Thinking about blogging and being on-line, much as I haven't been lately, I wrote in response to something stumblingtaoest wrote about being judged on what he and his partner have been writing recently in their blogs as part of their poly-family breaks up and they're trying to pick up the pieces. Here's what I wrote, cleaned up a bit because I can:
I think I understand the point you’re making and try and bear it in mind where ever I read. There’s a tendency, especially via medium like a blog, to believe we know a person just from having read their daily writings. But even if they’re writing their true self, it’s at best only true for that moment.
P and I have experienced the other side of the looking glass of what you and Bridget are going through — neither one of us writes very much about problems our relationship has had over the course of its 12 years. And yet there have been problems its just we’re both quite introverted and when unhappy retreat into our own heads. But because the problems haven’t been written down though, they don’t exist on-line and we’re seen sometimes as having a frighteningly idealized existence and relationship. That’s a lot of pressure.
This was brought home rather starkly to me 6 or 7 years ago during a bad patch when I confided in a friend that I thought P and I might have reached the end (as it turned out we obviously hadn't reached the end, but rather an end) and they responded with "you can't. your relationship is the only thing giving me hope that I'll ever find someone."
She meant well. But ouch. No pressure there. Some fallout was that neither of us have felt great about writing real life stories for The Treehouse ever since, partly because we're both now conscious that it creates a falsely utopian view of our relationship. The other reason being the site needs a redesign and there's just been too much going on for P to find the time or energy for that project.
A good rule for life, I think, is to remember that no one knows what's going on in someone else's marriage (or sometimes even their own, come to think of it). And likewise, knowing someone via their writing is a long way from knowing everything about them.
Anyway, that's me on a soapbox.