• Handling Breakups

Ending a friendship: My friend’s partner is toxic

Published: May 6, 2013 | Last Updated: May 6, 2013 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
How do you end a friendship when your friend’s partner is intrusive and foul-mouthed?


Hi Irene,

I have a good friend, she is a lovely lady and I enjoy spending time with her. I have known her for over a year. However, she has a partner who treats her terribly. The way he talks to her is disgusting: He is rude, arrogant and uses terrible language.

In the past, he had been charged for assault on another person, he has a bit of a drinking problem and also likes to gamble. He even uses her Facebook account to see what we have been up to.

If he calls and leaves a message and we don’t get back to him, when we do catch up with him he almost interrogates my partner wanting to know why we haven’t called back.

My partner is a mechanic and her partner is always trying to do shady deals with him as her partner sells all sorts of second hand items from his home. At first, we went along with it because we did actually want some of the items he was selling, lawnmowers, hedge trimmers etc. But now he is out of control and we suspect that some of the items he sells, either he is acquiring from other people or are possibly stolen.

He calls us often, wanting my partner to work on some of the mowers or whatever and do work for him. He even called my partner wanting to use our credit card to credit his online account for an auction website. We refused. He always wants something for nothing.

Not long ago, we had a baby and we don’t really have a lot of time on our hands and the time we do have, we do not want to waste spending time with this sort of person. Also we don’t want him around our son due to his awful attitude and foul language.

In the past when they have been at our house and he has started speaking to her horribly, I told him to be quiet and that we didn’t want to hear it. She makes excuses for him and he is her partner so, of course, she sides with him. Though she doesn’t say anything there has been tension and I feel like she doesn’t like it when I say something and I also feel strongly that she would turn on me over her partner.

She still wants to catch up and spend time with us. I have politely been trying to avoid the situation. We really don’t want to see them.

How do I tell her that she and her partner aren’t welcome at our house anymore? I know she will feel upset. Any advice you could offer would be great. Thank you so much.

Signed, Carly


Hi Carly,

Clearly, this isn’t a viable friendship–for you, or for you and your partner. Even if you enjoyed this woman’s company in the past, her friendship comes as part of a package.

You say you have decided you don’t want to continue the friendship and that’s okay. Friendships are voluntary relationships. You only know this couple for a year and, over that time, have learned things about them that make you uncomfortable.

Since her partner sounds somewhat aggressive and hot-tempered, I would simply send her an email saying you can no longer continue the friendship because you and your husband are busy with the new baby and other commitments. Make it clear you don’t want any further contact with them. If they phone and leave a message, don’t respond. Block them from your Facebook account.

It sounds like this woman isn’t in a healthy relationship: Her husband seems very controlling and possibly even abusive. Unfortunately, I can’t think of any way for you to help her since she hasn’t asked you for help.

Best, Irene

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  1. My friend's husband dislikes me : The Friendship Blog | February 10, 2017
  1. Ann says:

    I separated from my husband of 16 years this April. I was supported by my family and friends. I love them all very much, especially my High School girlfriends. After 3 months during a 4th of July bbq I met up and reconnected with an old High School friend. We started talking often then started dating. I knew he was someone to have fun with, not anything long term. It ended in Nov. Throughout this time my husband has been begging me to come back. I’ve decided to try our marriage again as long as we seek therapy and changes are made. He now wants me to give up my High School friends because he doesn’t believe they supported our marriage by letting me date this guy. I love my friends and am in such conflict. My husband says I’m choosing them over him. Is my husband trying to bully me or should I really think about keeping my friends/support team?

  2. treasure says:

    First and foremost is the safety of her child, not her friend, not the husband, not the friendship. Priorities change.

  3. Amy says:

    It’s a shame you can’t find a way to hold into your friendship and delineate boundaries between your relationship and your partners. Like Irene said, the first thing that jumped out to me was your friend’s partner sounds abusive and controlling. If that is indeed the case, you’d probably feel horrible about abandoning her without at least a conversation. I think you owe her a frank discussion about why you’re stepping back from the relationship, and your concerns about her physical and emotional safety. One thing abusers often do is isolate their victims from friends and family, so the victims can’t reality test the appropriateness of the relationship. You have nothing to lose by talking to her. One of my favorite quotes, by Edmund Burke is “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good (wo)men to do nothing.”

  4. Living Large says:

    What a horrible situation. I hope Carly finds a way out of the friendship. I also feel for her friend who doesn’t seem to see she’s in an abusive relationship.

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