One question that came up during Seraphapalooza was about boundaries. How much should girls in romantic relationships share about those relationships with their Single friends and acquaintances?
And my feeling is, practically nothing.
I'll go easy on the truly love-struck. Chatty people love to talk about the people they love. It probably increases our endorphins. Chatty new mothers prattle about their babies. Chatty grandmothers bring out the photos of their grandchildren. Chatty teenage girls interpret the utterances of their idols with the enthusiasm of graduate students of linguistics. Chatty professors go on too long about their star students. When we were engaged, B.A. talked about me so much one of his friends told him he had to stop or he wouldn't be invited round any more.
But the truly love-struck, though dull, tend to tell us happy things. It's the people who have gone past the shallow sugar-coating of the creme brule that is Human Relationship who tend to tell us things that make us squirm.
We really should not be saying personal things about our boyfriends and husbands to anyone else without a really, REALLY good reason. A really good reason is that one has grown afraid of one's boyfriend or husband and wants another woman's opinion. Another good reason is that one is not sure how to handle a boyfriend's or husband's sexual demands and wants another woman's opinion. A less compelling, but still valid, reason is that one is unsure how to get along with her boyfriend's or husband's family.
These conversations are best held in private with ONE woman friend, perhaps a best friend, or an older married woman, substitute-aunt, friend. Super personal information about boyfriends or husbands, i.e. men who trust you not to make them laughingstocks, is not good material for girls-together-having-drinks. It is just as horrible for a woman to share intimate details about a man with a group of women as it is for a man to share intimate details about a woman with a group of men.
Meanwhile, I think it is incredibly insensitive to have any complaining conversation about a boyfriend with a woman who has no boyfriend and about a husband with a woman who doesn't have a husband. There is also the virgin factor. It is rude, disrespectful and incredily unladylike to tell women with very little sexual experience information that they will not understand or are not prepared to handle.
The fastest way to derail a woman who is dying to tell you things you don't want to know, is to raise your hand and say "Whoa, TMI."
"TMI", in case English is not your first language, is an acronym for "Too Much Information." It is a reproof, but it is a very gentle reproof, and should do the trick. And the other women around may be very grateful to you and back you up right away. If she persists, and she is a friend, say "No, really. I feel uncomfortable hearing such personal things." And if she still persists, she's in line for a row. Don't let her row with you. You row with her. Draw the line. Tell her you do not want to hear about her sexual life; it forcibly puts images in your head you don't want there.
Meanwhile, I wonder if a lot of terribly abusive relationships aren't prolonged artificially because the woman gets rid of her actually useful anger and disappointment by venting them in conversations with her pals. How much better if she just spoke to one friend, and that friend gave serious and solid advice!
Anyway, sound off in combox.