Psychologist Reveals 5 Reasons Not To Share Your Feelings With Your Partner

You are the master of your own feelings.

Woman content with keeping her feelings to herself as man looks at her janiecbros | Canva 

Often, in therapy, I encourage emotionally inexpressive men to share more of their feelings with their wives. But, this should not be taken to imply that sharing feelings with a partner is always a net positive. Many of my clients share more feelings than they need to, and this is not healthy communication at all, but rather a codependency or anxious attachment issue. Just like any other area of life, moderation, or sharing some feelings, is healthier than either extreme; it is equally unhealthy to share none of your feelings as it is to share all of your feelings.


(Note that this post will be particularly helpful to you if you were raised by a narcissistic parent or one with Borderline Personality Disorder, two types of parents that confide in their children when they shouldn’t.)

Here are 5 reasons not to share your feelings with your partner:

1. It can be manipulative.

I see many relationships where the more emotionally expressive partner (this can also be the man, by the way) uses their emotions as a way to blackmail the other partner. They express their distress, anger, or anxiety not only to vent and get emotional support but to force the other partner to do what they want. Example: “I am scared that you will cheat on me at the party” means to both partners that he is not going to allow her to go to the party and/or will make her life miserable if she goes.   


RELATED: 17 Signs Someone Is Manipulating You

2. It can be self-centered.

In many couples, the one who expresses more emotions gets center stage a lot more of the time. A person going on and on about their emotions occupies a lot of airtime, and the other partner may never get to share their feelings, especially if they are not comfortable interrupting the other (and it may always be interruption if the litany is continuous).

5 Reasons Why Not To Share Your Feelings With Your PartnerPhoto: fizkes / Shutterstock


RELATED: 5 Tiny Ways You're Selfish In Your Relationship (Without Realizing It)

3. It does not allow you to solve your problems.

If every time you feel bad, you rush to your partner to make the pain go away, you never learn that emotions can pass on their own and that you have the strength to survive them. You assume that you would not be able to tolerate difficult emotions without your partner, which then makes you terrified about them ever leaving you or not being present with you (at extremes, this means you never want them to leave your side). You do not get to sit with your difficult feelings and learn that you can come out the other side.

4. It can be short-sighted and unkind.

If you think that your spouse is being a jerk and they have upset you by acting selfish, perhaps they have a good reason for it that will come to the fore if you wait a little bit of time before confronting them with your feelings. Everyone deserves some grace, and the excuse, “I’m just telling you how I feel” is frequently used as an excuse for unkindness, e.g. keeping someone up late when they are exhausted to talk about how upset you are with them, focusing on their negative qualities when they are going through a hard time themselves, or bringing up a fight that you want to rehash when they are on a deadline for work. “Expressing your feelings” should not have to happen right this second, and, often, if you wait a bit, your feelings recede and other priorities, like the relationship as a whole, come to the fore.

RELATED: 13 Signs You Hurt Your Partner’s Feelings And How To Make Things Right


5. It may sabotage a team approach.

Your feelings cannot be the end point of every discussion. I see couples where “I just don’t want to do X” is the end of the spouse’s rationale. This ranges from not wanting sex to not wanting to plan a date to not wanting to do a chore to not wanting to discuss at all. Sometimes, in a relationship, we have to do things that we don’t immediately want to do, or may never want to do, but we do them to be a good team player. When one or both partners use their feelings to get out of doing things they don’t want to do, it can impede a team-oriented approach that would benefit both partners long term.



There you have it, reasons why sharing feelings is not always the best thing to do. Share this post with your partner, whether you are the oversharer or undersharer of feelings. There is not just one way to be happy; all couples need to find their path. For many people, a more measured, tactful, and focused approach to sharing feelings may help right the ship of your marriage. 

RELATED: 3 Expert Tips For Expressing Your Feelings To Your Partner Effectively


Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.