By Macaela Mackenzie, photography by Kate Mangostar/Freepik
Some things are better confined to pillow talk.
Let’s get one thing straight: We all gab about our relationships to some degree. Whether you’re gushing about the super-sweet thing your partner did for you last weekend, venting about how he or she can never seem to fold the damn towels right, or working through some serious relationship issues with the help of your bestie—talking about your relationship with buds is totally normal.
But figuring out the right person to open up to, and how much is okay to dish, can get tricky. Even if it’s just with your inner circle, over-sharing can betray the trust and the bond between you and bae—not to mention you risk becoming that annoying relationship-obsessed friend. “Is the thing you want to share essential for getting your needs met in your relationship? If so, you need to share it,” says Dr Stephen Snyder, a sex and relationship therapist and author of Love Worth Making. “If not, think twice.”
The next time you’re ready to open your mouth about your boo, here are three major things to consider.
1. ARE YOU TOTALLY TAKING OVER THE CONVERSATION?
We’ve all fallen prey to the friend who holds you hostage while going on and on (and on) about the mundane details of their partner’s office drama or annoying friends. Don’t be that friend. “That’s a friendship fail,” says licensed clinical social worker, Matt Lundquist, a therapist in New York City. “And the friends we’re closest to are the friends we’re most likely to have the bad habits with.”
Instead, check yourself: Have you been talking about yourself from the time you ordered mimosas to the time the bill comes? “If you are dominating the conversation and you’re not in crisis, there’s probably a good chance that you’re sharing too much,” says licensed marriage and family therapist, Rebecca Hendrix.
2. ARE YOU BEING INSENSITIVE?
Before you start sharing how cute it is that your partner always leaves love notes in your work bag, and gives you a foot rub after you wear a pair of brutal heels, ask yourself if you’re being inconsiderate. “Remember your friend and what they’re dealing with,” says Hendrix. “If they are dying to be in a relationship and are in a dating rut, it might be hurtful to them to be gushing, gushing, gushing.”
You also have to do a gut check on whether what you’re sharing is insensitive to your partner. “If your partner values privacy, it’s probably not worth breaking their trust to share intimate details about your sex life,” says Hendrix. Before blabbing, your barometer should always be ‘Is this kind?'” says Lundquist.
3. ARE YOU TRYING TO BE GOSSIPY OR GET A LAUGH?
“Anything that your partner might be embarrassed about is really not safe sharing territory,” says Hendrix. Those off-limits topics totally depend on your partner: “Don’t assume that because you’d be okay with it, he’d be okay with it too.” That doesn’t mean you can’t share a funny story or two, adds Lundquist. But always ask yourself, “Am I talking in a way that’s respectful of my partner?”
Not sure what those private subjects are? The best way to navigate this talk territory is by—you guessed it—talking about it. Ask your partner straight up what’s off-limits, then edit your storytelling. For example, you and your friends always chat about salacious sex details over rosé, but your S.O. isn’t into you sharing dirty details, rein it in. “If you’ve crossed a line, you feel it in your gut,” says Hendrix.
That said, having trustworthy people to talk to when something is going down with your partner is still super important, says Hendrix. “If you are in a long-term relationship, you are going to need support from your friends.” Ask your partner to identify one or two people that they’d be comfortable with you sharing relationship details with, like your mom and your best friend, says Lundquist. Similarly, it’s okay to set rules about people you aren’t comfortable with him divulging relationship details to (like that college girlfriend who’s still in touch).
Now, get talking.
This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthmag.com