Relationships, platonic and romantic, are a balancing act. And when your best friend and boyfriend just can’t seem to get along, it can feel like you’re walking on a very unstable tightrope.
You’ve tried mediating between them like an episode of Dr. Phil, you’ve forced them to hang out only for it to have it end in tears (probably yours), and you’ve unsuccessfully dabbled in the magic of persuasion. Now what? Could it be time to cut one of them off?
We all want to believe that we’ll stick to the girl code and never choose a man over our friends. But we also want to think we’ll put our all into our relationships and stay with our soulmates until the end.
So, what do you do when these two ideals clash? Whose side do you take when the two people who fight for you more than anyone else are now fighting over you?
When you choose between your best friend and your boyfriend, it’s not a choice anyone wants to make. But when all else fails, it can feel like the only option.
5 Things to consider when choosing between your best friend and boyfriend
1. Listen to both sides and try to understand where your friend and boyfriend are coming from.
Though being caught in the middle sucks, it gives you a unique advantage to move between your best friend’s and boyfriend’s conflicting perspectives.
Try to understand their motives in the argument. Is she concerned for you or is she doing this for selfish purposes? Does she usually have your back or is she needy?
It’s possible that your relationship is causing your best friend to worry. Maybe she sees some red flags that you’re missing, or maybe she’s just struggling to accept that you’re not in her life as often as when you were single.
For your boyfriend, ask yourself if you think the relationship will last. Is it worth potentially losing a friendship? Is he being controlling or is he trying to protect you from a toxic friendship?
It’s concerning if he’s suddenly demanding you end a friendship with someone who has been there for you through tough times, but sometimes it takes someone coming into our lives to make us realize we need change. Maybe he’s concerned about how your friend treats you. Or, maybe he feels disrespected by her.
Take your time to listen to both sides and try your best to understand. It’s possible that your best friend or boyfriend could help you see what changes you need to make to better the situation.
2. Balance your time between both.
Picking sides should really be your last option after all else fails. It’s perfectly possible to maintain a friendship and relationship at once. Anyone forcing you into an ultimatum might not have your best interests at heart if they’re trying to control who you hang out with.
Use your time carefully so you’re spending enough time with your best friend and your boyfriend. Don’t ditch plans last minute or only hang out with one of them when the other isn’t available. This can make people feel like they’re second best and will worsen your problems.
Be honest with both parties so they know you’re not willing to choose but are willing to make things work. If they really care about you, they’ll want you to be happy and will agree to support you no matter who you hang out with.
You should feel free to keep them up to date on your relationships, but it might also help to keep the gushing about your friendship or relationship to a minimum. If they really hate each other, talking about your best friend or boyfriend all the time in front of the other one might start to annoy them.
3. Put them in your shoes.
If you’ve taken the time to hear them out and tried your best to shower both of them with attention, they should do the same for you. In the heat of all the arguments, snide comments, and death stares, they may not have really thought about how you feel.
Ask your boyfriend if he would ditch his best friend if you asked. Would he not want you to let go of hatred and love the people he loves? Ask your best friend if she would give up her chance at love just because her friend couldn’t get along with her man. Explain to them that you care about both of them too much to ever let one of them go.
It’s possible that they’ve let their selfish needs get the better of them. Maybe once they see that their relationship with you is at stake, they’ll agree to put their differences aside and move on. After all, they do have one thing in common — how much they love you.
4. Remember your priorities.
Sometimes we lose ourselves a little when life changes. You’ve been trying your best to please everyone and have forgotten your own needs. You’ve gotten swept up in your relationship or overcome by your friendship, and your relationship with yourself has suffered as a result.
You need to take time to focus on what mattered to you before this conflict. Were you focused on maintaining strong friendships no matter what? Were you searching for the perfect relationship? What did that relationship look like?
Remember who you are outside of your relationships, too. What are your career goals? What’s on your bucket list?
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Think about how your friendship and relationship fit into this. Do your best friend and boyfriend support you in all other aspects of your life? Thinking about these things could help you see who is really there for you and who you see in your life long-term.
5. Do what is best for you — not your best friend or boyfriend.
In an ideal world, your best friend and boyfriend get along perfectly and you all live in blissful harmony, hanging out together like in an episode of Friends. But in reality, sometimes we have to make tough choices in order to protect our long-term happiness.
Ultimately, if your heart is telling you that you need to let someone go, then maybe that’s what’s best. Some relationships just aren’t built to last. Sometimes we meet people along the way who accompany us on our journey for a while but eventually go separate ways.
If you really feel like you’ve tried your best to make things work but one person is just making things even harder for you, then it might be time to let that person go. If it’s meant to be, you’ll cross paths again.
Who knows, maybe this will even be the wake-up call they needed to stop causing drama in your life and start putting you first.
Alice Kelly is YourTango’s Deputy News and Entertainment Editor. Based in Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.