5 Guidelines For Venting About Your Relationship In A Healthy Way
At some point, every marriage will experience difficulties. In these times, it can be helpful to vent to a loved one who can act as a thought partner and help you to work through your feelings. To vent is “to give free expression to a strong emotion.” It is classified as a coping mechanism and can help to reduce stress.
“If you’re too emotionally entangled in what happened to you, you can’t think very clearly about what you may still be able to do about the situation,” Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. explained in an essay for Psychology Today. “The mere act of venting to a compassionate other has its own gratifications. There are times when your friend might be able to suggest potentially productive actions, that in your agitated state, might have never occurred to you.”
At the same time, venting about your relationship is a delicate dance, so before unloading regarding your marital woes, there are a few guidelines you should keep in mind.
Pick one person to use as a sounding board
To avoid exposing your relationship challenges to a group of people, you’ll want to designate one loved one as the person you will use as a sounding board. You’ll want to select a person who is fair, reasonable, and has your best interest at heart. They should be a person who is able to be objective and one who is not likely to hold grudges against your spouse after the smoke clears the present issue is resolved. Your listening ear should be trustworthy and a person you knoww won’t spread your personal business around to others.
Never vent about your partner in front of your partner
The purpose of venting is never to make your partner feel bad or ashamed. The purpose is to give you a platform to speak about the challenges that you are facing so that you can work through issues and avoid keeping strong emotions bottled in. For this reason, it’s not advisable to vent to this other person in your partner’s presence. Doing so can not only make your partner feel small but it can also be viewed as a serious breach of trust.
Never vent to someone in whom you have a romantic interest
This one should go without saying, but your venting partner should not be someone in whom you have any level of romantic interest. By doing so, you are venturing into extremely dangerous territory and you are likely already enthralled in some form of an emotional affair.
Never trash your significant other
The last thing you want to do is assassinate the character of your spouse. For this reason, it’s important to understand the difference between complaining and venting. You don’t want to get into the habit of simply complaining about and putting down your partner. As life coach, Dr. RJ Jackson, so eloquently points out in his blog, “venting is a path towards healing while complaining is a path towards conflict.”
Be sure to address the issue when all is said and done
While getting things off of your chest is great, be sure that you’re discussing the important issues with your spouse when all is said and done. Now that you’ve made sense of your feelings, make your spouse aware of what is going on with you so that you can work towards resolving the issue.