Discussing Your Relationship Problems with Friends
Should You Share Private Information with Friends?
Dear April Masini,
My husband often gets mad at me because when we fight or experience problems, I talk about them with my best friend. Isn't that what best friends are for? He doesn't understand that I need to talk about that I need to talk to my friends about things going on in my life, especially if it's something I'm upset about. He said that our problems should be private and I should only talk to him about them. Do you think it's OK to share information about my marriage with my friends?"
Let it Out
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Let it Out,
Sharing information can be a therapeutic outlet that helps a spouse vent his or her feelings somewhere other than on the person they're angry at or confused about. It also allows the spouse some feedback from a trusted friend or therapist about the situation that is being shared. In addition, some people process information by "talking it out," and only when doing this, can they see things about their own behavior or situations that they wouldn't if they hadn't talked it through.
The problems come when two people in a relationship have different expectations about what should be shared, and with whom. A good way to alleviate this problem is to discuss with your spouse any "off-limit" subjects. If one spouse doesn't want you to discuss sex life problems or fidelity problems with certain people, you should know this -- and vice verse. Whether or not you agree is a second issue, but knowing what each other’s expectations are, is key.
The second phase of this alleviation of the problem is agreeing on what the subjects you can discuss with others are, and with whom you can discuss them. If one spouse doesn't want anything discussed with anyone that is a deal breaking problem, because people need to share with others. It's a human instinct and a sign of health. Ideally, spouses will agree on either a therapist, a member of the clergy, and/or a friend or relative that the other person can talk to about problems.
Who not to talk to about problems:
An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.
A child's teacher.
These are entirely inappropriate places for any member of a couple to open up about problems with the other member of the couple.