Allen Berger, Ph.D.
Off-limits for discussing in public
In this Twoology video, relationship expert, Allen Berger, Ph.D says the kind of topics that are off-limits for public discussion will vary from couple to couple. However, you need to learn and know these boundaries in your relationship so that you do not cross them and block yourself from positive communication. When it comes to bringing up something that’s bothering you, and you’re in a public situation, I want you to be very, very thoughtful about this.
What subjects in our relationship should be off-limits for discussing in public? When it comes to bringing up something that’s bothering you, and you’re in a public situation, I want you to be very, very thoughtful about this. See, most people make the mistake of being reactive. You know, they feel something, and they have to deal with it right now because it’s bothering them.
That’s your issue. That’s your agenda. That may not be what’s considerate and sensitive to your partner. And what we know about communication is that when we get started on the wrong foot, it’s really difficult to recover. It’s better when a relationship, or when I’m communicating with you, starts off in the right way. If I can start off the right way, it’s easier to stay on that track, rather than if I get off track right away.
So what I would suggest you do is to really, really be thoughtful about what’s going on. You know, it’s an important thing to consider boundaries. If you bring that up to them and you embarrass that person, you are defeating yourself. You are not engaging your partner in a way that’s going to bring their best self into the discussion. And that’s what you want to do. When I meet you, I want to bring your best self forward with me because if my best self is meeting your best self, then we have a great opportunity to have and amazing relationship.
So, the question comes up, “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.
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