1. Giving specific details about your sex life
It’s totally okay to discuss your bedroom shenanigans with your BFF, but only up to a point.
Before you spill, you may want to consider asking yourself whether you’re invading your partner’s privacy by sharing intimate details about what goes on under the sheets, says Louis Venter, intensive relationship specialist and founder of Couple’s Help.
“I find that the main topics that features in my office is the inadequacy or inability to perform during sex and when women share this with their friends, men become very unhappy,” he says.
2. When your partner cheats
When infidelity happens, it’s not really conducive talking to friends about it, says Venter.
“The thing about friends is that they’re not objective, and what happens is they usually form an opinion from what you say and can easily start to dislike your significant other.
“It can become a downward spiral where those closest to you negatively influence your decision to work on your relationship.
“A few years ago it was shameful to get divorced – people would encourage you not to get one. Nowadays, friends will say to each other, ‘Look you deserve to be happy. Leave your husband’ or ‘Try an affair’.
“And for me, that’s the worst advice to give. And unfortunately that’s what I find often happens.
“So I would say when you experience infidelity, keep it to yourself and take it to the counselling room where you will be guided about who to talk to and how to talk about it.”
3. Badmouthing their parental ability
A very hurtful and harmful thing for your relationship is to badmouth your partner to others by saying they’re a bad parent, says Venter.
More than that, it’s even more (psychologically) damaging when doing it to your child.
Children want to love their parents unconditionally and by relaying negative images of your partner, you’re hurting your child’s feelings and putting them in an unfair position of feeling like they have to choose sides.
4. It’s the small things that also hurt
Have you ever jokingly ranted about the tiniest bad habits – such as farting or snoring – that you thought your S/O might simply laugh off?
Well, Venter suggests you stop doing that because you’re only enhancing the breaking off of a connection between the two of you.
“Put the energy into talking to your S/O rather than just rampaging about what they’re doing, to others,” he says.
5. Financial or professional matters
“I find finance is just as, if not more secretive than sex,” says Venter.
“We don’t want the world to know what’s going on financially with us. We put this mask up.
“So it’s very hurtful if you pass on information about your partner not receiving a bonus or a job promotion, for example.”
6. Oversharing EVERYTHING
We’ve already been dubbed the “oversharing generation” where mystery no longer forms part of our lives.
Ever heard the phrase “happy couples don’t share everything about their relationships on social media”? Well, this might have a truth to it.
“Partners should agree on what is on social media,” says Venter.
“They need to have an engagement rule about social media and what is shared.
“I think most couples should consider sharing less and less with their friends on Instagram and Facebook.
“Have a dialogue and ask yourself, ‘Why am I sharing this – why does the world need to know about this holiday I’m making public?’
“And I think all this sharing is a status thing. If you see me eating in Sandton or having a nice glass of wine in Cape Town – it gives us this sense of status in society. And it’s really a false sense of belonging.”
Posting everything can be a sign of poor personal boundaries, and while some posts could easily seem innocuous to you, it could be detrimental to your partner’s feelings and ultimately, your relationship.
Venter advises you have a dialogue about what’s uncomfortable for your partner for you to share with your friends, and to also consider whether your partner is an introvert or extrovert.
“Just have a healthy conversation about what role our friends play in our lives. It’s about consciousness. Ask yourself, ‘When last did I speak to my S/O about breaching trust in sharing things?’ Maybe then they can create a safe space,” he adds.
Have an open dialogue
Ultimately, Venter says that the issues that come up during couple sessions is not so much about the topics, but about the connection between partners.
“Men and women break connections with their partners and they form a bond or friendship where they discuss these things and what happens is the energy doesn’t go to the marriage, but to friends,” he says.
“And then going back home and not resolving the issue just intensifies whatever is going on, which is deeply problematic.”
The solution? Communication, communication, communication.
WATCH: Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila | TEDxSBU