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We’ve all had it happen to us before: being friend zoned. When it does occur, it’s understandable, realizing that there’s not enough spark between you and a girl to take things to the next level, but still enough to remain good friends without being a threat. Yes, guys, having a relationship with a girl is possible without sex and dating.

That said, when you’re a guy entering that kind of situation, it can be extremely difficult, as dating a girl whose best friend is a guy can lead to jealousy, confusion and all sorts of problems — if you allow it to impact you that way.

Look, just because your new girlfriend has a past and it involves trusting another dude more than you (at first), doesn’t mean you need to act any differently. Instead, we give you tips on how to handle that situation, and actually use it to your benefit.

Ignore your inner voice

There’s a good chance that you’re inner voice is telling you that this guy’s just chomping at the bit to expose you for the little rascal that you truly are, then relay that back to your girlfriend, right? We’ve all seen the movies where the guy best friend is secretly in love with the girl, making sure all her relationships end badly until he can win her over. But, guess what? That’s probably not the case, so don’t be guarded by what your inner dialogue is telling you.

Get to genuinely know him

Look, at the end of the day, her best friend is a guy, which means he (probably) shares a lot of the same interests as you do. If not, fine, then invite him for some beers or to tag along with a group of you while heading out, refusing to show any signs of insecurity or jealousy. Treat the guy as if he’s a brother to your girlfriend, because, chances are, that’s exactly how she views him.

Number one rule when getting to know him, though, is to be genuine. Nobody wants fake kindness or a person who tries too hard, so make sure that you really put yourself out there, unguarded, so you can trust one another and he can not-so-secretly be a positive voice in your girl’s ear when time’s are tough.

Whatever you do, never assume anything

You may not know how or why your girlfriend has a best friend who’s a guy, but that shouldn’t matter. Whether it’s an ex-boyfriend from high school who she trusts or a family friend who has gone on vacations with her since she was in diapers, you should never assume the worst and think the two have hooked up. Put yourself in her position and think for a second: how many girls keep around jerk guys who have hurt them before? Not too many, so, regardless of how the relationship has gone over the years, there’s a high probability that the guy is a good dude who’s not trying to interfere with your relationship with her.

Listen to his advice

OK, so you’ve gotten to know him and understand that he’s a valuable friend to both you and your girlfriend; utilize that! Unlike a girl who has another girl as her best friend, one whose best friend is a guy can be easier to talk with since you’re both, you know, guys! It eliminates most confusion on how to communicate and can help you get to know your girl a little bit better. Heed those tips from him to your advantage when you need to. After all, he’s probably more trusted by and knows her better than you do.

Set boundaries with your girlfriend

Like most things dealing with the opposite sex, you’ll need to set boundaries for your girlfriend on how to deal with a best friend who’s a guy. First off, no matter how much you trust her and this other dude, you need to know that they’ll be gossiping. Second, things only become a problem when she’s putting him before you on most occasions and, even worse, refuses to stand up for you or your relationship. If that ever happens, it might be time to cut your losses, because she’s disrespecting you. However, assuming your girl is being mature and not looking for drama, communicate any issues you might have and trust her that she’ll value your relationship.

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