Too personal?

ssshThe other day, while having a Facebook conversation with my boyfriend while his phone was blocked, I happened to mention a comment that a fellow blogger had made on this post. I followed that up with “And now you know I blogged about you. But I suppose you guessed that already :-P”. The response was “No, I hadn’t guessed that :S”. “Is that bad?” I asked, thinking the :S face didn’t look positive. The rest of the conversation went like this:

J: Well, it is a bit of a private matter, don’t you think?
Me: I didn’t go into detail. But I can make those posts private now if you want.
Me: What do you think I blog about usually?
J: Not me?
Me: But you know I blog about you. I’ve told you I do.
J: Yes, sometimes. But I assume it’s not usually about my health or similarly private matters.
(At this point I should probably add that, while he knows all about my blog – including what it’s called and where it’s hosted – he chooses not to read it)
Me: I blog about my life. The fact that my boyfriend is in hospital in Turkey and I’m worried kind of has to do with my life.
J: Well yeah, it depends on how much detail you’d be divulging about me
Me: So I shouldn’t have mentioned it at all? I don’t know what you consider too much detail.
Me: You know I write about our relationship as well, right?
J: Well, I would say health is generally a sensitive area. So anything beyond “appendectomy” is pretty private I would think.

Ah. Well, I can’t say I did stop at the word appendectomy, to be honest After I’d explained what I wrote (basically that he’d called me at work to tell me he was getting his appendix out and then sent a text later to say the op had gone well), he responded with “well, that’s not too detailed then”. He then changed the subject, before saying that his colleague had arrived and he was going outside for a bit. He never did respond to the “You know I write about our relationship as well, right?” question. But the whole conversation got me thinking.

Am I too open on my blog? As I mentioned, Jan knows exactly how to find it and I’ve told him before that he’s welcome to read it. I believe that anyone I write this much about should have the opportunity to see what I’m saying about them. He’s never taken me up on it though – he says it’s my blog and he doesn’t want to censor it. And also that he assumes I “know how to handle it”, whatever that means, but he didn’t expect there to be anything about his operation on there. The fact that he then said what I had written is not too detailed wasn’t very reassuring. What did he think I had written, if not what I actually did? How much more detail would I have had to go into for it to be bad? And if he ever does decide to read my blog, what will he think of all the other posts that mention him? I mean, I’ve written about our sex life! And that wasn’t the first time I’d mentioned it either. I’ve also written about his utter inability to commit – to anything, not just me, and before that about the fact that he didn’t want to move in with me (which, of course, he since has).

Now I’m left wondering if any of the posts that mention him are not too personal. Or did he not respond to my pointing out that I blog about our relationship because he doesn’t care what I write about that? He knows I use my blog to get my feelings out and that my readers give me advice (because I have told him!). But does he realise how much detail I go into? And, the most important question, where do I go from here? Perhaps from now on I should stick to more generic posts, about baking and travel and the weirdness of Germans. But then what would I do to keep myself sane? Aargh, it’s a dilemma!

Over to you readers. Do you think my blog is too personal? Do I divulge too much about Jan? What next for Confuzzledom? Once again, I need your advice…


29 thoughts on “Too personal?

  1. If you knew he was reading your blog every day, would you still write what you write about him and your relationship? If the answer is yes, then you’re fine. I know not to share a thing about my husband because he would be uncomfortable having something on the internet about him, and for that very reason I have kept my maiden name on my Facebook account so nothing gets tied to him. Some people are more private than others.

    1. Until we had that conversation I would have said yes. I’ve always tried not to write anything that I wouldn’t want him reading. But then his reaction to me saying I’d written about him being in hospital made me wonder if what I think is acceptable maybe isn’t after all. I have told him in the past that I write about our relationship though and he’s always seemed fine with it, so maybe he’s just sensitive about his health, or things that are only about him rather than about us as a couple.

    2. I think this is pretty good advice. Blogging is always an interesting topic because while some people, like me, don’t mind if their life is online, while for others it can be really sensitive. You certainly should be able to express whatever you want on your blog, but when life involves other people, it gets complicated. I definitely think he should read though before getting sensitive 🙂

      1. Thanks for your input. Haha, yes – if he’s that bothered he should read it 😉 He has never seemed bothered that I blog about our relationship, so I think I’ll just carry on and maybe try harder to be vague about the precise details.

  2. I’ve had to ponder for a while on your question and have decided that I think it’s hard to say whether it is too personal or not. I enjoy reading all the details of people’s lives – happy, sad, funny, personal, impersonal, day to day events, special things etc etc – but I know that I wouldn’t share such personal information about myself, or my family (I don’t mean the stuff about appendix operations) because I don’t think they would like it, and I wouldn’t know where to begin writing very personal stuff about me!
    That’s not really very helpful/constructive, but it’s the best that I can come up with!

    1. I think most of what I write is personal information about me, but I can’t really talk about my feelings on being 30 and childless (for example) without mentioning Jan as well. He does know that I wrote about the time last year when I told him I would leave at the end of the year if I still felt our relationship wasn’t going anywhere. He hasn’t read the post, but I told him about it, and that my readers had given ne good advice/provided reassurance. He had no problem with that (which I think is MUCH more personal than “My boyfriend is getting his Appendix taken out in Turkey of all places), so I couldn’t understand why the mention of him having an operation was such a bad thing. People are confusing!

  3. It’s hard to pinpoint what is too much information, because it varies from person to person – as you’ve just discovered! I don’t think your blog is super-personal, just enough to make it interesting, actually. If you would be totally comfortable with Jan reading your blog and have told him it’s okay if he does, yet he never has, then I don’t think he can have any say about what you write If he does read it and then objects to some stuff you’ve written about him and your relationship, well, that’s a different story. But really, I think that unless he does that, you are perfectly within your rights to blog whatever you want about him.

    1. I was hoping you would omment, as probably the person who’s been reading my blog for the longest (and still reads). I’ve told him some of the things I’ve written about our relationship and he’s always seemed fine with it, which is why I was so surprised that me writing about his health bothered him. I would never write about his general health, but I didn’t think “My boyfriend is in hospital in Turkey of all places” was particularly personal. Neither did he, once he knew what I’d written.So I still don’t know what he *thought* I was going to say that’s so bad.

  4. I have never written about personal stuff like the state of our relationship but I do talk about his health from time to time; and occasionally I’ve written about something that has upset me/my family from the outside. I post a lot of photographs and stories, however, and some bloggers are not at all comfortable doing that.

    That’s what it comes down to – how much are you comfortable sharing? What if someone from your work or past life came across your blog – how would you feel about what they could read?

    Some bloggers need to use it to vent and ask advice. I think you have done that. That’s absolutely fine but if you’ve got a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach since that conversation, I would make those posts private right now 🙂

    Think about it the other way around – if Jan was blogging about HIS relationship with you, and the stuff that made him unhappy, how would you feel?

    One option is to have two blogs: one for the fun stuff, in which you share your photo and things, like you do now; and another, anonymous blog for the personal stuff. If you wanted the same readers, you could always email them privately and invite them.

    1. I know of two people from my “real” life who have read or still read my blog. My dad’s cousin still reads it quite often, and Jan’s sister used to read it. I thought she had stopped, but she did comment on one post recently. I used to have a link to my blog on facebook, but I took it down because I saw that people were coming via facebook but not saying anything. Only people I am friends with could see the link, and I had no problem with them reading it but I would prefer for them to tell me they’re reading, not just do it on the sly!

      I rarely post photos of myself and NEVER of other people, but if anyone I know came across my blog it would instantly be obvious who I am (for a start, I use Jan’s and my real name – no surnames though and everyone else either gets an initial or I only use their first name if it’s so common that nobody will ever work out who they are – I know 6 Claires, for example!)

      I think I’d be glad if Jan blogged about how he feels about us, etc. I know he doesn’t have too many people he would talk to about these things either – being able to blog about it gives me a chance to express my feelings and clear my head for a while!

  5. I’ve only been reading for a short time, but I don’t get the feeling that you give too much information about him. But I do know what you mean, and I wonder if it’s somewhat a cultural thing when it comes to privacy and what that entails. Americans tend to be very open about things, whereas Germans tend to fear giving too much information because it’s giving up their privacy. (e.g. Google Street View. Enough said.) My German husband also has some different views about sharing than I do. But I do mention him a lot in my blog, because his life is (thankfully, as my husband, lol) very intertwined in mine. If Tobias was sick in the hospital, I would definitely write about it in my blog. I’d be worried sick about him. But still, the balance is tough sometimes. Contrary to Jan, Tobias does read my blog, and loves reading it. We’ve only had a few disagreements on whether or not I’ve posted too much information, but it still concerns me with the bigger life things that happen. It’s tricky, but I’m sure that if you keep communication open with Jan, you’ll find your way.

    1. Thank you for your input! I try not to go into too much detail about him, but as you pointed out, his life is very much intwined into mine. I blog about my life – and my relationship is part of that! I do try not to go into TOO much detail, but on the other hand if I’m too vague my readers won’t have a clue what I’m talking about!

  6. Daniel and I have had this exact conversation before (when I had a different blog, not A Beautiful Life). Maybe it’s a German thing? Although, Daniel’s biggest complaint is that I refer to him as ‘the boy’ instead of by name–he thinks it’s condescending. Moving forward, go with your gut, I’m sure your judgement on whether you should or shouldn’t post something is just fine. 🙂

    1. LOL, I alternate between calling Jan “the byofriend” and by his name. His siter once said she liked how I refer to him as the boyfriend because “It makes him seem mysterious” 😀

      Maybe it is a German thing?

  7. While I do think it’s possible to “overshare” in a blog, I wouldn’t say you’ve done such a thing. For the most part I try to keep mine light, but there have been a few times when I was really trying to sort through things (particularly a messy breakup), and I did post about it. Writing is absolutely a therapy and if you really don’t have anyone to talk to about things (for example, I was freshly broken up-with and new here in DE… didn’t know anyone), it really helps a lot just to get things off your chest. Like I said about the “negative comments” post you wrote earlier… it’s your blog and you can choose what to write in it. I would say if he really doesn’t read it, then he trusts you enough to use your discretion on what you write about him.

    1. Thank you!

      I do know people here, but there aren’t many that I would really call friends, and those that are are friends with Jan as well. I don’t think it’s fair to discuss certain things with people we both spend a lot of time with! Andthe people I know from back home are either too busy or they’ve started having kids etc. and we now have nothing in common. So I turn to my blog.

  8. I don’t think you’re oversharing, but then I tend to take a very open approach to blogging.

    That being said, it has been my experience that many Germans have very different sensibilities regarding personal privacy than us North American folk. They have no qualms whatsoever about sitting naked on a bench with thirty other people in the sauna, but one comment about their personal life is just too much sharing.

    As with everything, however, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. I’ve always used the “would I be embarassed if my niece read this?” guideline to judge my own posts for acceptable levels of oversharing. I usually ask people if they mind a mention in my posts before they go up, though. If Jan is more hesitant to embrace the bloggyness of it all, then you might need to rethink your sharing levels.

    By the way, if I had a significant other who had no interest in reading my blog it would frustrate me enormously. This observation is from experience- my last girlfriend didn’t like to read my posts, and it drove me nuts at first. It wasn’t disinterest in the content, though. She just thought it was weird to read stuff I was writing when I could just tell her about it. She did like for me to read them to her, though, and that became a nice way to spend time together.

  9. Well, I have been officially useless in blogland this week, I did read this earlier in the week, but I didn’t have enough of a brain left to comment it at the time! I’m playing saturday morning catch up today… I think as others have said, that what’s “too personal” for some if not personal at all to others, what some people are comfortable blogging about, other people would never dream of sharing etc. – blogging is a very personal thing and I think as long as you feel comfortable with what you post, that’s all you can go off. Personally, I don’t think you overshare, I think – like me – you sometimes use your blog as a time to air your thoughts, organise ideas and get some perspective/advice either just by getting it out there or from others, and I think as long as Jan knows about that – which he does – you don’t have anything to worry about.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I do! I think that’s also part of the reason he doesn’t want to read it – he knows I use it to get advice and he thinks if he read it I wouldn’t be as open and therefore the advice wouldn’t be as good.
      After reading all the different answers to this post, I think I’ll just carry on as I have been doing. I don’t get REALLY personal that often anyway.

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