Writing Wednesday: How to Date a Blogger
If you write a blog about dating, should you tell the man you’re dating? I get this question a lot actually (especially after last Monday’s post), and my answer is always the same: YES!
During my Manthropology days, I let all prospective suitors know up front, from the get go. I felt it was important, especially because in those days a lot of different men took me out to dinner and if a man takes you out to dinner, the least you can do is let him know said dinner might show up on the internet in the morning.
(How’s that for a little nugget of wisdom in this here digital age?)
Now though, the blog is different. And now I’m not just dating any Tom, Dick or Harry. Now I know what I want; now I want to build a life with someone.
And so the blog comes up again.
I told PIC on our first date. I told him I write a blog, I told him the name of it and I told him he should probably read it.
“Just make sure you take everything with a grain of salt,” I warned him. It’s not that I lie, but I do, as all writers do, write selectively. I exaggerate. I omit. I take artistic liberties where I see fit.
PIC decided, however, not to read the blog.
As the weeks wore on, I started to get a bit anxious. And, admittedly, a bit miffed that he hadn’t bothered to take a look at something that I’ve put so much work into.
“You really should read it,” I told him. “There are things that would… things that would be good for you to know about me.”
And so, on one fateful Monday evening, he started reading, and even though I told him to not to take it too seriously, he didn’t, and he had, well, let’s just say, a typical male reaction to reading about his significant other’s previous exploits.
It didn’t matter that it was months ago, that it was funny, that the relationship in question was long over.
What mattered was that I’d put it on the internet. He found he couldn’t reconcile the blog me with the real me. Was there a difference? And if so, which was which?
It was our first fight.
And it did not go well because we both have very different communication styles and I hate conflict in general.
So I broke up with him, right there, over the phone, in a parking lot outside of the dance studio where I teach on Tuesday nights. I told him he could get his things from my back porch later that evening and spent the rest of the night wondering if the snow would ruin his guitar (and, if I’m to be completely honest, secretly hoping that it would).
I was angry. And I was hurt. And he was both angry and hurt as well.
Fortunately he got a hold of himself and I got a hold of myself and we agreed to meet at a bar a few blocks from my parents house. Before heading out, I typed exactly nine bullet points into my phone, everything from “Conflict scares me so we need to find a better way to communicate,” to, “How would you feel if you’d released an album and I never bothered to listen to it?”
But the last one, the most important one, was quite simple: Either you accept for me who I am, or you don’t.
I had them prioritized, in order of importance, starting with the easy ones and working my way down to the bigger issues.
When he walked into the bar a few minutes later, the first thing I noticed was that he’d gotten a haircut. (Men should not be allowed to get haircuts when their girlfriends are trying to break up with them. It’s not fair.) The second was how contrite and truly sorry he looked for having had such a negative reaction. The third was that he looked scared, as if he was afraid of losing me (which, in hindsight, I suppose he was).
We ordered drinks.
He thanked me for meeting him, apologized again and said, before I could even get to my list of my bullet points, “I don’t know anything about the publishing industry. I don’t know how blogging works or why it’s so important but if you say it is, I believe you. And even though I’m not going to like everything you write, I want to support you and your dreams. And I want you to know that I accept you for exactly who you are. 100%.”
I couldn’t quite believe my ears. He’d skipped right through the list, right on down to Bullet Point #9, hitting the nail on the head before I’d even made him aware of the nail’s existence.
And so, I accepted his apology. We spent the rest of the night figuring out how to move forward and when we said our goodnights later that evening, I was very relieved, despite my earlier pronouncement, that it was only a goodnight and not a goodbye.
Even so, I know that dating a writer isn’t exactly a walk in the park. And dating a blogger is probably even more difficult in some cases. Those of you who find yourselves in this same predicament, do you tell your partner about your blog? And if so, what has their reaction been?
16 Responses to “Writing Wednesday: How to Date a Blogger”
I wrote a post recently about whether I should tell the man I’m dating about my blog. Given what I write the consensus was a resounding “no” to giving him the blog name and having him read. But i do debate telling him of its existence.
Yes, I think your case is definitely a very different one 🙂
Everyone says honesty is the basis of a relationship and then they skirt around it, and “wham” it blows up somehow. Kudos to you both for approaching this head on and being HONEST.
When I started My Dating Prescription four years ago, I blogged anonymously, and initially did not tell men about my blogging. Almost it immediately it blew up on me, and ultimately cost me a relationship with someone I really liked. Soon after, I started telling men that I was blogging, and it helped weed out men who would not accept me for me. There were a few who seemed to think they should get some editorial control over what I wrote, but this also served as a kind of filter.
Recently, a good friend suggested that I not reveal that I’m a dating blogger to the men I date until later in the relationship, but withholding that information feels messy. I prefer to be honest from the beginning, and if the men are uncomfortable with it, it’s for them to decide how to proceed or leave. At least that way they have control of their decision, and I think that’s something we all appreciate.
Yes, I am with you. I too lost a few along the way because of the blog (even though I was always upfront about it and even included the link in my various dating profiles) but like you said: this is a good indicator of their ability to accept or not.
I sometimes run posts by the people they’re about before I publish them however my attitude is changing and I find myself starting to value my relationships with people much more than I value my work (or the seemingly crazy things I feel I need to do to do my “work” in the way that I’m accustomed to doing it), whether its my boyfriend and the act of writing a blog or my dancers and the act of running a company. That’s not to say that I’m not still super driven and a bit of a workaholic but I’m just finding that love and friendship are more important.
Today’s post went through several iterations and I sent a draft to PIC before publishing it. He asked for two very minor changes (which I made) and said he didn’t want to make other edits because ultimately it’s my blog, my voice. I also told him I was happy to scrap the piece entirely but he said he was fine with me posting it so I did and here we are 🙂
(This is, oddly enough, the first time I’ve offered to scrap a piece and been 100% okay with being taken up on said offer.)
I ran all of my initial posts past Man #63. It seems the more important the man, or at least my feelings for the man, the more important it was to get his feedback, because, like you, I value my relationships more than the blog.
Wow. I love what he said. Acceptance is so very important. Also, who doesn’t want someone who pushes them to pursue their dreams? Go PIC!
Haha, yes! I agree 🙂
Well, I only started off my blog. Its mostly about processing my way through a major break-up/screwed up relationship. I don’t know how MR BIG BLUE would react if he found it. But part of me would love it if he could understand how I felt. I’ve only written about one other dating disaster – I’ve disguised his identity, so I doubt he could really say anything.
PIC sounds like a great, you are really lucky 🙂
Sounds like the man is a good one! That had to be a little tough for him and I know how tough it was for you. I write about my adventures, but made the opposite choice from you, I omit all mention of romantic encounters and partners. I knew I wanted to keep my stories separate and, honestly, to avoid exactly THAT situation. So I waited until I was pretty damn sure I was keeping this one before mentioning him in my blog. That way I think I was able to kind of gauge a man’s interest in me and “keepability” too because I wanted to see if he made the effort to read my writing, but didn’t want to get into the past relationship conflict. I congratulate you on your courage.
Yes, blogs are indeed a fabulous (albeit tricky) “keepability” test. I was pleased that he took the time to read it, even if he wasn’t totally on board with it at the beginning. I absolutely love the name of your blog, BTW– I have that same problem all the time!!!
Yep ,he sounds like a keeper so far 🙂 I look forward to reading more! And thanks!! I have fun with it, the problem is well worth the fun.
I find it very hard to not be me in my blog.
I remember having this conversation with a guy, I had debated do i don’t I. But I as you wanted him to get the full picture of who I was, so with nervousness in mouth I told I had a blog, and on occasion I wrote about him. Not really knowing what to expect, but hoping like hell that it wasn’t the omg you blog reaction?! but in the end he was cool with it which I was really quite pleased about.