There have been a few times when a guy I’ve been in a relationship with has been “uncomfortable” with me having a close male friend. Those situations have mostly happened because I put my best friend before my relationship. For instance, I received exciting news once; called my then-boyfriend, who didn’t answer; then called Tariq and shared the details. When downloading to my boyfriend, I made the mistake of saying, “Well, Tariq thought … “
In another instance, my boyfriend and I were dealing with an ongoing issue in our relationship and I spoke with Tariq about it. He usually takes my side, but on this issue he told me I was dead wrong. When my boyfriend discovered that my change of heart had come because Tariq said so, he said he was “uncomfortable” that another man’s outlook held more weight than his own.
At the time I thought that my clearly threatened boyfriend was being irrational, but really, he was responding to the perception that another person — especially a man — outside the relationship seemed to have more clout or influence than he did. It made him feel less important in the relationship. And that’s a very valid concern.
Perhaps you’ve given your own version of “Well, Tariq said … ” one too many times and your boyfriend has had enough of it — hence his request that you give up this particular friendship. Instead or axing your friendship, which you clearly don’t want to do, discuss with your boyfriend about what the underlying problem is here. It may be that you’re giving your friend more “weight” than your man.
Since your communication with your friend is already pretty minimal, you’ll need to make some adjustments to make your boyfriend feel more secure. That could include giving him the first heads-up about new information and communicating more with your man to solve any issues in your relationship. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a trusted friend about issues you’re having, but your boyfriend doesn’t need to hear, “Well, so-and-so said … ,” even if the person you consulted was another woman.
In the unfortunate case that your friendship has habitually line-stepped on your man’s ego, your boyfriend may be unwilling to rethink his stance regarding your male friend. You will then have to make a tough decision about who matters more to you. After three years in a relationship with your partner, choosing him over your friend should be the obvious answer. And if it isn’t, you will need to re-explore what your real feelings are for your male friend.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.