Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is It OK to Have Secrets?

For the past 2 weeks, I've been wrestling with the thought of whether it's OK to keep some parts of your life separate from your significant other. I guess I've hit the point where I need some advice, so it's finally making it's way to a blog post.

To cut straight to the point: My girlfriend doesn't know I write this blog. She has no idea that I'm Pharmacy Mike or that Pharmacy Mike even exists. This blog has been a window into the inner workings of my mind. Therefore, in order to truly understand me, one would have to read my blog.

It's sad, but my readers know me better than my girlfriend does. My question is whether that's OK? If I'm in a committed relationship with this girl that someday might end up in marriage, am I obligated to tell her about this blog? Does she need to know?

Whether she needs to know or not is really the crux of my pondering. Do committed couples have to share every last details of their lives together? Should they be privy to their significant other's every thought and feeling? Or are there somethings that can be kept private in order to spare feelings?

I used to think that every person needs a little bit of privacy, but now I'm not so sure. It's not exactly like I'm overtly hiding anything from her. I've just never been comfortable divulging every thought that pops into my head. I usually don't speak without carefully considering the consequences of every word I might say. Moreover, every action I take is done so after great deliberation. Nothing I say or do is spontaneous. Nothing is unplanned.

I may say and do all the right things in this relationship, but sometimes I feel that I'm not being genuine. While it may not necessarily change my eventual action, I feel that the action is somehow less important than the inner monologue that leads up to that action. Without letting her in on what I'm thinking, I'm keeping her at an arm's distance. A big part of me thinks she deserves more honesty than that.

However, another part of me thinks that a lot of my thoughts and actions could be misinterpreted. For example, even though she knows about my ex-girlfriend and the basics about what happened, she doesn't quite understand the depth of my despair and how it took 4 years to be OK with everything that happened. Does she need to know that stuff?

I question where our relationship is heading, and what the next step will be. It bothers me that despite being together for almost a year now, she still has no plans or desire to move in with me any time in the near future. Moreover, even if we wanted to live together, I struggle with the logistics of our jobs being over an hour apart. I feel like we're both waiting for the "right time," but what if we never find the right time. Then we have to go and make the time.

I see that as a potential problem because I'm pretty much settled where I am. I own a condo and have a high paying job. Rationally, if one of us were to move, it shouldn't be me. However, how can I ask her to move here and be an hour away from work? Even though she doesn't really like her job and would like to find a new one, in this economy, how could I expect her to leave her job without another one lined up?

I have so many questions and concerns, but I feel like bringing them up will rock the boat and possibly ruin a good thing. Therefore, they remain mostly as an inner narrative. I act as positive as I can in order to mask my doubts. I do this to protect both of us, but am I actually doing more harm than good?

See, this blog is just one of the many things I keep to myself. Should I open up and share my innermost thoughts with this girl, or is it fine and maybe even normal to keep some things to myself? If I were to open up, I think it would make sense to let her know about this blog first. Of course, that brings to light a lot of things about my past that she'd probably rather not read. However, those things are part of who I am, and it would be nice to no longer have to hide from them. It could be liberating.

My question to my readers is simple: Should I let her know about this blog, or can I keep it to myself?


Anonymous said...

i don't see any problem with your blog, and you should let her know.

however, will you start censoring your writing knowing she'll be reading???

and i hate this phrase but, the past is the past. and since you clarify that you are completely over your ex (or are you?), then being open about this blog shouldn't turn in a bad thing.

Harry said...

In my opinion some things are better left to yourself. Even inside a relationship where you love and trust the other person with all your heart, it is nice and healthy to keep a small part of your world private. Some people like to go out with their pre-relationship friends once in a while, others do a sport/activity that their significant other doesn't like and others write blogs/diaries.

In my opinion showing her the blog would be a mistake not only because she might misunderstand some of the stuff you have written here, but also because you will have opened a door you can never close; the door to your most private inner thoughts. Everytime you write something (not only about your relationship) you will be wondering, "when she reads this, what will she think of me?".

Pharmacy Mike said...


Yes. If I told my girlfriend about this blog, I would start censoring my writing. Therefore, my blog would no longer be this sanctuary to express my private thoughts. I would write about things I'm OK with her knowing, and leave a lot unsaid. In that way, I think it wouldn't open the door to a more honest relationship. Instead, I might turn inward more without a place to brainstorm and vent.

The real reason I am currently debating over whether I should tell her about the blog is because I've met several people through this blog that I've gotten to know a little bit in real life. One of them I've never met in person and lives thousands of miles a way from me, but she calls me up every once in a while to talk or check in on things (if you're reading now, you know who you are).

How do I explain how I know this woman to my girlfriend without revealing my blog? A couple times, I'll be out with my girlfriend, and she'll call. Then, because there's no good rational explanation how I know this woman without disclosing the blog, I have to either lie about who's calling or make up a story about how I know her. Either way arouses suspicion.

It's my fault I suppose. This was supposed to be a completely anonymous blog, but I've lifted the veil for a very select few readers. Now my private blog world has a few intersections with my personal life, and there's no way I can explain those intersections without coming clean about the blog. It's the only way I can tell her the entire truth, and it kills me to have to hide these kind of things from her. Thoughts and feelings are one thing, but phone conversations with a woman from the other side of the country is another.

If I were to tell her about the blog, I'd probably start up a new one for non-pharmacy things, and this would just be my place to vent about work. Either that, or I set ground rules about contacting me. That's probably the better thing to do, but I'd still be hiding things.

AP@H said...

Tough question. Part of the reason why I hate Facebook is because before I knew it I had to censor everything I wrote because my family, colleagues, and random people "friends" would see what I wrote. I wanted it to be the place where I could vent about work, family, struggles, etc. I think that's the same thing that would happen if we let everyone into our blog world. Personally, I think that the fact that you may have to censor what you say is reason against telling your girlfriend about the blog. That being said, my husband knows about Facebook and my blog and to be honest, he doesn't care about either. I would never share more with blog readers than I would with my husband and so maybe that's why he trusts me enough not to care about it? I don't know, but my point is, maybe she won't really care about your blog if you tell her anyway. If I were in her shoes I guess I would feel betrayed if you really feel that she doesn't know the real you because she doesn't know about the blog. If you're at that point where you're both sharing "everything" with each other, than I guess you should share this with her. I just hope it doesn't change the way you write. That would suck.

KoR_Wraith said...

I like your idea of having two seperate blogs - one for work/pharmacy related stuff that you tell your girlfriend about and the other for 'other life' stuff that she doesn't know about. I think that's the only way to tick all the boxes.

Of course, if you're concerned about her reading your old posts then you'll have to abandon this blog and launch two entirely clean blogs.
Just make sure to tell us all where the new blogs are!

Anonymous said...

As a female, I would be extremely hurt if the guy that I was going to spend the rest of my life with could reveal his most innermost thoughts to complete strangers, but not be able to talk about it with me.

I wouldn't care if he didn't tell me about a blog he has, but the idea of him not being able to talk to me like he can with complete strangers will just reveal that this relationship is not long-term, but more of a "rebound" or a "fling."

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

I told my significant other about my pharmacy blog fairly early in our relationship simply because I felt bad about keeping that part of my life a secret from her. And my blog is more of a pure pharmacy blog and doesn't reveal a lot of personal information like yours does. But I still felt guilty about keeping things about me from her. She was privelaged to very personal and emotional stories regarding my past and my failed marriage not because I really wanted to share those things but because I wanted no secrets in our relationship. In a way I felt bad about dumping a lot of things about my past on her but more importantly I was very thankful that I didn't keep secrets from her. It turns out she was very supportive and she encourages me to continue to write my blog (or now I should says blogs). And she was thankful that I felt comfortable sharing with her.
If you really care about this person you will want to share your more personal thooughts and feelings with her. That is part of what it means to be in a serious relationship with just one person. And yes, that may change the course of this blog if you feel like you can't be completely open and honest with readers now that your significant other is among them. But you are making one assumption that I made the mistake of making: that your significant other will even read your blog. I think mine does read regularly but I'm not entirely sure if she is simply humoring me because she wants to support me or if she genuinly likes my blog.
Just ask yourself if she had this part of her life or a hobby or interest like writing a blog and didn't tell you about it how would you feel? This blog is a part of your life and if you really are committed to this person I would think you would want to reveal this part of your life. Part of being in a serious relationship is revealing the real person you are to the other half of the relationship. It makes you vulnerable but that is always the case when you give your heart to someone else in a relationship. Tell her about the blog and hope for the best. That is my advice for whatever that is worth!

Anonymous said...

Honesty is always the best policy. That being said, there's the tussle between whether what one is doing is good for this or that reason, or whether it's all okay.

My son opted to put his real name on his blog when he started out, revealing issues that might be considered the domain of the HIPPA police, but that's how he is. Smart, making mistakes, letting the 'world' know. He has his integrity to deal with issues of morality and whether what he says might affect the opinion of someone else about him.

I kinda wish I had gone that route to begin with instead of ending up with half a dozen aliases because I didn't want future employers or others to discredit the rationale I have for my opinions. Still, at one job, my co-workers have no idea of how much more liberal my opinions of politics than I let on at work. Which is being sort of hypocritical, I suppose.

I think the opinions you've expressed at this post are part of who you are, and unless your significant other discounts the wholeness of you, then she should be introduced to the topic of blog contributions, especially in the arena of pharmacy-related concerns, etc.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Pharmacy Mike,

You are asking for opinions, and ultimately you will do what feels right to you in this relationship. I can only offer my experience as a spouse of a blogger. My husband and I have a wonderful relationship. We've been married going on 12 years, and we both have common and separate interests. When we first met, I was very interested to know everything about him, and he very much liked his privacy in some areas of his life, but he was very open with his feelings for me. That made the difference, I learned to stop pushing him for information, and he learned to open up a little more.
Shortly after we married, he started a blog about his hobby. I did notice that he spent more time on the computer than he used to, and I asked him about it. The important thing for both of us at this point was trust. He told me he started a blog, he offered to let me read it, but prefaced this by saying it was mostly about his hobby and it was a way for him to connect with other people interested in the same thing.
I never read the blog, I recognized it as his "space". He asks me for my opinion on posts sometimes and occasionally he will ask me to read something before he posts it, but that's as far as I go. It takes a certain amount of trust, and understanding. He doesn't spend all his time on the computer, he puts our time first and that is the only thing I care about in regards to his blog. I think that would be the only thing that would cause a problem in our relationship. If he stopped coming to me with problems that concerned him and us, and if he let his blog consume our time together, that would throw up the red flags for me.
I love him, and I want to know when something is bothering him, I also want to know when something happens that concerns our lives together.
I don't know if this helps you in your situation, but I think you have some good veiwpoints from the previous posts. I hope for the best for you no matter what you decide. Everyone deserves to have someone that loves them.

Anonymous said...

(same anonymous from the first comment)

-- in that case, just keep it to yourself. in the end you'll might end up resenting her because you don't have that privacy.

and, it didn't occur to me, but my boyfriend knows very well about the diary i keep in my moleskin. he's never asked to me to share because he knows i'll definitely say no.

so i new opinion is -- keep it to yourself.

Anonymous said...

If you are thinking about marriage or moving in at some point soon if you do have that talk, and this is an important part of your life that identifies who you are, you should mention it. Not because you shouldn't have something that is yours, and exposing your whole self like this is uncomfortable to say the least. It's because it's so important in your life that you do know people through here, and people in your life know about it. If you ask them to lie and someone slips up or she finds out about it another way (which she will eventually) then you are automatically a liar who asked others to lie for you, and she will look for the bad in your blog when she does discover it, and that'll be the end. And yes, open up, a year isn't really that long to know someone to change their life for you, but if you at least make sure you are going in the right direction together and she does want that at some point (or doesn't), then you'll really know if there is a good thing to be ruined, or if it's a waste of time.

and after an initial scan to see what this is about and maybe show support, unless she's pissed at something, she probably won't be a regular reader.