to being an ax murderer and then you need a new friend.) You’ll probably find out that it’s something minor, like she doesn’t eat meat off a bone and you all can have a good chuckle and move on. Remind him also that this is the reason we all date, to find out who’s right and who’s not so right for us. If at first you don’t succeed (or your friend doesn’t), learn what went wrong, and try again.