The best piece of relationship advice I ever received was several years ago from a good friend and mentor of mine. I was complaining about my then-relationship to a group of my girlfriends. He intervened and said, "Honey, say it to your man, not your girlfriends."
At first, I was appalled. Excuse me? This is my business, and I can vent to whomever I please.
On my walk home, I started thinking about his comment. Say it to my man... Oh gosh, if I told my then-boyfriend how I really felt, we would've broken up way sooner than we did. Then it dawned on me: If I couldn't effectively communicate to my partner, what was I doing in this relationship?! If the things I complained about were so irritating, why was I putting myself through this?
Needless to say, that relationship ended, and I eventually found a man with whom I could productively communicate. But through all of my time dating, this simple lesson stuck in my head. I vowed to stop complaining about my man to my friends, and if I had a problem with him, I would address it right then and there.
This concept has done wonders for my emotional well-being and brought me into a healthy and loving relationship.
Here are 10 reasons why venting to your man is far more productive than complaining to your girlfriends:
1. Venting (NOT complaining) enhances communication.
There is a distinct difference between venting and complaining: Venting is a productive form of communication that helps relieve your personal anxiety. Complaining is a pity-party of one -- no one wants to be a part of your complaining spree.
Complaining goes nowhere; it just leaves you frustrated and annoyed. Productively expressing your feelings to your partner makes for a much more effective conversation and opens the doors for positive communication.
2. Bottling your feelings can lead to an emotional explosion.
Don't be overdramatic, but let your man know when something is irritating you. Bottling up your feelings leads to you replaying the scenario in your mind. You end up looking for more problems, with your boyfriend completely unaware that you are upset.
Just say how you feel, and let him know what he can do.
3. If he knows how you feel, he should respect that.
A quality boyfriend will respect your feelings and make a positive change to improve your relationship. This is as long as your venting is justifiable and expressed in a calm way. He'll listen and make sure that whatever bothered you doesn't happen again. If he could care less about how you feel, then get rid of him!
4. If he doesn't know how you feel, he will never have the opportunity to change.
If he doesn't know that you hate when the toilet seat is left up, how is he supposed to know to change it? COMMUNICATE people! Get it together!
He needs to understand what is bothering you in order for him to fix it. Give him the respect of expressing your feelings and a chance for him to show you he cares.
5. You're dating your man, not your friends.
Your man and friends all play crucial roles in your life. However, who are you dating? You owe him the respect to treat your relationship with dignity and not trash-talk him to other people. Your loyalty is to him when it comes to honoring your relationship.
6. Your friends judge him every time you complain about him.
It's easy to forget all of the good times and focus on the negative incidents. You likely are just complaining to friends, and they remember when you are unhappy!
Each time you complain is another dollar in the jar of the boyfriend-hate club. Don't give them a reason to hate him; you want everyone to get along and be friends.
7. He would be crushed if he heard you complaining about him.
He trusts you and takes your relationship seriously; how would he feel if he heard you trash-talk him to your friends?
Even if half of what you are saying is for dramatic effect, it doesn't matter. You owe him the respect and dignity of speaking kindly about him.
8. Complaining often leads to exaggeration.
When he isn't there, your complaining can get blown out of proportion. The original story suddenly becomes skewed toward defending you and your stance. You want to sound like you were in the right and that he is always in the wrong.
Take a moment and re-think the situation; what could you have done to make things right?
9. Communicating heightens attraction.
When you effectively communicate with your man, you both are on the same page. Being in sync heightens attraction and makes things more enjoyable.
When he understands you, he can make an effort every day to work on your relationship and make a positive change. Knowing you both are in this together and have loyalty to each other is essential in any relationship.
10. You're not perfect; he deserves respect, too.
Let's face it: No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Before you vent, re-evaluate the situation. Are you at fault? Is there anything that you should do or could have done to make things better?
Give him the respect of looking at the situation from both ways, and show him you care about your relationship.