When out with friends your story about a high school boyfriend may be fine, but you have got to be extra careful when you veer into husband territory. Some truths about your husband should be left unsaid — even if you want your friend’s input. Here are a few subjects that should be off limits, so that it does not end up damaging your marriage.
His fears: Divulging that your hubby is scared of, say, thunder or big dogs can make him appear weak. More importantly, the fears were shared with you in confidence; telling his secrets shows you’re not safe to confide in. Before you share his fears, think about how this would make him feel, which can prevent causing real hurt.
His annoying habits: Feel the need to vent about tripping over his loafers again? Tell your friends. If it’s done in a jovial manner, it isn’t a violation of trust. Just don’t divulge more serious problems that you haven’t discussed with your spouse.
His less-than-ideal income: Telling your friends that your husband was passed up for yet another promotion does more harm than good. Our culture teaches us that men are supposed to be capable and in control all the time, while we know that this is impossible, making it clear that your husband isn’t in control can be detrimental to his self esteem. However, if your husband asks your help in finding a job then by all means spread the word to friends positively (“it’s not that he’s miserable at work; he’s just looking for new opportunities), and it can make a big difference.
His major flaw: Whether he has trouble connecting with your children or is so stubborn he never compromises; make your husband aware of it — not your friends; learning that you talked about serious issues behind his back could irrevocably damage your relationship.
His negative comments about you, your family and friends: Sharing negative statements may make your friends not want to be around him and it alters their feelings about him. And revealing problems you two might be having can make relatives over-involved in trying to ‘fix’ matters for you. If your husband constantly bashes a certain friend or relative, bring it up to him to correct it. If he makes occasional disparaging remarks, let it go. Assume that your partner has positive motivations and focus on them. When you do, you’ll both be happier.
The compulsion to share partners’ faults is less about those characteristics and more about a distressed relationship. In other words, it might be time to see a therapist, who can teach you to communicate in effective, loving ways and help you reconnect.