Instinctively, as human beings we like to talk things through with our family and friends, the people that we trust, love and care about. Relationships can and will go through tough times, so it feels natural to want to talk with someone who you trust. Yet, is it OK to talk about our significant other with our family and friends? Is it OK to get advice from them and involve them in our romantic relationships? Here are things to consider when divulging details about your relationship.
When should you ask for feedback?
Times in which it is appropriate to ask for feedback about your relationship is if you do not feel safe and need support, such as in the instances of domestic violence; physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse; or problems with substance abuse. For your safety, it is important to reach out to family and friends for support. Domestic violence survivors will often say their partners gradually isolated them from their family and friends.
When should you not ask for feedback?
You never want to break the confidence of your romantic partner or discuss very personal, intimate details of your relationship. If you choose to discuss your relationship, don’t get into the nitty gritty specifics of your relationship, such as your money problems, sex life, fights, your personal complaints, suspicions about infidelity or your significant other’s problems or past. You really have to use your best judgment, and ask yourself, Would my partner be OK with me sharing this piece of information about our relationship? And, if I did what impact would that have on them and our relationship? Really, be honest in asking yourself this question.
When should you listen to feedback?
I would consider a loved one’s feedback about your significant other when there is genuine concern about your happiness, health and safety. For example, if several loved ones share similar warning signs those should be taken into consideration. Or if it is praise or genuine happiness regarding your relationship like “He/she is a great fit for you.”
When should you not listen to feedback?
You may decide to refrain from trusting a loved one’s feedback about your romantic partner when the feedback is unsolicited or disingenuous. Our family and friends can only make assumptions about what goes on in our relationships based on how much we share, and if we only share the cons of our relationship with them, you’ve left them with a negative impression of your partner. It’s never a good idea to listen to unfounded suspicions or superficial concerns about someone’s looks, chosen profession or financial worth.
Use Your Best Judgment
Its very tempting to want to share intimate details about our relationship with family and friends, but it can be very dangerous territory if you’re not careful. Involving family and friends in your relationship can lead to some pretty awkward encounters, particularly when your significant other is faced with your family and friends. Always air on the side of caution when talking to your friends and family unless you feel unsafe. For unbiased and objective feedback about challenges or issues concerning your relationship, the safest space to talk about your relationship is with a therapist, as the therapist is bound to not sharing confidential information, unless someone is at risk or harm.
If you are having relationship issues, and need an unbiased and objective ear, I’d love to talk with you to see if I can help.