it’s totally natural for you to spill your guts to your girlfriends about what’s going on in your relationship — hell, it’s practically a right of passage at brunch or book club — but that doesn’t mean you should share everything. There are a few things that relationship experts deem worthy of staying between you and your S.O. Find out what they are, and no matter how much you want to bond with your BFFs, keep your mouth shut.
1 When You’re Going Through a Sex Slump
2 When Your In-Laws Piss You Off
It seems like everyone bitches about their mother- or sister-in-law, but you should try to bite your tongue if you can. You never know when word is going to get back around to your husband (or if he simply overheard you in the other room), and that can make them resentful, “as typically people are defensive of their family,” she explains. And again, it’s not helpful. Sure, it’ll make you feel better in the moment to get a frustration off your chest, but ultimately the feedback you get from friends will be personal and likely drawn from their own experience. “That has nothing to do with you and your situation, so it’s safer not to risk it. Instead, go get in a workout to blow off some steam, then come back and talk to your partner so you can work out a solution after you’ve had some time to cool off and can speak (and think) more clearly.
3 When Your Partner Reveals His Sexual Fantasy
In season three of Friends, a whole episode is devoted to Rachel telling Phoebe about Ross’ Princess Leia fantasy — and Ross being pissed about her sharing that secret. His frustration is warranted. “Most of us have fantasies that we’re not entirely comfortable with; it’sa big deal to let down your guard and share the most intimate parts of your sexuality with another person. As his partner, Marin says you should honor that trust and keep the information private. It may be tempting to talk about if there’s a big shock value to the confession, or if you don’t know how to tell him you’re not all that keen on making it a reality. But resist and keep that info to yourself. (After all, how would you feel if he talked about your fantasies with his buddies?) If you need to talk to someone, book a session with a sex therapist.
4 When One of You Cheats
Whether it was an emotional or physical affair (yes, there’s a difference and yes, they’re both considered infidelity), any acts that had you or your partner straying outside your relationship need to be kept quiet. It’s common to want to vent to someone else — say, your mom or your best friend — but that can irreparably damage their opinion of your partner. And while that may be NBD if the two of you decide to separate, if you want to make a comeback it’ll be that much harder.
“Because others know about it, it will linger on and you’ll have to deal with their feelings and judgment for however long they decide. Think about it: If your mom knows, then every time you have a small fight with your guy and need to vent, she’ll always be able to bring it back to the affair, even if it has nothing to do with that. (Plus, just imagine the daggers of hatred shooting from her eyes at every family get-together from there on out. Awk-ward.) Instead, talk to an individual or couples therapist about the affair whenever you need to — they create a safe space for you to get your emotions out without a side of judgment.
5 When One (or Both) of You Is Going Through Something Private
It sounds like a given, but it’s worth repeating: If your partner confides in you about a private family matter (his sibling has a serious health condition, for example) or a less-than-ideal situation he’s in (like the loss of a job), keep your mouth shut. When he opens up to you like that, it’s proof that he trusts you and your ability to handle the situation in a respectful manner. Don’t break that trust by opening up to someone else — even if it’s simply because you’re looking for advice on how to console him. Instead, “it’s best to just listen and be there. “It’s a touchy issue, but the best thing you can do is let him talk, and be caring and empathetic.”
6 When He Makes a Money Mistake
Making a mistake is embarrassing enough, but when it’s about money it tends to be even more personal, as finances can be one of the biggest causes of divorce. So don’t cut him down by talking about it in public. Whether he made a bad play in the stock market or exercised poor judgment in his spending habits that month, it’s a personal transgression that’s just that — personal. Talking about it to your friends makes him look bad, which inevitably changes their opinion of him.
7 When Your Partner Has a Smell, Taste, Penis Size (Whatever) That You Didn’t Expect
When you first start seeing someone, it’s common for both men and women to dish details to their friends about their partner’s body. After all, what woman hasn‘t had a rowdy conversation with her girlfriends detailing her latest hookup? But if the guy is someone you could potentially see yourself dating long-term, you may want to pause. “Your friends are going to eventually meet him, and your partner would probably be horrified he ever found out you shared this really personal information. Now, that’s not to say you can’t say anything — he’d probably be stoked if you were vague and simply bragged on his skills a bit — but if it’s something that could potentially embarrass him or that he’s already insecure about (like having a smaller penis, for example), keep it to yourself.