Micah Lussier and Shelby on 'Love Is Blind' Season 4

So, Your Friends Hate Your Partner... Now What?

On Love Is Blind, we saw how awkward it can get.

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Sometimes, reality TV blesses us with overly-opinionated side characters. (Think: Peter Weber’s mom, Barb, from The Bachelor.) On Love Is Blind Season 4, that character is Shelby Tschohl, Micah Lussier’s longtime best friend. Shelby isn’t one to hide her feelings, and although her appearances on the show were brief, they were definitely memorable.

Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers up to and throughout Episode 12 of Love Is Blind Season 4. Fans first meet Shelby in Episode 8, when Micah introduces her to her fiancé, Paul Peden. Micah makes it clear that Shelby’s opinion is important to her, telling Paul her friend has “single-handedly, like, terminated relationships for me.” Paul, however, doesn’t seem fazed; even when Shelby starts picking on his articulate way of speaking, Paul quips that it’s becoming a Paul roast. At this point, Shelby gets defensive. “I’ll have something b*tchy to say at some point, so keep it up,” she tells him before adding, “I’m serious about it, though. Don’t say that kind of stuff to me. I’ll get pissed.”

Later in the episode, she tells Micah her opinion of Paul — and it’s unsurprisingly harsh. “I’m 100% not with it. He’s the best guy ever... right now. You’re meant to have the most spectacular everything. You’re Micah. And I think you deserve that. You’re meant to have the best wedding of your life. You’re meant to have all this, and this isn’t it.” In Episode 12, when Paul says “no” at the altar, Shelby seems positively glowing. As Micah rushes out of the venue, Shelby’s voiceover describes how she feels: “Relieved, honestly. That’s how I wanted it to go.”

One thing’s clear: When your friends hate your partner, sh*t can go down. So, what’s the best way to handle this kind of situation? Two therapists weigh in on navigating tension between friends and significant others.


How To Know When It’s A Red Flag Vs. NBD

Finding out your friends dislike your partner can be disheartening, but it doesn’t necessarily have to affect your relationship too much. The key is distinguishing between valid and invalid concerns. One way to do that? Figure out if this sentiment is a common feeling among your friend group, or if it’s just coming from one person.

“If many or all of your friends don’t like your partner, that’s a huge red flag. They may be seeing things that you don’t see behind the rose-colored glass,” Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, Ph.D., professor of relational and sexual communication at California State University, Fullerton, tells Elite Daily. However, if it’s only one or two of your friends, you might want to tap into their reasoning a bit more. “If it’s based on logical observations like, ‘You seem unhappy when you’re with them,’ or ‘They often cut you off and don’t respect you in group conversations,’ then you should take a pause and reevaluate the situation.” However, if their concerns are less rational — for example, maybe they’re upset you’re spending less time with them — you don’t need to take their dislike of your partner to heart. “That might just be your friends hanging on to the way things used to be,” Suwinyattichaiporn adds.

In Micah’s situation, Shelby seems to be the only friend who doesn’t like Paul — or, at least, the only one who will say it. ICYMI, when a producer asked Shelby and another one of Micah’s friends how they felt about Paul, Shelby gave a thumbs-down, but the other gave a thumbs-up. In this instance, it seems like a Shelby-Micah problem, not a Paul-Micah problem.

Have Open Conversations With Everyone Involved

Communicating with both your friends and your partner is important in this situation. That doesn’t mean you have to come right out and say to your SO, “Hey, my friend really hates you.” But you can express how you feel: how you’ve noticed tension, how you value both relationships, and how you’re hoping to move forward.

First things first: Talk to your friends. “After doing self-reflection, schedule time to have an intentional conversation to better understand their dislike,” Taylor Dyson, Ph.D., a couples therapist at Millennial Life Counseling, suggests. “It’s important to hear your friends out and reflect on their words from a non-defensive standpoint. Then, ask yourself if anything resonates with you.” You might think their criticisms are completely unfounded, or you might discover yourself agreeing with some of them. Whatever your reaction, Dyson says, “Your friend will appreciate your willingness to have an open and honest conversation and that you cared enough to hear them out.”

This line of communication can be a delicate one. “This kind of situation obviously doesn’t feel good for anybody, so approach your friend with empathy and effective listening,” Suwinyattichaiporn recommends. “Meanwhile, don’t share the criticism from your friends with your partner until you learn what it’s really about. It might cause unnecessary stress or leave a bad taste about your friends.”

According to Suwinyattichaiporn, your best bet at dealing with this sitch is to “handle it with empathy and mindful communication.” Micah and Shelby might need to take some notes on this — from what fans saw, there wasn’t much empathy happening in this discussion.

Set Some Boundaries

Whenever someone has an opinion (good or bad) on your relationship, it’s crucial to clarify some boundaries with them. “Boundaries not only protect you, but also protect those that you care about,” Dyson says. This can help prevent unnecessary tension.

Dyson says it’s helpful to start with a basic ask: “You can ask that your friends and significant other show respect to one another on the occasion that they are in the same room.” Once you make it clear that this is important to you, your friends and SO should have no problem playing nice for your sake. However, if it’s still something that’s weighing on your mind, Dyson suggests “making separate time for your significant other and friends to minimize stress.”

With firm boundaries in place, you don’t have to choose one over the other. Dyson adds, “They can both exist happily in your world.” That said, if Paul and Micah find their way back to each other post-wedding, it looks like there might still be hope.

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