A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 Things NOT to Tell Your Friends About Your Relationship

We're all guilty of telling our friends and fam about what's happening in our relationships. But you shouldn't be telling them every detail. Here are some aspects that you should keep under wraps.

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arguing_things never tell friends relationship

Details of your last fight

Your fights aren’t for public consumption. “If you tell others about your last fight, they, rather than your partner, will help solve the issue,” says Gilda Carle, PhD, author of Don’t Lie on Your Back for a Guy Who Doesn’t Have Yours. “Then you and your partner won’t have the know-how to navigate the next difficult problem.” Plus, they may end up going against him. If all they hear are the “facts” that you presented, they may question why you’re together in the first place. “You can’t get angry with your friend because you’re the one who told her all the details,” says Kristie Overstreet, a licensed professional clinical counselor, certified sex therapist and author of Fix Yourself First: 25 Tips to Stop Ruining Your Relationship. Here are some other things you should never do after a fight with your partner.

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Young couple making love in bed focus on hand

The nitty gritty of your sex life

“Do you want a twosome or a threesome?” says Dr. Carle. “Filling others in on what goes on between your sheets makes your intimacy a group event.” When you’re not having sex, how often you have it, his sexual fantasies; the raunchy details of your intimate life should be kept under the covers. “Your sex life shouldn’t become someone else’s fantasy,” says Sara Nasserzadeh, PhD, a sexuality and relationship consultant and coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide. “Not to mention that by learning all about you and your partner’s likes and dislikes in bed, you put yourself at risk of your friend becoming the confidante and provider of those likes to your partner.” If you’re having problems in the bedroom, discuss it with your partner. Otherwise, speak with a therapist who can help you figure out why you’re having these issues.

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Sweet couple talking in bed on their honeymoon
Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

Something he’s told you confidentially

“Trust is easy to lose and hard to get back,” says Overstreet. If your partner tells you about a private issue—his mom’s breast cancer scare or a poor review at work for example—keep your mouth shut. He has opened up to you because he trusts you and your ability to keep what you’ve been told confidential. You don’t want to break that trust. “Trust is at the core of any relationship,” says Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists certified sex therapist and couples relationship expert. “If a partner confides about one of the skeletons buried deep in his closet, it’s important for you to maintain this confidence. If not, the secret runs the risk of being uncovered.” Here are some more habits that ruin trust in a relationship.

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gift_things never tell friends relationship

That awful present he bought you

It is the thought that counts. “A gift is a gift,” says Overstreet. “Be grateful that he thought of you.” Did he buy you socks for your birthday? Maybe he remembered your favorite pair got eaten in the laundry and was full of good intentions and efforts. Avoid badmouthing him to your friends about his gift snafus; they may never let you live them down. “Even if this gift isn’t your taste, tell people that he was so sweet to be thinking of you—and that can never be faulted,” says Dr. Carle.

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When your in-laws annoy you

We’ve all been irritated with our partner’s parents and complained about it to our friends. But do your best to bite your tongue, especially since in-laws are a permanent fixture in your life. “Be grateful that you have in-laws,” says Overstreet. You never know when those words will get back to your husband—even worse, them, which could be quite awkward—and make him resentful and defensive. And that will only do more harm than good. “Let him rationalize their unkind behavior, or set the situation straight,” says Dr. Carle. “But telling anyone else who is unable to right any wrongs is wasted breath.” Here are some little things you can do to make your partner’s parents like you.

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Top view of stressed young asian woman trying to find money to pay credit card debt.

Money issues

Maybe he made a financial mistake. Or he’s having money troubles. Or people are discussing how much their partners earn or who pays for what. Many people are sensitive and insecure about issues that make them look weak, especially when it comes to the Benjamins. So, it’s best not to cross that line. Financial details are no one else’s business. “That’s what financial advisers are for,” says Grinonneau-Denton. Learn the best ways to stop fighting over money with your partner.

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His insecurities or embarrassing habits

Perhaps your guy is struggling to build the baby crib; he just isn’t handy. Or he has trouble mowing the lawn and reluctantly hires a professional landscaper. He might be insecure that he can’t do these things on his own, so keep that between the two of you. “If you make him feel like less of a man, there is a good chance he’ll start losing some confidence and attraction towards you,” says Mike Goldstein, author of How To Find A High Quality Man in 3 Easy Steps AND The Main Reason You Have Been Choosing The Wrong Men. The same goes for embarrassing habits or idiosyncrasies. “If your guy farts in his sleep, for instance, that is your fun little secret, not something to share with the world,” Goldstein says. Yes, these complaints are minor. But others may take these character flaws out of proportion and make you even more upset about the issue. “Your friend will likely not forget what she’s been told,” says Overstreet. “And you may find yourself defending your partner to your friend. It could’ve been prevented if you hadn’t shared these negatives with her in the first place.”

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His dislike for one or some of your pals

It’s impossible for your partner to like all your friends. “He might think one is loud, another is catty and one shops too often,” says Julie Spira, founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. But, if you plan for this partner to stick around, keep mum on anything he says about not being a fan of someone from your squad—or the whole squad for that matter. It will only leave people feeling hurt and awkward. Bottom line: Accept that you both have different tastes and needs in friends, and move on, says Dr. Carle. Here’s what science has to say about how to handle tension between your partner and your pals.

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cheating_things never tell friends relationship

That one of you cheated

If you or your partner commits infidelity, keep this dirty laundry on the DL. The less players that are involved, the better. Whether you decide to stay together or split, don’t leave that decision to your mom or BFF. It’s your choice whether the relationship is worth salvaging and repairing or not. You know what’s best for yourself and no one really understands what dynamics are going on. And if you do stay together, you risk tainting your friend’s or family’s perception of your partner. “With something as painful as an affair, it’s important to involve a skilled therapist to help you heal from the broken trust and betrayal,” says Grinonneau-Denton. To take things a step further, you could create an uncomfortable wedge in your relationship if you were the one to cheat. They’ll be left wondering if you’d go after one of their boyfriends or husbands, says Spira. “Don’t be surprised if you aren’t invited to the next luncheon,” says Spira. Find out what else you should never do after your partner cheats.

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Anything your partner doesn’t know

Are you disappointed that your partner still hasn’t found a new job after hunting for months? Upset that he drinks too much? You may keep these emotions from your partner to avoid starting a fight. However, it doesn’t do any good if your friends know your feelings and he doesn’t. “Keep the shortcomings of your mate to yourself,” says Dr. Carle. “Otherwise, you’re inviting others to push you to defend why you’re with him.”

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Cheerful mature women enjoying a funny video on mobile phone. Mature friends reading a funny message over smartphone. Mid woman showing a cellphone to her friend while laughing over breakfast.

Private correspondence between the two of you

Emails, texts, voicemails, and explicit selfies should be kept to yourself. He might be embarrassed if the correspondence is romantic, says Dr. Carle. Or furious if it’s nasty. And your friends don’t need to see or hear about your intimate notes or calls to one another. “Sexy talk between a couple is what builds intimacy,” says Grinonneau-Denton. If you share that you and your partner are sexting, keep it general, she says. “The specifics are the erotic part about having a partner know a side of you that nobody else does,” says Grinonneau-Denton.

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Young multiethnic couple lying on blanket on grass. Latin woman with her african boyfriend relaxing on picnic blanket outdoor. Mature happy couple in love lying on grass with copy space.

His past relationship failures

“If the details aren’t part of your own story, the chapters in that book aren’t yours to share,” says Grinonneau-Denton. Your friends and family don’t need to know that he cheated on his girlfriend Nicole a decade ago, or that Sarah broke his heart in college. If he wants to share that information with them, that’s fine. But it’s not your place to do so. Use this past, says Dr. Carle, to build on your future. Next, learn the things you should never share about your relationship on social media.

Stacey Feintuch
Stacey Feintuch contributes to RD.com's Health and Relationship sections. Her articles have appeared in Woman's World, Boca Raton Observer and Healthywomen.org, among other sites and publications. She earned her MA in magazine writing from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and her BA in journalism from The George Washington University.