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Do I Have to Accept My Partner’s Friends?

Because they kind of suck

Q: My wonderful fiancé and I are getting married this fall and have begun getting down to the final details. For my fiancé, one of those things is his bachelor party. His best friend is planning a weekend trip to a city about two hours from us.

The other night his best friend called to tell us that a few of their friends are saying they won’t have enough money to attend. The trip is over three months from now so they have time to save and none of them are hurting for money. One is planning his own wedding and bachelor party (to take place before ours), but he recently managed to have the money to fly downstate for our other friend’s (who is also pleading poverty) birthday party weekend. We know these friends well enough to know that they tend to bring up money as an issue only when they don’t want to do something. My fiancé has already agreed to go to this other friend’s bachelor party that will cost nearly as much as my fiancé’s.

I don’t particularly like this friend because he’s a nasty drunk who has already cut my fiancé from his groomsmen selection (he included their other mutual friends). My fiancé has also not included him, but because we’re doing family only. They’ve been friends for about ten years, and during that time they have had periods of not speaking to one another because of this friend’s behavior. I really wish my fiancé would cut this friend out of his life, but that would be awkward considering they have other close mutual friends.

I have asked my fiancé if he would consider doing something smaller, but he’s determined to have the bachelor party he wants and is frustrated that his friends are trying to get out of his once-in-a-lifetime bachelor party when he often shells out money to do things with them.

Is there any way he can tactfully express his disappointment to them or should he accept that they’re “just like that” and let it go?

—Anonymous

A: Dear Anonymous,

Sure! He can let them know he’s disappointed. But that’s sort of it, really. He can’t force his friends to prioritize their money differently or care about his party more. It’s also not really an either/or sort of decision. He can tell them he’s disappointed they’re not coming, while also accepting that this might be just how it is with these friends. Knowing that somebody is probably going to do something doesn’t always remove that sting of disappointment. (Sometimes it just adds to it because, “Ugh, I should’ve known.”)

I could write a whole post on complicated friendships and how sometimes, you have to accept people, warts and all (even though those warts are occasionally difficult to ignore). We all have friends who aren’t perfect and have ways that grate at us, are difficult to plan things with, or flake out on important events. More to the point, even our partners have friends with some irritating habits.

Because… it’s your partner’s friends, and your partner’s party, and your partner’s situation. So why are you asking for advice? If he wants to talk to them about it, sure! He should go for it. But that’s up to him, and should be motivated by trying to do what’s best for those relationships. Not motivated by your secret desire to ditch these friends. I get a sneaky, sneaky suspicion that you’re inserting yourself here.

I know that you’re concerned for him, and that’s the only reason why you even care about these dummies and what they’re doing. But, pushing him to dump his friends or tell them off isn’t your call. How would you feel if he was pushing you to stop talking to one of your friends? There are definitely times that require sit-down conversations about cutting toxic friends, but skipping a bachelor party isn’t one of them.

So, yeah, maybe suggest your fiancé mention his disappointment to his friends, but ultimately let him decide if it’s a good idea. He’ll know the relationship dynamic and whether it’s worth bringing up to them.

But, more importantly, get used to this. Things are going to happen to your partner that you won’t be able to fix for him, no matter how much you wish you could. I know that’s frustrating, but fixing all his problems isn’t a part of the marriage job description. You’re there to help and offer advice, yeah. To point out things he might not see, to protect his blind spots, to provide perspective. But the really big, powerful thing about marriage is having someone there to simply sit beside you as you face tough things. You’re not here to fix it all for him. You’re here to help him through it.

If you would like to ask APW a question please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off! 

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