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The idea of telling your mate straightforward that you don’t like a person, so they shouldn’t like them either, sounds pretty crazy and controlling to most people. But seriously, how should you handle things when your spouse decides to play nice with someone you consider an enemy?

That’s what one young woman who contacted me is struggling with. Let’s call her Tiffany. She is in college, and one big part of the college experience is meeting new people and making new friends. During her freshman year, Tiffany was close to a young lady who resided in her dorm. The two hit it off well for a while but eventually fell out in an ugly way. After the pair had an argument and started to drift in different directions, Tiffany’s friend played a part in spreading rumors about her, specifically about rumored sexual exploits that Tiff says were just that–rumors. The ladies literally almost came to blows over the drama, ending their short-lived friendship.

By sophomore year, Tiffany had a new group of girlfriends, and she met a very special guy. Now preparing for their senior year, Tiffany and her beau have been going strong for a while now. But the people he’s decided to associate himself with recently have her feeling some kind of way. Tiffany’s boyfriend has been doing work over the summer at their university to help welcome incoming freshman. Guess who is also taking part in summer welcome activities…That’s right, Tiffany’s former friend, who we’ll refer to as Shanika. Tiffany didn’t know this until a good friend hit her up, inquiring as to why her boyfriend was smiling in pictures, appearing all buddy buddy with Shanika on social media. Tiffany saw the photos, posted from Shanika’s IG page, and felt that they were innocent enough. But she made light mention of it to her man. He laughed it all off by saying, “I mean, we have to work together. I’m just trying to be nice. I don’t want to be part of ya’lls drama.” So she let it go.

But that was until his birthday last week. Tiffany had fallen ill for a couple days and said she wasn’t feeling up to ripping and running with her boyfriend for his birthday. She told him that once she felt better, she would take him out. He understood and told her that he was going to hang with friends instead, which she was fine with. But as it turns out (alerted by friends via social media again), Tiffany’s man spent his birthday with Shanika and a few of her friends. There were pictures of a cake they bought him to celebrate with. There were also images of Shanika and her girlfriends (there were also guys there) kissing Tiffany’s boyfriend on the cheek, giving him tight-grip hugs to celebrate his big day.

Tiffany was livid, and despite it being his birthday, she called her boyfriend and admittedly lost her cool. After spending a few hours with Shanika and co., Tiffany’s boyfriend visited her at her apartment late that night to try and hash everything out. According to Tiffany, he told her that he didn’t do anything wrong and that Shanika isn’t interested in him in that way. They are just friendly, and he doesn’t want to treat Shanika rudely just because Tiffany has issues with her. But Tiffany feels that her boyfriend has been disloyal. Considering that she’s spoken up about the way things ended between her and Shanika, she finds it absurd that he even talks to the girl, let alone hangs out with and takes pictures with her. She also feels as though her boyfriend is oblivious to Shanika flirting with him and thinks that her former friend is getting cozy with her man just to get underneath her skin. Tiffany doesn’t want to give him an ultimatum, but she feels that if he continues to associate himself with Shanika in any way, it’s going to really hurt their relationship.

A big part of a healthy relationship is feeling like your partner has your back. That if necessary, it could be you and him against the world. And while your partner should get you together when you’re acting a fool, they should also stand by you against people who don’t wish you well. That’s why it’s hurtful to Tiffany that her boyfriend would associate himself with Shanika, and seemingly make an effort at that, to hang out with her occasionally. If you ask me, she’s not overreacting. I get that Tiffany’s man and her former friend work in close proximity, but c’mon. Why are you kicking it after hours?!

I wouldn’t say that it’s something worth ending a relationship over, but it’s something you would hope your partner would know better than to do. If you were to befriend a guy your man had issues with, not only would he be pissed, but he would probably assume something inappropriate was going on too. It’s a free country, and Tiffany’s man is an adult, so he can do whatever he likes. But for the sake of a relationship that matters to you, why go out of your way to cultivate a friendship with a person who your spouse has such an issue with? A person who hurt an individual you love? It does seem disloyal, and it doesn’t seem worth it…

But that’s just my opinion, as always. What do you think? Is he petty for playing nice with her former friend? Or is she petty for being so upset about it?

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