08/29/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

I Love My BFF but I Can't Take Her Husband!

Dear Irene,

My BFF and I spend a lot of time together but her husband isn't very social or friendly with me when I go to their place. She pressures me to arrange a night for the four of us to get together but I don't really enjoy his company and my partner doesn't either. How do I approach this without offending her? Our friendship is very important to me but when her husband is in the mix -- things become very uncomfortable.


Dear Amy,

Since you're so close, you probably need to be fairly honest with your BFF. That said, you don't want to: 1) hurt her feelings or 2) jeopardize your relationship by telling her that her husband gives you the heebie-jeebies.

Without going into detail, tell her that you prefer spending time alone with her, without the guys. Plan your get-togethers when they aren't around, perhaps during the week as opposed to weekends. Or if you want to get together when they are around, plan to meet on neutral territory, perhaps for lunch or coffee out, rather than at her place or yours.

Perhaps your BFF's husband is shy and socially awkward but he is her husband. While you don't need to become a foursome, you may want to get together as a group occasionally, perhaps once or twice a year -- to see a movie (with you and your friend sitting in the center two seats!).

It does strike me odd, however, that your friend doesn't sense how uncomfortable her hubby makes you feel.


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Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author. She holds an appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and is working on a book about female friendships, Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Break-up With Your Best Friend, that will be published by Overlook Press on September 20, 2009. She recently co-authored Schizophrenia for Dummies (Wiley, 2008). She also blogs about female friendships at The Friendship Blog.