Every relationship has ups and downs like your favorite roller coaster. They are exhilarating and fun, they make your heart race, they can make you smile and laugh, and they can leave you yearning for more. Yet at the same time, these same coasters can make your jaw drop, you may scream or cry, or they can feel like death making you just want to get off and run away. Now, if you love the coaster, more than you hate it, you’re bound to end up right back on the line, excited to take another ride. That being said, it is very important what you chose to share about this coaster, aka your relationship, to other people.
Communication is Key” in a relationship. However, for communication to be effective, it must be between you and your partner.
The more people you bring into your intimate circle, the less intimate the circle becomes. That which is private becomes public. Some degree of sharing can create warmth and a feeling of love and support in and surrounding your relationship. However, if sharing goes wrong, animosity and resentment can begin to breed inside of your relationship as well as around it.
It is impossible to make everything between you and your mate private. As humans, we feed off of sharing our joy and troubles with others. It helps us connect and allows us to grow. However, everything must be done in moderation, and you must always consider the consequences. Before you begin to share with someone outside of your relationship, here are some things to consider.
Know your audience!
Is this someone who cares about you? Many of us choose to share intimate parts of our lives with the people closest to us. This is definitely a catch 22. Most often, your close friends and family have your best interest at heart. The problem is your best interest may not be the best interest of your relationship. When you are married, the latter actually takes precedence. Truthfully in any relationship, the latter takes precedence if you want the relationship to work. Make sure if you share information about your relationship with a close friend or family member that they aware of this. Please note, thinking about the best for your relationship does not mean you do not think of yourself. It just means you do not think ONLY of yourself!
Is this a neutral party? A neutral party does not have a preconceived bias towards either you or your mate. Often times a neutral party is a person you go to receive counsel from because their opinions are free from judgment and they do not have a predisposition to take one side over the other. Just be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Is this someone with their own agenda? This is definitely a wolf! Someone people do not have your best interest or the best interest of you relationship on their heart. These people tend to have their own interest at heart. For example, if you know your co-worker has a crush on you, do not ask him for relationship advice. It is in his best interest that your relationship does not work, and the information or support he provides may be detrimental to you and your current relationship.
Is this someone who likes a show? One of the worst viruses in a relationship is gossip; it’s the “he said, she said” syndrome. This allows other people’s feelings and perceptions to enter into your relationship. It often starts with you choosing to share personal business with the wrong source. Be very wary of someone who just wants the information to broadcast the latest news feed.
Is this someone who is overly pessimistic or optimisitic? More often than not, you know who to go to when you want someone to agree with you. You know who is going to be pessimistic 90% of the time. You know who is going to be optimisitic 90% of the time. Be very careful of choosing someone who is predictable. It not only invalidates the information being provided, but it also points to a bigger issue within you. If you already know the answer, why are you asking the question? What is the answer feeding you?
Know the intent of your communication and be clear about it!
Are you throwing salt into a wound? Sometimes, communicating with someone outside of your relationship is done just in spite. In the new technological era, it is easy to be spiteful. In an argument, someone might write a facebook status geared at their mate: “I just wish I didn’t have to repeat myself.” Now, not only does your mate know who the side comment is geared at, but also has the opportunity to see how all your friends, family, acquaintances, and random FB people feel about your relationship. For example :”Is that boy getting on your nerves again.” Or “Girl, just leave that alone. I know I wouldn’t repeat myself all day everyday!” Again, one of the worst viruses in a relationship is gossip; it’s the “he said, she said” syndrome. Avoid this intent because it is always destructive.
Are you venting? Sometimes we just need to get the crap off our heart. It is natural. Just pick someone who understands the purpose of venting. Also, be cautious of always venting to the same person. What occurs is that person gets a one sided view of your mate. So when you get back on line for that coaster, they look at you like you are crazy. Try to balance venting with praise. You want to make sure you are not always focused on the negative. Remember something about this ride exhilarates you!
Are you sharing good news? Yeah for good news! We love to share it! Just make sure it is okay with your partner. Also, make sure you are sharing with someone who is open to receiving it. Not all people are able to share in your joy. Mr. Pessimistic mentioned above, still may have something negative to say even when you happy. This is the time you choose to share with Ms. Optimistic, right? J
Are you providing info for info sake? Sometimes we share intimate business just to share. Be cautious of just giving information for information sake aka diarrhea of the mouth. If it doesn’t serve a positive function in your life, then it’s not worth all the energy and possible repercussions on your relationship.
Are you gathering information? In general women do this more often than men. Sometimes, we share information, to obtain information and share notes. We learn at a young age that sharing is caring, and we know that sharing notes is a good way to learn and grow. Again, just be moderate and take in to account everything that has been mentioned.
Do you need advice? Advice is defined as providing alternatives that you may or may not adhere to, but help you in making a decision. Be careful from whom you seek advice. At the end of the day, it is still your decision, but some advice tends to have a powerful pull on your spirit. Make sure the person has the best interest of your relationship at heart.
Are you asking for help? Help is defined as someone stepping in and taking an active role in the resolution of a matter. If you and your mate need help, the best source of help is a neutral party. This allows both you and your mate to maintain your dignity and to be heard equally and without judgment.
To share or not to share?”
There are both good and bad consequences for sharing. So, the answer is totally up to you! Again, I just urge you to know your audience and take in account the intent of your communication. If you decide to share, make sure your intent is for the growth and betterment of your relationship. It is okay if you need to vent or if you need some advice. We all go through those moments in our lives (more times than not). Just strive to pick a trustworthy confidant.
Lastly, remember to always return to the source of the emotion. The only way to deal with how you are feeling and build a strong foundation to your relationship is by communicating with your mate. Don’t forget that is who you should always be sharing with!
So what is the moral of the story?
“Shakespeare’s question reframed,
To share or not to share
The answer goes unnamed
For you to put it there.”