Sometimes, it just feels good to vent, right? You need to complain about a situation and release your emotions in a safe space, before re-engaging and working on a solution. Research has shown that venting can be good for us. It’s a healthy way to regulate emotions since venting is typically done to a third, uninvolved party. When you talk to someone who has nothing to do with the problem, you can really let your thoughts and feelings out without fear of repercussions. But there is one more thing the research found that can be very valuable for couples to know: the most successful venting sessions rely on how the listening party responds. It showed that the listening party should affirm the venter’s feelings and experience. It sounds pretty logical, right? However, if you’re romantically involved with a man, you may find he often misses the mark there.
The TV dad/husband stereotype of the man who goes right into solution mode exists for a reason: men kind of do that a lot. It’s their way of showing they care. If you tell your partner about a problem you have, he likely interprets that as you asking him to fix it. Historically, men haven’t been as encouraged as women to explore their feelings before diving into action, so they might transfer some of their habits onto your problem. Sometimes, all you want is for your partner to support you – not fix things. These are some of those times.
When you fight with a friend
Sometimes, you fight with your best friend. Okay maybe your best friend gets on your nerves a lot. She’s your best friend, after all, so you talk a lot, spend plenty of time together, and are highly invested in each other’s lives. And sometimes your best friend gets on your last nerve because she, again, invited someone else to your dinner party without asking, canceled on you at the last minute, or did whatever it is she always does that pisses you off. You want to complain to your partner. You want him to tell you how annoying that is, and how wrong that is that she does that. You don’t want him to just blurt out, “Well then babe why don’t you just tell her fill in solution here.” You’re going to get around to that! But you need to vent first.