To write or not to write?

Sex and the Capital City: The question of documenting one's relationship online

Sex and the Capital City: The question of documenting one's relationship online

Austin Photo Set: News_mikela_boyfriend column_feb 2013

Internet, it’s confession time. Many thought it would never happen: that my endless stream of bad dates would in fact never actually end, my freezer would be forever stocked with Lean Cuisines and I’d remain one of many whiney women stuck in single-dom. While a few of these things are still true (I’ll let you decide which ones), one thing has changed.

I’m in a relationship. A healthy, happy relationship. With a man. (I felt that needed clarification. I’m not celebrating a union with chocolate here, in true Cathy cartoon fashion.)

 What’s a dating columnist to do when she lands herself a boyfriend? 

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I began this column as a way to flex my cathartic muscles and document my dating tribulations. And now I find myself in a bit of a pickle. A great pickle, mind you, but a pickle nonetheless.

What’s a dating columnist to do when she lands herself a boyfriend?

As soon as my smitten-ness took shape, I began fielding questions from both my friends and his. “So what does this mean for your column?” I answered noncommittally, deciding to avoid addressing the issue, and sticking with the fluffier subjects you’ve seen as of late. But it’s time to face the music.

There are a number of ways to go here. Do I hold onto my candid card and continue to keep things real online? Do I document the crucial first steps in our budding relationship? A reader of the column prior to meeting me, the man mentioned above has given me the sign-off to do whatever my comfort level dictates. But if I pour out my heart and soul online, I’m essentially unlocking my diary for him (and all) to see.

Which is terrifying, but it really shouldn’t be. If you’re at the point in a relationship where you’re being truly honest, there really isn’t much that’s off the table. But there are some things you tell to girlfriends, and some things you tell to your boyfriend. The Internet is gender neutral, and not exactly cruelty-free.

The other issue? No one wants to read the good stuff. And all I’ve got is good stuff. (Gag me, I know. I’m gross now. Deal with it.) People want the horror stories, and that genre isn’t one I’m interested in these days.

Another option that many have suggested is to pull from the dating lives of my friends, and offer up the stories of my cohorts. And stories are there ever. But does that chisel away at my journalistic integrity? Things don’t flow onto the page as easily when it’s not personal, and I’m not looking to complicate matters here.

I’ve gotten used to hateful comments as it’s pretty much the name of the game when you write about yourself. I’m not facing the scrutiny thrown at Lena Dunham or anything, but I’ve had my fair share of troll-y interactions, and my skin has gotten a bit thicker as a result. But having someone weigh in on your relationship with another person? A person you don’t hate? That’s a whole different ballgame, one that I’m not sure either of us are limbered up for.

So, what do I do? I’m not complaining about the change in my situation by any means, in fact, the opposite. But I’m torn here, and I’m looking for some advice. Calling it quits on my column isn’t something I'm keen on, but can I have my cake and eat it too? Because I really like cake…