Do You Hate Your Friend’s Mate?

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Jon, a dog groomer in New York City, is just not that into his close friend’s significant other. He asked that his name not be used to protect his friend’s privacy and their friendship.

The question is, what should he do about it? Should he open his mouth and risk the friendship with his unsolicited and likely unwanted relationship advice, grin and bear it, or simply avoid this friend when he is with “her”?

All are possibilities, depending on the nature of her offense, relationship experts tell WebMD.

Pretty much all of us have been where Jon is now, and many of us may have lost good friendships along the way. The best way to preserve a friendship is to think long and hard before you open your dating is that it’s right there in black and white and not like at a party where they can always say, ‘I was just kidding,'” Daily says. “If this person has emailed you, just forward it to your friend without comment and let her make her own decision,” she says.

If it’s some other type of bad behavior, you can ask questions that make them think, says Alison Arnold, PhD, a therapist in Phoenix who is also known as “Doc Ali,” the life coach on the VH1 series Scott Baio Is 45 … and Single. For example, ask, “Did you feel comfortable with how he was last night or with how much he is drinking?” she suggests. If they don’t want to talk about it, then you have to let it go.

No matter what action you take, “You still run the risk of losing the friendship because your friend might know what’s going on on some level and not want to confront the problem,” Jaffe says.

Personality clashes: Let’s say your friend keeps pushing you and your significant other to go on a double-date, but you just can’t stand her new mate.

This is a balancing act, Daily says. “You have to balance how obnoxious this person is versus how important the friendship is to you,” she says. “If you are not sure the relationship is going to go the distance, you can beg off of couples activities for now and instead say, ‘We can’t do next Friday night, but maybe me and you could do lunch next week.'”

If your friend is in jeopardy: The stakes are raised if you feel that your friend is in jeopardy because of his or her choice of companion.

“If you feel that your friend is in danger and there is something that you can’t keep your mouth closed about — like he made a pass at another friend, is … using drugs, or you saw him on a child molester web site — then you owe it to your friend and the friendship to tell them what is going on without making a judgment,” Daily says.

But remember this can be risky, she says.

“If they end up going back to or staying with this person, they will feel disloyal if they continue having a friendship with you,” she says. “You have to understand that there is a very distinct possibility that they will stay with the person and you won’t be friends anymore.”

Another caveat: “You are assuming that they don’t already know what you have to say,” Daily says. “They may know it and not want everyone else to know it. There are a lot of things we deal with in the privacy of our homes that we don’t want to be public knowledge.”

Letting Go: No matter what you decide to do, do it once and then move forward, Arnold says.

“Let them know, and then let go,” she says. Letting go may sometimes mean being a bridesmaid or a groomsman in the wedding. “Stand up and support your friend in the wedding if you are asked, because ultimately, you are there to support your friend, and once you have asked the initial questions, you have done all that you can do.”

These are lessons that Jon ultimately learned. “We eventually told him that she is very domineering, and he said he noticed it and feels that way, too. But he doesn’t really stand up to her,” he says, adding that “maybe he actually likes it.”

He must. The two are set to get married, and, you guessed it, Jon will be one of the groomsmen.