What you need to know:
- Women are more likely to confide their marital woes in third parties
- Keeping a journal is a great way of venting without the risk of affecting your relationship or your friendships
Every woman has that vital support system. That friend or group of friends who she turns to when her man is driving her up the wall and she needs to let off some steam. The girls club. When Ruth Somea’s husband lost his job earlier in the year as a result of the pandemic, withdrew from her and took to the bottle, the 34-year-old sought comfort in her girlfriends.
“Each time we had a meet up with the girls, I vented and I came home feeling much better,” she says.
As the months went and he seemed to be making no attempts at finding another job, she would routinely talk to her friends about how bad things between them were getting. The girls labelled him irresponsible and each time she confided on her disappointment, they told her that she wasn’t supposed to be paying all the bills on her own, that she deserved better than that, and Ruth agreed with them.
Fast forward to a month ago, her husband got another job and they decided to patch things up.
“We have reconciled our differences but the girls still despise him. We worked through our problems but they already formed an opinion about him and they feel that being on his side is betraying our friendship. They can’t stand him and he sees it. It's eating away at our relationship and it is my fault.”
Ruth’s situation is not alien. Women are more likely to confide their marital woes in third parties because while men are wired to want to solve their problems themselves women lookout to each other. What most women miss is that owing to their loyalty to you, friends will naturally side with you even if you are on the wrong. They will direct misplaced resentment towards your significant other.
A 2016 report published by Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that sharing concerns with a friend increased the odds of a break-up by 33 per cent. But talking it out with a lover doubled the chances of them staying together.
Their own agendas
The other perhaps bigger problem is that those you choose to confide in outside your relationship may have the best intentions but it is easy for them to push their own agendas.
29-year-old, Blessing can attest to this. When she found evidence that her husband was cheating on her two years ago, her closest friend, a single woman, urged her to leave him.
“She said that if I went back to my parents, he would think things over and realise how much I meant to him. I was entertaining this idea when I found out that he was cheating with her and she probably hoped that she could edge me out.”
Blessing and her partner tried to make things work for about five months but the relationship eventually fell apart. Unsurprisingly, her friendship also died but she came out of it with valuable lessons.
“A good heart to heart will definitely leave you feeling better but if it isn’t with your significant other, then it is a temporary band-aid. Plus, your friends only hear a one-sided account of the situation and their views will thus be far from objective,” she says.
As social creatures, we all need someone we can speak to. Minor issues can be let out to a friend and forgotten. Sometimes men are even glad to be spared hearing your sad tales but serious heart to hearts should be spared for your significant other. Keeping a journal is a great way of venting without the risk of affecting your relationship or your friendships.
Seek an objective view of your relationship situation from a professional.
Quiz: Are you struggling to find the balance between venting to the girls and keeping your marital issues private? Find out
For each question, choose the answer that best describes you or how you react to feelings and situations.
- Strongly agree B. Agree C. Disagree D. Strongly disagree
- If your man heard most of the information that you divulge to your friends about your relationship, he would be upset.
- When you meet with your friends, the conversations inevitably are based on complaining about the men in your lives.
- When your man does something to annoy you, your first instinct usually is to call a girlfriend.
- You feel empowered after discussing your relationship with your friends and you have most confrontations with your man after having talked to friends.
- You feel that he can’t quite get you like the girls do, so you don’t bother taking up issues with him.
- Your girlfriends have a bad attitude towards your man because of the things that you have confided in them.
- You have nothing to hide from your friends and have no qualms about letting them in on all the dirt in your relationship.
- You have divulged to your girlfriend’s issues that you haven’t spoken about with your spouse.
- When you are worried about something you have to bounce it off a friend before you can broach the subject with your man.
- You value your friends more than your man, furthermore, they were in your life first.
How did you score?
Strongly agree:4, Agree:3, Disagree:2, Strongly disagree:1
0-10: You are fiercely loyal to your significant other, which is a good thing, but you also seem to have no intimacy with your friends. You should have a place for both in your life.
11-24: You have managed to walk the thin line between staying loyal to your significant other and maintaining intimacy with your friends and you can maintain a healthy relationship as well as your friendships.
25-40: You tend to confide heavily in friends as opposed to your man. This equals to an emotional disconnect between you and your man. You need to start drawing the lines and paying more attention to respecting your man’s privacy.