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Your LIFE: Don't mess with his mates; LOVE CLINIC.

Byline: Flic Everett

MY boyfriend, and I are planning to get married, but his mates drive me mad. He adores them and says they're "always there for each other."

But they always put him down, and borrow cash without paying it back.

He says he doesn't mind, but I do. How can I make him see he deserves better?

THEY aren't so-called friends - they really are friends, whether you like them or not.

To you, their dismissive attitude is rude. To him, it's banter.

Being accepted by their tribe is what counts for many men - and trust me, he feels accepted. If they borrow money, it's his choice to lend it, and perhaps he's happy to stand a pal a round of drinks.

Maybe they do abuse his sweet nature, but that's the role he's chosen, and one he's content with. By all means, share your concerns - but accept that male friendship is a mystery few women understand.

HOW TO HANDLE HIS FRIENDS:

Never make him choose between you and his mates.

IF you dislike his friends that much, ask yourself what he sees in them - is there a side to your boyfriend you don't want to acknowledge?

IF you feel he's being taken for a ride, talk to him - but never go behind his back, to "warn" his mates you're on to them.

IF he's spending time with his mates instead of you, find out why - he's either avoiding you; or too immature to understand what a relationship needs to flourish. Talk to him - but if he still prioritises them, you may be on to a loser.

IF he changes his behaviour around them, it's a sign of insecurity. Ask him if he's happy with his social scene when you're alone, he may be less fond of his mates that you think.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2007
Words:303
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