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?