It took me years to realize the damage I was doing to my romantic relationships by openly discussing our problems, issues and internal struggles with my loved ones. In due part to the fact that I have always been a very open and expressive individual, I’ve always handled my woes by either writing about them or verbally sharing them with the individuals closest to my life. If I was hurting as a result of a decision my boyfriend made or frustrated by his selfish, deceitful behavior, everyone who would listen was going to hear my side of the story. I saturated my early adult years with the telling of my on-going, relationship saga. Not only was I taking advantage of opportunities to vent my anger and pain, but I was also seeking support. I subconsciously wanted my friends to empathize with my position as the ‘victim’. It was my intent to loop my loved ones into every romantic battle I had to fight. If the predicament I was facing made me feel any less than joyful, it was to be discussed in detail; shared via phone or mass email. Time would progress and I was able to move beyond the anger I felt towards my boyfriend. However, some of my friends and family members were unable to set aside the opinions they had already formed about him and our relationship as a whole.
Often times, when we are discussing our romantic relationships with other people, we are sharing details that are skewed and incomplete. We are more than likely still experiencing intense emotions regarding the events that have caused tension and strife in the relationship. As a result, we fail to see how our actions and behaviors may have triggered the decisions that our boyfriend/girlfriend has made. Our interpretation of what our boyfriend/girlfriend has done is usually based upon a series of thoughts, ideas and past events that we never mention when sharing our stories with friends. Sometimes, we leave out certain details intentionally when discussing our romantic partners. Other times, we are completely unaware of how our personal issues and flawed characteristics have contributed to the relationship struggles.
Our friends, cousins, siblings and other loved ones listen to us vent as a way of displaying their support. Their love for who we are as individuals allows them to empathize with everything we are experiencing as now, one part of a couple. However, it is this love and sense of loyalty that usually blinds our friends and family members from seeing or understanding the context in which these relationship problems have developed over time. Their advice is usually based off of exactly what we tell them about our boyfriend/girlfriend, or what we say about the daily mantra of the relationship. Unless a loved one is present to witness every interaction, argument, and event that leads up to the heightened situations, their opinions about the relationship are formed by the stories they hear directly from you. Each of them gets to the point where they can’t stand to see you hurting any longer. They cry out to you by saying, ‘you shouldn’t put up with it any longer’ or, ‘such & such doesn’t deserve you’. Your friends nor your family is aware of every element in your relationship that feeds the predicaments you find yourself having to handle.
Eventually, the period of change, forgiveness and forward movement presents itself for every couple. The pair decides to repair the damage to their relationship and work on rebuilding the trust and stability that was lost in the cross fire. Meanwhile, the friends and family members who were dragged into the battlefield are no longer supportive or understanding of how the relationship will possibly work. They have been saturated with so many stories of infidelity, negativity and unhealthy behavior that it becomes impossible for them to see the good qualities that exist in your boyfriend/girlfriend.
WHEN TELLING YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY ABOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND, KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU MAY DECIDE TO ‘CHANGE YOUR MIND’.
The challenge then becomes trying to convince your loved ones that the relationship is taking a different turn. Many people will argue that they don’t care what their friends or family think about their romantic relationship. However, everyone wants those who they care about the most to like and get along with their partner/lover/spouse. We have to be extremely careful about how much information we share about our relationships amongst our close circle of loved ones. Everyone has not experienced an intense, long term, romantic union. As a result, some people honestly don’t understand what it is to ‘hate someones guts one night’ and to be sitting on their couch, cuddled up and eating chinese food the next. It’s sometimes just safer and more realistic to keep your romantic problems quiet.
Unless your boyfriend/girlfriend is bringing physical harm into your life, most of your issues can be resolved without discussing the details with anyone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend. It becomes unfair to your lover/partner/spouse that they are being judged by the people in your life for doing something that more than likely was triggered by an issue that the two of you never resolved. If you choose to tell your friends and family about your girlfriend/boyfriend, first tell them all about you. Tell those close to you about the role that you play behind closed doors when it comes to engaging with your partner. Discuss the selfish, insensitive and deceitful decisions that you’ve made in your relationship. Allow your friends and your family members the opportunity to hear an entire story that doesn’t simply paint your lover as the villain and you as the saint.
Once your friends and family decide who your boyfriend/girlfriend is based upon the stories you tell, it becomes EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for you to later change their minds. Be cautious of what you say.