Among the many things that I have learned I am just supposed to know are boundaries on discretion and secrecy. I like to think I am an open book. I don’t have an awful lot that I am ashamed of or particularly secret about. I like to own up to my mistakes (not that there are many of THOSE, of course!) and my snap judgments (ditto, right?). I guess I am a bit of a gossip whore, not because I like juicy secrets (although I suppose I do) but because I really want to know what is going on with people in and around my little circle.
My wife has told me that she expects me to guard her secrets. She said that we should have confidentiality like when we talk from the therapist’s couch. She should be able to trust that she can tell me something and that I won’t go telling everyone her business. She is big into secrets and what is whose business.
And I can see her point, but I don’t just listen to the things she tells me and then go blabbing all of that stuff to everyone. I do talk about things that are happening to her because things that happen to her can have a big effect on me. If a girlfriend has a problem with a boyfriend, that usually doesn’t involve me as much as my wife having something going on with her boyfriend. If my wife is upset, I have empathy and sympathy, and I tend to talk about that. When her happiness is lacking, that affects my happiness, and I tend to talk about that, too. But she’s afraid that I just spill everything to anyone, and she thinks “that’s nobody’s business.” I have a difficult time deciding what is business and what is “business.”
I have a girlfriend who considers herself to be a “very private person.” I know that she, too, worries about what I tell people, notably, my wife. I try to be respectful of everyone’s privacy. Then again, I am talking about them here, and they know who they are. And, I’m sure, each of them hopes that you, the reader, don’t know who any of them are.
I love hearing juicy details and sexy stories and post-date debriefs. I am very excited when I hear about my partners’ raunchy adventures. Some of them like to hear mine, some of them don’t. Some of them don’t really care what I tell about them, some don’t want me to tell anyone anything. I find it really hard to tell the difference sometimes.
If I was at a girlfriend’s house taking care of her because she was sick, then came home and comforted my wife because she had a fight with her boyfriend, and then go see another girlfriend, how can I not say what I was doing when she asks me how my day went? I don’t want to hide anything from anyone, but the girlfriend doesn’t want people knowing she is sick and the wife doesn’t want people knowing that she argued with her boyfriend.
I don’t understand why that is. I don’t have much that I would like people not to talk about, even the embarrassing stuff. For instance, I had a real Chris Farley moment while having a date the other night. I cracked her toilet seat. Yep. “Coulda done without that.” I really don’t expect her not to tell anyone about that. While it may have been a little embarrassing, it happened, and it was funny. Everyone knows I have some girth, and I leaned over funny on an old toilet seat, and, crack! Hilarity. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was already featured on MSNBC.
If there is something that I want, for some reason, to be kept confidential, I’ll say something along the lines of, “don’t tell anyone.” My wife says that she is not used to having to frame our talks in that way, and now doesn’t want to tell me stuff because she has to figure out if what she tells me can come back to bite her in any possible way, so now she can’t tell me anything until she has fully thought about the consequences of her not telling me not to tell anyone.
I am not a blabber mouth, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone’s privacy or insensitive to anyone’s feelings. Again, I think that I only share stuff that is happening around me. But I fully admit that I do not know the boundaries around what is ok to share and what I need to keep in the vault. I don’t always know when to zip it, lock it, and put it in my pocket. I guess I am more of a whistleblower than a super spy. But I mean well. Really!