There’s a Reason Why So Many Dating Bloggers Are Single

When I first read Jimmy’s post questioning whether Twitter had become the new relationship killer I said aloud, “Yes.” After some thought I realized that that’s not totally accurate. Like the old slogan for gun control goes, social media does not kill relationships. People kill relationships. Social Media is just one weapon that enables us to do so.

Due to my own self-focus and emotional immaturity, I never gave much thought to what sharing the inner workings of my personal life on my dating blog could do to a relationship. There were one or two very Good Men that I lost by spread eagling myself on the a blog. I said what so many bloggers say. “The right person will understand and support my writing.” Not so oddly enough, that guy never seemed to appear. I had met a lot of men during this time. Most punched out the minute they were discussed on my blog. I had actually deluded myself into believing that they either would never read it or, get this, be flattered. The ones that did get a vicarious thrill from being mentioned on a popular blog stayed around far longer than they should, compounding my dependency on oversharing.

That’s another, more personal, downside of discussing your private life publicly. You make yourself so vulnerable and raw that you’re spoon-feeding people—with not so great intentions—ammunition to use against you. Let me assure you that when that happens, and you finally connect the dots like Chazz Palminteri did in The Usual Suspects, you hate yourself for being so desperate to believe.

I’m not sure how women feel about being discussed on a blog or via Twitter or Facebook. But I do know how many men feel. Unsettled.  Afraid.

Violated.

That’s not the type of vulnerability that enhances a relationship. That’s the type that kills it. Whether it’s anonymous or not, few men want to be subjected to criticism from a bunch of avatars. As I said to Jimmy, it’s even worse for some women. The typical dating or relationship blog audience is heavily comprised of other females. It’s one thing for us to know a man might be talking about us with his guy friends. The thought of him sharing anything too personal with a female friend causes some of us a much deeper sense of shame and betrayal.

The point of a relationship is to have each other’s back. If you’re throwing your partner under the bus every other day via Social Media, even good naturedly, you’re chipping away at the trust and intimacy that you and they have built. There are not many men who will willingly participate in such a relationship. What men look for when choosing a partner, among other things, is whether or not that woman is “safe.” Is she someone with whom he can let down his guard without judgment and be met with nurturing and support? If she’s someone who runs to the Internet to broadcast her disappointments and frustrations, she’s considered by many men to be high risk.

There’s a reason why many dating bloggers are single and appear to live some sort of Groundhog Day inspired life, reliving every date over and over again and never getting past a certain point. It’s just a series of dramas and conflict and faux introspection. Self-awareness is non-existent.  There’s little room for growth or genuine introspection when you immerse yourself in an echo chamber.  Social Media has allowed us to live as one-dimensional characters in a reality TV show.  When you have an audience of people agreeing with you, you tend to believe the narrative that you have created in your head. Only that storyline rarely reflects real life. Not only do your readers or followers concur with your observations and updates, but some also encourage you to continue deluding yourself for their personal enjoyment.

Something else I never considered when I was in full-on oversharing mode was that  everything I said and everyone with whom I communicated was public. Shocking, right? What seemed innocent to me could be perceived as a threat. Such as “twirting” (twitter flirting) with the opposite sex. In the moment, you don’t think about who is watching. But if any of you have dated someone who asked you who that person was who was frequently liking your statuses or posting on your wall, you quickly realize that you have no control over how someone interprets these public conversations. If you don’t get a hold of it, those tiny things can spiral out of control.

In my opinion, the greatest impact that Social Media has had on relationships is that it has redefined intimacy and enabled our self-obsession. The line between personal and private has been blurred. It’s difficult to care if what you say in a Tweet bothers your partner when all you can think about is getting Re-tweeted or Liked. What used to be considered somewhat sacred is now frequently used for fodder.

It’s such a simple concept that it’s baffling how we can even try to argue it. Ready? Wait for it …

Some things are private.

Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the cornerstones of emotional intimacy. That means keeping certain things off line.

—Photo Victor1558/Flickr

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About Moxie

Moxie is a writer and entrepreneur who lives in Manhattan. Her website, AndThatsWhyYoureSingle.com, not only offers social events and teleclasses for single professionals but also provides compelling, thought provoking commentary on the ever rapidly changing dating landscape. A leader in the dating niche for almost 7 years, she offers the thought-leadership of Steve Jobs, the provocative opinions of Madonna and the wit of Kathy Griffin. Follow her on Twitter @ATWYSBlog.

Comments

  1. I am so totally realizing that some things need to be kept private and off-line.

    The days of privacy are gone, but it’s up to me to set my own boundaries on how far
    I will go to share my private life in stories that I write, and it’s a very personal decision
    for me, but one that I take very seriously.

    Thanks for your article. Enjoyed it.

  2. It sound like something that elementary school kids do. I have never been a fan, do not have a twitter or face book account.

  3. A guy I knew in 8th grade said he was going to become a writer when he grew up…I asked if he meant journalism….he said “no”….I think he said he wanted to be a novelist….At the time I didn’t realize what that meant when we became friends and went on 2 dates (ice skating and a movie)….I realized I didn’t really like him and said “no” when he asked to “go steady”….plus I felt that he was bragging to everyone that we were “going out” when I felt that we were just friends….

    3 decades later, I found out at reunion that he did become a writer and wrote a memoir about growing up….some girls (including me!) were included in his narcissistic, mean and Machiavellian memoir ….Awful! (Thank goodness the book is only selling for 1 cent on Amazon!)….Needless to say, I prefer a guy who does not overshare and is DISCREET!!

  4. Great piece and plenty here that I have learned the hard way.
    Radical honesty is a the core of good writing. But in memoir the first rule of goodness is: above all do no harm.

  5. I am skeptical of the notion that blogging, writing, or talking openly about one’s sexual and/or romantic life is a relationship-killer.

    I’ve been talking about my sex and relationship life, often in detail, online since 1993, and it has not been my experience at all that doing this is something that will chase away romantic partners. Rather, just the opposite; I am polyamorous and am currently in a number of long-term, stable relationships.

    I think there’s something else at work; namely, it’s not what you say so much as how you say it. You can talk about sex and relationships openly and honestly, and still do it with compassion and with respect toward your partners.

    I’ve seen a lot of sex bloggers fall short on that measure. When you first start blogging about sex, especially if you’re unaccustomed to having the freedom to be able to talk openly about personal subjects, there can be an impulse to treat it like the proverbial kid in the candy store; how many blog posts have we seen where a blogger has sex with a partner and then writes about how the sex was meh, even though there was this one bit where the person did that amazing thing with their tongue…but on the whole, you really wish that person could do the Monkey With Lotus Blossom and Chainsaw thing as well as that other person you broke up with last year?

    Writing something like that isn’t really terribly compassionate. It doesn’t make last night’s partner feel cherished and respected. That, in my experience, is what matters, far more than what details of the sexual encounter were revealed. People like being made to feel respected and cherished by their partners; they don’t like being made to feel like gossip fodder. The particular details of what’s discussed are less important.

    You can talk about anything–food, going to the movies, sharing a vacation–in a way that makes the person you did it with feel like nothing more than fodder for a juicy blog post, and that’s likely to scare folks off, even if not a single “private” detail is revealed.

    • I think there’s something else at work; namely, it’s not what you say so much as how you say it.

      Absolutely. That’s an important distinction that I tried to make in the piece. I submitted a longer version, where I discussed my relationship and how I introduced the writing and handled the public versus private issue as the relationship progressed. That part had been edited out for length purposes.

      It is all about the context, more so than the content.

      Many bloggers – myself included – use or have used their blogs as “selling points.” They think that all the dates/sex they’ve had or their opinions about sex and basically how different they are sets them apart from others. That’s why bloggers often say that they “accidentally” revealed their blog to someone. It wasn’t an accident. They wanted that person to read it because the persona they’ve created online – to them – is far more appealing than their real life persona.

      there can be an impulse to treat it like the proverbial kid in the candy store; how many blog posts have we seen where a blogger has sex with a partner and then writes about how the sex was meh, even though there was this one bit where the person did that amazing thing with their tongue…but on the whole, you really wish that person could do the Monkey With Lotus Blossom and Chainsaw thing as well as that other person you broke up with last year?

      The greatest mistake we bloggers make is falling in to a habit of using false bravado. We do it, and I’m spitballing here, to rationalize or justify why nothing works out. Most bloggers want everybody to believe that they were the one to walk away first. When really, the other person just stopped engaging and the blogger had no other choice but to take their toys and go home.

      You can talk about anything–food, going to the movies, sharing a vacation–in a way that makes the person you did it with feel like nothing more than fodder for a juicy blog post, and that’s likely to scare folks off, even if not a single “private” detail is revealed.

      Exactly. When you start to dehumanize and objectify people, that’s when you go down the wrong road. That’s when potential dates get concerned. It’s not what you’re sharing, it’s the reason behind why you’re sharing it that concerns them as well as the possible lack of boundaries. Your average person on Match.com or OKCupid or that you met at a party is not going to get why you feel the need to broadcast all your exploits. We tend to assume that because we have taken to social media, every has. And that’s not the case.

    • hey there says:

      Typical anecdotal rebuttal. It is one of the most common fallacies online.
      Here’s how it goes: someone wrote an article, establishing certain observations, experiences or consequences of certain actions. Someone comes out with a rebuttal, based SOLELY on their own experience, or on the experience of someone they know, and this person expects us to take that as a legitimate rebuttal to whatever it is that was written in the article.
      Well, the truth is, if you look for anecdotes you will always find them. But for all intents and purposes, they are useless rebuttals.

  6. Like the old slogan for gun control goes, social media does not kill relationships. People kill relationships. Social Media is just one weapon that enables us to do so.
    For some reason when I got to this (but before reading the slogan you did use) I thought, “If social media is outlawed then only outlaws will have social media?”.

  7. I have noticed that many bloggers seem to lack a certain self-awareness. They apparently don’t read past posts and can’t see how the decisions they made led them to still be single in their thirties.

    I’m trying to not fall into that trap. I use my blog to get outside opinions on my life, as well as improve my writing and keep my life in perspective by keeping a record of how its going. I blog under a fake name and haven’t given anyone I know that link to the blog. If anyone asks, I’ll never admit that it’s me.

    I think sharing a little is okay if you keep the blog anonymous and use the blog to more accurately see who you are.

  8. Wonderful post. “I’m not sure how women feel about being discussed on a blog or via Twitter or Facebook. But I do know how many men feel. Unsettled. Afraid.” Well, To me, as a female, it also makes me feel Unsettled. Afraid.

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