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From a young age, we've turned to our friends and told them everything. And once you get married, the need to tell-all gets stronger than ever. "It's tempting to share because you want support, a sounding board, and someone to be on your side," says Sharon Rivkin, Santa Rosa-based marriage counselor and author of Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy.
But dishing everything to your closest gal pals can backfire. Not only can you ruin trust with your spouse, Rivkin says, but your friends' projections could make you even more confused over the secret you've spilled. So with that in mind, here are three marriage secrets you should keep to yourself.
1. The intimate details of your sex life.
Before you tied the knot, you may have dished every detail of your sexual encounters with your soon-to-be spouse. But now that you're married, your spouse may expect you to keep some sexual experiences to yourself. "For certain couples, there are sex secrets that at least one of them hopes to keep private from friends and family," explains relationship expert and advice columnist April Masini. "This may be a fetish, a favorite position, a frequency rate, or something similar." So before you divulge all the details, Masini recommends doing a temperature check with your spouse or partner what's A-OK to share about your sex life.
2. Your spouse's income and debts.
Masini says money is often considered a private issue. And it can embarrass your partner if you talk about how much he or she makes or the debt he or she brought into your marriage. Not only that, Masini says, but divulging certain money stats can make your friends downright uncomfortable, depending on their own situations. "Sharing income or debt information seems like a natural conversation topic," she commiserates, "but when you find friends acting weirdly, you may realize that disclosing your income made them feel uncomfortable, or that disclosing what something cost or how much your husband's raise was can make them feel awkward about themselves." To be safe, Masini recommends steering clear of money topics altogether.
3. Anything you've been told to keep in confidence.
Your partner may have shared something with you, then quickly asked you to keep it quiet. And despite the temptation to gossip with your girlfriends — ladies you know will never let the word get back to your spouse — it's best to "keep certain confidences sacred within your marriage," says Rivkin. "If you know that something is going to hurt your partner in any deep way, it should be kept to yourself." If the secret issue in question is something you must discuss, Rivkin advises seeking professional help rather than a friend's ear. "It's understandable that we all need to vent, but for delicate issues, seek professional help to get an unbiased look at your situation," she says. "Friends are not the best choice for the clarity you're seeking."