When you have a concern about your relationship, who do you go to first? Do you talk to your close friends about your concerns, or do you turn to your partner? Do you talk to your mother or other immediate family member?
In a recent study, these researchers found that people who discuss their relationship concerns with friends more than their romantic partners are often hurting their relationship rather than helping. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that talking to your friends about your relationship is a bad thing. If you’re going to share parts of your relationship with friends, here are some things to think about to make sure you don’t go too far:
Talk to Your Partner First
Relationships require vulnerability and disclosure, and sharing your deepest concerns with your partner is a sign that you trust them. This will also allow you to work on your relationship together, which is far better than trying to do it alone. People who work through concerns with their partner tend to be happier, feel more secure about their relationship, and perceive more trust and closeness with their partner.
Balance The Positive and Negative
If you talk to your partner about your relationship issues as often, or more, than your friends, you aren’t as likely to hurt your relationship. In fact, sharing some of your relationship concerns with close friends and family is a great way to get new perspectives on possible solutions. But also try to share some of the positive aspects of your relationship. Your family and friends want you to be happy, so if they only hear about the negative parts of your relationship they may end up turning against your partner. This is a quick way to drive a wedge between those you care about. If you remain positive about the relationship, even in the face of problems, you will get better advice from your friends as well as remind yourself of the good.
Think Long Term
Whatever you do share with your friends and family, think about how they will remember your concerns. Even if you resolve the issues with your partner, your friends may only remember the concerns you have. If you do share a concern with friends, it may also be a good idea to let them know when it’s resolved so they know you and your partner were able to work things out.
In the end, turn to your partner with your concerns about the relationship before anyone else. Then you can seek advice from friends and family, but focus on remaining positive about the relationship and think about how your friends will remember the situation down the road.
If you would like to know how you might better communicate your concerns with your partner, take the RELATE assessment as a couple to see where you can improve.
See the original article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pere.12042/abstract