I just really don’t like my best friend’s boyfriend. Two years ago, my friend had an affair with a co-worker and her marriage ended, but she continued the relationship with the co-worker. At first, I tried to get to know him and invited them both to parties. He’s handsome, charismatic, and seems to be a great father. But, I feel like my friend is in a toxic relationship with him. They have broken up and gotten back together at least 20 times in the past year. He spies on her, curses her out in front of her son, has cheated on her with a mutual friend and calls her crazy, but she won’t leave him for good. I’m scared of him and I’ve shared that but she always says I haven’t “gotten to know the real him.” A group of friends and I are hosting a party and she is invited, but her man is not. Now she is insisting he be invited. Should I tell her that no one wants him around? Or should I give him a chance?
Not feeling Him
Dear Not Feeling Him,
Kudos for you being a good friend by already voicing your concern for your friend and making the effort to get to know her man in the past, but I have to Keep it 100 with you: Your friend isn’t going to wake up and dump this guy just because you aren’t feeling him. But I bet you already know that.
When you think you are in love, you want to spend every waking moment with your bae, regardless of the rocky terrain and, more often than not, regardless of what your friends and family think. What may be toxic to you, may not be toxic (yet) to your friend. It sounds like she needs to do some digging into what made her cheat then pursue a relationship with the person she cheated with — and who eventually did the same thing to her. Her self-esteem and self-love seems to be on empty, especially if she’s allowing this stuff to happen in front of her child. She’s going to need to fill herself up by loving on herself, but until she looks in the mirror and realizes she deserves better, all you can do is be there to be ready to catch her when she falls out of love with this lame and help her through it.
In the meantime, it’s great that you invited her to the party, and hopefully she will come alone, but be prepared for her to insist that if she can’t bring Toxic Bae, she isn’t coming. On her end, she may be worried about making him angry if he can’t come with her, or in her mind, what if he breaks up with her for the 21st time and it’s for good?
Sure, you can have that chat with her to explain the reasoning behind the invitation, just don’t stage an intervention with the entire group you are hosting the party with. That won’t end well, and you may lose a friend.
So, have this convo solo with her. Invite her out for a girls night for drinks so she won’t act a donkey in public, unless she is like one of those Real Housewives and will throw drinks at restaurants. If that’s the case, maybe a spa day is a better time to chat, or go for a walk in the park. Be clear that it is a girls’ night so she will leave Toxic Bae at the house. During the conversation, make sure you are direct, not throwing hints of shade. Be open and honest in a loving way, and explain with examples why he scares you, why you are worried for her and her child, and why everyone is uncomfortable around him and his unstable behavior.
However, you also called him charismatic, so he must have some “act right” in him. Be prepared for that rebuttal from her. Explain to her that you and your friends want to spend time with her and not them as a couple. The key is not to sound like you’re complaining. Again, keeping it 100, she may resent you for this entire conversation because, as women in their feelings, we sometimes go to, “Oh she is hating,” or, “She’s jealous of my relationship.”
If he scares you, then there is absolutely no reason for you to get to know him any better than you already do. It doesn’t sound like you even know when he will or won’t be in her life. Give her a chance to process what you have to say, and who knows, maybe she will show up at the party solo and leave the night with a new bae! Good Luck!
If you have a dilemma you need help solving, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org