We’ve all been there: you and your friends are on the phone or out on the town. Your spouse has been bugging you, or you just had a big fight, and you just want to let your emotions out. So you spill to your friends, and an hour later you’ve covered every bad habit that he or she has ever displayed.
Venting may seem like a healthy way to let out your aggression, but it can create a lot of tension between you and your spouse – as well as your friends and your spouse. Think about it this way. If venting about your spouse is all you do, what are your friends supposed to think about them?
In general, venting is not okay. Sure, if your spouse has a harmless tic or habit that annoys you, it’s all right to laugh about it with your friends (as long as you know your partner doesn’t feel embarrassed about it). Keep the conversation lighthearted. It may actually make you chuckle later on when your spouse’s habit comes out again.
But venting becomes a problem when it replaces fixing the issue with your spouse. If, instead of sitting down and discussing an issue with your spouse, you just vent to your friends, you are not directly addressing the issue. The most productive way to resolve a marital conflict is to openly communicate with your partner.
And if an issue has already been resolved, it’s best not to bring it up again with your friends. If you continue to talk about the problem, you will bring back the negative feelings you felt during the fight. Reliving the argument does not let you move on from it.
Finally, do you think all your friends want to hear is you complain? If this is something you do on a frequent basis, sooner or later you may discover that they aren’t as interested in hanging out with you. Most people don’t find it particularly fun to be on the receiving end of rants over and over.
When it doubt, leave it out of your phone call or night out with friends. Instead, talk about the sweet things your partner has done for you, a great date, or a funny story. Keeping the conversation positive will put you in a better mood when you are around your friends and when you come home to your partner.
If you cannot resolve an issue, it is okay to ask for advice – but focus on the specific problem at hand and don’t bring in other conflicts or things that are bugging you. And after you get the advice you’re seeking, change the subject to something more positive and fun.
If an issue cannot be resolved and you are having trouble communicating directly to your spouse, consider talking to a Portland marriage coach. A third party mediator can remain unbiased through conflict mediation, unlike your best friend or your family member.