Relationship Oversharing: What’s Too Much?
Part of friendship is sharing details of your lives with one another. It’s only natural when you get together with your close friends or family members that you tell them what’s been happening in your life. If you’re in a committed relationship, then telling people about your life can become the same thing as telling people about your partner’s life. Your lives are so enmeshed that his updates are yours and yours are his. When you care deeply about someone, then you talk about that person to friends and family. But you have to remember that, no matter how connected you and your partner are, your partner is still entitled to some privacy, and he should have some say in what you share with others. His updates are yours…to a point. When it comes to over-sharing about your relationship, here is what you can and can’t tell outsiders.
Can: A dwindling sex life
Everyone talks about how their sex life ebbs and flows in a long-term relationship. It’s common for married friends to joke around about how hard it is to keep things exciting in the bedroom, or even make time for sex. That’s completely normal and fair game to discuss.
Can’t: His sexual shortcomings
If your sex life is dwindling because your partner has erectile dysfunction, a drop in testosterone due to antidepressants, or some other rather sensitive medical condition, you probably should keep that to yourself. Your partner may not want others knowing that.
Can: General health issues
If your partner hasn’t been feeling great, or if he’s even waiting on test results for potentially serious and chronic conditions, it’s only natural that you’d want to talk to close friends about it. You need support and comfort during this time, too. It’s okay to tell them that your partner is having some health issues.
Can’t: Sensitive health issues
Just remember that some health issues—like those related to reproductive health or gastrointestinal problems—are sensitive. Your partner would probably prefer you don’t go into detail about his colonoscopy.
Can: Overall financial state
If friends invite you on an expensive trip, it’s normal to say, “We can’t afford that right now.” Or, if you’re looking for leads on homes for sale, it’s normal to tell friends your budget range. They will have a general knowledge of your financial state.
Can’t: Financial details/statements
Your partner probably doesn’t want outsiders knowing the exact figures in your bank accounts, how much you’re paying for certain things, how much you have in this or that stock and so on. That’s confidential.
Can: Emotional turbulence
If your partner is going through a difficult emotional time, then you probably are too. You’re his support system, so it weighs on you, and you probably want to look to your friends for comfort. It’s okay to tell them that your partner is going through an emotional time.
Can’t: His personal trauma
If your partner’s emotional upset has to do with childhood trauma of a sensitive nature, like abuse, that is probably something he’d prefer you keep private.
Can: Your relationship with the in-laws
You have your own unique relationship with your in-laws and you have every right to talk to friends and family about it. It’s a part of your life and your experiences.
Can’t: The in-laws’ dirty laundry
What you cannot share with others is your in-laws’ dirty laundry, or private details. Think of anything your partner wouldn’t want you sharing with others, and extend those same rules to your in-laws.
Can: Your partner’s career updates
Did your partner lose his job? Get a new one? Get promoted? Get money from those investors for his idea? You can share these updates with friends! Even the bummer ones like, he got fired. They were bound to find out.
Can’t: Career self-doubt and meltdowns
Men tend to take career setbacks pretty badly. Your friends don’t need to know that your partner had a meltdown, or shut himself in a room all night riddled with self-doubt. You can tell them about the results of his work, but not necessarily the messy emotional process that goes into them.
Can: You’re in couples’ counseling
If you’ve decided that couples therapy is for you, it’s okay to tell your friends that you and your partner are in it. That’s a big part of your life and schedule now. And it’s perfectly normal to go to couples’ counseling.
Can’t: What you discuss in couples’ counseling
The exact details of what you discuss in couples’ counseling should stay between you, your partner, and your therapist. He feels safe opening up in counseling because he knows it’s confidential.