How much sharing is too much? How to decide what to share with our mates.
I was posed a question which I find interesting. “Would you like to know if someone hit on me during the day?” Not in a “this is sexual harassment, I need you to beat this guy down,” kind of way, but in a “would something like that be too much information to share,” kind of way. The point of the question is essentially, “Are there some things we should not share within our relationship?”
Before we were in a relationship, we were individuals. Hopefully, we are complete and whole individuals, with our own thoughts, passions, dreams, emotions and lives. Before we set out on this journey together, there were things we would not have shared with many people. There are things we would not have shared with a close friend, male or female. There are things we would not have shared with family or significant others. It’s simply human nature to want to keep some things personal or private.
Does this fact that there were some things which we kept to ourselves now change because we are in a relationship or marriage? I think it’s a case by case study in your specific relationship. Relationships require trust, but there is still a level of individuality and privacy which is a part of who we are as individuals.
Before you decide if you should share everything, you will need to learn what your partner will and will not find acceptable in a relationship. Let’s go back to the idea of being hit on by another man. If my woman if she is out with her girlfriends, I’m definitely not going to be offended. For me, my woman could share this with me and I would be fine with it. I would be happy she’s beautiful, charming and charismatic enough for someone else to find her attractive. That will work in some relationships, but other people have insecurities and jealously issues which may not make this acceptable to them. If that’s the case, then you have to weigh the option of what’s right for your level of communication and trust before you begin sharing literally every moment of your day.
This is only one scenario. There are other things he may or may not be interested in. He may not want to hear about your family issues, how much your parents still don’t think he’s good for you and how you keep saying he could do a lot more for the family if he could only get a better job. There is a time and place for everything, especially within a marriage. The key to deciding how to share, is knowing what to share, when to share and how much to share.
The way to know the answer to this dilemma is to know if your spouse is receptive to what you want to discuss. There needs to be a bit of a feeling out process. Talk about things leading up to the topic you want to discuss and gauge the receptivity of your spouse. If they aren’t interested, now is not the time to talk about the subject you want to discuss. If they are fully present in the conversation and they have been open to this point, share what you want to express to them.
If you really want to elicit the appropriate response during this conversation, you may want to clarify what you are looking for. If you need to vent, you might say “Darling, can I vent for a moment?” If you need advice, you may say, “Can I get your thoughts on what happened at work today and how you would handle the situation?” If you simply want to share an opinion, consider saying something like, “Something happened and I want to share my opinion about it with you.”
Clarifying what you want to share and how you want to share helps out the male species. By nature, we want to fix everything. I mean, being a man I understand the philosophy ’if it doesn’t need fixing, why are you bringing it up?’ That’s just how we are wired. We can be re-wired, but it takes a little work. With love and patience, you will find even the weakest conversationalist can be a great listening ear for his woman.
You will find you can share everything that’s going on in your life at the moment. The thing to remember is the moment may be right for you to share, but it may not be right for him (or her) to listen. Learning to discern those mutually beneficial moments are the building blocks of long-lasting, great relationships.
© Jay Hurt/2013