Forfeiting friends: How far should you go in support of your partner?

It’s week two of the WAG rift that gripped the nation – and the drama shows no signs of letting up. In case you need a quick recap, Coleen Rooney was dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’ last week after revealing she had sniffed out a mole on her social media pages. Having become suspicious that one of her followers was leaking stories to the press, she blocked all but one, and yet the leaks continued. Writing on Instagram last Thursday, Coleen’s dramatic denouement – “it’s …. Rebekah Vardy’s account” – are four words that will now go down in super-sleuth history.

Rebekah has since denied the claims, saying that multiple people had access to her account, and has reportedly hired an IT expert to look into the leaks.

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But in the latest development in the Coleen vs Rebekah saga, it appears that their husbands, who are both team-mates on the England football squad, have now become involved.

Rebekah’s other half, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, is reported to have removed his England team-mate Wayne Rooney from his social media pages over the weekend, in what has been described as a “deliberate snub” after Coleen’s big reveal last week.

The tabloids have claimed that despite a long-term casual friendship between the two men, Jamie couldn’t stand by and watch his wife being “hung out to dry” on social media.

Up until now the two husbands had remained tight-lipped on the topic, and Wayne still follows Jamie on Instagram.

Despite Wayne and Jamie’s on-pitch camaraderie, and the fact that they move in similar social circles, it seems that the Vardys are united as a couple when it comes to this particular issue.

But the development has raised some interesting relationship questions for all of us. We might not all be living the high drama of the Wag set, but many of us are sadly familiar with having a bust-up with a trusted buddy.

So just how far should you expect your other half to go on your behalf, if you’ve fallen out with a friend? If you’re in a close-knit circle of couples, say, can he remain on good terms with the other members of the group?

Or is he duty-bound to swear off all contact to prove his undivided loyalty?

According to counselling psychotherapist Dr Catherine Gibson, it all very much depends on what kind of a relationship you’re in to begin with.

“Some couples think they should share everything, including opinions, and others don’t share that point of view at all,” she says.

Vardy isn’t the first spouse to publicly back his partner during a high-profile spat.

In 2016, Kim Kardashian famously took her husband Kanye West’s side in a rift with singer Taylor Swift, who claimed that West had controversially referred to her as a “b*tch” in his song ‘Famous’.

Kim took to Snapchat to back her husband up with audio clips of Swift that allegedly cleared his name.

West continuously stood his ground and claimed that he called Swift before the song was released, but Swift hit back at Kim’s public postings. “It doesn’t exist because it never happened,” the singer wrote on social media.

But if your partner doesn’t agree with your friendship feud, sharing their opinion in front of others can have a different impact than it would in private, Dr Gibson explained.

“If they are on different sides, for a lot of couples whether or not it was in public would be very important,” she said. “If one partner is embarrassed in public by something the other has said, that could be very distressing for the other.”

And if your partner doesn’t take your side, Dr Gibson said that she would advise couples to discuss what assumptions they had about their relationship when they started off.

“I would advise them to talk about what expectations they have now and if they’ve changed in the meantime since beginning the relationship,” she said.

“If they have changed, it’s about how they can fix things. They need to put their heads together and think about how they can move on from here.”

While it’s natural to be upset if your partner doesn’t appear to immediately support your point of view, having your own opinion is also important within a relationship, according to relationships and psychosexual therapist Kate McCabe.

“Healthy relationships occur when a couple can support each other to be independent, but not be depending on each other all the time,” she said.

“Communication is very important. It’s important to support them so that way they can feel listened to and supported by the other person regardless.”

Ms McCabe said that personal stories from the past, before the couple were together, can also be something that affects their viewpoint during confrontation.

“If a couple are communicating and there are no secrets, that’s an open and direct form of communication – everything should be talked through. Before getting married, people may have had past boyfriends or girlfriends. People are finding it very helpful these days to discuss these things before they enter a contract.”

One way to deal with this could be to go for a walk and have a chat, or checking in with your partner once a week to discuss how well they can work through issues that may arise.

“If one person isn’t comfortable with something, it should be talked through – everything has to be comfortable with both people.

“Own your own relationship and work with it.”

As for the rift in Rebekah and Coleen’s friendship, that could prove harder to repair.

“With friendships, I would never advise people to go public with that; words aren’t your own when you say them out loud, especially in public,” Dr Gibson says.

“It can be very hard to come back from what you’ve said. The best people can do is apologise, it’s then whether the other person accepts it or not.”

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