Once upon a time, I kept an online journal. Back before blogs were a thing.
I never showed it to anyone. A few people know about it, but only because it’s how we met way back in the day when it was nowhere near socially acceptable to meet someone in person that you only knew from the internet. But it remains a big, fat, hidden thing. I never showed it to my ex-husband or any of my friends.
I wrote in it every day for 3 years, and then every so often after that. It is full of the mundane details of my day-to-day existence, but it also contains a look into my head during some of the most pivotal years of my life. It was anonymous and so I made little effort to sugar coat things. I wasn’t 100% honest. After a while when I had friends who read I thought more about how I presented myself, and there were things I’d hold back because I didn’t know how I felt or what I thought and I wasn’t ready to process it publicly.
But this blog? This is something else.
I still hold back. But pretty much everything else is different. I can’t write about people in a negative light. I’m certainly not anonymous. I try to write less about the daily details and more about what’s going on in my head as days and weeks pass.
Oh, and there’s the fact that nearly everyone who knows me knows about my blog.
I used my real name before it was an acceptable thing to do because I saw little value in hiding it. Eventually it would be found and I wanted to own it upfront.
It was easy to think that way when I wasn’t single.
Now I am dating and the blog is one of those things that’s going to come up sooner or later. Preferably sooner. Because it’s a pretty significant part of my life and I try to be open about who I am. If I feel uncomfortable sharing my blog after a couple dates, it’s probably a sign that I’m not really comfortable with this person.
I recently went out with a guy a few times. I liked him. I thought he had the most potential of anyone I’ve been out with in over a year. And, of course, the blog came out. Even if I’d wanted to hide it, it was during my little viral spike so it was heavily visible. He called it “Pandora’s blog.” He asked how I felt about him reading it and I was honest.
“There’s nothing there I wouldn’t want you to see,” I said. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things there that would make you uncomfortable. There’s several years of my marriage. There’s a lot about my kids. Ultimately it’s a mostly unfiltered look inside my head for the last 7 years. That’s a really long time. It’s a lot of information. And I get that it can be kind of terrifying to have access to all that.”
I know he looked at the blog but I don’t know how much he read. I didn’t get a chance to ask because he broke it off before it could really get started. I don’t know why exactly, and I have no reason to suspect the blog as the culprit. But it’s not impossible.
Dating has me a bit beat down, I admit. And knowing that any time I think there’s potential with someone I have to present them with my Pandora’s Box and let them decide how they want to handle it is not something I really enjoy. Some people are completely okay with it and very comfortable. It’s not like it’s been a disaster over and over again. But it’s always a thing.
I am honestly kind of flummoxed at how unsuccessful dating has been.
They say people can’t change, but I definitely have.
When I was in college, I had a relationship with every single guy who asked me out with one exception. (And I still went on two or three dates with him.) Same in grad school, again with the one exception. After law school and my religious crisis, when I started dating for real, I ended up making a boyfriend out of the second guy I went out with. And after we broke up, my ex-husband was only the third guy I’d gone out with.
And yet, here I am, months and months of dates with only one extremely-brief semi-relationship to show for it. It is almost always me who puts a stop to it. If the guy ends it, it’s usually just because he beat me to it.
I don’t know what it is and why it’s so hard and why I can’t seem to find a spark anywhere.
The blog certainly isn’t responsible for holding me back. Dating also makes terrible blog fodder because I keep repeating the experience of meeting nice guys whose company I enjoy but who don’t get me excited in the ways I really want to be. It’s a boring story, and it just keeps repeating over and over again.
Plus, writing about dating means there’s even more sketchy stuff that will make some future guy uncomfortable when he decides to sit down and go through my archives because he’s thinking about getting serious.
I’m feeling a little cursed, honestly. I don’t believe in that whole you-find-someone-at-the-right-time thing. I found plenty of people at the wrong time. And when it comes to how much it could add to my happiness, well there haven’t been many opportunities better than right now.
I guess it does all save me from one thing: figuring out what to write about my first real relationship. Looks like I’ll have plenty of time before I cross that bridge.