That’s right. I said it: TELL YOUR FRIENDS IF YOU HATE THEIR PARTNER.
Alright, I may be jumping the gun a little bit – but let me explain.
We live in a world where: we tend to sugar coat things, we tend to appeal to everyone’s feelings before we speak the truth, we struggle to tell people things that may hurt. Now in many ways this can be useful, because speaking in the name of honesty as a way of being cruel is not right either – HOWEVER….
We are avoiding conversations that need to be had among our friends because we fear them.
One of those conversations is the “I don’t like your partner” conversation. Many feel that it is not their place to judge someone’s significant other. That may very well be true when it comes to your boss, your colleagues, your teachers, etc. etc. etc. However it is important to be honest and candid when it comes to your close friends and your family (dependent on your relationship with them).
I don’t mean when it’s something superficial like the way they dress, their class, their education, or their looks. I mean when its serious things such as: the way they speak to your friend, they way they talk about their friends, they way they treat others, their outlook on life, their values.
If you disagree with me hear me out.
I dated a man who I thought made me happy – but all of my close friends despised him. They hated how he spoke to me, how he interrupted me, how he expected me to act a certain way around him, how he never showed his affections to me, how he would scold me, how he would often propose I leave my field of work… the list goes on and on and on.
I couldn’t see any of these things because I was “in love”. By the time it was all over, I realized I had been manipulated, brainwashed and emotionally abused. They all saw it within the first few months but they never told me how much they hated him until AFTER WE BROKE UP!
I had all of my close friends admit to me they desperately wanted to tell me just how terrible he was to me, but were worried it would ruin our friendship.
Three of HIS friends approached me after we broke up to tell me they wanted to broach the topic, but were worried it would make it’s way back to him.
My aunt, who only met him twice, told me after it was over that she despised him upon first meeting, but didn’t want to tell me as she didn’t feel it was her business.
My exes mother even told me her son was not good enough for me and she wished me the best in finding someone better, after it all ended.
I WISH THEY HAD TOLD ME THOUGH.
I realized I am an adult and I can make my own decisions, but had nine people told me that there was something off about my relationship, I may have slowly had the rose colored glasses fade sooner. Perhaps I could have seen what was occurring and escaped a bad situation a year sooner than I had. Naturally the choice would be in my hands, but being offered another perspective is always useful in any situation.
If you are a friend of someone who is dating or married to someone awful, you are in a very difficult position. You have to risk the friendship in speaking the truth, which is why many people avoid it.
My advice is to 1) either send them this blog and let them figure it out or 2) breach the topic from a place of love and not of blaming. Ask them questions, allow them to realize they deserve better, they are worthy of true respect and love. You can even bring up the fear of losing the friendship over this conversation and make it clear you care about them and just want to make sure they are truly happy. If your friend is truly happy your comments will not affect them. If they aren’t however, the seed you planted will grow and they will eventually see the truth.
When I was in this toxic relationship one of my closest friends asked me: “Are you happy with this arrangement?” and I said to her “… yeah I’m okay with it.” and she said: “Okay Athena, if you are then I’m happy for you. Just keep checking in and making sure it’s constantly true. If it’s not, that’s okay – just ask yourself why.”
I went home that night and cried… it wasn’t true.
The truth was that I was miserable and trapped and believed that he was the only one who would ever love me. That belief is what kept me there. It wasn’t until she asked me that question that I woke up from my trance and started to realize there was so much more past the relationship. I was capable of so much more and deserved so much more.
Three months after that conversation the seed she planted grew and I was able to dump my toxic boyfriend.
Some of you reading this may be thinking:
“MY FRIEND WON’T LISTEN THOUGH. “
They may not respond positively right away, they may not take your advice right away, they may not accept what you are saying right away… but the key words here are: RIGHT AWAY. Your words will seep into their mind, they will digest it and they will dwell on it. When it is all said and done, they will thank you for it.
If you care about your friends, SPEAK UP.
Just remember to do it with kindness and not judgement.
(Let me be clear, if you don’t like your friends significant others for reasons that are superficial, or judgmental that have nothing to do with treatment or abusive behaviors this article is not promoting a conversation. Tune in with yourself and your thoughts on this person before you have the talk to be sure you are doing it for your friends safety and well being and not your own issues)
~Athena and Hermes~