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Airing your dirty laundry

Once, when the newly-weds John and Mary were meeting friends, John thoughtlessly reminisced: “I’m going to tell you a funny story: one week before our wedding, Mary and I became so mad at each other that we threw our wedding rings in a waste bin, but we made up days later and on the eve of the wedding, had to go to the jewellery shop to buy new rings.”

Mary said nothing, but her disapproval of her husband’s words was visible. When they arrived at home, she answered  him: “Darling, we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public.

Although John apologised, Mary felt that John had overlooked her need for privacy, by revealing that unflattering episode in their relationship to their peers. For John, that situation was quite harmless, as those issues had been settled, becoming just an amusing thing to tell friends. The couple clearly disagreed about the way intimate matters should be managed. The outcome of these differences was that they ended up digging a hole between them that took a long time to overcome, but was Mary right, or was she exaggerating her need for discretion?

I understand that it can be cathartic to look for a helpful pal and tell them everything that bothers you in your marriage, making you feel more comfortable and supported, but how can you be sure that you are taking the best approach possible? The phrase ‘don’t air your dirty laundry in public’ is commonly used to warn couples about the inconvenience of sharing marriage woes, as once you do it, you will inevitably lose control of the information, which can make a couple go through some awkward moments. To make matters worse, these moments can become an unnecessary addition to any marital problems. In this way, what was originally a minor thing might turn into a major issue. So, next time you get angry with your partner, perhaps it is wiser not to rush to social media and type, “Dear friends, guess what that oaf has just done now”. Instead, you can find a better way to calm yourself down when feeling angry, such as physical exercise, controlled breathing or muscle relaxation, without the whole world knowing about your anger and making assumptions that may be hurtful to both of you. Why put yourselves in a goldfish bowl unnecessarily?

An important issue related to sharing your marriage differences is that your listener will have only your version of the picture, whilst your spouse is left out. Your sympathetic friend may comfort you in the best way she can, saying all the things you would like to hear, like “you are in the right”, but in the long run, your problems don’t get sorted in this way at all. Besides, your good friend also has best wishes for you in mind, as she sees things through her own point of view: if she had bad experiences in her marriage ending up divorced, she may suggest the same to you, without knowing that your marriage can be saved.

Another problem related to talking about inappropriate things to do with your husband, is that he may feel you betrayed his trust. In a marriage, all of us should have a bilateral sense of confidentiality, safety and security. Besides, you may unintentionally be giving family members and friends an image of your husband that where can i buy nolvadex in the uk doesn’t match reality. In so doing, you may put him in difficult or even dangerous situations, which will only increase your problems, plus, you may change your mind about him in the future but the people who were told how awful he was may keep in their memories of those negative details about his behaviour. On the other hand, some of your friends may change their minds about you; how can you say such horrible things about the father of your children? Even when everything settles down, you probably will still be hearing people saying things about your relationship, which can have a heavy impact on you.

So, what should you do when facing the dilemma of disclosing, or not, details of difficult times in your marriage? If the two of you haven’t already discussed how much you would like others knowing  bout your marriage, it is probably a good idea to discuss with each other this essential matter. Consider your partner’s personality. If he is a natural introvert, I find it very unlikely that he would roll down his tears on a tabloid talk show. Many people think that their own feelings are more important than their partner’s. For thinking that their personal needs come first, they may not understand things from their partner’s perspective. It is hard to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, but before uttering negative feelings about your husband, you could instead think of how you would feel if he was complaining about or criticising you to others. Actually, to consider that our relationship with our partners comes above all human connections is key. If you value your marriage in this way, your priority should be what is best for your relationship, not what seems perfect for each individual partner.

One solution to consider, before rushing to a friend with all your complaints, might be to keep a private journal of all your issues, good and bad. In this way, no harm or pain can be caused. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, a wiser idea could be to look for confidential counselling for couples so that you and your partner can honestly and openly discuss all your matters together, without humiliation. Constructive dialogue in a relationship is crucial and will improve things between you both over time. However, what if your marriage reaches that stage where you are no longer talking or listening to your partner out of fear of angering him? When you feel you have to walk on eggshells around your husband, more often than not watching what you say and do and dreading spats, the chances are that your relationship is becoming abusive and unhealthy. You may be unaware that you are the victim of mental abuse, as this type of abuse is frequently minimised or overlooked by women.

In our current century, women are marrying older and also marrying less. Even though marriage is not the only route to fulfilment, many financially independent women don’t succeed in having emotional autonomy. Everyday living shows that Mary is in the right when she said that they shouldn’t air their dirty laundry in public. Quarrels happen naturally in all marriages, but the open interference of outsiders shouldn’t be the first resource to sort them out. External help is recommended in exceptional circumstances as with the right support, nothing is insurmountable.


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