A friend of mine recently got into a serious relationship with a man she met online. He seems to be really good to and for her. Prior to him were a string of less than wonderful guys. Some played games, some were immature, some were users. At every turn she kept her close friends updated on the turns and dips and ups and downs. When she met this guy, though, she didn't tell anyone. In fact, she had been visiting me the weekend of her first date with him and didn't mention that the real reason she was leaving earlier than planned was because of him. She called me after the date to spill the beans. She told me that she hadn't told anyone about him because she was afraid it would be another bust and she just couldn't deal with having to talk all her friends through another one of those. I completely understood. I've told her (and several other friends) "don't be surprised if the first time you find out I'm in a relationship is when you get an invite to a wedding..."

I've pretty much walked my friends through many my relationships, especially the one with J. It started because I was in high school and that's what you do in high school. You lay up on the phone late at night telling your girlfriends all the sordid details (funny how when you get older the only person you want to be on the phone with late like that is your booski...). Since my relationship with J started in high school as we moved to college, my friends still wanted to know everything and my new friends started to want to know all about the train wreck, too and because I needed to vent, I was more than happy to oblige.

Towards the end, I started to keep details to myself because I began to feel that some of my friends were using my life -- which as it related to J had gotten super hard and troubling -- as entertainment. I felt like some of them would call me just to hear the latest, as if I was their favorite weekly television show and it bothered me. But I still had that nagging need to get out what was going on and so while there were some details I kept to myself, I still continued to talk a lot about it.

In the years after the relationship ended, I thought a lot about my part in the implosion. Not talking to J about my feelings was my part. Even when he didn't want to, I should've tried instead of letting things build the way I did. I also needed the support of my friends through it all and unfortunately because the only thing they ever heard from me were negative things they were completely unsympathetic to him and as an extension, unsympathetic to the relationship. "Just leave" was all I ever heard and even though it was right, it wasn't what I was searching for.

I'm actually a pretty private person. I don't enjoy having a whole lot of folks in my business. Interestingly, the main reason I don't like it is because I hate for people to make assumptions or draw conclusions. This is ironic because the lack of information I give has actually caused assumptions and misinformation about my personal business to run rampant. This is a digression.

Since then, I've vowed to keep my cards closer and tighter. From time to time I've had slip ups -- sharing something with a friend about a new guy or an interest only to realize that was too much, but I note it and do better moving forward. I don't need my friends to meet new folks all quickly. I want a minute to get to know them myself before we jump into meeting friends. Plus, meeting my friends is akin to meeting my family (ftr: my family, God love 'em -- He knows I do, is quite the adventure. My fiancee, or the guy I wanted to be my fiancee would meet them. Other than my mom and maybe a cousin or two, that's it. Too much prep work is involved otherwise, and that's why my friends take that role) and there's no sense in bringing in someone who might not make it through the month.

All of this brings me back to here. This place. I've mentioned one or two guys offhandedly (well, except for this guy who got two posts, but that was just... that was a mess). How much is too much information on a blog? I used to blog about me and J on a site that maybe a handful of people knew about and he hated it. We had several fights as a result and so I didn't blog about us anymore, except for in the most cryptic of ways and of course that was when things were pretty much over.

I deal with things by talking them out. In argument style terms, I'm the aggressor. In an argument with a loved one, I want to keep fighting until we get it out. I seem to attract avoiders who just want to leave it alone until everyone cools off. In order to respect that, I go to my friends or Microsoft Word to process things. I've written (make that started) several short stories just because I needed to work out an entire situation surrounding one major event. So in the firestorm that can be a relationship, in all the life lessons you learn when you're trying to be with somebody while trying to still be your own body, how transparent is too transparent when being private is important to me?

Some of my favorite bloggers have the ability to take personal situations and put them into story form and share major life lessons through that. Recently on twitter a couple of those folks talked a little bit about the consequences in their private lives, of doing that. Including upsetting their significant others. I guess it's all in why you do what you do. I am big on intent, after all.

Ultimately, I'm probably just going to have to cross that bridge when I get to it. But I do know that I want to really know my significant other before I get to talking about anything beyond his first name with my friends and I want to be very cognizant of taking my concerns and problems about him to him first -- knowing that it won't always be easy (though, if he knows me the way I hope he will, he'll know that he should do his best to make that easy) but that it will be worth it.

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