Almost everyone has felt the shock of hearing that a couple that seemed “so great together” was breaking up.
It can also be just as shocking to observe the public interaction of a couple only to wonder, “Why are these people together?”
Having worked many years with couples, I’ve come to understand that no one but the partners involved really know the differences in the private or public versions of their relationship.
While some differences in the private and public versions of a couple’s relationship are inevitable and even desirable, differences that cause or hide pain, rejection and disdain are destructive.
- “In public you’re so agreeable to everyone – at home, you argue with anything I say.”
- “If you say you’re happily married, why are there no picture of me on your Facebook page?
- “Why don’t you reach for my hand in public – if you love me?
How different are the private and public versions of your relationship?
In this fast paced world of expectations, social media, instant communication and blurred public and private lives, it’s worth accessing whether the differences in the public and private versions of your relationship are desirable or destructive.
The Private Version
- Basic to the special status that partners share with each other, some differences between their private and public lives are inevitable and desirable.
- The way partners, worry, confide, argue, joke and sexually relate belongs to them. Such aspects of their relationship usually remain private and support their bond.
- This private version of their relating doesn’t preclude the close ties and disclosures that partners are likely to have with family and friends; but it sets them apart in a way that is constructive and desirable.
Are you trusted confidantes?
Can you hold on to your relationship ties despite outside family demands?
Do your friends know how important your relationship is to you?
The Public Version
We all have a public version of our private self that is adjusted to fit the role, demands and expectations of our public lives. While your public “image” might be at times very different from your role as a spouse or partner, it shouldn’t disqualify it. In the …