“We have to recognize that there cannot be relationships unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is love, patience, persistence.” – Cornel West, Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life
Most of us that have been part of an intimate relationship have discussed some details of it within your social circle. Some of this dialogue is fun and harmless, yet there are certain parts of a relationship that shouldn’t be discussed with anyone besides your partner.
First, some relationship topics are entirely inappropriate to talk about, even with a ‘BFF’ or some other perceivably trustworthy third-party. Second, words have a way of quickly spreading, and, with the prolific use of social media, your “private matters” can quickly become public.
Also, consider how you would feel if your partner discussed private, intimate matters with someone else. Intimate relationships are special because of the intimacy – a physical and emotional connection shared by two people. Not three, not four. Two.
Here are five things to always keep private within in a relationship:
1. Anything sex-related
Talking about anything relating to sex should be considered a big no-no. Examples of such topics include: how often you do (or don’t) have sex, any sexual fantasies, problems in the bedroom, and so forth.
Engaging in conversation with someone else about your sexual experiences robs the relationship of its intimacy. No matter how big or small such details may be, conversing with anyone else about sex-related topics besides your partner is an act of deception.
In the event that sexual problems are creating distance, or otherwise causing friction in the relationship, therapeutic outlets exist that can help to resolve such issues. Furthermore, experts such as relationship therapists and counselors are bound by confidentiality agreements to keep all related matters private.
2. Any perceived flaws
When a man is made to feel less like a man, or when a woman is made to feel less like a woman, they’re deeply hurt – and relationship problems can escalate quickly. None of us are perfect, and being part of a relationship does nothing to change this universal fact.
Robin Williams, playing the part of a therapist in the movie Good Will Hunting, said to a troubled Matt Damon’s character experiencing a relationship conundrum:
“My wife used to fart in her sleep. [Queue a cracked up Damon and Williams]. She had all sorts of wonderful idiosyncrasies…Christ, she’s been dead two years and that’s what I remember…That’s what I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I know about; that’s what made her my wife…You’re not perfect, sport…and I’ll save you the suspense, neither is she…The question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”
Epic scene, yes; but a powerful (albeit, hilarious) reminder of what we should value in our partner – and how shortcomings are a matter of perspective.
Regardless of how you may feel, these “flaws” are best kept under wraps.
3. Fights or heated arguments
Aside from altercations that involve physical or emotional abuse, relationship “fights” shouldn’t be discussed with others. Your close friend may indeed help “solve” the issue to a certain extent, but therein lies the problem – it takes your partner out of the equation.
Resolving continuing altercations requires communication with the appropriate parties; Namely, you, your partner, and (possibly) a counselor or therapist.
4. Money troubles
Oh, yes, no “relationship secrets” article would be complete without mentioning money issues. Or – in this case – not mentioning money issues.
First, it’s important to understand that financial troubles within a relationship are very common. According to a 2015 survey by SunTrust Bank, “Some 35 percent of all respondents experiencing relationship stress said money was the primary cause of friction…Among respondents with relationship stress aged 44 to 54, 44 percent said money was the primary cause.”
In other words, you are not alone in your money troubles. As much stress that money-related issues may induce, they’re solvable given the necessary knowledge. If a prompt resolution is essential, seek the advice of a financial adviser. Of course, refrain from droning on about problems that are nobody else’s business. They probably won’t help, anyways.
5. Anything said in confidence
At the risk of sounding cliché, trust is the backbone of any relationship. Most of what happens in a relationship has some type of “cure,” but betraying your partner’s trust is perhaps the most egregious of offenses – and is, unsurprisingly, difficult to rebound from.
This is exactly why his or her innermost thoughts and feelings –those that he or she has entrusted you and only you with – are not to ever (ever) be revealed.