The other day I was talking to a good girlfriend of mine and the topic came up about different tactics we’re taking in dating now that we’re older. I mentioned a few to her that I was trying and randomly threw in something like, “and man, I’ve also gone away from telling everyone everything too. Some things I just keep between the two of us.”
It was a throw-away line, to be honest, but it touched her spirit so much that she stopped me in the middle of my sentence. “Can we go back to that point for a second,” she asked. “Because I just want to remark on just how important that is — to keep some things between you two.”
And she was right. We went on to talk about other things during our dinner, but when I got home later that night, I kept thinking about what she’d said. And just how serious she was about it.
Now, on first glance the fact that most girls who are close to each other tell their friends a lot about their love lives seems harmless. You’re excited. You’re in like. You want to share details with your friends. You want someone to squeal along with you when he/she does something right, and you want someone to get angry with you when that person does something wrong. You don’t want to feel like you’re keeping something a secret, right?
And there’s nothing really inherently bad about that. It’s girl talk! Except that when you think about it, it can kind of violate the intimacy between you and the person you’re dating/in a relationship with. I mean, chances are that if he poured out his heart to you one night telling you just how scared he was to be in a committed relationship, he probably doesn’t want to know that you immediately went back and told 10 of your “best friends.”
It’s not malicious, of course. You’re probably sharing so that you can get some advice or sharing because someone else brought up a similar topic, and you want to show that you can relate. But when you think about it, it’s still a violation.
I think it’s why some of the married couples I know who seem the happiest have for the longest time stopped telling me extremely intimate details about their life. Don’t get me wrong — they still tell me certain things. They still brag on if their guy showed up with flowers one day unexpectedly or rag on him if he didn’t do something they’d planned for weeks. But intimate conversations between the two of them? Nah, not happening.
It’s a fine line, but they’ve mastered it. And I think they’re the better for it. It’s a line that I try to remember these days when I want to talk to my friends about things going on in my life. I give them pieces, sure, but I also recognize that some stuff is just more… personal.
But it’s hard too, sometimes. Obviously, I’m a story-teller. So there are times when I’m talking to my friends about a topic (or even writing about one on this blog) that I want to delve into a story about the time that such and such did that same thing. And because I love telling stories, I want to give detailed descriptions. I want to talk about the lighting and the look on his face. I want to give full dialog accounts of the moment so that they feel like they were right there, witnessing the act. And I still do on some things. But for moments where I can honestly sit back and say the guy would be hurt by me doing so, I stop.
It’s not worth it to me anymore.
The respect of the intimacy between the two of us is far more important.
Do you find yourself having a similar problem where you have to figure out what information to divulge to your friends about your love life? If so, how have you worked around it?