So You Hate Your Friend's Fiance - Now What?
It's a situation many know all too well. Your best friend starts dating someone who just doesn't quite sit well with you. You decide not to say anything because it isn't that serious and it's just the beginning. But time has a sneaky way of moving quickly and suddenly she calls you with the news, "We're Engaged!"
Your feelings about him haven't changed. So what do you do?
Unfortunately, this is a very tricky spot to navigate. So you need to be very honest with yourself first about why you feel the way you do, and then decide to act. I've compiled my best tips for checking in with your feelings and deciding when you should, and shouldn't, say something, below. And above all else, remember to be kind. To yourself and your friend. Because no matter what the situation is, this conversation is not going to be an easy one.
*Disclaimer* Please note that I am NOT licensed to give professional life advice. I can only draw from my own experiences and share what I've learned. Thanks!
When NOT to Say Something
Her Fiance is Not Someone You Would Date
It's important to be honest with yourself about why you don't like your friends partner. If his personality is just one that doesn't vibe with you, then forever hold your peace. The reality is that *most* of us wouldn't want to date our friend's partners. And that's actually a good thing.
If your friend likes his loud jokes or the way he is always snapping his gum, then more power to her. Just be glad that you aren't the one marrying him and don't let your annoyance get in the way of celebrating with your bestie. And put in a little more effort with her groom to be - maybe you both love the same baseball team or grew up in the same neighborhood. Finding some common ground will help you keep your cool when his annoying habits pop up.
You're Feeling Jealous
Jealousy is a hard feeling to sit with, but if this is where your hatred of your friend's fiance is coming from, you're going to have to. It's unfair to ask her to step away from a relationship that brings her happiness just because it takes some of her time away from you. So take a long look at your friendship and why you are feeling territorial and recognize that your issue may not actually be with her partner at all.
Once you've accepted that, I think it's perfectly fine to sit down with your friend and have a conversation about your feelings. Simply explain to her that, while you're excited for this new chapter in her life, you want to make a conscious effort to maintain your friendship. Plan a biweekly coffee date or agree to get dinner just the two of you once a month. Chances are, she's going to be worried about missing you too. And there's no reason why she can't love both of you.
Your Friend is Happy & Healthy
And finally, if you simply don't like him, but your friend obviously does, keep it quiet. Unless there is a legitimate cause for concern (see reasons below) you don't have the right to interfere in your friend's relationship. Perhaps making an effort to get to know him better, or to ask her what her favorite qualities about him are, would help ease your frustration. But if she's clearly happy, healthy and in love, trust her judgement and be glad you only have to see him occasionally.
When you SHOULD Say Something
Your Friend Expresses Her Own Doubts
Your friend gets to drive the bus here. Meaning, she either asks for your honest opinion, or questions her own feelings. This is obviously a best case scenario for addressing this sticky topic, because the onus is on her. However, tread carefully! She may be inclined to defend her partner and could get resentful if you unleash a barrage of insults upon him. Remember, she can still decide to go through with the wedding. So treat this like Good Friendship 101 and just be there for her. Listen to her concerns and be gentle, but fair, in your critiques.
You Aren't Alone in Your Feelings
If it's common knowledge that your friend's fiance is the worst then it may be time to employ the "strength in numbers" technique. However, for obvious reasons, this option could backfire. You don't want your friend to feel ganged up on, because that could make her retreat back into her relationship further.
Talk with her other friends and family members about your concerns and come up with a plan together about how to speak with her. Intervention style is probably not a good idea. But if enough of her friends sit down with her individually and have a similar conversation she may start to see your point.
The Relationship is Abusive
If your friend is in danger, either emotional or physical, you don't have to sugar coat your feelings about her partner. She needs to know that she has the option to leave and the support system to catch her and keep her safe. Even if she is in denial or angry, you can't risk her health just to avoid a difficult conversation or a potential argument. Be prepared for this NOT to work. You can only give her the resources and support to leave, but that doesn't mean she will.
Whatever the situation, talking to your friend about her less than ideal fiance is never going to be an easy conversation. And your friendship may suffer for it. So it's important you take a step back to analyze your feelings before you act. And above all else remember that sometimes the very best thing you can do for her is simply to be supportive.