Is This Petty? When Your Significant Other Won’t Check Their Disrespectful Friends

July 14, 2017  |  

If you haven’t been watching 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? then you are missing out. Not only is it an incredibly entertaining show, but there are also all sorts of lessons about love and marriage to be learned from the follies of the couples.

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On Sunday’s episode, Season 1 alum Paola and Russ deal with quite a bit of drama due to her friendships. Quick background for you: Paola, who is referred to as Pao, is from Colombia. She met Oklahoman Russ Mayfield when he traveled there for a work assignment. They fell in love, and when she came to Oklahoma on a 90-day K-1 visa, they married within that time. She now gets to stay in the U.S. for good and has started living out her dreams of having a modeling career. Feeling that Oklahoma is too small for her big dreams and also not feeling very welcomed by Mayfield’s circle of people, Pao decides to visit Miami to see if it would be a better place to kick off her modeling career.  Soon after, she decides that’s where she needs to be — permanently. So she tells Russ she is moving and she would like him to come with her, eventually leaving without him. In this current season, we’ve watched them deal with this decision.

Pao hasn’t found work as a model, but she has found Spanish-speaking friends. When her husband comes to Miami to visit, he becomes an outsider in comparison to those friends. They speak Spanish in conversation, despite the fact that they all know Russ doesn’t speak much of it. At one point, she even turns to him and says she “almost forgot you were there,” laughing hysterically with her new clique.

But nothing is more disrespectful than her antics when her old friend from Colombia, Juan, visits. He has never been too fond of Russ, and he clearly still isn’t as Pao makes them all meet up for drinks. Juan only speaks Spanish, and during the meeting, Pao translates everything. That includes when Juan insults Russ, says that he doesn’t respect their relationship and that she only married him for a green card. While she claims these things aren’t true, she seems to take her friend’s side over Russ’s to the point where she even agrees with comments Juan makes about Russ’s friends and life back in Oklahoma. When Russ is so bothered by the fact that she’s left him out to dry and be attacked by her friend, he storms out of the bar. Pao doesn’t go after him. She stays behind with messy Juan.

That situation left me thinking about not only the importance of having friends who support you, even when they don’t necessarily agree with your romantic choices, but also what happens when your significant other seems to put their friendships over your relationship.

There are plenty of online threads about women, in particular, who have had to deal with their partner’s discourteous friends. I’ve read about women who’ve been screamed at by their man’s friend when he was drunk. Who’ve had a female friend go out of their way to be mean. Who’ve been called an “idiot” for trying to share an opinion during political discourse. All of this while each woman’s boyfriend either sat back and did nothing or even tried to defend the behavior of their so-called “good” friends.

And I’ve been there too. My husband had a female friend who interrogated me when she met me about whether or not I could cook Nigerian food, speak Yoruba and feel comfortable around people who wholly embrace the culture. While his other friends were always very kind, she made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. When I talked to my husband about it, he said that it’s just how she is and that she doesn’t mean any harm. “When you really get to know her, she’s a nice girl.”

I came to the decision that his analysis of her was bull when we ran into her post-engagement at a restaurant and she acted like she’d never seen me before. “Oh yeah, you’re the girlfriend!” I let her know quickly, “Nah, girl. I’m his fiancée actually. Good seeing you again, though” before going about my business. I didn’t wait for him to check her. I spoke for myself. On that day I told him I didn’t want to be around her. I didn’t want her in my presence, I didn’t want her at my wedding, I didn’t want to feel her negative energy in my space. While it was fine that he accepted her trash very interesting personality, that didn’t mean I needed to.

When it comes to handling friends of your partner who can’t seem to show you much respect, I say nip it in the bud. Russ could have turned to Pao and addressed her about the fact that she put him in a position to be disrespected by her friend. Because in all of the cases mentioned, seriously, what type of friend is that?! But when all else fails, we have to stick up for ourselves. While we’d love for our significant others to swoop in and rescue us from crappy people they’ve befriended, we have to be ready to draw a line on our own. (But if they don’t back you up, then that’s a red flag for sure.) Don’t give people more than one chance to talk to you like you stole something from them. Let them know that if they have a problem with you, they’re going to have to get over it because you will be around. At the end of the day, that’s your partner’s friend — they don’t need to be yours. They don’t have to like you, but it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone if they don’t learn to respect you…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say say you? Is it petty to be upset if your partner lets their friends talk crazy to you?

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