J.R.: Go to your boyfriend first.
35 cents $2, please.
You’ve tried the warm-fuzzy solution (talking to friends) and the expensive solution (going to therapy) and the long-shot solution (writing to me), and unless you want to stop passersby on the street to complain about your boyfriend, you’re running out of ways to “solve” your problem without actually facing it.
When you are frustrated with your boyfriend, you talk to your boyfriend. When you are afraid he’s going to reject you, you talk to him anyway.
Doing this will: kick your blab habit; conquer your fear of rejection (worst case, you get rejected for being yourself, far better than being loved for faking it); and render your what-to-tell question moot. That’s because functioning relationships don’t leave you a whole lot to whine about with other people.
This isn’t to be mistaken for biting your tongue around the girls. It is understood between trusting, well-adjusted partners that you both have the right to speak freely, as long as truly private (read: potentially embarrassing) matters remain so.
I’m talking about a habit, verging on second nature, of opening yourselves to each other to the extent that unresolved stuff becomes scarce. Have problem; raise problem with partner; discuss problem; fix problem if fixable, or change expectations if not; or break up if you fail at the first two; drop issue.
Granted, not a whole lot of relationships — friendships included — actually function this cleanly. I suspect that isn’t because they can’t, but because we’re too afraid to do the one thing they require, which is to say what we really think.
Dear Carolyn: I have two friends who often share with me the concerns they have with their girlfriends. However, they do not let their girlfriends know there is even a problem until they have already decided to call it quits. I thought this pattern could have been the "men go into a cave to sort things out" thing, but then I realized they are sharing their concern — just with the wrong person. My question is, why are some people only comfortable communicating with friends about their partners?
— Need Help Understanding in Greensboro
Need Help Understanding in Greensboro: Fear (see above), immaturity (see above), sloth (sorry, above) and, as I suspect in the case of your friends, a fundamentally weak investment in the relationship. If you’re already disinclined to take emotional risks, you’re hardly going to take them for someone you’re not that excited about. It becomes its own little cycle: Be vaguely afraid of real intimacy, choose disposable mates, dispose of mates when need for real intimacy arises with the excuse that the mate isn’t “the one,” repeat. Chances are, when they grow up, or get lonely, or a disposable person dumps them hard, the cycle will break itself.