My boyfriend badmouthed my fiancé at my engagement party – what should I do?

Dear Newsweek,

My girlfriend got married in 2021 to a man she met in 2019 or 2020. They didn’t have a bridal shower so I was a supportive friend in planning it.

I helped with many different things: choosing a dress, the venue, listening when she was feeling stressed, and picking flowers on the wedding day that I paid for.

Although I got my money back afterwards, she didn’t tell me they weren’t paid when I left, and also claimed not to know the price. Who doesn’t know the price of their floral arrangements?

I paid for it because I didn’t want her to look crazy walking down an aisle without a bouquet of flowers, but I was upset and felt used. I never told her that because I wanted her to enjoy her wedding. After a few months I told her she wasn’t handling their marriage properly and she agreed, so I left it at that.

Long story short, I got engaged just under a year after their marriage.

My fiancé did a great job with his marriage proposal, but it turns out my boyfriend had quite a bit to say about it. She was at my engagement and apparently told everyone she didn’t think her husband could do as good a job as my fiancé. She also said I shouldn’t have a big wedding because they are stressful.

friends fight
Archive image of feuding friends. A woman wrote to Newsweek asking for advice on how to repair their friendship.
Stefanamer/Getty Images

However, she told me something else. She told me how happy she was for me and also told my fiancé that she admired our relationship. Lo and behold, right after we got engaged, she ghosted me.

I decided to reach out and ask her how she was feeling and why she was suddenly so distant. She explained that she was very unhappy and that it was difficult for her to be happy for me at the moment. I told her that this broke my heart and I was there for her because I was there for her without question.

Her response to me was, “That’s what you wanted to do, and that’s not what I want to do.” I asked her if she could put her issues aside and she told me that when I got engaged she cried in her car and had to pull herself together to enter the restaurant.

She said she was upset that her husband wasn’t with her. He’s only been on the scene for 2 or 3 years, while she and I have been “friends” for 26 years. But for some reason she needed him there to be happy for me. The strangest thing I’ve ever heard. Another thing that I found really strange is that when my fiancee put the ring on my finger she said, “You better say thank you to my husband.” When I asked why, she said, “Because he was right when he said we should get engaged now and not on the date my fiancé originally wanted.”

That was really the last straw and I started thinking about ending the relationship because it was never really a friendship.

Aaisha, New Jersey

You must take care of yourself

Chris Warren-Dickins is a New Jersey-based psychotherapist and author of Beyond Your Confines and Beyond the Blue.

Hello Aisha,

I can understand why this worries you. I’ve kept myself up late into the night worrying about friendships that have hit rock bottom. The first thing I want to be clear about is that before bringing this up with your friend, you are doing the right thing by investigating this first to get your thoughts in order. Sometimes it can be helpful (and healing) to just talk to someone about your pain and disappointment without taking any steps to change anything.

I’m wondering if maybe you and your boyfriend have different ideas of what “supportive” looks like in a friendship? There is no objective test for this, so it’s up to you to negotiate this with your friend. While you may not get exactly what you want, is there a midway point where you can agree to disagree or agree to at least meet some of your needs sometimes?

If there is hope for a compromise, then it is important to keep communicating. So many relationships (friendships, partnerships, marriages, and even work relationships) fall apart because of a misunderstanding somewhere along the way. We all make assumptions; We need to make efficient interactions (we don’t have time to check every single detail!), but sometimes these assumptions can lead to confusion, disappointment, and resentment.

We have to trust in ourselves and in the other person so that we can communicate how we are feeling. To communicate confidently, we need to calmly communicate how we are feeling. We don’t have to apologize for how we feel because emotions are neither good nor bad. They are easy. And when we communicate confidently, we also need to give the other person space to share their feelings. We don’t have to agree with each other, but it can be a powerful healing experience when both people have heard from the other.

I really hope this helps you clarify what the next step could be for you and your friend. I know things like this can be stressful, so don’t hesitate to reach out to someone (a therapist, your loved one, or a trusted friend) to clarify additional dimensions.

Calm thoughts, peaceful intentions and take care of yourself.

You both need to communicate and respect each other’s feelings

Nicola Vanlint is an Accredited Counselor with the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy.

Healthy relationships require an equal amount of give and take. It sounds like you feel like there is an unfair balance in this friendship.

Perhaps ask yourself and your boyfriend some questions about three of the main components of a healthy relationship –

1) Respect: Do you both respect each other’s feelings/personal circumstances?

2) Honesty: Are you both honest with each other without fear of judgment?

3) Open communication: Can you both communicate your feelings and empathize with each other?

Communication is key, and it feels like you and your boyfriend are having trouble sharing how you both feel about this relationship. 26 years of friendship is a long time so I assume it was a good relationship until recently. I wonder if your statement that it was never a “friendship” is out of frustration?

Do you think it’s possible that your friend’s dissatisfaction is being projected onto your friendship? Projection is a mental process by which people project their emotions onto others. Talking to a therapist can help you express your thoughts and feelings in a constructive way and help you move forward. Or help both of you make a decision about whether this relationship has run its course.

Newsweek’s “What should I do?” offers readers expert advice. Has a marriage come between your relationship with a loved one? Let us know at We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek. My boyfriend badmouthed my fiancé at my engagement party – what should I do?

Rick Schindler

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