Paula Broadwell, David Petraus investigation continues to include national security angle; clinical psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Marianne Brandon how how to handle work secrets in the bedroom
As the controversy still swirls surrounding the relationship between just-resigned CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will investigate why higher ups didn’t know about reports of the affair until just before the media got wind of the news, and that the relationship “could have had an effect on national security.” This comes after an FBI investigation of Broadwell concluded there was no threat to national security after it looked into complaints from a Petraeus family friend, Jill Kelley, about receiving harassing e-mails from Broadwell. There is a fear that perhaps Broadwell was privy to sensitive information Petraeus had regarding national security issues.
Many people deal with secrets when it comes to their work – whether they are in the military, intelligence community, psychology or psychiatry, or other fields. So how does one deal with keeping professional secrets private when it comes to their loves ones, friends or family? We reached out to Dr. Marianne Brandon, clinical psychologist and diplomat in sex therapy, for her thoughts on how couples can deal with professional secrets. Here’s what she said…
- It is my experience working with many people having security clearances (my office is near the Navy and Washington, D.C.) that it is often it’s the spouse/friend/family member that has more of an issue with professional secrets than the professional him or herself. The professional gets used to keeping work life and private separate.
- Even in private moments/pillow talk, work isn’t what feels most intimate to share. So maintaining those boundaries isn’t necessarily challenging in more private moments.
- Speaking from experience as a clinical psychologist, I take my work very seriously and I want to protect my patients. So, maintaining confidentiality and not telling people about my patients feels like the right thing to do.
- On the flip side, oftentimes spouses get bored about hearing about their partner’s work issues all the time – they will say it’s not personal enough, and long for deeper conversation. So it’s not like those who work in situations where there are no “work secrets” necessarily have an easier time of it. These folks still must work to create meaningful discussions that are not work related.
What to do about minimize the discomfort of professional secrets?
“Make sure you have a connected, open relationship in other aspects,” Dr. Brandon says. “Quality time together sharing new and interesting experiences will go a long way in mending distance in other aspects of life. When couples feel emotionally connected, work secrets will feel less threatening and basically less important.”
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