Having a boyfriend who has close female friends can get really tricky. I want to be able to trust that things are totally platonic, but the dynamic between them needs to change now that he’s in a relationship. I’d never try to control who my boyfriend is friends with, but I’ll absolutely set boundaries—without them, everything is a gray area and someone always gets hurt.
- It’s nothing personal. I want my boyfriend and his female friends to know that me putting up boundaries has nothing to do with them. It doesn’t matter who they are, I would do the same thing with anyone. It’s not about pushing them out, it’s about protecting everyone and trying to make expectations clear. Just because I lay out a few rules doesn’t mean that I don’t like or trust these women.
- I totally understand they care about him. My boyfriend had female friends in his life before I came along and I respect that. Those memories together are special and I would never try to erase the past just because he’s moving into a new chapter in his life. I’m actually happy that my boyfriend has female friends who have stuck by him and probably had influence in the kind of man he became.
- I want to be friends with them too. I feel like staying away from your boyfriend’s friends is totally uncool. I want all of us to hang out together and have fun. There’s no point in avoiding getting to know these girls—if they’re not shady, there’s no reason we can’t all get along and even become friends outside of our relationship.
- I don’t want to cut off their friendship. It’s not my place to tell my boyfriend who he’s allowed to like and keep around as friends, female or otherwise. I trust him enough to make good judgments about his circle of friends, especially the women. If there’s nothing suspicious or shady going on, I’m never going to tell him he needs to delete their numbers—I respect their friendship and don’t want to be overpowering.
- That being said, boundaries are still super important. Even though I’m totally okay with my boyfriend having female friends in his life, every relationship needs boundaries to keep it healthy. It’s just naive to think that someone won’t get their feelings hurt when they cross a line that was never actually drawn in the sand. I just want them to understand where I’m coming from and how I feel about the situation.
- Not respecting boundaries only makes things look suspicious. If for some reason his female friends think I’m being unfair in laying down some boundaries with my boyfriend, I’m going to have to assume there’s something shady going on. What’s the point in getting upset about guidelines that simply keep the “just friends” stage from going to “I totally have feelings for you” stage? It’s just basic respect for our relationship. It shouldn’t be a big deal.
- Our time together comes first. I want his female friends to understand that our time together as boyfriend and girlfriend comes before hanging out with friends. This wouldn’t change if the friends were guys, it’s just a general respect thing that we make sure to take care of our relationship first. It’s totally fine if they want to make plans, but he’s definitely going to check with me first, just like I would do with him.
- One-on-one dates are reserved for me. I don’t see any reason a man and woman who aren’t together needing to spend one-on-one time together. Not having other people around changes the mood and leaves room for secrecy and developing feelings. Just because they’ve never had feelings before doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the right circumstances.
- Hanging out with him shouldn’t be a secret. It’s just easier to keep everything out in the open and communicate—if everyone knows what’s going on, the chances of having something look suspicious is so much smaller. Just like if I was planning to hang out with some of my guy friends, I would put it out there and make sure it wasn’t a secret. Nothing going on between my boyfriend and his female friends should be so secret that I can’t know about it.
- They don’t need to know all our business. Our relationship is personal to us. My boyfriend’s female friends don’t need to know every detail about our disagreements or things we’re doing. Even though they’re close friends, they aren’t equal parts in our relationship and don’t need to weigh in with their opinions and thoughts. It’s okay for him to have multiple girls in his life, but I should absolutely be number one and not a juicy topic of conversation among friends.
- They need to respect our relationship too. No matter how much I bend around to include his female friends in our lives, the relationship between my boyfriend and me is still the most important. Even if it doesn’t make me the “cool” girlfriend, it’s just a fact. If he’s serious about me, they should respect the fact that things will definitely change and they won’t be the only opinion in the room anymore. I honestly just want the respect to go both ways so we can all be in his life.
What to do if you’re struggling to cope with your boyfriend having female friends
If you’re really having a hard time coping with not being the only woman in your boyfriend’s life, here are some things you can do to help yourself adjust.
- Accept that this is your problem, not his. Your boyfriend having female friends doesn’t mean he’s doing anything wrong. In fact, if there’s suddenly an issue with the platonic women in his life, that’s on you. If your boyfriend is respectful in how he behaves with his female friends, it’s important that you understand that any tension in your relationship caused by those friendships is very likely one-sided and down to you.
- Talk to him about how you’re feeling. The old adage about communication being key in any happy relationship is so true, and one of the best ways you can maintain good communication is by actually speaking to him. If you’re feeling insecure or concerned about his friendships with other women, tell him. Just getting it off your chest is likely to make you feel so much better about it (and perhaps make you realize that there’s truly nothing to worry about). Not only that, but he’ll likely be able to assuage your fears. Beware, though — having this conversation once or twice is fine, but if you expect him to reassure you on a daily basis, that’s going to cause major problems.
- Be clear about your expectations. Just because your boyfriend has always had female friends doesn’t mean that things don’t need to change. He’s in a relationship now, which means that you should become a priority and his behavior should reflect the fact that you’re together. Let him know the things you’re not comfortable with — for instance, you don’t want them hanging out one-on-one or you’d prefer if he wasn’t with them several nights a week — and have an open discussion about your boundaries and expectations. This will help avoid a lot of unnecessary drama.
- Work on your self-worth. You could end up wasting so much time stressing about your boyfriend having female friends when really, it’s a non-issue — you just can’t see it because you don’t love yourself enough to recognize your worth. You’re a total catch and any guy would be lucky to have you. Why would he need to be with someone else when he has you? Do the work necessary to value yourself so that you can feel more self-assured. As relationship expert Mariella Frostrup explains: “What a squandering of your time and energy it is to focus on curtailing them. You’d be far better developing a great and irresistible relationship rather than invading your boyfriend’s privacy and keeping tabs on who he mingles with when he’s not in your eyeline. Your toxic levels of jealousy are as likely to destroy your relationship as any infidelity. Obsessive control is neither healthy nor tolerable and the sooner you deal with the origins of your trust issues the better for all concerned.”
- If you really can’t accept it, end the relationship. If you truly feel like you can’t deal with your boyfriend having female friends and it’s starting to come between you, it may be time to call it quits in the relationship. While it’s a shame to throw away what could be something amazing, if you can’t settle into things and trust your boyfriend to be faithful to you, regardless of whether or not your fears are founded or you’re worrying for nothing, it’s time to let it go.