Relationship Talk: How Much Should You Share With Your Girlfriends?
It’s an age-old tradition: female friends gather at someone’s dining room table, or at a restaurant, or at a Spa or these day, on a group chat to talk. The hottest possible topic? Relationships. Who is dating who? Who’s having an affair? Who had a fight with their spouse? Talking to other women about a date, relationship or heartbreak is an essential part of the sisterhood. Its essentially expected to metaphorically ‘spill the tea’. But is it healthy for the relationship itself?
A relationship is between two people and while some outside intervention can be helpful, it can also be downright damaging. Now, short of God and maybe a marriage counselor, one has to wonder if any outside opinions and input are necessary.
While its tempting to vent to your friends after a fight, you have to meet in mind that you’re expressing a multifaceted relationship through a one-sided story. So while they may hear about how he comes home too late and is messy, they likely won’t hear about how the reason he is always so late is that he’s at a demanding job to provide for the family. Or how much of a loving parent he is. Also, should you spill about a major grievance, these outside parties develop an impression of your significant other that lasts even beyond you forgiving the said transgression. So while you might forgive him for forgetting your birthday last year, they might not and would continually carry around the impression of him being inconsiderate (even if he remembers every birthday from then on).
Also, it’s quite dangerous to get too comfortable with venting to your girls, forgetting that your significant other is supposed to be the person you vent to. Once, on an online relationship forum, a woman complained that she was beginning to feel that her husband was taking her for granted. A commenter asked her if she’d spoken to him yet about it yet and she said no. Why vent about this sort of issue to strangers online but not even the person you’re in a relationship with? Its ridiculously easy to fall into this cycle and kill all communication with your partner.
To answer the question on how much to *not* tell your girlfriends, i think it can be summarized into three things:
- Things are simply not their business: Intimate details of your finances (how much exactly your spouse makes, for example). Family issues that are best kept to as few people as possible aren’t appropriate gossip time topics.
- Things that cast your partner in a bad light: Before venting about what he has done this time, stop to wonder “What would i think of so-and-so’s spouse if she told me this about him?”. If the answer isn’t correlating with the person you know your partner to be, its best not to plant a bad opinion seed in others’ minds.
- Things your partner should know first: Are you unhappy? Feel like there’s a lack of communication? Need more support?. Before anyone else (except God) hears of this, your significant other should be informed first. After all, you’re in this together. You aren’t fighting against him but with him and you do your relationship no favors if you tell everyone else how you feel except him.
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