Life is a funny thing. As I came to the close of my first premarital session with a male friend of mine and his fiancée, my thoughts went back to the first day that I met her. Her side-eyes. Her flippant attitude. Her overall dismissive energy. I mean, to an extent I get it. It's no secret that her man is fine. Anyway, I guess it was an indirect shout-out to my genes that, once she found out my age (her man will be 30 this year; I'll be 46. She assumed I was younger than that), she toned down a bit. But, it still took about six months before she made real eye contact and even longer before I stopped getting "the church hug" (you know, that to-the-side stuff that pastors and deacons do) and her embrace was more heartfelt and genuine.
Now? Now she trusts me enough to, not only remain friends with her man, but provide counsel for their future union. That's how I know that it is indeed possible for a man, who is in a relationship, to be able to keep his female friends around; at least, the truly platonic ones (check out "The Word 'Platonic' Is Sacred. Literally."). At the same time, that doesn't mean it doesn't require some finessing and big-time maturity on everyone's part in order to make it work.
But what if you've tried to be nice—I mean, genuinely nice, not nice-nasty or, as Michel'le used to put it, "Nicety"—and it still doesn't seem to break the ice with ole' girl? Is that a precursor to you throwing your entire relationship with your male friend away? Nah. I wouldn't do that just yet. First, take a moment to process the following questions. If you do that—and perhaps run a few of them by your friend as well—you might discover that there is a way for all three of you to co-exist in harmony. At least, to some extent.
How Long Have They Been Together?
At this point and stage in my life, I try and avoid as much drama as possible. That said, while it might sound a little "well damn", one way I do that is I don't do a ton of emotional investing in my friends' relationships unless they think that it's going to become serious. And since a fair share of my male friends are casual daters, there's no point in trying to get close to women who may or may not be around in the next couple of months.
If you're already at the point of meeting a male friend's "new interest", then it's too late to apply this rule (and boundary). But what I will say is if they've only been seeing each other for three months or less and she's giving you the cold shoulder, I wouldn't put too much time or energy into it.
Chances are, it's not so much about you as the fact that she knows that you and the man she is seeing have something that they don't yet—the foundation of time and intimacy. She's probably more uncomfortable and insecure more than anything else.
On the other hand, if it's been a hot minute and she's not a fan, it's important to figure out what you want. Do you want to be besties with her? Do you simply want to be treated with respect? Do you want to kind of "agree to disagree" but her not push your male friend to the point of having to choose between you and her? Whatever it is that you desire, what I will say is this—don't let the tension linger. If it remains and he does decide to marry her, it could come to the point where he will have to make a choice. And if he's going to be a responsible husband, I bet you can guess who will get "cut". Not because he doesn't love you but because his wife takes top rank. As she should. (If you put yourself in her shoes, I think you would totally agree.)
What Do You Think the Issues Are?
Some women are just petty. They don't even know why they don't like someone; they simply choose not to and there's nothing that you can do about people like that other than pray for them. But if she's not feelin' you because you and her guy have a past; the first (or second or third) interaction was hella awkward; he's told her some things that you've said about her or their relationship; she knows that he once had feelings for you and/or she feels like the two of you are too close for her comfort—well, to a certain extent, that is understandable.
The only way to know for sure is to ask her. What? You thought I was gonna say ask him? He may or may not know. Besides, even if he does, I wouldn't be shocked in the least if, the way he relays it ends up making matters worse instead of better. So yeah, the only way to get to the root of the issue is to go to the horse's mouth, so to speak. Not to "confront" her (that will put her on the defensive) but to address her feelings as well as yours. Just make sure that you do it in a productive way. This brings us to the next point.
Have You and Her Spent Any Time Together?
It's amazing, the kind of potential issues that can be put to rest when two people spend time alone. I can personally attest to this because, pretty much every time that I've spent time with a male friend's significant other, without him present, she's been more relaxed, we've gotten to know each other better, and it's been all good.
Pretty much all of us are designed to respond to energy; therefore, I totally get it if your friend's girlfriend's bad vibes cause you to put up a bit of a wall. But a sign of being a self-assured woman is when you don't let someone else's issues determine if you have the same ones.
What I mean by that is, you are making boss moves if, your male friend's lady is cuttin' up and you're still like, "Hey, let's meet for lunch or drinks after work. I'd like to get to know you better." Giving both of you time to feel each other out will bring some sort of clarity so that either you can 1) get along, moving forward; 2) figure out how both of you can peacefully co-exist in his life (even if you don't really want to be in each other's) or 3) come to the conclusion that a discussion does need to be had with him. Perhaps with all three of you.
How Does He Feel About It?
How your male friend feels is definitely valid. The reason why I say that is because, if he values having both of you in his life, he's not gonna leave you out here trying to figure out a solution alone. Matter of fact, most of the mature men that I know tend to find it to be a red flag when their girl can't get along with his friends because it can indicate some not-so-subtle signs of jealousy, control or some other toxic emotion or agenda.
Now, I will say that he may not be as sensitive to what's happening as you are. In other words, he might be like, "So long as the two of you are cordial and I don't have to hear either one of you insult the other, I'm fine." But if the vibes that she's sending you are making you feel some type of way to the point where it is putting stress on your relationship with your male friend, you are well within your rights to bring that to his attention. The venting about ole' girl? Save that for a friend who has absolutely no ties to your lil' "threesome". But the bottom line of you wanting to feel more at peace about the situation? Like I said, a mature man who wants to keep you in his life is going to find the best possible way to handle that.
Is the Issue “Dislike” or DISRESPECT?
I was once really close to a guy whose wife turned out to be pretty cray-cray. I'd like to say I was shocked, but when he told me that he was going to propose and I asked him what her flaws were, he said, "I mean, she's got a jealous streak but…" Fast forward to pretty much the first couple of months of them being husband and wife, and—surprise, surprise—she was driving him crazy with her jealousy and control issues. Who did he call about it, often? Me. Matter of fact, for a while there, our friendship turned into more of a coach/client kind of thing. That is, until one day, she hacked into his email account, saw some of my friend and I's correspondence and decided to confront me directly, even though we had never formally met and without her husband's knowledge. She did that, even though the emails were really all about trying to help him figure out how to make his marriage work.
My friend? He gets credit for addressing us both (in an email; he lived out of state) and actually correcting her in some areas where she came at me. But once I knew that his wife was an online hacker, I pretty much knew that he and I's relationships was a wrap. When you love someone, sometimes you've got to let them go. And me? I fully get that once a friend gets married, their spouse is their top priority. Besides, for several years following that, I only heard about more drama that she was bringing into his life; so much that there really wasn't much time or space for he and I to remain friends. Besides 2.0—what she did was about more than disliking me. We all don't have to like each other in this world. How she came at me was straight up disrespectful, she seemed like she had no plans on stopping and, to tolerate a lot of that was only going to piss me off and put strain on my friend and I's friendship…possibly to the point of us falling out too. (He and I don't really talk anymore but things faded out pretty peacefully.)
That's why, it is also important to ponder if you and your guy friend's girlfriend (or even wife) don't like each other (in the sense of you simply have no desire to be homies) or if she is disrespecting you or even you are disrespecting her. If the latter is the case, there is probably an expiration date on your friendship. You should probably brace yourself for that.
What Boundaries Are Your Friend Prepared to Put into Place?
If your male friend's significant other is mature in her own right, I'm thinking that she will be on the tip of, "Your homegirl ain't really my cup of tea but I trust you. So, as long as you both are on the up and up with your friendship and she treats me with courtesy and respect whenever we do run into each other, I'm fine." Basically, what I just displayed is a boundary and honestly, if you were going to try and keep your friendship going while he has a lady in his life, boundaries were going to be needed anyway; even if she absolutely adored you (because then you would have to be careful to not overshare or violate the sacredness of your relationship with your male friend).
Boundaries are limits and when our friends of the opposite sex are in relationship, those are needed, just so everyone can be at peace. Again, if your male friend's girlfriend ain't thrilled about you, she doesn't really have to be. Just so long as you respect what they've got goin' on and she does the same for your friendship, everyone can co-exist. Everyone doesn't have to be friends. Everyone just needs to honor the connections. Grown folks know this. Hopefully your male friend wouldn't settle for anything less than a grown ass woman. Real talk.
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