When Is It OK to Complain to Your Friends About Your Relationship Drama?

If you're going to dish about your drama, a suite in Cannes isn't a bad place to do it.

The Real Housewives of Potomac ladies hit up Cannes and, despite a little hiccup over a first-class upgrade, the 'wives seemed to be bonding quite nicely in the suite on Sunday's episode. ICYMI, it turns out that Monique Samuels and her sister upgraded so they could talk about a fight Monique had with her husband before she left — and Monique later shared more about that fight, and her feelings, with the ladies (in the video above).

She's not the only one. After all, what are BFFs for if not to give to call them up for a two-hour phone session, meet them for a lazy Sunday brunch, or drag them to a workout session — or foreign country — where you recount, and replay, the juiciest details of your life? But while you might be eager to tell your friend all of the gritty things going on with you, how much is too much information when your venting about your relationship drama? 

If your relationship drama feels like it’s too much for even you to unpack and handle, it might be a good idea to turn to a professional, or someone who is paid, and trained, in dealing with the ups and downs of loving another human. But if you do decide to turn to a friend, be clear on what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. 

“Seeking wise counsel in a relationship is extremely important and that does not always mean friends,” says Roland Hinds, a relationship educator. “If someone chooses to speak to their friend, be clear on whether you're venting only.  There is often a cost to seeking advise, which can be more detrimental to a relationship. Frequently, drama leads to more drama without any resolution.” 

Here are the three times it’s OK to open up to a friend about what’s happening with you and your partner. 

1.  When You’re Sharing Certain Details

If you feel like you can absolutely trust your friend and the details you’re sharing are ones that you’d be OK if your partner shared about you to their friend, then it’s OK to vent. 

Erin K. Tierno, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Relationships Expert, and the founder of Online Therapy NYC, says if you embarrassed or feel betrayed by your partner if they revealed the specifics you are thinking of sharing, then best bet is to keep the information to yourself and take some more time to consider what you are looking for from your friends about your relationship through complaining. 

2.  If You Remember to Think Before You Speak

Remember that whatever you tell your friend, they will think about for a while. If you say too much, you could have your friend resenting your partner even after you’ve made up with them. 

“People are often impulsive in venting about the dregs of their relationships without thinking mindfully about what impact that might have once things have cooled down,” says Tierno. “You might decide to forgive your partner for being a bit of a jerk in a specific scenario once you have more information about their side (or not) but what you tell your friends can impact their lasting impression of your partner without the benefit of the full picture that you have. 

3.  If It’s Not Information Overload

Process the situation and the drama before venting about it so that you don’t give your friend a headache from too much information from your emotional verbal diarrhea.  

“Is there a way to blow off the steam from how I’m feeling about this without sharing the nitty gritty details? Saying something to friends that’s relatable like, “Ooh, my boyfriend is driving me crazy right now!” or “Ugh, my girlfriend and I have been having a hard time lately,” without dishing the specifics can be a great way to get the support of your friends while also protecting the long-term interests of your primary partnership,” says Tierno.

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