It is great to have a support system, whether it’s friends or family. Despite the fact that you know that these confidants are “there for you”, there are certain events in a relationship that people are more hesitant to bring to their friends. Research by Sociologist Mario Luis Small revealed that many of us (45% in his research) don’t turn to the most important people in ours lives to discuss our most important issues.
There may be many good reasons why you want to seek out advice from someone who is not close to you. Sometimes the issue is embarrassing, involves those closest to you, or you just want to get an outside, objective opinion. Small found that people often wanted an opinion from someone with particular expertise in the area, and that a person’s availability at the time played a key role in why they were chosen as a confidant.
At Relationup, an app that provides instant relationship advice from professionals via chat, a October 2016 survey revealed the top 4 relationship issues that a person would prefer to talk to a professional about, rather than a friend.
When you want to reconcile with an ex. Friends can be protective and lose their objectivity. They don’t want to see you setting yourself up for more heartache and can grow impatient with your decision to try and get your ex back . This is especially true if they have been listening to you cry buckets of tears during the course of the relationship about how your partner would sometimes give you radio silence and leave you hanging, didn’t prioritize you in the relationship and wouldn’t take the relationship to the next phase. It is hard for friends to support you in your efforts when they think that you can do better.
When you want to stay with a partner who has cheated. It is complicated to share your betrayal with your friends. They often feel as angry and disappointed as you are, and it takes them a long time to forgive and respect your partner again. So, if you do reconcile, their relationship with your partner can feel awkward and difficult for a while.
When you are in pain about your breakup. Your friends are there for you but very few have the patience to hold your hand if you are having a rough time and ruminating about things. They message is for you to get “over it” and “move on”, and they want to see you out in the dating world again. They might selfishly miss their fun friend and want you to skip over the grief process as quickly as possible.
When you are nervous about the beginning of a relationship. Your friends are there for guidance about how long to wait to text or whether it is okay to ask the person out on the second date this quickly. But because you are filled with anxiety and uncertainty and need help every step along the way, few have the patience to support you at such a high level. How many friends do you imagine are willing or able to help you compose the most perfectly worded, flirtatious banter every time a text pops up?
You’re lucky if you have a great “go to” support system. But there are times and topics where you may need the help from an objective, available person outside your support system. This is especially true when the topics are sensitive or you need more support than you can expect a friend could give. Seeking out guidance from a friend should draw you two closer, not create resentment on either side.
Written by Rhonda Milrad, Master of Social Work
Chief Relationup Advisor