Why It’s Important to Complain About Your Partner Sometimes
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“YOU,” I thought.
“Nothing. I’m just tired,” I said aloud, hoping he didn’t notice the “angry twitch” happening in my left eyelid.
“Is your eye twitching?”
Darn it! He knew me so well! After three years, he knew me better than my own Mother. I told him everything…almost. It’s complicated.
I considered being honest, and getting it all out in the open. But wouldn’t that only create more problems? What if our relationship worked BECAUSE he didn’t know everything that bugged me? I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but bottling it up was making me even angrier. And then he was getting upset because I wouldn’t tell him what was making me so angry, but I couldn’t tell him because what was making me angry was HIM.
When a bridge is broken, sometimes we have to take a detour to get to our destination. Similarly, sometimes we must go outside of the relationship to get relationship advice. But where do we go? Who do we talk to? Well, it depends.
For those small, everyday annoyances, (“He scratches his scalp with his key!”) you might not necessarily need an expensive professional to help you shake it off. A good friend might be just the right person to hear you vent. (They have probably heard it before if they know you well.) Some issues only need an emotional band-aid, not open heart surgery, so the one listening might not need any letters to follow their name.
But if the issue is more serious, you might need a more experienced ear than your high school friend can provide. (Or maybe you just want to give your friend a break from the drama.) Relationship therapy can be successful when it is just between you and a therapist, without your partner. (You are half the problem, after all, right?)
But what about those stubborn issues that truly threaten the relationship? The hard truth is that it’s best for you both to be in relationship counseling. Together. Think about it: if a bridge is down, you can only take the detour for so long. The bridge eventually needs to be fixed.
But don’t worry, you can still complain to that friend about that whole “scratching his scalp with a key” issue.