It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“Researchers say that women with close friends don’t burden their husbands with all of their emotional needs. [A] 2004 Harris survey found that 64 percent of women between ages twenty-five and fifty-five confess things to their friends that they wouldn’t tell their husbands.” (The Girls from Ames, Jeffrey Zaslow)
I haven’t been shy about my opinion that the roles of significant other and BFF should be kept separate. I know that plenty of people say that your husband should be your best friend, but those people have obviously not tried gossiping with my husband about the royal wedding, or a backstabbing ex-friend, or my facebook discoveries regarding his old girlfriends. Let me tell you, it doesn’t work.
No one person—no matter how much you love him or her—can be everything. Different people fulfill different emotional needs. Research actually proves that women with strong friendships have closer marriages. (And the boys agree! Remember my husband’s take on this search and our relationship?)
That said, I do tell Matt pretty much everything. Well, to be fair, I tell everyone everything. I’m good at keeping other people’s secrets, but horrible at keeping my own. I like sharing too much. Hence, this blog.
But even the stuff I do keep private, I almost always tell my husband. So when I came across this research, it gave me pause. Are there things I tell my friends that I wouldn’t tell Matt?
I could think of only two categories in which these things might fall:
1) Things pertaining to the man himself. You can’t vent about your husband to your husband!
2) Things pertaining to girl parts. Just saying.
I’m trying to think of other topics that some women might tell friends and not husbands and everything I think of pertains to other men—affairs with them, dreams about them, pasts with them, etc.
People often define relationships—romances or friendships—by the level of self-disclosure involved. “I can tell him anything” or “She knows everything about me” are common ways of describing intimacy. But just because you can tell someone everything doesn’t always mean you should.
I’m not advocating keeping secrets and being shady. But sometimes the nice thing to do, for a friend or in a relationship, is to not tell. If you know something is going to upset your BFF, isn’t your BFFiest move to simply not go there?
Of course there’s a line here. Yes, it will upset your friend to find out her boyfriend is cheating, but she needs to know. Does she need to know that her boyfriend lost the wallet she gave him, but replaced it himself because he felt so awful about it? Not so sure.
What are the things you would tell your friends that you would never tell your significant other? And in what circumstances have you chosen NOT to share something with a BFF, for her own good?