A friend of someone with marriage problems gives their perspective
The subject of disclosing marriage problems to your friends is one I’ve been pondering quite a lot lately; ever since an old friend I went for a drink with the other night (let’s call him “John”) told me that his marriage was in trouble.
I feel a bit bad for saying this, but the first impression I felt when hearing this confidential piece of information was that John was being a bit disloyal to his wife by telling me of his marital woes.
However, it is important to add that my friend told me not in a spirit of complaint but in a manner of regret and with the air of someone who felt he needed to unburden himself to a trusted friend. I guess all his trusted friends were busy that night, so he had to tell me instead!
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And while I could well imagine that his wife wouldn’t be too happy that her husband was telling a mate that his marriage was far from perfect, I could also put myself in John’s shoes – if I was him I would want to talk to someone if my marriage was in trouble.
And maybe just as I was talking to him about marital strife his wife was talking to one of her friends about the same subject. I’d like to think that she had someone to talk to.
Which brings us to the subject of who you should share your worries with. I’d be honored to think that John chose to confide in me because I am his closest friend in the world, but much as I like to flatter myself, I don’t think this is the case.
He has far better friends than me but, from what I know, these happen to be mutual friends of himself and his wife. I cannot be classified as a mutual friend; I certainly don’t dislike his wife, she is a very nice lady, but I knew John long before I knew her and most definitely said ‘groom’ and not ‘bride’ when seated by an usher at their wedding.
The fact that I am not a mutual friend somehow makes the act of him confiding in me seem less disloyal – I move in a different social circle to John and his wife and there is definitely no issue of ‘taking sides’.
As I only see John occasionally, it is perhaps easier for him to share his worries with me than with people he sees every day.
While I’m hardly a stranger he’s just met when ordering drinks at the bar, I’m also not the kind of friend he’ll bump into each day at the water cooler; the kind who’ll ask for regular marriage updates each time they pass in the hallway at work.
So, to answer the question posed by this article’s headline: yes, I do think it’s a good idea to share your marriage problems with a friend rather than just bottling them up.
Of course, there’s no need to take out a full page advertisement in the Times to inform the whole world of your marital difficulties.
You don’t have to tell everyone: just tell someone.
What do you think – who should you share your marriage problems with?
James Christie writes for Thomson Local Business Directory