Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why to be Tentative in Discussing your Relationship with Others

Hi all,

An important topic was brought to my attention the other day by someone dear to me, and as a result, got me ruminating.  The topic of discussing and confiding in others about your relationship.  While I am more referring to the discussing of your romantic relationship with others in this article, a lot of this logic also goes for discussing friendships in your life with others too.

In many regards, its not a bad thing to discuss challenges or nuances of your relationship with a few carefully chosen people that you trust and with whom you are close.  They can offer insights you hadn't considered prior, open your eyes to new ideas/possibilities/solutions, or in extreme cases, help you see with clarity that maybe your relationship isn't so great after all. 

Additionally, if talking with someone whom you trust deeply, as well as is a person you know is intelligent, emotionally mature and healthy, open minded, loving and a rational human being, this can help guide you and result in noteworthy perspectives you hadn't considered prior.

Sometimes, there are things we cannot see clearly about our own relationship, caught up in the midst of strong emotions and personal bias, a natural thing.  When in a relationship with someone, we are inclined to see them in an idealized light.  This isn't usually a bad thing, as many studies show that the couples who are happiest are those who focus on and thrill over their partners good qualities/high points and strengths, instead of letting all the little annoyances overtake their view of their partner. 

However, sometimes, this inclination to see our partner in a highly idealized light can come at a grave cost.  In our sweeping legit character flaws and behaviors of concern, which should be examined more closely, under the rug.  This coming much to our detriment when later on, we realize it was there all along, yet we ignored it and are now in either a shitty relationship, or with someone who is a gross mismatch to us.

All of that is an aside point though.  The above were some of the reasons why confiding in a few carefully selected people can be a good thing towards getting perspective at times.  In general, there are a handful of positives to having a couple of trusted, well adjusted, emotionally healthy and mature, open minded individuals with whom we can sometimes confide or go to for insight. 

However, on the flip side and now to address the title of this article...this is something to approach with caution.  The disclosing of loads of details about your relationship (especially negative ones) to others. 

Here is why....

--This can result in your being wrongly swayed, or in some cases, even intentionally manipulated.  Plenty of us love people with issues.  Plenty of us are close to and/or love someone (a family members, or even friends) whom either we do not see in their fullest clarity (because maybe it hurts too much), or, we just dont have the awareness that while we love this person, maybe they aren't the most trusted confidant after all.  Maybe they aren't always the most emotionally healthy or mature.  Maybe they are not usually the wisest or most insightful.

These are the people that, while you may love them, should not be gone to for advice about your relationship.  Because its very likely that, well meaning or not, they will mislead you.
The takeaway here: choose to whom you disclose with the upmost thought, caution, and consideration.  Leave love out of it.  Instead, consider their character, emotional intelligence, etc.

--Lets assume that your relationship with your partner is generally a great one.  However, lets say that whenever annoyed or in a challenging moment with your partner, you choose to voice these concerns and frustrations to people.  Over time, this will diminish outsiders view of your relationship, causing them to see it in a negative light.
Maybe its true (and you just cannot see it yourself yet) that in fact, your relationship is more negative than positive for you, and thus, why you are ever complaining or voicing concerns to others.  Maybe this is an important sign that need not be ignore.
However, its equally possible that your relationship could be a wonderful one, though if you tell people all the bad moments, this is what they will come to see.

We all have negative and challenging traits.  We all have both good in us, as well as bad (though some of us of course, have more one than the other).  We all have bad moments.  It doesnt necessarily mean we are a shitty person.  While it can mean this, it just as likely may not.  So, chose what you disclose carefully, so as not to offer a false negative impression to others of both your partner and your relationship.

--Over time, this can cause your partner (assuming they know you are confiding these things in close friends and/or loved ones) to feel very uncomfortable around these people.  Thus, creating wedges between both your partner and your loved ones, as well as a wedge between you and your partner.

--Most importantly, assuming you love this person, respect them, and want to be with them, you shouldn't be reporting to others every little thing they say or do that's disappointing, a mistake, or crappy.  That's nearly akin to running a tattling.  This just isn't having your loved ones back, whether this person is a romantic partner, or even a close friend.

If you assess that the relationship may not be such a good one after all and are considering ending it...if instead you are really grappling with whether or not this is the right relationship for you after all...if you are going through a truly traumatic, difficult, one off situation with your partner that is deeply upsetting...all of that is different.  These are situations that warrant and even encourage the confiding in a few carefully selected others.

However, if instead you are just bitching and moaning about little, nitpicky stuff.  Small mistakes, your love messing up here and there (like all of us do.  Yes, all of us).  Their getting on your nerves for the moment, or frustrating you over something minor.  These are not things to be running to your loved ones about.  Not only will that damage your connection with your partner, as well as onlookers opinions of your relationship over time.  Its also not having your partners back.

Choosing to confide in a couple of close loved ones from time to time about your romantic relationship is all good.  However, make sure you choose in whom you confide carefully.  Love isn't enough.  Bad advice and guidance can be lethal, manipulating and swaying you in the wrong direction, whether intentional or not.  The few you confide in should be: open minded, loving, emotionally mature, excellent listeners, trustworthy, supportive, generally happy people.  Talking negatively about your partner often to others will also chip away at both your connection with them, as well as them feeling good in the company of your loved ones.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between gossip and constructive problem solving conversation.  Constructive problem solving conversation is all good to have sometimes with others, with regards to relationship concerns.  Gossiping is pointless and causes a lot of harm.  How to tell the difference?  Ask yourself the following.  Are you talking just to talk?  Or, is there a point, and a solution to which are you working towards and searching for?  That is a good key marker of how to tell if what you are saying may be mature, healthy and constructive, versus pointless, damaging and negative.

Its ok to discuss your relationship with a few carefully chosen loves ones from time to time.  When you need some guidance, perspective, insight, and support.  Be careful though in doing this too frequently when in a really good relationship with someone you love, especially when doing it just to bitch and moan.  That, my friends, is a slippery slope. Also, important note, if you find yourself feeling a need to vent and talk frequently to others about how stressful/disappointing/hurtful/etc (you get the idea) your relationship with your partner is...its safe to say this may no longer be a good relationship.

Instead, talk up the person you love.  Tell your friends and loved ones about the special, romantic, awesome things your love does for you.  About the especially fun time you had with them recently.  The unique gift they got for you the other day.  The aspects of this person that you most love.  How they add to your life, make it better.  Make that the bulk of what you tell others.  On occasion, in needing support if something tough happens, by all means, confide in a carefully chosen few.  In general though, be tentative in discussing your relationship (negatively) with others.

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