Open Communication vs. Trust


New member
Hi there, I just registered for this forum and have been poking around reading it for about a week now. I am finding a lot of great information and relating to much of what is said. I have especially found myself nodding along to the lessons we’ve learned thread.

I do plan to write up my situation in length to give all more history and information, but things are going really well for me right now and I find I don’t have the drive to write about much when it is not worrying me. But when I find the time, I will get it all down.

So, ignoring the history, here is my brief current situation: My partner (A) and I are dating a married couple. I have a great connection and am very much in love (and, NRE) with one of them (B) as is my partner with the other (C), although to a lesser extent. My partner is also very close and somewhat intimate with B. I am on good terms with but without much connection to C. I will try to describe it all better later, as it doesn’t have too much bearing on my question.

After a talk with A last night, what has been frustrating me today is how to negotiate the effect that relationships on each other. When I tell A something that was said to me by C regarding their relationship, I feel I may be breaking some type of trust and/or confidentiality within the relationship of myself and C. A does not want to feel in the dark with things and is also currently concerned with the status of the relationship with C.

So: To what extent am I expected to share? How do I negotiate someone else’s trust vs. honesty with my partner?

I do not like talking about what other people said. It feels like gossip. I may have an impact on a relationship I am not a part of directly. The other person is not there to clarify (I have a horrible memory and can rarely even remember what ALL was said, let alone word for word). I do not want to be a source of miscommunication between two other people. I do not want people wondering who I have told regarding what they have said to me in private. I am also not super strong with communication when it comes to either A or C… as often find we have very different perspectives and interpretations.

To make matters worse, I am comfortable sharing everything with B, in fact I love it. I am not worried about reactions and we often see eye to eye. It is a great way to vent. I feel though maybe I am over sharing and should be telling as much if not more to A.

I do want to be more open and honest with my partner, and stop holding back information/feelings because it may not be exactly what A wants to hear and may react poorly to it… I know this is wrong.

All input is appreciated!

Still to come: time management, WTF


New member
I don't think there's any one way to arrange it. I would find out what each partner expects/feels comfortable with and work from there. It is important to respect privacy but at the same time other partners do need to know important information. In terms of sexual details, so couples really enjoy sharing in great details. As long as your other partners are comfortable with their experiences being shared, I think it's fine. Everyone's a bit different in terms of what they do/don't want to know. Another thing to think about is why some one does or doesn't want to know something. Do they want to hear details because it turns them on or because they feel a need to control everything you're doing so they don't feel threatened?


New member
Gossip is tricky, if that is what you are talking about. To me, if conversation occurs whereby the people in it are coming from a place of support, trying to understand, venting by means of finding a way to get through something in order to cope or find patience then that isn't gossip. That to me is being responsible in my communication. I guess the difference to me would be in the intent of the conversation. If its to de-fame or harm someone intentionally or passive aggressively then that to me is gossip.

It is important to check out what is okay to talk about. Generally speaking sex is off the table really, but not always. Its kind of a bonding thing I find to know about the connection my loves have with othes. I don't need to know details about the sex, but that they enjoyed themselves and were and are happy. I would always listen if something comes up though. Listen and keep it between us. Its not my business to pass any info on.


New member
If what gets shared in confidence is of interest to all parties in the mix, it should not be kept a secret. At that point you let it be known you're not comfortable keeping that confidence you feel it should be shared with all involved.
If it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things to everyone in the mix, it should be kept in confidence.

[A, B], [C, D]. example:

D bought C a sweater that she secretly hates and tells you she secretly hates it. Whats the point of sharing that?

C tells you she feels marginalized by D's relationship with B - you all need to sit down and talk that out even if C intended to only vent it with you and stew silently over it there after because it could end up a problem for all four.


New member
I would ask each person "for future reference, is it okay if I repeat things you tell me?" Or if I want to share everything with all my partners, I would say "I don't want to keep secrets, it makes me feel wrong, so you can feel free to talk to me about anything you want, but don't tell me things you don't want repeated".
Doesn't mean I'd repeat things verbatim, mind you. I could go and tell A "I was talking with D, and they seem a bit frustrated, I think you two should have a talk" or tell D that directly ("tell, A, not me!")

I've never been in that kind of configuration before, but I work on the model of open dialogue, I don't want to ever feel like there is something I can't tell one of my partners.


Active member
You sit down and start a dialogue about what each persons expectations are in regards to privacy and talking about what they say/do. ;)


New member
To each their own. With a friendship triad, we have a 'everything you tell me, the other one will eventually hear, too' agreement. I'm not a hugely private person and tend to stick to the rule 'if there is something I don't want someone to know, I won't tell it to anyone'. In practise I find it exhausting to try to remember what was okay to repeat and what wasn't, so I try to tell people not to share something with me that is truly off-bounds from being told to anyone else.

As to gossip, if it's one-way only, that's potentially an unhealthy sign for me. I mean, you and B keep on talking about the personal life details of A, but you never share any of B's stuff with A (this is a rhetorical question, I honestly got confused with the letters :p). That would border on gossip, for me.


New member
Thank you for all your replies.
I agree with the everything open and share everything idea and I know everyone needs to be kept in the loop with anything pertinant to the relationship(s).
I think though that there is a lot of comfort in venting to someone else and that it can often make someone feel better instantly, or see things in a more simplified verbalized form that makes it less of a big deal, if that happens, then why run to the other and make them worry that something is wrong?

There had been a bit of discussion on this between myself and A as well as myself and B (I emailed C on my f-up to give them a heads up, but haven't really discussed it yet).

What I have decided is to refrain from sharing what has been said to me in private conversations, if I think someone else needs to hear it I will either say the two of them need to talk, or we need to have a group talk.

I get misunderstood easily (especially by A and C) and cannot remember most conversations in detail, I therefore believe that more times than not, turning around telling someone something someone else told me will just do more harm than good and put a chip in not only thier relationship but also my relationship with each of them.

I trust everyone in the group to talk to others when they have a problem instead of letting it fester and build, if they do not, then I think we deserve whatever blow-up comes out of that.

I may have time here today to post my nice little (haha) confusing story for all interested in the indroductions section!!

Thanks again and I look forward to chatting with you all more.


New member
Since everyone involved knows each other if something comes up that you feel 2 of the parties need to discuss with each other why not suggest just that? It's more complicated if people don't know each other (or don't know each other well). I see your role as working with the person who is talking to you to come up with the best way to respectfully approach the other party.


New member
I think though that there is a lot of comfort in venting to someone else and that it can often make someone feel better instantly, or see things in a more simplified verbalized form that makes it less of a big deal, if that happens, then why run to the other and make them worry that something is wrong?

I agree and disagree at the same time...
With Raga (my future ex-husband) I did that kind of thing a lot. I would vent to other people about things that annoyed me but that seemed to silly to create a big fuss about, or things we had already talked about but didn't seem to improve, etc.
It would make me feel a lot better about our relationship, and I knew it spared him a lot of pain from hearing me talk about these things to him.
So I completely understand the appeal of doing that.

However, on the other hand, in hindsight it probably wasn't such a good idea. For one thing, the friends I vented to were friends we had in common (so that they knew him and knew what I was talking about) and it had the effect of making me sound horrible (obviously, I was venting, so I was accusing him and not talking about my own part in things). Also, when they thought it was a debate or something, they would argue with me, which annoyed me as I was just trying to vent to them.
And finally, while I was trying to vent so I could have a talk with him after I had calmed down, rather than fall on his back right away, too often the friends would actually contact him first (even when I told them what it was about) and usually had remembered my words wrong, and would only repeat something like "she's really pissed at you, she's probably gonna break up", so when I tried to start the calm discussion, he was already a nervous wreck.
Worse, it probably caused him more pain to hear things from a third person than from me.

I haven't done anything like that with Seamus. Granted, I haven't had the opportunity to be pissed at him yet, but when I'm in a foul mood (which can happen through no fault of anyone else's own) I try to isolate myself instead and think about things on my own, while listening to music, or pacing, or trying to relax.

Also, I should add that the one friend I vented to who wasn't a friend in common never repeated anything to him and never tried to defend him. So if you have to vent at all, I think someone who doesn't know anything about the situation is actually the better choice. They'll let you just say whatever you want and when you're done they'll think nothing of it.


New member
Also, I should add that the one friend I vented to who wasn't a friend in common never repeated anything to him and never tried to defend him. So if you have to vent at all, I think someone who doesn't know anything about the situation is actually the better choice. They'll let you just say whatever you want and when you're done they'll think nothing of it.

I have found that it is extremely important that each of us NEEDS friends that are NOT joint friends. We need people that we can vent to and know that what we say won't get back to the person we are mad at and when things have worked themselves out, we don't want what we said to have damaged the friendship between our loved one and the person we vented to.

A while back, things were happening in my marriage that nearly ended it. I had to litterally remove myself from our circle of friends. It was then that I realized all of my friends were either joint friends or he had constant dealings with due to his activities. I couldn't bring myself to ruin those relationships by giving voice to our dirty laundry, because he would still have to have dealings with everyone. Now I'm on the lookout for a few close friends that aren't my husbands friends first.


New member
I have had that issue too. When I broke up with Raga, I realised pretty much everyone I was in contact with was also his friend. A bunch of them were his friends and family that I had grown to like, and a bunch were my friends first and then became his as well.
Although he tried hard to become friends with all of my friends, I was "saved" by the fact that he doesn't speak French very well, so my French friends stayed primarily my friends, even though they have met and such.

But at the breakup, it was pretty hard. I wanted him to be able to get support, so I didn't talk to any of these people for about two months (letting them come to me if they wanted to) and by the time I tried to get in contact again, they pretty much reacted in a "stay away from me, you horrible person!" manner. And that could be because he vented to them during these two months, for instance, and they only heard his side of things (There is a French proverb that goes "he who is absent is always in the wrong."). But ultimately, I guess when there is a breakup most friends "pick sides".
I'm still in contact with exactly one friend we have (or had, I guess) in common, and it was really hard to lose so many friends, especially when some of them only met him through me.


New member
I personally couldn't be in a relationship with someone who wouldn't want to be completely open. I certainly wouldn't use information against anyone though. I just enjoy understanding people better. I actually get very anxious and fidgety when those close to me won't open up and find it hard to get close to people who never do open up. I don't know why the former, but the latter, I believe is just about trust. Those who never open up are hiding too much for me to care about trying to make it work. Those who I have found closeness with who have opened up many times, when they don't, I usually ask again the next time we speak. [assuming I remember]