Should couples share EVERYTHING or have some secrets? How about email passwords? What do YOU think?
Mike from Dallas writes: ”I think it’s important for a couple to be best friends. I confide in my wife and tell her everything… good, bad or indifferent. She knows my worst doubts, fears and quirks. A psychiatrist friend of mine thinks that this is a mistake. What do you think?“
Well, the friend’s a psychiatrist so, I don’t really know what that means. But, it seems very clear that he is very important to him that he’s best friends with his wife. Right and it also is important to him to share everything. But he is afraid that he might be sharing too much.
So, let’s get real about this. Is it possible to share too much? Maybe. I think it really depends upon his wife and his relationship with his wife, and the principle that I’m reminded of here is that in a relationship everything should happen in connection. That means, he shouldn’t just be sharing what’s on his mind and not caring about her reaction. Or she wants to hear or she’s ready to hear, or you know, if she likes or doesn’t like it. So, everything in a relationship here is happening in connection. You should walk down the street in connection, you should spend money in connection, you should decide whether or not to have children in connection, you should have dinner in connection. Everything in a relationship should happen in connection if it’s going to be a close relationship, which I assume that’s what Mike wants. So that is a very important principle that applies in this situation. The other principle that, the other concept that I’m reminded of is, he really wants intimacy with his wife. Or more than that, he wants radical intimacy with his wife. Okay, so what do we mean by this? Intimacy is simply into me I see is I’m gonna share with you my thoughts, my feelings, my wants and my needs. I’m going to let you inside me. I’m going to share with you what’s going on inside me. And so that is what most close relationships are based on. Whether it’s with parent-child or just friends, you’re going to share what’s true for you, what’s real for you.
Radical intimacy is taking it even further. Sharing not only your thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs but your secrets, and your fantasies, and your deepest desires and things that you wouldn’t tell anybody else. And generally most of us only have one relationship that we might do that with, that’s going to be our primary partner, or might be our therapist. So, you know if we’re going to be real, absolutely share everything, but in connection. It’s part of your relationship. You’re not doing it as a monologue. It’s part of what your wife is involved in that as well.
We might offer a couple strategies that you might want to consider. The first is, you need to have a conversation with your wife. Just find out what she’s comfortable with. Does she want to hear everything? Does she want intimacy? Does she want radical intimacy? And you know all relationships are different. All relationships are unique, and some people are very, very uncomfortable with intimacy and they’re quite comfortable just being what we might think of as roommates. And if that’s the kind of relationship that she wants but that’s not what you want then, you have a problem. But regardless, you need to talk about that. Right. And also, really be mindful of her emotional buttons. So, for example if she has a trouble around jealousy, you might want not wanna share that you saw, you know, a beautiful woman walking down the street. So just kind of be mindful of what would make her uncomfortable.
Really Mike, you know, personally, I say go for it, share everything, but do so in connection with your wife. Do so if she wants to, if she’s interested, if she wants to have that kind of relationship, you don’t talk about what she shared with you, I’m assuming that, you know, we’re not hearing that, you know, any complaint from your wife about this.
In a good relationship or a great relationship, in our opinion, you do share everything. So don’t hold back but definitely do so in connection with your wife. And sometimes it’s a problem and people want different things in a relationship, so then you have to talk about it, you have to work it out. If you have challenge in working it out then, get some help around that. Get a neutral third party to talk with like a counselor, coach or therapist. And get on the same page about just how much you’re willing to share with each other in this relationship.
So, very good luck to you Mike. Thanks for writing in. If you have a comment for Mike or something to add to the conversation or an idea, please put it in the comment box below. So thanks for joining us. Bye.