What starts off as a simple venting session could end up hurting our relationship.
Some groundbreaking news for your day: relationships are hard. The starry-eyed honeymoon phase in the beginning of a romantic relationship can only last for so long, and soon enough, we’ll start to find things about our significant other than just bother us, whether it be their habit of leaving socks on the floor, their lack of skill in the kitchen, or their tendency to steal our phone charger.
Most of us might vent to our friends and exchange stories about our partner’s annoying habits, engaging in a back and forth about how messy and thoughtless guys can be. But what starts off as a small irritation often grows, and the bothersome traits we complain about to our friends become deeper than leaving socks laying around. We might start criticizing him for not caring enough to help us clean up, not having an impressive job, not satisfying us intimately, or even letting our friends in on something our guy told us in confidence.
It can feel cathartic to bond over our relationship woes with our friends, and it might feel harmless since everyone else is doing it, but is opening up about our relationship’s more complicated obstacles to people outside of it, especially those our significant other should be able to trust, really such a bright idea?
It Shows That We Don’t Understand Boundaries
Within every relationship, there are unspoken boundaries that designate what we’re allowed to share with others, and what we’re not allowed to share with others. It’s not necessarily damaging to a relationship to express to our trusted friends that we’re dealing with typical relationship troubles like disagreeing about whose turn it is to do the laundry, not getting along with his friends, or having to get used to sharing personal space with someone else.
If you wouldn’t want your guy to share that information with his friends, then don’t share it with yours.
But complaining about deeper, more personal issues — those that, if the roles were reversed, we’d be uncomfortable with his buddies knowing about — crosses a line, and displays a lack of understanding of boundaries and privacy, and only encourages our friends to engage in the same harmful behavior. We probably wouldn’t want his friends to know the gritty details of every argument we have, what we’re like at our lowest point, or that we aren’t stimulating him the way we used to — so why inflict this on our guy and our friends’ significant others?
He’ll End Up Trusting Us Less and Feeling Disrespected
It’s essential to the health of any relationship that we feel safe to be ourselves in it without worrying we’re being gossiped about. Romantic relationships thrive on emotional closeness, security, mutual respect, and trust. Our guy needs to feel free to work through his struggles, open up about what he’s really feeling, and never worry about being on-guard, censoring himself with us, or that we aren’t treating his feelings with the respect they deserve. He shouldn’t leave something out when confiding in us for fear that we’ll gab about it on our next wine night with the girls.
If we pass on intimate details about him to our friends when he told us in confidence, he’ll end up choosing to keep more of his inner world private, pull away from us, and most likely begin to search for emotional support elsewhere — not just because he feels unable to trust us, but because he’ll also feel completely disrespected, a fundamental element of any loving relationship for a man. This will only contribute to the relationship’s demise, placing unnecessary emotional distance between us and our significant other, leading us to grow apart and wonder what happened.
It Can Turn People in Our Life against Him
Our friends and family only know how to feel about our guy based on what we tell them about our relationship, so their opinion of our significant other is incredibly influenced by what we say about him. And if we love him, wouldn’t we want everyone else in our life to love him, too?
Our friends’ and family’s opinion of our guy is incredibly influenced by what we say about him.
It’s our responsibility to ensure that we give our friends and family an understanding of what we love about our significant other, what we respect about him, and why we’ve chosen him to spend our life with. If, for example, the majority of our conversations with our mom includes venting or complaining, it’s going to shape her opinion of our guy — and not for the better.
If our friends and our partner are important to us, it’s crucial that they have positive opinions of each other. Otherwise, we’re in for loads of unneeded stress, unfair assessments, and competition between the people we love most.
We Might Start Only Noticing His Flaws
I grew up with social anxiety and a general distrust of my peers. I’d see any little comment or glance as a putdown, and assumed the absolute worst of everyone around me. Needless to say, this left me with very few friends. No one wants to be around someone who fixates on everything that’s wrong with the world, right?
When we only focus on what we’re bothered by — a focus that’s created by talking badly about our guy — our brain can actually convince us it’s happening more often than it is, creating the false perception that our guy’s flaws are even worse or more frequent than we thought. In essence, we end up looking at his behavior with a biased view and never take a step back to see all the ways he’s doing right by us.
It’s a Privilege To Know Intimate Details
It’s no secret that men’s feelings and mental well-being aren’t taken as seriously as women’s. In fact, guys are mocked and degraded for showing emotion, and are seen as weak if they struggle with depression or other mental health issues. In short, men spend much of their lives with their feelings and personal battles bottled up, unlike women, who generally find it much easier to process their emotions.
Most often, his girlfriend or wife is one of the few people a man feels safe confiding in.
Most often, his girlfriend or wife is one of the few people a man feels safe confiding in — and it’s a privilege to be trusted in such a way. It’s crucial that we show him we take that privilege seriously by respecting his privacy, keeping his and our relationship’s more weighty conflicts between us (assuming, of course, there’s no physical or emotional abuse taking place) and a trusted therapist if needed. Our relationship is more than just material to entertain our friends on wine night.
It’s normal, encouraged, even, today to trash talk our guy with our best friends, bonding over how annoying men can be. While it feels fun in the moment, if we value our relationship and respect him at all, it’s essential that we refrain from openly putting down our significant other in front of anyone else.