If You Don’t Trust Your Partner’s Friends, Here’s What Experts Say That Means
I love the time early in a new relationship when you go into full honeymoon cocoon mode — when the world becomes about the two of you and it feels like nothing could ever come between you. Eventually, this phase has to end; neither of you can let all your texts and calls from friends go unanswered forever. At some point, you have to start introducing each other to your respective friend groups, and sometimes that's amazing because suddenly your number of friends doubles. However, when the opposite happens and you feel like you don’t trust your partner’s friends, that can get really complicated, really quickly.
While it definitely doesn't feel good to be in a situation where you don't trust your partner's friends, does it actually really matter? Or is it something you can just shrug off? According to Erica Gordon, dating expert, founder of The Babe Report, and author of Aren't You Glad You Read This?, it actually is kind of a big deal. "It's important to trust your partner's friends because it's important to feel that their friends respect and support your relationship," Gordon tells Elite Daily. In that case, it is worth trying to find a resolution so that, at the very least, you can all peacefully coexist. Before you can get to a solution, however, you first need to identify what it is about your SO's friends that you don't trust. Here are the reasons Gordon says you may be feeling this way about them.
1. They are single and they want your partner to be single, too.
If all your partner's friends happen to not be in a relationship at the moment, that's not automatically a cause for concern. However, as Gordon points out, if they would really prefer that your partner would join them in being unattached, that can be the source of some serious trust issues between you and their crew. “If most of your partner's friends are single, you might feel as though they perhaps resent your relationship,” she says. “If the friends are mostly single and want your partner to be single with them, distrust can take place in the form of wondering or worrying that your partner's friends are trying to persuade a breakup.” No wonder you don’t trust them!
2. They are unfaithful in their own relationships.
Did your trust issues begin with witnessing your SO’s friends' shady behavior in their own relationships? If so, Gordon says that’s a reasonable cause to have concerns about the effects (or attempted effects) that they may have on your partner. “If your partner's friends cheat on their partners and normalize or encourage cheating, it can be very difficult to trust their influence on your partner,” Gordon explains.
3. They talk negatively about you behind your back.
It's possible that your issues with your partner’s friends came about in response to how you think they feel about you, says Gordon. “If your partner tells you that their friends have spoken negatively about you or don't approve of you, it can become challenging to trust them," she states. "It's hard to trust anyone who plants seeds in your partner's head about you when you aren't around to defend yourself.”
4. They are generally a bad influence on your partner.
It's also possible that your trust issues have nothing to do with your partner's friends' attitudes toward you and the relationship, but rather, are all about worrying behaviors you’ve witnessed the friends participating in, says Gordon. “If the friends tend to encourage shady behavior such as drug use or gambling, it's difficult to trust that they are going to have a good influence on your partner,” she explains.
What to do if you don’t trust your partner’s friends.
While being in this situation is a bummer to say the least, there are some things you can do to try and change it, says Gordon. If you want to take a more proactive route, Gordon suggests putting in some effort to forge a friendship with your partner’s friends. “Trust builds with the friends if you make the effort to build your own friendship with them so that they like you, approve of you, and want you around,” she says. If this is successful, not only will you have resolved the tension between everyone involved, but you will have made some new friends, too. That's what I call a win-win.
Unfortunately, making friends with your partner's friends won’t always be a viable solution, particularly if the mistrust is caused by them negatively influencing your partner, or if they have crossed serious boundaries with you. In that case, Gordon says it's time to have a heart-to-heart with your partner. “The most important thing to do is to control and contain your emotional responses,” she advises. “Have a calm conversation with your partner about your concerns. Explain that the way their friends act makes you feel slightly insecure, and explain to your partner that you may just need some reassurance that their friends are not swaying them when it comes to decisions about you or the relationship.”
If you want this to be as productive a conversation as possible, Gordon also cautions against losing your temper or making ultimatums. “Nobody wins when demands are made about who someone can or cannot be friends with, and a conversation like that will never end well," she explains. "Instead, stay calm and explain how you feel without overreacting.” Ideally, your partner will hear you out and start making changes to address the issue. However, if that’s not the case, it's time to start deciding if this is a situation you can see yourself staying in long-term, and act accordingly. While there is never any guarantee that you’ll be friends with all your partner's friends, they do need to at least be respectful toward you and your relationship. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you deserve anything less.