How Do You Communicate Effectively With Your Partner? 7 Things To Keep Private To Your Relationship
It's normal to talk to your friends about your relationship. Everyone could use some advice from time to time. But according to experts, there are some things that should only stay between you and your partner. If you're someone who likes to vent, knowing which topics to avoid can help to keep your relationship strong.
To be fair, there's nothing wrong with sharing. Sometimes you just need to let things out and venting about your relationship can be good for you. But if you have a habit of doing it, Tammy Shaklee, leading LGBTQ matchmaker and president of H4M Matchmaking, tells Bustle, it can mean one really important thing.
"It may be a sign you’re not ultimately compatible," Shaklee says. "Life will throw a lot at you, so you better figure out your communication styles, behaviors, needs, and timing, so that you can handle topics large and small together. If you can’t help but poll your parent, sibling, or BFF, you might not be nurturing the real relationship that means the most — the relationship with your partner."
While it's OK to seek guidance from others on certain issues, there are some things you really need to work out with your partner. So here are some things that should only stay between you and your partner, according to experts.
1. Financial Or Legal Issues
For the most part, everyone wants financial stability and security. It's one of the reasons why money problems can cause couples to split. But life happens. Every couple will go through their share of financial ups and downs. If things aren't going well financially, it's important to keep that to yourselves.
"Time spent airing your financial frustrations with outside sources doesn’t help you get ahead, but a mutually transparent prioritization with your partner can," Shaklee says.
So tackle the issues together. Check in with each other on where you are on your goals, and figure out where the problem areas are.
2. Anything That Has To Do With Sex
Sex is a very personal thing. From performance-related issues to all the sexy details, your sex life should be something you keep private unless you're both OK with talking about it with others.
"While it's great to see a couple that clearly adores one another, it's probably best to keep intimate details private," Dr. Annie Hsueh, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist specializing in couple and relationship therapy, tells Bustle. "This doesn't necessarily just mean details of your physical intimacy."
For instance, not everyone is into public displays of affection. While your partner may be fine with you calling them a "cutesy" nickname in private, they may get embarrassed to be called that in public. If that's the case, it's important to respect that.
3. Your Fights
"While it may seem like a good idea to run to your friends every time you have a disagreement or fight with your partner, this may not be good for relationships in the long haul," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle.
In the moment, it may feel really good to vent. But it does create a negative view of your partner to the person you're venting to. Do you really want your friend to think that your partner sucks and that you should move on to someone better? If you love them and you want to be with them long-term, probably not.
"Opinions are hard to change," Jackson says. "Be selective about any unfavorable things you share about your partner."
4. Family Problems
"You want to keep anything that's embarrassing or extremely private between you and your partner only," Dr. Kathy Nickerson, relationship expert and therapist, tells Bustle. "If your partner would blush or shriek overhearing you share the information with a friend, it should stay private."
Anything your partner shares with you about their family should stay between you and them, especially if it involves some kind of a secret. Just remember, it's not your family. Maybe your partner told you something about their family because they just needed to get it off their chest. All you can really do in that situation is listen to them.
5. Things That Annoy You About Your Partner
The reality is, you're not going to like every single thing about your partner. You're going to have things that irritate you from time to time. While it's OK to air out your annoyances to other people, it's not OK if you haven't expressed how you feel to your partner first. The last thing you want is for your partner's feelings to get hurt if they find out that you've talking about them behind their back.
"That may lead to a sense of betrayal or feeling gossiped about," Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, a psychologist who specializes in relationships and founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle.
By talking about your partner's annoying traits, you're also giving your friends an opportunity to judge them and form negative opinions.
6. Your Partner's Insecurities
"I would guide anyone to just use the golden rule here," Latimer says. "What are the things that would really upset you if you found out your partner was discussing them with others? That can provide you with the perspective you may need."
If you know your partner is insecure about something, don't bring it up to other people. You may have good intentions by asking for help on how to deal with your partner's insecurities. But the last thing they want is to hear that you're airing out their personal thoughts and fears. So according to Latimer, don't discuss things that are deeply personal or intimate in your relationship.
7. Your Goals For The Future Of The Relationship
This may be a little surprising, but you should try to keep your future goals, hopes, and expectations for the relationship to yourselves for as long as you possibly can.
"Many couples withhold the fact that they're trying to have kids; at least until it's a sure thing," Hsueh says. "This isn't limited to just kids, but things that you hope to happen, but just may not take off."
There are no set rules for when you should announce your plans for the future. As long as you and your partner are on the same page, you should be fine. Communication here is key.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking guidance from friends and family. If your safety is a concern, you should definitely say something. If it's not, just remember that the people closest to you are going to form their opinions based on what you say. If you love your partner and you want your relationship to last, it's important to always be mindful of what you're saying.