My Spouse’s Friends Make Me Feel Bad About Myself. How Do I Handle It?

Do your spouse’s friends make you feel bad about yourself?

It’s incredibly painful when your spouse’s friends belittle, make fun of you, or otherwise treat you in a way that makes you feel inferior. Not only is it wrong of them; it hurts when your spouse doesn’t seem to notice how you’re feeling. So how are you supposed to handle this situation?

Friendship dynamics that make you feel badly about yourself must be addressed between you and your spouse. If this situation is left to fester unresolved, it will continue to erode your self-worth. Ultimately, it will negatively impact your marriage.

It’s important for you to assess the situation carefully before you take action. Let’s talk about some things you can do to start moving in a better direction.

Notice How Your Spouse Behaves Toward You When Friends Are Around

First, notice how your spouse acts when friends come to visit. How does your spouse treat you in front of their friends? Do you feel respected and cared for, or does your spouse join in with their antics? Does your spouse ask their friends to stop, or allow the bad behaviors to continue?

There are many reasons why your spouse’s friends might behave this way. If they’re young and single, they might not be relationship-savvy enough yet. What’s most important is that everything your spouse says and does in the presence of friends should show you honor and respect.

Let Your Spouse Know How You’re Feeling

Next, talk to your spouse about how their friends have been making you feel. Your spouse might have been unaware of what you’re experiencing. It’s important to get your feelings out into the open. If you don’t, there’s little to no chance of seeing change.

Maybe your spouse hasn’t understood what you’re going through because their friends haven’t necessarily been mean, per se. This dynamic might be something your spouse is used to; maybe their friend group has always belittled or mocked one another, and everyone else seems unfazed by it. However, if you’re not accustomed to these behaviors and they make you feel badly, your spouse needs to know.

The two of you might be able to come up with a solution. Your spouse may agree to stand up for you, and to ask their friends to stop. On the other hand, your spouse may not think this is a big deal. Either way, your next step will be to decide how you will respond from now on.

Remove Yourself From the Situation If Needed

If your spouse and their friends don’t make changes to help you feel more comfortable, you have the option of excusing yourself when they get together. Let’s say your spouse sets up a game night with friends. You can make plans of your own, like a movie night or a dinner with your friends.

By removing yourself from the situation, you refuse to continue feeling victimized by others’ behavior. You’ll be happier, and you’ll be showing yourself respect in the process. Start by treating yourself well, and keep communication open with your spouse.

The ability to take a walk in one another’s shoes is so important in marriage, especially when it comes to understanding each other’s feelings. Our book, Trading Places, is a guide to help you and your spouse cultivate greater empathy for one another. You can get your copy here.

Have you and your spouse faced issues with either of your friends? How did you handle the problem? Share your experiences in the comments.


  • Mark Whitman says:

    Good topic and article. Seemed mostly oriented towards younger couples. One aspect/solution that was not mentioned and hinges on the phrase ” make me feel” Although spouse’s friends can have bad prompting behavior, they can’t “make you feel,” only you can do that. I have run across some people who are looking for possible insults at most encounters and, as you seek so shall you find. So besides removing oneself, another empowering action is to check one’s orientation and patterns and see if/how they might be contributing. Will be a skill to then use beyond just friends of your spouse.

  • Ed Carlson says:

    Would it be reasonable for you to expect your spouse to no longer hang out with these people if they are disrespecting you?

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