You’ve found the perfect guy. He’s just what you want, except for one thing: His best friend is another girl, and you’re just not sure you’re okay with that.

A close friend of the opposite sex can be a tricky issue in many dating relationships. Can guys and girls really be friends, or will it just end up being a dating deal breaker?

Understand the Other’s Point of View

This isn’t a black-and-white issue, and while it’s easy to say, “Of course I’m right!” your partner probably feels the same way about his or her side of the story.

On one hand, you’re concerned about how much your significant other is investing in this friendship. It’s hard to feel like you’re the number one guy or girl in your partner’s life when there’s another one who means so much to him. Plus, if your girlfriend’s that invested in her guy friend, isn’t there a good chance that their relationship could turn into something more romantic? Especially if you’ve heard stories about that sort of thing happening to others, it’s easy to be scared that you might end up in a similar situation.

However, your significant other sees the situation completely differently. He wouldn’t ask you to stop hanging out with your best friend, so it feels unfair for you to be asking him to do so. Especially if the two of them have a long history, dropping the friendship would be hard to do. Be respectful of this fact when you discuss the topic.

Pray for Right Hearts

Be not wise in your own conceits. Romans 12:16

Instead of jumping to judgment, pray for one another in this situation. Ask God to change your hearts, and that includes yours as well as your boyfriend or girlfriend’s. Don’t just pray for your significant other to do what you want, but ask God to help you treat him or her with sensitivity, respect and honor. Also seek guidance about the future of your relationship.

Spend Time Together

Perhaps if the three of you all hang out together, it will help everybody become more comfortable with your situation. Go out for dinner, get together for a movie marathon or take a cooking class together. It doesn’t have to be just the three of you, either. If you’d like, invite a few others to join you, so no one feels like a third wheel.

The goal doesn’t have to be becoming best buds. Rather, try to get to know each other enough that you can trust one another.

Set Boundaries

Perhaps you can find a middle ground that everyone can feel good about, but to reach that point, you and your significant other are going to have to discuss the situation together. Making demands of one another probably won’t be effective, and both of you will have to give a little. Each couple will have to come to their own conclusions about what will work in their relationship, but topics to consider include:

  • Can your significant other and his friend spend time alone together? If not, what sort of supervision is required?
  • Do you have the right to read correspondence between the two of them?
  • How will you show that you trust your partner?
  • If one if you feels that this arrangement needs to be adjusted, how should you bring it up?

Decide What’s Most Important

If you and your significant other can’t come to an agreement on this issue, you’ll have to make a choice. Long-term, unresolved conflict will only destroy a relationship. If you can’t reach a compromise, it may be time to move on. Either let go of the friendship issue, or end your dating relationship. A solid relationship requires trust, so either find a way to trust one another, or let go of one another.

Can men and women be friends? Yes, they can, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be some checks and balances involved. But if you base your dating relationship on prayer, respect and trust, you may be able to find a way for your partner to keep his old friends and still honor your feelings.

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