PQ 9.10 — Do I feel I have no expectation of privacy in my other relationships?

A chart labeled "A helpful Venn diagram." There is an orange circle on the left labeled "The Internet" and a green circle on the right labeled "privacy." They do not overlap whatsoever.
Image by Bernard Goldbach / CC BY

PQ 9.10 — Do I feel I have no expectation of privacy in my other relationships?

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I’ve written a bit about the importance of letting others have privacy in an earlier piece: Buttinski, #1 Metamour, or Compervert: Walking that Fine Line. As I wrote then:

While an overall atmosphere of transparency is a wonderful thing in polyamory (as it can promote understanding and build trust), there is such a thing as taking it too far. Some privacy can be very important for building intimacy in romantic relationships.

After all, some plants can’t handle full sun.

The last time I did a robust OkCupid sweep, I corresponded with a young man who apologized after one period of silence for taking so long, explaining that his girlfriend had to review and approve all outgoing messages to other partners, and she had been quite busy with professional obligations and hadn’t gotten around to it.

Granted, there weren’t any sparks to speak of (I just ended up giving the guy poly advice he asked for), and that probably would have died on its own, but I can’t imagine opening up with authentic vulnerability with such a chaperone structure in the picture.

And it’s not only bad for the relationship that’s under the microscope. It can be bad for the person peering through the lens. Indeed, I find it puts that supervising partner into an awkward position as well — one in which they’re chaperoning their partner’s other relationships. And I’m generally opposed to anything that turns a partner into a parent since I find that nothing strains relationships more reliably.

So it can be a delicate balance, titrating how much we share and when.

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This question did give me pause, however. Because I’m someone who writes about my relationships to a wide audience. Talk about no expectation of privacy!

It does help that the people I’ve dated recently have all known about my blog going in. And were familiar with how and what I write. They were actual readers. Still, it’s become part of my Standard New Relationship Talk.

Privacy When Dating a Writer?

As I told Ro, I get about equally nervous surrounding the “I’m a writer who writes primarily about my love life, and you will almost certainly be written about if we date” talk as I do about the STI and sexual health talk.

“That’s funny,” Ro mused. “Since both appear to be spreading.” Referring to my tendency to inspire those around me to write. And/or strong arm them into writing guest blog posts.

“I just want to make sure you know what you’re signing up for,” I said. “It’s been a problem in the past.” (Oddly never for a lover or an ex but a problem for friends and regarding this one post.)

“I think you do a good job of being compassionate when you describe problems with people,” she said. “It never feels like you are ranting about someone.”

She accepted the disclaimers. Without hesitation. As did CC, who considers one of his boyfriend-ly responsibilities to be helpful as a muse (he does a good job).

When I first started blogging, Skyspook gave me free rein to write whatever I wanted about him. “I try to live my life in such a way that if someone were to write about it, I wouldn’t be ashamed. And if I’m unhappy with how things are at any point in time, I do my best to get things back to  a place I feel good about.”

I think it’s an excellent way to live.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.

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