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People vent all the time. Whether they talk about their job, friends, or even relationships, talking about what is frustrating you is a good way of relieving stress. It’s normal for us to vent about things our partner has done, or for your partner to vent to their friends about things that you do that they find annoying. However, it’s a whole other story if your partner is bad-mouthing you constantly and you find out. Venting is normal, but bad-mouthing can be unnecessarily cruel.
In these situations where your partner has taken critiques way too far, it’s important for you two to sit down and have a serious conversation. After all, you and your partner are supposed to be each other’s biggest fans.
Before you jump into that hard conversation it’s important to note what was caught and how it was spoken. After all, there is a huge difference between annoyance and complete disrespect. If they’re venting to a friend or loved one, then chances are there’s nothing wrong. In fact, venting these sort of issues to friends is quite healthy. In these situations, it might just happen that you stumbled into the conversation where your partner was venting to a friend or family member and they didn’t intend for you to hear what they said.
On the other hand, if what you heard was cruel and crossed the line, then it’s a good time to have an honest conversation. It’s during this conversation where you want to be asking some questions and digging deeper. You want to figure out why they didn’t feel comfortable coming to you first and talking about it. Next, you want to figure out the nature of the badmouthing (were they really venting or not?). Lastly, you want to address the actual bad mouthing itself, figuring out what exactly was said. The reason this strategy works is because you’re breaking the cycle. Instead of your partner talking to other people around you, you’re redirecting that conversation between the two of you. It’s where that conversation should’ve been in the first place. On top of that, asking those questions also avoids a fight. If you hear bad mouthing you may be tempted to fight fire with fire and that can become a heated argument that can kill your relationship.
You also want to make this conversation personal. You want to explain what exactly you overheard hurt you and made you feel bad. This is a good tactic because whenever there is issues it’s important to discuss how decisions like this or problems that you are up against affect the relationship that you two have.
In the end, this approach is a good way to smooth things over and if you don’t think talking it out like this is enough, there are always other options. You can always consider seeking help from professionals, friends or family members whom you trust their judgment. Regardless, however way you want to discuss is up to you, so long as both get a chance to air out the grievances.