Monday, July 17, 2006

Sneaking Around

After my last post on Friday (July 7), I hopped over to my sister's blog to check up on her adoption. She just got matched with a beautiful girl in Guatemala and had pictures up. I posted a comment on her blog and then mentioned the blog to my wife. She wanted the URL to my sister's blog so I emailed it to her. That was kind of funny because we were five feet apart on different computers. Meanwhile I'm happily surfing the web on my laptop when I look up into the angry face of my wife. She was angry to discover that I have a blog that she didn't know about. I realized she must have found it on my sister's blog so I hopped over there to see if my sister had linked to my blog. Nope. I'd ratted myself out by posting the comment with my blogger id. Duh.

Anyway, I was initially unrepentant about my wife's discovery. I started the blog as a place to anonymously post my thoughts and experiences as a way of venting, expressing my feelings, and working out some of the issues that I have in my life. I'd found other blogs useful and entertaining and figured that my mutterings might be useful to others too. Over time, several in-real-life (IRL) people have discovered my blog including my sister, a couple of friends, and now my wife. But I really didn't intend this to be a forum for sharing cuddly, what's going on with Bull types of stories. I knew that people that I know might be offended by some of the things that I write. I know that many Mormons would find my posts outrageous. I'm pretty sure that my parents would find my recollections of childhood and my upbringing disturbing. Basically, this blog contains some thoughts, feelings, and experiences that I've never felt comfortable sharing with other people. Perhaps it's foolish to put your inner feelings out in a very public forum like the internet, but even though it's public, it's also has an element on anonymity and I have found it nice to be able to put down my feelings and get feedback from whoever stumbles across this blog.

Apparently, my wife read my blog on Sunday and on Sunday evening she did a pretty good job of communicating the cause of her anger to me. And she really nailed a serious personality flaw that I have. The real problem is that I don't, and frankly, often can't express my feelings and fears openly to the people I love and care about. I have so much fear about the potential hurt feelings or potential conflict that I either bottle it up inside or I do things like this blog. I realize that this is pretty weak and cowardly. But it is also the way that life has taught me to cope. It has generally served me well in avoiding the worst of conflicts and avoiding fights, but the problem is that it also causes a distance and lack of true intimacy. It's something I need to be conscious about and work on. But, it will be seriously difficult. I envy people who are able to pour out their souls and let the chips fall where they may. But to me, feelings are dangerous things. Openess leaves me open to being wounded. I feel very exposed sharing my feelings and rather than accept the risks I stay closed.

One of my early posts was about the coffee brewer incident. The discovery of my new coffee brewer was a trigger that upset my wife. But I understand now that the bigger issue was the fact that I'd been drinking coffee for some time and had never told my wife. As I've left the church I've chosen to do things that are harmless to most people, but that are significant to Mormons. I stopped going to church. But I didn't tell my wife that I had decided to stop going and I didn't tell her the reasons. I just started sleeping in. When I started drinking coffee with my breakfast at McDonald's, I didn't share that decision and the conflicted feelings associated with it with my wife. When I first tried a Starbucks latte I didn't share the experience with my wife. I don't share with her the things that I read over on the RfM board or on the ExMo mailing list. I don't share the discussions I have with co-workers and friends about the Mormon church. I don't talk to her at all about religion or my feelings regarding religion. Part of the reason is because I don't think things should matter. But on the other hand, I know that they would matter to her and that these changes are things that she should be aware of.

Obviously, there are reasons why I've not shared. But, it is a troubling sign that our marriage has evolved to this place where we can't discuss these feelings and problems.

Hopefully, I can do a better job and stop sneaking around, get a pair, and start talking more about my feelings and experiences with my wife.

She clipped out a comic yesterday that had a pair of clams. One was saying to the other, "You really need to open up more."

BTW, since she may stop by and read this, Hi. Let's talk more, even if it hurts.


La said...

Aww...what a magnificent realization, Bull! I'm SO happy that you get it.

You should read my post from last week (An Essay), and see that you're not alone in your fear of vulnerability.


MattMan said...

This is very timely for me, Bull. It was just last Friday that I realized my blog wasn't so anonymous after all. Far from it. If I google "mattman mormon", the very first hit is my blog (!).

So I guess I'm also wondering where the chips will fall when (not if) my wife stumbles upon my secret blog life where I don't hold much back. For me it has been a matter of simply not feeling safe to share my real thoughts and feelings with her -- from being burned so badly and so many times in the past any time I have tried to do so.

In retrospect, it was a bad call on my part to go inward instead of sharing all. But somehow I don't think the outcome would be any different.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Sounds like your wife really knows and understands you... ;-)

Anonymous said...

You know, if you dont't feel safe sharing with your spouse, your marriage must be pretty weird.