My Friend Bad-Mouthed My Fiancé At My Engagement Party—What Should I Do?

Dear Newsweek, My friend got married in 2021 to a man she met in 2019 or 2020. They didn't have a bridal party, so I was a supportive friend during the planning.

I helped with a lot of different things: picking out a dress, the venue, being a listening ear when she felt stressed, and picking up flowers on the day of the wedding that I paid for.

Although I did get my money back afterwards, she didn't tell me they weren't paid for when I went, and she also claimed she didn't know the price. Who doesn't know the price of their floral arrangements?

I paid for them because I didn't want her looking crazy walking down an aisle without a bouquet, but I was upset and I felt used. I never expressed that to her because I wanted her to enjoy her wedding. After a few months, I told her that she didn't handle her wedding properly and she agreed, so I left it at that.

Long story short, I got engaged a little less than a year after her wedding.

My fiancé did an amazing job with his proposal to me, but it turns out my friend had some things to say about it. She was at my engagement apparently telling everyone that she didn't believe her husband did as good a job as my fiancé. She also said I shouldn't have a big wedding because they're stressful.

Friends fighting
Stock image of feuding friends. A woman has written to Newsweek to ask for advice on how to fix her friendship. stefanamer/Getty Images

She told me something different, however. She told me how she's really happy for me, and she also told my fiancé that she admires our relationship. Lo and behold, immediately after our engagement she ghosted me.

I decided to reach out and ask her how she was feeling and why was she so distant all of a sudden. She explained that she is very unhappy, and it's hard for her to be happy for me at the moment. I told her this breaks my heart, and I was there for her because I was there for her with no question.

Her response to me was, "That's what you wanted to do and this is not what I want to do." I asked her if she would be able to put her issues aside, and she told me that she cried in her car at my engagement and she had to pull herself together in order to enter the restaurant.

She said she was upset that her husband wasn't there with her. He's only been on the scene for 2 or 3 years whereas she and I have been 'friends' for 26 years. But, for some reason, she needed him there to be happy for me. Weirdest thing I have ever heard. Another thing I found really strange was that as soon as my fiancé put the ring on my finger, she said, "You better thank my husband." When I asked why she said, "Because he was right when he said that we should get engaged now and not at the date my fiancé originally wanted to."

That was the last straw really, and I started to think about whether I should end the relationship because it was never really a friendship.

Aaisha, New Jersey

Newsweek's "What Should I Do?" offers expert advice to readers. Has a wedding come between your relationship with a loved one? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

You Need To Look After Yourself

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

Hi Aaisha,

I can understand why this might be troubling you. I have kept myself up late into the night worrying about friendships that have hit a rough patch. The first thing I want to make clear is that you are doing the right thing by exploring this first, to get your thoughts in order, before you raise this with your friend. Sometimes it can be helpful (and healing) just to talk to someone about your pain and disappointment, without taking any steps to change anything.

I do wonder whether you and your friend might have different ideas about what "being supportive" looks like in a friendship? There is no objective test for this, so it is up to you to negotiate this with your friend. Even though you might not achieve exactly what you want, is there a midway point where you can both agree to disagree, or where you can each agree to get at least some of your needs met, some of the time?

If there is a hope of compromise, then it is important to keep communicating with each other. So many relationships (friendships, partnerships, marriages, and even working relationships) break down because there has been miscommunication somewhere along the way. We all make assumptions; we need to for efficient interactions (we haven't the time to verify every single last detail!) but sometimes these assumptions can lead to confusion, disappointment, and resentment.

We need to trust in ourselves, and trust in the other person, that we can communicate about how we are feeling. Communicating assertively requires us to share how we feel in a calm manner. We do not need to apologize for how we feel, because emotions are neither good nor bad. They just are. And when we communicate assertively, we also need to allow space for the other person to communicate how they feel. We do not have to agree with each other, but it can be a powerfully healing experience when both people have been heard by the other.

I really hope this helps you to clarify what might be the next step 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 any further dimensions to this.

Calm thoughts, peaceful intentions, and look after yourself.

Both Of You Need To Communicate and Respect Each Other's Emotions

Nicola Vanlint is an accredited counselor for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

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

Maybe ask yourself and your friend some questions about three of the main components of a healthy relationship -

1) Respect: do you both respect each other's emotions/ personal circumstances?

2) Honesty: are you both honest with one another without fear of judgment?

3) Open Communication: Are you both able to communicate how you are feeling and empathize with each other?

Communication is key, and it feels like you and your friend are having difficulty communicating how you are both feeling within this relationship. 26 years of friendship is a long time, so I assume it has been a good relationship up until recently. I am wondering if your saying it has never been a 'friendship' is coming from a place of frustration?

Do you think it's possible that your friend's unhappiness is being projected into your friendship? Projection is a mental process where people project onto others their emotions. Speaking to a therapist together can help you both express your thoughts and feelings in a constructive way and move forward. Or help you both make a decision on whether this relationship has run its course.