Allen Berger, Ph.D.
Talking about private issues in public
Is it ever appropriate to discuss our relationship problems in public? If you’ve been married for a long time, does that give you more permission to talk to somebody about what’s bothering you in public than, let’s say, if you’re a newlywed? My belief is you need to have the same kind of respect and sensitivity after 15 years as you had at the first part of the relationship, because that’s what it means about bringing your best self forward. You need to treat your partner the way that you want to be treated.
Now, look, if both of you agree that you’re okay about doing that in front of somebody, it’s something that you agree on, it’s a mutual decision, then go for it. Then you don’t have to worry about stepping on anybody’s foot. However, you need to have that discussion ahead of time. Don’t just assume because you’re married that you have the right to talk about whatever you want to, whenever you want to.
- Learn to read your partner better; e.g., you will be able to tell if they enjoy the use of pet names or not.
- Keep secrets — even the smaller ones you assume mean very little or nothing
- Do everything you promise to do
- Go out of your way to pay attention to your partner’s needs — without praising yourself
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