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Is it ever reasonable to expect friends to keep things from partners?

263 replies

ghostsliveinmyhouse · 23/04/2021 21:06

I'm not talking about things like affairs or emotional cheating.

I mean things like, if you confide in a close friend about having a mental health issue, or about something traumatic that happened in your past. If it reasonable to not want that friend to tell anyone else, including their partner?

I know people shouldn't keep things from their partner (obviously) but should that still be the case if it's something personal about someone else.

I've recently confided in a friend as I was having a very hard time - they pushed me to open up and I felt at breaking point so it was a relief to let it out finally. But I've now found out they've told their other half about it and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't like to think I'm a topic of discussion among other people.


OP posts:

DressesWithPockets · 23/04/2021 21:09

No you're not being unreasonable BUT I think you have to make it clear you don't want them to say anything to their partner. My friends have told me lots of things over the years which I've not mentioned to my husband.


Watchingthetelly · 23/04/2021 21:10

YANBU friends need to respect when things are said in confidence and not blab to their partner.


KFleming · 23/04/2021 21:12

Hmm I think it’s difficult. Because telling a friend something serious could cause a lot of worry and upset that a) the partner would pick up on and ask about, and b) the person may want someone to talk it through with (eg “so and so has just told me this, I’m really concerned, what do you think I can do to help?”)
But equally obviously I understand your desire to keep it private.
Ultimately for me it comes down the why the partner was told, was it for support, or was it for gossip. And what the partner is like, can they be trusted to keep it quiet, what is your relationship with them etc.


ThePlantsitter · 23/04/2021 21:13

How did you find out? I do think that if she felt for you or worried about you it's not fair to expect her to keep it to herself. The problem needs to be diluted by being spoken about -- but obviously in a sympathetic non gossipy way. I wouldn't expect that fact to get back to you though!


littlepattilou · 23/04/2021 21:14

YANBU of course. However, I would never tell anyone ANYthing that I didn't want anyone else to know. Most people will tell their partners any 'gossip.' And sorry @ghostsliveinmyhouse but the information you told your friend, is quite sensitive and personal to you, but to most other people, it's gossip.


MrsTerryPratchett · 23/04/2021 21:15

My BF and I have kept confidences for decades. And I know DH kept something from me about his BF.

I'd expect it honestly. My BF has outlasted at least one of my marriages!


DIshedUp · 23/04/2021 21:19

Obviously there are things that friends should keep from their partners.

They are 2 peoplenot a single mind. You don't have to share every single thing with your partner, and sharing something personal with your friend should not mean automatically sharing it with their partner too


AnneLovesGilbert · 23/04/2021 21:19

If a friend asked me not to tell DH something I’d want them to be very clear that’s what they wanted rather than assuming, and unless I found it particularly upsetting and needed support for myself I’d respect it.

So if they were pregnant but wanted to keep it quiet then I’d respect it. If they’d had a row with their partner I’d respect it. If they’d been diagnosed with something horrendous and I was very upset tbh I think I’d tell him. But, he’d never ever ever let them know he knew! That’s what I’d be most annoyed about in your shoes.


YouWereGr8InLittleMenstruators · 23/04/2021 21:21

Why should we not keep things from our partners?
My friendship sphere, in many instances, does not overlap with my relationship, and even if it did, it wouldn't occur to me to discuss something a friend had told me with DP.
I think the idea that one should share stuff that arises in relationships with friends with one's romantic partner is bonkers.


CandyLeBonBon · 23/04/2021 21:24

If someone told me something that consequently worried me then I would reserve the right to talk about it with someone else I trusted.

It's like safeguarding- you can never ever promise to keep something secret.

I understand why you feel the way you do, but if you've divulged something worrying or potentially dangerous/life-threatening, then expecting that confidante to bear that alone is a huge burden to impose.

Obviously it depends on the 'secret' but people are allowed their own confidantes too.


Love51 · 23/04/2021 21:29

There are circles of support. When I was a teenager I tried to look after my self harming friend without any support. It isn't fair to expect that of people. However the support shouldn't be too close to the centre person.


FairyDust123456 · 23/04/2021 21:38

Personally, I wouldn't ever break my friends trust. I know some quite sad things from a fair few of my good friends, but never would I divulge that to my partner. They are not my secrets to tell, that's how I feel. And tbh, whilst it hasn't been said explicitly, I know they wouldn't want me to tell either.


Thislittlefinger123 · 23/04/2021 21:48

I tell my DH everything, he's my best friend and we just naturally share things. I assumed that's what everyone is like.

That being said no friend has ever specifically asked me not to tell DH something, if they did then I'd respect that of course.


Triffid1 · 23/04/2021 21:52

I think if a friend specifically asks you not to tell your partner, in most cases you should respect that. Having said that, when I have told DH things that my friends have told me, it's done so in confidence and with 100% confidence that he would never breathe a word to anyone and as such my friend would never find out. I accept that, for example, my BF's DH probably knows all kinds of things about me that I haven't told him. But he's never so much as alluded to those things and I'm 100% confident that he is as reliable as she is.

I can see it being more complicated if you don't like/trust your friend's partner.


DisgruntledPelican · 23/04/2021 21:53

@Thislittlefinger123 I can’t imagine telling my DP random stuff about my friends! Maybe those he knows fairly well, but generally he wouldn’t be interested. Nor can I imagine being interested in the goings-on of his friends.


SnackSizeRaisin · 23/04/2021 21:55

I think if you tell someone something you can probably assume they will tell their partner. In fact nothing is a secret once you have told someone.
Yes there may be people who do keep rvery secret they are told, but my experience is that things tend to come out eventually, often unintentionally.
If you want to talk about something private, pick a friend who doesn't know your other friends.


HerMammy · 23/04/2021 21:59

If I’m told something in confidence it wouldn’t cross my mind to tell DP, it’s none of his business.
I never understand the MN thing of blabbing everything to hubby dearest, my DP wouldn’t be particularly interested in my friends private lives vice versa.


sausageisassausagedoes · 23/04/2021 22:02

I once confided in a friend during a period of immense trauma, only to read word for word how I was feeling about it here, because she'd told her partner and her partner had posted. It felt like such a violation.
So now I make it clear that certain things are to be kept private!


Thislittlefinger123 · 23/04/2021 22:06

DisgruntledPelican why is it weird to talk about our friends with each other Confused


Thislittlefinger123 · 23/04/2021 22:08

I mean obviously we don't talk about stuff like what Jane had for lunch when we met, or what colour socks Bob was wearing... but things that are going on in their lives and their news etc, why wouldn't we chat about it?


Shoxfordian · 23/04/2021 22:09

I don’t necessarily tell my dh everything. It sounds like your friend pushed you into it anyway op which is wrong then treated it as casual gossip to share


YellowGlasses · 23/04/2021 22:11

It also wouldn’t occur to me to tell my DH something a friend had told me on confidence. My friends trust me to be able to chat to and vice versa.


EloiseTheFirst · 23/04/2021 22:18

This is an interesting one.

15 years ago, my best friend told me she was having an affair and asked me not to tell anyone. So I didn't tell a single person, including my DH.

Recently we were all together, (me. DH and best friend) and she referred to this affair. DH looked very surprised as you can imagine. Friend said she assumed I'd told him. I said - but you asked me not to tell anyone! She said I know but I thought you'd tell X (my DH) because he doesn't count!

So it seems there's 2 people in this world. People like me and people like my friend.

So if you don't want someone to tell their OH then you need to be specific.


EmeraldShamrock · 23/04/2021 22:22

It is a reasonable expectation unless they share an ear. Your friend was very unreasonable to discuss your private business with her partner, if it doesn't concern or harm him there is absolutely no reason to share it.


riotlady · 23/04/2021 22:57

YANBU but I agree you have to make it explicit. My best friend asked me not to tell my partner she was pregnant and I happily kept that from him (although he did ultimately guess!)

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