For those of us who tell too much- You have probably been guilty of seeking advice when there were problems in your relationship. Not that getting advice is wrong, it’s just that everyone’s advice isn’t good advice. You want a listening ear- like someone who will empathize with you – but it’s more like someone who will agree with you and give you the feedback you want to hear. You really don’t want to talk to someone who is going to disagree- you already have enough conflict with your partner- you don’t need any more! But, it’s really important that you don’t loop family, friends or even coworkers into problems in your relationship.
First off- there are two sides to every story- You probably only tell the parts that you want the other person to hear. Then, you have to consider the fact that your view is likely incomplete and skewed. You’re probably not considering how she feels when you’re telling your friend how much your wife “gets on you last nerve.” It’s all about everything they are doing wrong- nothing (or very little) about your contribution.
Also consider the fact that you probably dramatize or exaggerate events to get others on your side. “Girl, you won’t believe what he did…” And then the exaggeration begins. “He never.. He always…” and on it on it goes. And of course you have to add a little drama to it or it’s not interesting, right?
So know that when you are talking to friends and family- They don’t always see the BIG picture. Truth is- you’re probably just angry in the moment and you need to vent. But the person you’re venting to may feel more strongly about the event than you do. “Man, if I were you…” But they are NOT you! And their point of view may not apply to your situation.
Friends and family are loyal- they want what is best for you- sometimes even at the expense of your relationship. If you are just venting and plan to stay in the relationship- family may not be the one’s you want to express your frustrations. REMEMBER- They won’t forget what you’ve already forgotten! Many times friends and family will be a constant reminder of your past and don’t understand why you would stay in the “horrible” relationship you described.
Friends and family can also be biased. Of course you couldn’t be the problem- it has to be your partner. He/She is making you feel bad and you don’t need them in your life- Right? Well, what if you choose to go back? There could be two results- 1) You are influenced by their opinions which cause you to see your partner in a negative light, forget your contribution to the problem, and disrespect your partner OR 2) You reconcile with your partner and your friends/family cause you to feel guilty, angry or defensive because you chose to stay. Is it really worth causing these problems when it all could have been avoided if you kept the details to yourself?
Now in regard to coworkers- you may think that it’s OK to divulge information because they don’t know you as well and can be more objective. But the thing about this is they are an outsider looking in but it’s from their point of view. You’re telling your side of the story and they tell you how they would handle it- “Girl, if I were in your situation, I would kick him to the curb.” But you don’t really know if that’s true because they are NOT in your shoes so their advice is really irrelevant.
Getting outside opinions about how you should handle your relationship may result in others:
- Judging (something you really don’t need)
- Blaming your partner even though you likely contributed to the problem (skewed)
- Making suggestions on how you should handle the problem (it’s only based on their opinion)
- Encouraging you to leave (that’s your decision, NOT theirs)
SO WHO SHOULD YOU TALK TO???
A really good alternative is YOUR PARTNER! Rather than putting your partner on blast on Facebook, or talking about them to anyone who will listen, try talking to them about the issues. Sometimes- they will actually LISTEN! Especially when you learn how to communicate in their language. You can also talk to a trusted family member or friend (maybe someone who knows both of you and can objectively evaluate the situation). Another really good option is a relationship counselor or pastor. I know you think you can handle the situation yourself, but major issues need MAJOR HELP! Don’t wait until you’re hanging by a thread to seek GOOD advice!