Should You Tell Your Friend That You Don’t Like Their New Partner?

April 4, 2018

It is an exciting time when a friend or family member finds love — they’re ecstatic, besotted with their new partner.

It gets complicated, though, if you don’t think their new beau is good enough for them.

Do you tell them that you think they’re making a mistake? How do you even have that conversation?

Dr Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Mental Health at Monash University, said unless the relationship was abusive or unhealthy, the best thing to do was to keep your mouth shut.

“Our loyalty is to our friend and our friend’s happiness,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Rafael Epstein.

“If they are attracted to that person then it’s not really our business.

“It’s not for us, really, to presume what would make someone else happy.”

Dr Fisher said it was also not uncommon for a person to grow on you over time.

“The first impression might not be the lasting impression.”

Listener Robin from Richmond is an example of someone who changed their mind about a friend’s partner.

“A friend of mine announced that he was going to marry a woman that I considered to be an awful woman, and I said so,” she said.

“I said, ‘Don’t marry her, she’s dreadful’.”

But Robin now admits she was wrong.

“They’ve been married for nearly 30 years, and every year on their anniversary I remind them that I was the one that said don’t get married.”

Another listener, however, messaged the station with a story that it wasn’t always just a matter of getting to know someone.

“My sister brought home a dickhead bloke 35 years ago … we said nothing. He’s still a dickhead today.”

Listener Jocelyn from Wyndham Vale had a different perspective, having come out of a relationship she never knew her friends disapproved of.

When we broke up everyone said to me, ‘I’m so glad you guys are separated, he was so bad for you, that was such a bad relationship’,” she said.

“No-one ever said anything while we were together.”

Jocelyn said she would have listened to her close friends’ concerns had they raised them sensitively.

“If you don’t express it while they’re in the relationship, then I think you lose your ability to comment at nauseum about how you didn’t like the relationship after [they’ve broken up].”

She said she would not comment on an acquaintance’s relationship, but “if it’s my sister, a close family member or a close friend, then that’s fair enough”.

“It’s about, maybe, opening up the discussion if there’s particular things that the person is concerned about.”

But another listener sent the station a text message, warning it might be you whom they end the relationship with.

“I expressed my distaste for my sister’s boyfriend and now I haven’t seen her in 10 years