Tips to help you decide which rumors about your partner are true and which are false.
Sometimes it's true.
Sometimes it's a misunderstanding.
Sometimes it's a bald-faced lie.
Sometimes it is meant to help.
Sometimes it is malicious and trouble-making.
It comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. It may be a wrong impression or intended to cause upset and harm. Or, it might accurate information that you really do need to hear.
There's no doubt about it. When you hear gossip about your partner or when gossip is spread about you, the result can be confusion, insecurity, jealousy and disconnection in your relationship.
The difficult thing when you hear gossip is that it can be hard to know what is true. You might be tempted to plug your ears or wave the rumor away. But, doubt can get planted even if you're trying to forget the gossip you heard.
You may want to ask your mate about the gossip, but you don't want to start an argument. It's possible that you're not sure if you can believe what your partner says about the gossip. Is he just covering up? Is she lying?
This is the destructive potential of gossip.
You hear something that is troubling. You can't know for sure what is really true. And, this seed of doubt won't go away. It grows and can become impossible to ignore.
Pretty soon, you are looking at your love from a completely different (and maybe negative) perspective, arguments crop up easily, tension mounts and you begin to wonder if this is the beginning of the end of your relationship-- all because of what a friend, acquaintance or family member told you.
The overriding question is this...
Should you believe the gossip?
Check it out.
We urge you to always, always, always check out what you have heard. No matter how strongly you dismiss what the other person has told you, if this is about your partner or your relationship, check the facts. It will bring you more easily to peace about it.
You might have instant facts that make it clear that the gossip is absolutely untrue. For example, if someone tells you that she heard your partner was flirting with someone else at a bar on Saturday night and you two were home alone together that evening, you can easily let that gossip pass you by.
However, if the rumor is that your partner was flirting and it could be possible, get more information. Get RELIABLE information.
You can ask the person delivering the gossip for more facts. Exactly what kind of behavior did the person see? Specifically when did this happen, with whom and where? Really listen to the details of what you are hearing. Does this feel like proof that your partner was flirting or do you need to find out more? Can you reasonably chock this up to gossip and untrue after learning more?
You can also ask your partner for more information. Be aware of how you request more information, however. If you make an accusation based on the gossip or you demand to know, “Where were you and who were you with ____!” you're probably going to get a defensive and angry reaction from your mate.
You could say something like this instead: “This might be completely false gossip, but _____ told me ________ about you. Can you please help me understand what is true?”
Again, really listen and use your judgment about what adds up and what makes sense. When in doubt, keep your focus on the reliable information.
If there seems to be a lot of gossip going around about your partner, you or your relationship, take a step back and look for the source. It could be that you have surrounded yourself with people who don't necessarily have your best interests in mind when they talk about you to others (and to you).
Make sure you are getting facts you can trust and be choosy about who you spend time with. This might be a time to assess friendships. If you are finding that some of the gossip you hear about your partner is actually true, it might be time to assess your relationship.
Spend time with people who help you grow, who care about you and who offer you support when you need it. When it comes to your love relationship, your intention can be to do what is in your best interests.
If you can't avoid a particular co-worker or maybe even a family member who frequently spreads false gossip, do what you can to minimize your contact with that person. You can also change the subject when the gossiping starts. You might even decide to set a boundary and let the person know that you don't want to hear things about your partner that he or she can't back up with facts.
Create conscious agreements.
Believe it or not, gossip can be a means by which you and your partner make your connection and trust even stronger. Keep the lines of communication between you two open and honest.
Work together and create conscious agreements about what you each will do if you hear gossip. Your agreement might be to stop and get reliable facts before you believe what you are hearing. Your agreement might also be about how you will ask one another about the gossip you are hearing so that neither of you becomes defensive or hostile.
You don't have to allow gossip to divide you from the one you love. Be wise about what you are hearing AND use it as an opportunity to deepen your connection.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire. Click here to get their free ebook, Passionate Heart-Lasting Love.