I love my best friend, I love my boyfriend. These two people who hold such special places in my heart should love each other like I love them. In theory, if I have enough in common with both of them to have such a strong bond with each, shouldn’t the two of them also have the potential to form a real relationship with each other? It should be an all out love fest whenever the three of us get together…except it’s not. ‘Tis sad but true, my best friend and boyfriend do not quite get along. If I am honest with myself, I could have easily foreseen this. All they have in common with each other is me. Actually, it’s not just that I am the only thing forcing them to spend time together, but that they are both the exact personification of what the other finds annoying. If they could see beyond the fact that they disagree on everything, they would see that they disagree in exactly the same way. I love them both because they are opinionated, strong, confident in who they are and what they believe in and are never afraid to tell you what they really think. The qualities they share are the same qualities that prevent them from ever seeing the other clearly. Though they are polar opposites in how they think, look and prioritize, they show their displeasure in an eerily similar manner. The question is: how much do they actually need to get along?
Obviously, I am not going to give either of them up, and it is to both of their credit that neither has even hinted that I should. They simply do not like each other, and while that could change, I do not think it will. I wish they would get along, but I also realize that I can’t force a bond between them. Things might be different if their reasons for not meshing were less fundamental. If the only friction was jealousy over who I was spending more time with, or anger over becoming less intimate with one as I was growing more intimate with the other, then the conflict could be worked out. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending at how you look at it, they are both very mature and juvenile pettiness is not at play. They are simply not each others cup of tea and nothing but a personality change will alter that.
Surprisingly, I am not that bothered by the impasse in their relationship. While it would most definitely be easier if they did become friends, I do not think their mutual lack of love will hinder my individual relationships with them. My best friend is not only the most caring and loyal girl I have ever met, she is also remarkably tactful and appropriate. She would never say a bad word about him in front of me, and even when he acts less than graciously towards her, she never holds it against me. In a great demonstration of strength, she will let me complain about him without ever adding in her own thoughts. Because of her tact, he has not become a divide between us. He, on the other hand, took a little bit more training, but after a few good elbows in the ribs, he got the idea. After a testy evening with the three of us last week I made the point that even if I wasn’t crazy about his best friend, or anyone important in his life for that matter, I would still be gracious to them. He conceded the discussion and has been on his best behavior ever since.
At the end of the day all I can really ask of them is to be polite to each other. My relationship with each of them exists independently to that of the other. I am lucky in that both of them understand that I can love them equally, and that the one in no way replaces the other. I love them both, but in such different ways that loving one in no way encumbers me from loving the other. As long as they can be nice to each other, and come together when it is important to me, I think the three of us can find a harmonious balance. I doubt the three of us will ever stay up all night giggling and painting each others toe nails, but I think we can all make it through dinner.
What about you? Have you ever dealt with a close friend and a significant other disliking each other strongly? How did you handle it?