Should You Talk About Relationship Problems With Friends? Yes & Here's Why
Discussing problems in your romantic relationship with your friends can be beneficial to you, your friendship, and your romantic relationship. There's no reason to feel guilty about talking to your close friends about your relationship, as long as you're being honest and not sharing anything too personal. If there's something that your partner wouldn't be comfortable with other people knowing, you should respect their privacy and keep those details between the two of you. But for the most part, choosing to talk about relationship problems with friends is actually really healthy. It benefits everyone involved by gaining perspective and decreasing built-up frustration.
It's easier than you might think to lose yourself in a romantic relationship, and your friends can help you get back to being who you really are. A reliable friend can serve as an objective outsider who has your best interests at heart and also knows you better than anyone. While you should take what your friends say into consideration, you shouldn't blindly follow their advice. There are certain things to take into account, such as their specific reasoning, if you're hearing this opinion from other people as well, and how much you trust this friend's judgment and insight. With that in mind, here are four reasons you shouldn't keep your relationship problems a secret from your friends.
1. Your friends can help you get perspective.
A trusted friend who is familiar with your past and current relationships is the perfect person to come to about problems with your partner. They can provide a unique perspective. You can of course talk to a therapist who is trained in relationship issues, but while they can offer an expert point of view, they probably haven't seen you and your partner interacting on a regular basis.
"You don’t have to be a therapist to see patterns and have insight," says Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent relationship expert in Los Angeles who works with dating singles and couples. Your friends and even your family members have seen how you behave in and outside of your relationship. As long as you're willing to listen, they can offer honest opinions and potential solutions.
2. Talking to your friends can decrease conflict between you and your partner.
As long as the friend is someone you consider to be genuine and reliable, their insight can help you keep your cool when discussing the problem with your partner. Once you've verbalized what you're feeling to a friend whose judgment and insight you trust, you can calmly approach your partner with your thoughts already gathered.
This works best when you speak to a friend who knows your relationship history and has seen you in other relationships. They can give insight into positive or negative patterns you might not have noticed. This awareness can then help enhance your romantic relationship. "It benefits your relationship to get another set of eyes," says Dr. Brown. When deciding who to come to for advice, though, make sure you pick the right person. "If you’re talking about it with a friend who isn’t reliable, the conflict between you and your partner could increase," he says.
3. Seeking advice builds trust and strengthens your friendship.
Seeking advice from a friend will increase the bond between you two as well. By showing this person that you value their opinion, you're highlighting the importance of their friendship. "This extension of trust and giving feedback can strengthen your friendship," says Dr. Brown. Of course, before determining a course of action, it's totally fine to ask more than one person. Your relationship is important, and you don't want to make a hasty or ill-informed decision.
Before you decide to confront your partner or take your friend's advice and break up with them, Dr. Brown suggests asking yourself certain questions like, "Is it just one friend telling me I can do better, or is it everyone I know?" Also, ask those friends why they don't think it's a good relationship. "Just knowing isn’t enough. Ask them to give you specific reasons," he says.
4. Keeping secrets from your close friends could be a red flag.
While it's important not to generalize, if you find yourself keeping certain relationship problems a secret from your close friends, that could be a red flag that your romantic relationship may be unhealthy or problematic, according to Dr. Brown. If you ever feel pressured by your partner to keep quiet or scared of what they might do if you speak up, it's important to get outside help. Use the National Domestic Violence Hotline or talk to a therapist about signs of emotional abuse.
Your close friends are a great resource when it comes to conflict in your romantic relationship. Talking to people you trust about problems in your relationship can help you decide how best to handle the situation. Your friends and family can provide perspectives that are different from your own or your partner's, and those outside views could be exactly what you need to move forward.
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