Intimacy or oversharing? Striking a balance between your family and your relationship.
As the headlines are filled with news of Joe Simpson allegedly calling out John Mayer for his "sexual napalm" comments regarding daughter Jessica while Angelina Jolie is photographed reunited with her long-estranged dad Jon Voight, we've been pondering family bonds and boundaries. When it comes to talking sex with family, how close is too close? What should you share with your family and what should remain between you and your partner? 4 Strangest Celebrity Family Relationships Ever
A little backstory: (Papa) Joe Simpson the evangelical preacher has famously weirded people out with his comments about Jessica's oversized "endowments," engaged in purity vows with Jessica prior to her marriage, and was a major antagonist of long-suffering son-in-law Nick Lachey. Jon Voight, on the other hand, went on Access Hollywood and sobbed to Pat O'Brien about Angie being out of control and in desperate need of help during her PDA-laden Billy Bob Thornton days. After almost nine years of estrangement, father and daughter have been seen boating around Venice together, supposedly the work of fence-mender Brad Pitt (whose ex, Jennifer Aniston, was also estranged from her mother, phew!). And Papa Joe, well he's up to his old tricks, defending Jessica's sexuality/innocence in the John Mayer sitch. Ughh.
So we thought we'd outline three main modes of intimacy within family relations.
1) Don't ask, don't tell. You reveal nothing, they ask nothing. Also known as Puritan style, you probably will gather and have some drinks, talk about other people but not each other or anything personal. Pro: You can do whatever you want, you'll never have an awkward oversharing moment with mom and your partner enjoys total privacy. Con: Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, folks! Total repression and avoidance of "real" subjects can lead to stilted encounters and suppressed feelings of guilt or shame. The 7 Lies Your Man Might Be Telling You
2) Little of this, not a lot of that. The pick-and-choose mode that most people seem to prefer, or as Goldie Locks would say "just right." Assuming your family is interested, you share the details of your relationship that will entertain them and increase your enjoyment of them. Engagement story? Absolutely! Honeymoon recap? PG/PG-13 version. Pro: You enjoy a sense of controlled intimacy, can gauge partner's comfort and bring them more into the fold of the family through sharing more personal details. Con: A delicate balance, someone always wants a little more or less of something. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but sometimes this method leaves you wanting (or not).
3) Whole hog. The TMI/OMG/My Ears Are Bleeding approach. Everything is game. Your gynecological issues, his erectile woes, kid's potty training surprises and disappointments etc etc. Everything is shared, probably in loud voices with no care as to who is coming or going from whatever room you're in, speaker-phone convos, you name it. Pro: If it's all out there, you have nothing to hide! Potential for great intimacy on all sides where everything is up for discussion and out in the open. Con: The "Eww" factor. Plus, the risk of sending a Don't Ask, Don't Tell man sprinting for the hills. 7 Ways To Push His Buttons
What's your level of sharing do you have with your family? Have you ever alienated your partner or family by too much or too little disclosure?