Over the years, my girlfriends and I have dissected everything about our relationships with men. And I mean everything—dates, fights, and sex are the biggies, but we’re especially skilled at sussing out the hidden meaning in random comments made by our S.O.s.
Getting married didn’t really change anything. It’s pretty much a given that a disagreement between Chris and me will come up the next time I talk to a friend. It’s awesome to get quick feedback so I can better gauge whether I was wrong (please) or whether he was wrong (yes, please).
Talking about the ins and outs of our relationships is just what we do. It helps keep us sane, and sometimes helps keep us from being insane. Somehow, my friend’s idea to stalk her man’s cute ex on Facebook—who she swears still has a thing for him—sounded like less of a good idea after she ran it by me first.
I’ve always assumed guys knew this, but a friend’s recent conversation with her guy (which she, of course, shared with me), made me think otherwise. After they had an intimate talk about a few things he was struggling with, he said, “I know you don’t talk to your girlfriends about this stuff, and I think it’s great that we can keep some things just between us.”
Of course my friend felt super guilty about it…but told me everything anyway. I thought guys knew it’s a given that girls talk about everything.
Even Chris recently got annoyed during an ongoing debate when I backed up my case with feedback from one of my friends. “What does that have to do with anything?!” he said. “This is about us.”
He had a point, but it still didn’t prevent me from giving the play-by-play later to my friends. Are we breaking an unspoken rule of marriage by sharing details of our unions with each other?
Not really, says licensed marriage and family therapist Lesli Doares, author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. But while talking about our marriages with friends is fine, she says there are a few really important things to keep in mind when those chats involve venting.
One, you’re only getting the female perspective on the situation—and it’s not the whole picture. My friends have definitely called me out when I’ve been wrong in an argument with Chris, but I know there are other times that they’ve backed me up just because they’re supportive friends, not because I was right.
Two, it’s not okay if you’re venting just to get validation. The right way to blow off steam to friends, says Doares, is when you’re willing to admit your fault in the argument and to try to understand where your S.O. is coming from. Then you can get feedback on the situation. Otherwise, it could just prolong a fight and cause issues in your relationship.
But even if you follow all of that advice, Doares says it’s always safer to make sure your husband knows you talk to friends about your marriage and that he’s okay with it.
I’m not sure how I feel about being all, “Pass the salt…so, are you cool that I talk to my friends when you do something that ticks me off?”
After being nervous about it for days, I finally got up the courage to ask Chris how he would feel if hypothetically I talked to my friends about things that happen in our marriage. His response: “I don’t really talk to my friends about private things in our marriage, but I don’t really care if you do.”
Korin Miller is a writer, SEO nerd, wife, and mom to a little one-year-old dude named Miles. Korin has worked for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Cosmopolitan, where she learned more than anyone ever should about sex. She has an unhealthy addiction to gifs.