Can you ever move past a relationship issue by ‘sweeping it under the carpet’?

This week, Paddy McGuinness’s wife Christine revealed she was so disgusted when she saw pictures of her husband out with another woman that she vomited

Despite the visceral reaction to his behaviour and what she calls his ‘lies’, the 33-year-old says she never spoke to Paddy about it and instead decided to ‘brush it under the carpet’.

We all know that confrontation can be horrible – particularly with the ones we love the most – but most of the time we are taught that communication and sharing how you feel is beneficial in a relationship.

But for Paddy and Christine – who says the pair are now stronger than ever – moving past their relationship issue without ever talking about it or acknowledging it with each other, might have worked.

In her upcoming memoir, Christine wrote: ‘It didn’t matter to me if I’d forgiven him, if I was OK with it or if I trusted him. I just wanted my children to have their father there… something I never had.

‘For that to happen, I had to brush it under the carpet. I haven’t mentioned it since. We’ve never spoken about it really, and I’ve certainly never talked about it publicly before.

‘We just got on with married life.’

So, is it ever better to simply not talk about what’s troubling you with your other half?

Is it sometimes wise to pick your battles and choose to ignore the problem – either for the sake of your children, or the future of your relationship?

Lucy Beresford, psychotherapist, relationship expert and welllbeing warrior says you should really be wary of falling into a pattern of not communicating with your other half.

‘Staying in denial will corrode the relationship,’ Lucy tells

‘The resentments will fester and give rise to more suspicions. This in turn will lead to anxieties and irritations with the partner. Staying silent may also undermine your sense of self-worth, as you ignore your need for clarity and security in the relationship.’   

However, she does reason that there may be times when it would be better for the relationship to choose not to raise something – particularly if you’re not sure whether anything has actually happened.

‘The only (but significant) benefit to keeping your counsel is when the infidelity is just suspected,’ says Lucy. ‘Accusing a partner of betrayal when nothing has occurred can make them defensive or can make them have second thoughts about being in a relationship.

Equally, she says not discussing your concerns may encourage you not to be too intense in the relationship, or to deal with things ‘with a light touch’, which can be beneficial for both of you.

In cases where you know something bad has happened – like a betrayal of trust, or cheating – Lucy says if reconciliation has occurred then it is important not to continue to dredge up the old argument.

‘If, after much soul-searching, the two of you decide to stay together, it is essential that you look ahead, so that old resentments are processed properly (for example, with a therapist or trusted friend) and are not dragged back into every future row,’ says Lucy.

‘But all other ways of “looking ahead” without acknowledging the stress or pain is simply denial.’

For Lucy, staying quiet about relationship problems is dangerously close to denial – which she says will eat away at a partnership.

‘A good half-way house is to initially bring up a general conversation about what actually constitutes infidelity, or a betrayal of trust, because this is a topic few couples really broach early on in their relationship,’ suggests Lucy.

‘This way you can state your needs around things like your partner interacting with other people online, or whether a drunken kiss at a workplace party would be treated differently in your relationship to a full-blown affair.

‘Constantly pay attention to your self-esteem.

‘Fear of losing a relationship is more about fear of being alone, whereas if you know you will be OK on your own, you won’t fear having conversations where you are meeting your needs and respecting your own personal values.’ 

Over and over again, communication is lauded as one of the cornerstones of a strong and stable relationship – and for good reason.

As Lucy suggests, a failure to communicate, acknowledge fault, express emotions, can lead to resentment, distance and stagnation.

While it can be valuable to know when it’s best to forgive and move on, or when an issue might not be worth blowing up into an argument, ultimately big issues will only be resolved if both parties are open and honest.

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