What to spill -- and what to keep quiet with your guy

Jan 6, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Honesty may be the best policy, but some things are better left unsaid. The tough part is figuring out what exactly to keep to yourself and what should be shared when it comes to keeping your relationship on track. While some things should always be aired, others can cause more harm than good. We put together some relationship tips for what to discuss -- and what to bypass.

Couple talking over coffee

Dr. Paulette Sherman is a psychologist and author of Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart. She gave us the scoop on what to share and what to keep quiet with your man.

Three things you should share

Anything big that affects your partner: Anything that affects both of you should be openly discussed, Sherman says. For example, if your company wants you to transfer abroad, he needs to know. Or if there's a chance you might be laid off, you need to let your partner know. "Often people are scared their partner will be mad so they procrastinate and avoid sharing the difficult truth," she explains. "But anything that will impact his life should be talked about."

Anything that threatens your relationship: If an ex calls and wants to get together or someone makes a pass at you and tries to kiss you, your partner should know, says Sherman. "Many people want to avoid jealousy and their partner's negative reaction but to build trust and protect your relationship, you should be upfront."

Anything they did that has upset you: It's often good to communicate when something has hurt you so that you can make amends and ask for what might work better going forward. Often when couples let things go by, resentment builds and then later there's a big blow out, explains Sherman.

Three things you don't need to share

Other people's secrets: You don't need to share the things that involve your friend's lives or things with people in your personal relationships that they've asked to keep confidential. It is tempting to gossip with your guy about what you've heard, but if it really is meant to be a secret, keep it that way.

Anything discussed in therapy: Sherman explains that if you are seeing a therapist or counselor for any reason, unless if affects your partner, things discussed in your own therapy sessions can be kept confidential.

Every negative thought about your partner: It's common to have negative thoughts and criticisms about your partner, but try to think them through and decide if they're productive to share, Sherman advises. If you are going to say something, ask yourself whether you can you say it in a kind way. If not, be sure whatever you bring up isn't just a way to vent but rather something that could benefit the relationship.

More relationship advice

How to stop fighting about finances
4 Resolutions to bring you and your man closer
Top 3 resolutions for having better sex in the New Year