The Weirdness of Vulnerability [NSFW]

My husband read my blog.

A portrait of husband? Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

There was no snooping or dramatic blow-up or anything like that. He knew about the blog from the beginning because I told him. Knew how to find it. He certainly wasn’t thrilled about the blog because he’s a very private person, but it’s not like he could do anything about it. But he never read it, I assumed out of lack of interest. And then today, I was planning to show him one particular post because it came up in conversation, and he went and read it himself. Like any other random stranger on the internet. That post and then some more, including some of the more damning stuff. Honestly, none of it’s a surprise. None of the unflattering shit here about me, him, or our marriage is anything that hasn’t already come up in argument.

Not a portrait of my blog. All this shit’s been said already. Trust me. Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Still…

I guess it would have been smarter to write this post in bad French too, but I can barely translate my current feelings into English, let alone into a language I don’t speak.

***

I feel strange, for lack of better word. He had as much right to read this blog as anyone else on the internet. To tell the truth, I felt hurt when I thought he didn’t have enough interest to bother reading my blog in the first place. I mean, if I had a love interest who wrote a blog, I would have memorized the whole blog archives!

But now, I feel very weird. Like vulnerable and disarmed. It’s this odd fluttery feeling. I can’t tell if it feels good or bad.

***

Vulnerability feels like a theme of sorts. The last counseling appointment was odd. Husband came to ask about one incredibly specific baby step to solve what he thought was “The Main Problem” in our relationship; I came to say that Husband’s concept of “The Main Problem” wasn’t even accurate and that we actually needed to address Three Different Major Problems and that Husband’s plan to solve Husband’s idea of “The Main Problem” was never going to work because it wasn’t even the right problem. We were already arguing about this on the drive to counseling, and I had prepared a mental list of Even More Things Husband Was Extremely Wrong About to tell the couple’s therapist. And then I don’t know what the hell happened during that appointment, but I left feeling weirdly disarmed and vulnerable.

Then, completely unrelated to the Three Major Problems, (and underlining that to make that super clear in case Husband is still reading this), it dawned on me that I really never made the connection between vulnerability and intimacy. I realized that I have always thought of sex in practical, functional, transactional ways. I thought you had sex because it was fun, because you wanted an orgasm or because you wanted to give your partner an orgasm, or because you wanted to have a baby, or even just a story to tell your girlfriends (in college, I honestly thought this was the primary motivation for sexual activity). Sure, you had to really like and really trust the other person and sure, it took some amount of vulnerability to get naked. But that’s why there’s darkness, blankets, and distraction (eg. doing pleasant things to your partner’s penis to distract him) to get over the self-conscious of being naked. Anyway, it’s pretty weird to suddenly realize in my late thirties, after this many years of sexual experiences and marriage, that I completely missed the point that sex was supposed to be about being vulnerable and building emotional intimacy. This revelation feels incredibly weird.

***

I’ll stop now. If Husband didn’t want kill me after reading my blog before, he will after reading this post. (Not really. He’s actually a very reasonable, gentle, and non-violent person. I’m not in danger.)

I haven’t quite decided what to do about this blog. I started taking down some more damning stuff. Haven’t decided if I’ll stealth-edit and repost or not. Honestly, the original goal of this blog was actually good content tangentially-related to the Jewish world, not life update / complaining shit. Perhaps this will be good motivation.

I’m not quite sure what to write now. Image by luxstorm from Pixabay

***

Update:

I decided to ask Husband what he thought of my blog.

JYP: Are you mad at me?

Husband: No. I get that you excerpted things and changed things for the blog. I don’t mind. I don’t even care if your commenters think I’m a jerk because I know the truth. These people don’t know me.

This cheeky response made me want to repost the more damning stuff so that Husband would read my inner thoughts on our marriage and realize that no, all is not fine and he is not right and not blameless.

JYP: Ok, so that conversation I quoted did not take place exactly on that day, but it’s not like you didn’t say that. You totally did. Anyway, I defended you in the comments. And I write shit all the time that makes me look like the bad guy. Like when I took your Yom Kippur honor, I had readers who thought I was an asshole.

Husband: I don’t care. I thought you did a pretty good job of anonymizing. But [Kiruv Rabbi] would figure out it’s you from this post.

JYP: I didn’t give a location. I didn’t name the organization. I didn’t specify the parsha or the verse that he quoted. And honestly, if he finds this blog, figures out it’s me, and gets mad, I don’t really care. He really did tell me that stupid story and it was really dumb and insensitive of him, and I don’t feel the least bit bad about saying that.

Then I asked him:

JYP: Did you like my blog?

Husband: Yeah. I liked your post about Impossible Pork. And that poem about looking for God. And the one about traditions that don’t make any sense.

JYP: I had a feeling you’d appreciate that one. Actually, I think that scene actually happened in Arizona. The Vegas part of that trip was after Christmas. But “Vegas” always makes for a better poem so I changed it.

Finally, I asked him this:

JYP: Are you planning to troll me in the comments or something? Or are you going to start your own blog?

Husband: No.

***

What I didn’t ask was whether he planned to keep reading in a not-trolling way, either past posts or future ones. I didn’t ask because I’m not sure if I really want to know the answer.

I still don’t know what to write now.

43 comments

  1. Is it an omen or Oh, men when it seems like they come from a different species or maybe planet? I have a girlfriend who swears there has to be another sex that can blend the difference between the two we are aware of.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Weird indeed. My dearest doesn’t read anything I write. Mostly because he’s not interested and has his own agenda. Not sure how I feel about that. Hurt and relieved at the same time? He knows where to find me online . . . but never visits.
    Your honesty and vulnerability on your blog is admirable. Often our writing reveals stuff we didn’t know was there. It is so important to be real. Praying for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I took the lord’s name in vain extremely loudly when I read the first line of this post!!!!!!!!! I’m glad the world didn’t end. My fiance knows I have a blog–actually, what happened was I bought a plan for the blog to give me an incentive to start, so he knew all about that, but I didn’t actually start blogging until a whole year after I bought the plan because I was too shy. I didn’t tell him right away I was actually blogging. I was planning to when I felt ready. Then during the pandemic he asked me about blogging and I almost knocked my chair over when I stood up and screamed “HAVE YOU BEEN SPYING ON ME??” I guess he thought I was using the blog thing the whole time, though I’m still not 100% sure if he didn’t somehow look over my shoulder on the computer. But he cracks like an egg so I tend to believe he didn’t know. I felt so guilty not telling him. I prided myself on telling him everything but I think I got so wrapped up in an alternate life that I legit didn’t realize I was keeping a secret. I have begged him not to look for it, and he understands I need privacy from him/family in order to feel freedom in writing. I don’t say anything he doesn’t already know, he knows vaguely about people I communicate with, and I generally don’t write about him except to mention he exists and we go places. But you raise a good question about vulnerability–why am I too ashamed to fully share this part of me? Something for me to ponder. Anyway this is a very interesting development for you and perhaps it will lead to a deeper and more open communication between you and your husband. Sometimes it’s a blessing to have the bandaid ripped off and a crisis forced so we have to finally deal with the real issues.

    On a lighter note–there’s that stock photo I imagined!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I apologize for causing you to take the Lord’s name in vain! That definitely wasn’t my intent.
      Way in the beginning I asked my husband if he was going to read my blog and he said he wouldn’t to give me privacy. At the time, I thought he really just wasn’t interested (which was also true). But now I can better appreciate that privacy is a gift. That’s wonderful that your fiancé was so understanding.
      That said, I feel a lot better about things after having talked to Husband about it. There’s a bunch of conversational elements I left out, but we did bond over some of the content (admittedly not the more incriminating stuff). Also, the vulnerability feeling also wasn’t an entirely bad feeling – I haven’t quite found the words to describe it.
      Blogging in the is kind of a weird thing, balancing openness with the experience of interacting in the very unique world of blogging for which anyone outside of it is an outsider of sorts, however unintentionally.
      Yup – you described that stock photo perfectly!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. FWIW, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and ‘Husband’ never came across as anything but a nice guy to me.

    My wife doesn’t read my blog at all, as far as I know, which does make me sad, but what can you do? We have very different interests and do a lot of things separately from one another, for better and for worse.


    David

    Liked by 4 people

  5. You have a very different relationship than my wife and I do. Not only does she read my blog, she makes sure I post something everyday. I’m surprised about your late epiphany about intimacy and vulnerability. Lack of intimacy is certainly a problem for marriage together with a man’s perception of what the problems are versus a woman knowing what the problems are. A pure utilitarian view of sex from a woman is most any man’s dream. All that intimacy and feelings and vulnerability that women attach to sex can be such a bother from a male’s point-of-view.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, your relationship sounds a lot more functional and honest. For the most part, we still have honesty. Function is debatable.

      I did a poor job of explaining myself. I needed a certain level of emotional intimacy to even consider sex. But thinking of sex more in terms of practicality and function led me to approach it with almost a “what the least amount of vulnerability I need to show for this” mentality as opposed sex being a medium through which to be vulnerable and build emotional intimacy with a partner. The epiphany between that the latter mentality, the one I didn’t have, was arguably the point all along.

      I’m probably going to edit this part out because it doesn’t make any sense and/or take the whole post down at some point, but I wanted to respond to comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • On functional relationships, my wife and I are functional, but that doesn’t mean we don’t drive each other crazy because we do. She is slow and inefficient, so I am always having to help where with research, and computer issues that she causes herself, and issues with her school’s network, etc. I get really cranky about it at times, especially when she asks me to deal with problems at school, because the school can deal with it, as far as I’m concerned, but she tells me they don’t have anyone to help. AAaarrrgh! If you know what I mean. I deal with 20 whiny staff all day, I don’t like dealing with a whiny wife when I gent home. She also wants to tell me all about her day at work, what the kids are doing, etc. The last thing I want to do is talk about work when I get home. I love my job, but it’s kind of 24/7 as I get emails and calls from staff and clients all times of day and night wherever I am. The little I can leave it, it want to try ans forget about it, and I don really want to hear about her work, either. That seems to be a bit of difference between men and women in general it think.

        Like

        • I remember when our relationship challenges were more along the lines of merely “annoying but surmountable” as you described in your case. Like different schedules, different styles of unwinding, etc.
          I would no longer characterize any of the current major problems that way and I often question if our problems are surmountable (I have my doubts). I can’t go into further detail on this point.

          Liked by 1 person

        • No need for details. Sometimes differences become irreconcilable. Both partners have to want to change, and then there has to be change on both sides. Truly changing can be close to impossible.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Something about how your husband loved the post about Impossible Pork made me burst into laughter. “Yeah, there was that great post about Impossible Pork…” It was a mighty fine post! I still remember it! 😀

    Maybe you all are doing better than you realize! He wanted to read your blog, and that can only bring you closer together, I’d think!!

    I’ve always associated sex with intimacy! I guess it’s different for everyone! Huh. For me it would be a huge deal to do all that stuff you referenced about body parts! 😮 Anyway, I think vulnerability is good!! I sort of hope your husband keeps reading!

    I think your blog is very well-protected! I’d never guess your identity in a million years! Of course, I’m not a specific rabbi, but I think it’s all good from here!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, Husband is even more passionate about this kosher certification issue, specifically around the idea of Jewish authorities creating new stricter laws for no good reason, than I am. I summarized the conversation a lot, but actually, we got on a side tangent about Jewish law and the impact of being unnecessarily strict. Husband has strong opinions about this. If he were an internet troll, the comment section on that post would have gotten even more entertaining!

      I did a bad job of explaining the vulnerability/intimacy/sex thing. I need emotional intimacy to even consider sex. The gap was that I realized I had approached sex with a “what’s the least amount of vulnerability I need to have” mindset, vs. appreciating that sex could be a medium for being vulnerable and building more emotional intimacy. I’m not sure this is really making any sense or communicating anything other than needless TMI, so I might edit this out or take this post down.

      I think you’re right that vulnerability is good. It certainly feels weird though (albeit less weird after we talked about it, but still kind of weird).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Presume he won’t read it again so you can be your open self. If he does read it, accept you’ve created a new avenue to be heard unintimidated, or uninterrupted, not so much by him but your own personal restraints. I see it as no different than leaving little notes for him to find. Besides, he doesn’t seem insecure about your blog as you do about him reading it. Be blessed…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think most readers understand they’re getting only one side of the story. I’ve always felt fine deleting stuff, reposting it differently, whatever. You’re not obligated to keep posts up forever. Just remember though, the Wayback Machine grabs them randomly…

    Liked by 1 person

        • Everything depends on your goals and metrics for success though. If you had asked me say 15 years ago what would be my goals for my blog if I’d had one then, increased readership would have been #1 priority, no question. Now, I don’t actually know what my goals for this blog are, to be honest, but growing readership is not high on the list. Then again, this is also not the blog I would have written 15 years ago.

          What are your goals for your own blog?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Not in any particular order:

          1) a creative outlet
          2) outlet for my thoughts
          3) forum to share ideas with people I know (by sharing links to what I’ve written)
          4) online socialization with intelligent, kind people
          5) in the very long-run, potentially developing a platform with a large readership so that I could use it to sell any book that I happen to write

          Those are the first that come to mind… I’ll give it some more thought.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Totally get it. Vulnerability is difficult and scary, and it’s so awful to do in front of a party whom you hardly know and who may well not care. If my marriage ended, I don’t think I would bother trying to get married again. The process sounds so grueling and the likelihood of meeting someone I could trust enough seems so low.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think your honesty is refreshing and healthy, truly, and I think any partner would appreciate that. it’s a wonderful slate to start with if there’s anything that needs fixing. And to be honest, your husband comes across as a nice guy. The vulnerability feeling is a good thing too, I think, it’s growth, and growing into yourself. But that’s just my opinion ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with David. Although you have written about your marriage being in a bad place, I haven’t ever thought your husband was awful or that even you thought he was entirely to blame. Still I sympathise with your sudden vulnerability. It’s like if you’re in your underwear in a changeroom and then you suddenly start wondering about hidden cameras.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. you write this like it’s a diary and it’s obvious from the comments that ppl appreciate that. Frankly I find the real crux of any relationship ties back to “communication” … and genuine communication does make you vulnerable and leads to real intimacy!

    And if you can’t be both those with your husband then that’s too sad 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating 🙂
    My husband reads my blog sometimes. The only time it’s really bothered me has been when he’s said “that one needed a bit more work”. 😀 And occasionally I find that he’s read a bunch of things and not “liked” any of them. More worrying is that one of my kids has started reading my blog.
    But it means I do tend to self-censor a bit, and some topics I just don’t write about (like sex, exes, sex with exes…) so I’m thinking of starting a second blog and not telling him (or the kids) about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Yeah, not all criticism is appreciated!
      It’s been interesting to read about other bloggers’ approaches to privacy, loved ones reading their blogs, etc. I definitely hear you on the desire to start a second blog that your family doesn’t know about.

      Like

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