Turns out that for some women I meet, it is a problem and in at least one instance, a show-stopper. And yet when I read through what I have written here on GoFatherhood, the most personal of my blogs, I don’t think I’m violating anyone’s privacy or sharing potentially embarrassing situations with you, my dear readers. Perhaps I’m blinded to the realities of the situation because blogging, writing and journaling are such a natural part of my life and have been for as long as I can remember (well, the writing part, at least).
It works both ways, however, because I find that if I share this blog with someone before we meet, they have a chance to learn a fair bit about what adventures I have, my relationship with my children, and the experiences I’ve had as a single parent and a single dad in Colorado. For better or worse. 🙂
It’s a tricky balance because to me dating is about trying to find someone with whom you can share your life – and their life – but without having to significantly change to become aligned and on the same joint path. If I have to make major changes to fit into their life or vice versa, odds are good it’s actually not a good match and those overt differences will eventually undermine whatever relationship we could build. I know that from my divorce: once I got over the dark phase of living alone half the time, I realized just how many of my personal interests I’d cast aside in the interest of a harmonious family life. The biggest example is my abiding interest in the cinema. When married, I’d barely see any movies in the theater, now I’m a professional film critic. (see DaveOnFilm if you’re curious to know more about that side of my life)
I think a lot of couples make a great mistake by losing too much of their individual identities in the desire to be a happy couple with a new merged identity. I’ll be blunt: I don’t want to merge my identity with someone else and lose my individuality. Why? Because I’m attracted to the other person because of who they are, not because of who they could be or could become, and hopefully vice-versa. I think that’s a critical mark of maturation in relationships, actually.
Look at the media message: the cultural myth of the young woman helping the boy grow up into a man through accepting the responsibilities of a marriage and, eventually, children. Don’t worry, I won’t get started on the ridiculous and inaccurate gender bias underlying that mythic cultural story here, but really?
My point is that I respect this particular woman for reading my blog, seeing what I post on Facebook, etc, and deciding that she wasn’t comfortable with my level of candor in the online world. Then sharing that with me. No judgment, no worries, just two ships that turn out to not be passing particularly closely in that proverbial night.
I’m sure I am not alone, and for years I’ve seen friends and colleagues share often painfully intimate parts of their lives in the online world and I’ve always wondered when enough turns out to be too much, or way, way too much. I can remember years ago when my then-married, now divorced friends Chris and Ponzi would post their individual sides of an argument on their blogs and I’d be extraordinarily uncomfortable about the bright public spotlight they were shining on their private lives.
Every time I talk about writing a parenting blog, people invariably ask me “how do you draw the line between public and private? How do your kids feel about your blog?”
The answer is that I try to share what I find interesting without violating their – or anyone’s – privacy. When my son has a problem with another boy, when my daughter has an issue with her boyfriend, when my ex sends me a vitriolic email message, those I don’t share. But when I have an experience I think can be informative or beneficial for others or want to ask the greater online community for advice or alternative perspectives on a situation, that’s when I share it here on GoFatherhood.
What’s your take? Do I make you uncomfortable with my revelations and the topics I explore here on the site and elsewhere in my social media galaxy? If you were someone who was considering asking me out for a drink or a movie, would my rambling commentaries make you feel anxious and concerned that I’d violate our privacy, or do you think I have sufficient discretion to avoid the problem?