Your husband is being a jerk, and you’re meeting your friend for coffee. It’s OK to vent, right? But what if this is the friend who you’ve always suspected of being secretly jealous of your relationship? Is it a betrayal to tell her because she’ll relish in your misery? What if your confidante is that cute yoga guy who you have a secret tiny crush on? Definitely off limits, right?
My friend Paula (who co-wrote this book you might have heard of called Spousonomics) is always going on and on about how important it is to trade information with my husband. To be what she calls “transparent.” She’s loves throwing around fancy economic terms whenever I discuss my marriage with her. But this whole WikiLeaks thing got me thinking about how Paula’s theory about transparency applies to being “transparent” with “friends” about my “husband.”
I get that information drives relationships: There’s a reason governments need diplomats to trade intelligence even if it’s only sniping about sexy Ukranian nurses. But if you go all WikiLeaks on your marriage, sniping about how he makes or doesn’t make the bed to your gal pals, you could end up with, well, a cooling of diplomatic relations.
As far as I’m concerned, my husband can tell his friends about our relationship troubles as long as he doesn’t make me look horrible all the time, and providing he listens to the loving boyfriend more than the loud guy who still dates college girls. I ask my closest girlfriends for advice, but I try not to embarrass my husband when I do it–and I tell them about the sweet things he does, too. It’s healthy for couples to seek outside advice and to blow off steam, as long as it doesn’t take the place of the difficult and necessary why-did-you/I-meant-to/I’m-sorry/I-love-you discussions.
In closing, have I mentioned how great my husband is? He’s so great. Just great–today, yesterday, and forever. Pass the yellowcake. And did you hear that Ahmadinejad is just awful about washing dishes? You didn’t hear it from me.
Photo by See-ming Lee at Flickr