Relationship Connection: My husband can’t keep his mouth shut

Question

If I share with my husband something my daughter says to me, he drops hints to her in his next conversation with her that he knows what she told me. I share these things with him because we are a couple, we are her parents and I feel he should know what is going on with his daughter.

I’ve asked him time and time again not to do this. I don’t want my daughter thinking that I tell everybody everything that she tells me.

He seems to get a great deal of pleasure letting somebody know that he knows something about them that they did not tell him. This puts me in a bad light, and I’m afraid my daughter will quit telling me anything about what is going on with her.

I keep everything she tells me private from everybody else. I feel I should be able to talk to my husband about anything going on in our family knowing that he will not divulge our conversation — especially to the person it concerns and something that person said specifically to me, not him.

I tell him something and I have to say over and over again to him not to let our daughter, grandson or granddaughter know that I told him. He keeps doing this. I’m embarrassed and the other family member is embarrassed.

I feel betrayed over and over again.

Shouldn’t a husband and wife be able to tell each other anything and know it will be kept private just between the two of them?

By the way, he does not share a lot of things with me that I feel he should. For example, giving money to our children. I have to pull information out of him.

I have not given him any reason to be this way with me. I do so long for an intimate, close relationship with my husband. It’s more like a business relationship than a marriage. What’s wrong? Why would a man behave this way with a woman whom he professes to love?

Answer

Your husband doesn’t know how to build close relationships and is using the information you’re giving him as a way to create closeness with his family members.

Instead of doing what it takes to build trust so family members will open up to him on their own, he’s bypassing that process by borrowing the trust you’ve developed to get close to them.

It’s unhealthy and an underdeveloped way of trying to relate to others. I doubt he has any idea he’s doing this as individuals with poor relational skills also lack personal insight into their own behaviors.

He needs to be in charge of developing his own relationships with his family members, including his own children.

You want to have the appearance of a united relationship where both of you share freely about your experiences with your children. However, if you look closely, my guess is that you’re always the one sharing information about your children.

Does he ever bring you information about your children so you can both counsel together on their behalf?

The ideal you describe of having two parents who openly discuss their children’s needs is based on the assumption both parents are safe. The fact that your daughter is telling you things in confidence with the expectation that you not share them with anyone else, including her own father, should be a signal to you that he’s not a safe individual.

Just because he’s her father doesn’t give him a right to have access to her private thoughts and feelings. His access to that information is earned.

While you can’t do anything about his relationships with his children, you can apologize to your daughter and other family members for breaking their trust.

You can let them know that you will respect their wishes to keep things confidential unless it involves safety or other issues that would have a serious life impact. Make sure they know if they share something you can’t keep confidential, you’ll always encourage them to share first. You don’t want to get pulled into a situation where you can’t keep the promise of confidentiality if you need to share.

Tell your husband you won’t be sharing private information with him anymore. He has to learn how to build the kind of relationships where people want to open up to him. He can decide what he’s going to do with that feedback, as painful as it might be. 

You can’t singlehandedly create the dream of a unified couple when he’s not doing the work to build trust with your family members.

Recognize that you’re not keeping secrets from your husband. He’s fully capable of building the kind of relationships that would allow him access to this same information.

Your children and grandchildren are fortunate to have you as a safe person to share their deepest feelings. Protect their information and your bridge of trust you’ve worked hard to build.

Hopefully your husband will want the same trust and make changes in his life to become a safe person for these loved ones.

Stay connected!

Related posts

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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11 Comments

  • 42214 September 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Feed him bad info, he’ll shoot his mouth off, make a fool of himself, problem solved. Before you get your panties in a wad, I’m kidding (sort of).

  • Hataalii September 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    First off, your husband is a jerk, plain and simple. But when it comes right to it, you already know this. You also know that if you tell him something personal, it will come back to bite you. So why continue doing that.
    You are building a dam between you and the rest of your family. You are going to be known as the “one with the big mouth.” Something that is said to you in confidence, should not be share with anyone, even your husband.
    You talk about having grand kids, so it looks like this is a long term marriage. That means that you already know what your husband is like, and he knows what you are like. So knowing this, you make the decision to share something with him that one of your kids or grand kids told you in confidence. Now what is wrong with this picture?
    You are not going to change your husband, you need to realize that. It is time for you to grow up and assume the responsibilities of being a mother and a grand mother. By not opening your big mouth to your husband.

  • anybody home September 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    “Shouldn’t a husband and wife be able to tell each other anything and know it will be kept private just between the two of them?”

    Maybe, but that’s not the reality here. This childish jerk is not going to do what you want – ever. And because I’m curious, just how did you think you’d get him to do it?

    He’s got his own agenda and it doesn’t include pleasing you. You said it yourself, my dear, “He seems to get a great deal of pleasure letting somebody know that he knows something about them that they did not tell him. ”

    When people are getting pleasure out of something, they’re not bloody likely to quit doing it. I understand how frustrating this might be for you, but here’s a thought. Keep him informed about important things in your daughter’s life, but stop telling him secrets she passes on to you unless those secrets include anything that would endanger her.
    Maybe you’re getting a little too much pleasure out of being the victim here.

  • ladybugavenger September 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Hey, how about you shut up, then you don’t have to worry about your husband not shutting up 🙂

  • fun bag September 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Listen to all these fledgling relationship expert advice givers here. Reminds me of a pack of old hens. Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck Cluck. Tomorrow I will come by and check to see if there’s any eggs 🙂 We can use the eggs for a #fundraiser 🙂

    • ladybugavenger September 16, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      All proceeds for #fundraiser will go to the relationship experts commenting on this site.

    • Dexter September 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Well if they were ducks then they would be going quack.. quack.. quack.. quack.. quack..

  • Dexter September 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    You married him… and that’s your whole problem.. well that and obviously you can’t keep your mouth shut either

  • Hunter September 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    So…the first one to break a confidence is mad at the second person to break a confidence?

  • htown September 17, 2015 at 8:41 am

    You have got to love this scenario that Geoff made up again.

    The lady claims she doesn’t have an intimate relationship, that could be part of the problem.

    She has a problem of repeating the same actions and expecting different results, is that dysfunctional or a sign of mental issues.

    The daughter should not be trusting her mom, anymore than the wife trusts her husband.

    Obviously he has issues, and is a control freak that tries to use his information to manipulate emotions and actions from others.

    Another sensationalized story to get readers to pay for the services of the “expert”

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