Secrets and lies | When to bare it all

Since Friday night I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about secrets and lies. Why we do what we do. How we parse the truth into such fine elements that we maintain the facade of truth. But it’s just that – a facade.

At the time, Tony told me he spent Valentine’s day evening with his friend Gina. It was a partial truth, and it’s how I was able to bring it up in our conversation this past weekend. But when I asked did he have sex with anyone else? Maybe not. Did he want to? Perhaps. Did he try but couldn’t? Quite possible, given the issues he was having with me at the same time. Did he have another woman sleep over?

I didn’t ask those questions. What would he have said to me if I had?

We rely on the specificity of a question and answer to tell ourselves and others we are truthful.

When he volunteered back in January that he hadn’t responded to any messages or sent any on Plenty of Fish, after he met me? Again, that’s technically true. He and Gina had moved to text messaging by then.

And then there is me. He’s never asked me the same question about sleeping with others, or being with others. I haven’t lied to his face, nor have I volunteered.

I have opened the conversational door a number of times – even Saturday morning when I said I took the break so I could figure out what I wanted, and discovered nobody else was him. He didn’t ask what I did and I certainly didn’t volunteer it.

I even told him once I had been writing and it helped me process what I’d been through. Again, he did not walk through that open conversational door.

Spending time thinking about which of our lies and omissions is worse is rather pointless, ultimately. I think his lies are bigger, when it comes to us engaging with others. I re-read every post I’ve written about him and stared at how many times he volunteered he wasn’t seeing anyone else, not talking to anyone else, was happy we were exclusive, etc., etc., when obviously there is more to the story. But again, it’s splitting hairs and it’s (I think) in the past.

But with my endless stream of thinking about this, combined with some helpful friends and comments here, I realize I may have the biggest secret between he and I – this blog. My last relationship of any merit was Johnny Id and he found me here, so I didn’t have to make a choice about disclosure. I told Andrew I wrote a blog; he had already dated a blogger and couldn’t have cared less about it – or me, ultimately.

I think Tony has some big secrets about his past: affairs, sexual desires, and his sexual journey. I don’t think he knows how safe he is with me on all those fronts.

Therefore – at least as of this moment – I have decided to open my kimono to him, completely.

I suppose I should add if the last 48 hours were a test of Tony’s ability to translate intention into action, he has failed completely. I have lost any optimism that things will meaningfully work out between us. I am beyond morose. It’s hard to put on makeup in the morning when I’m crying.


My telling him about my journey (sexless marriage, acting on an open-but-don’t-tell marriage, sexual reawakening, sexual exploration, etcetera) and my writing is not going to change him. It may at least help him realize he could have trusted me. That he’s not alone in trying to work through these things. That I understand – maybe – some of the motivations behind his actions and inactions. I suppose in the 1% chance things work out, we are moving forward with my secrets being revealed. If he doesn’t like what he knows about me, he’s not the man for me.

And assuming things go the way I think they will, at the very least I will be able to walk away (today or someday soon) knowing while he may have kept things from me, I’ve been honest with him.

61 thoughts on “Secrets and lies | When to bare it all

    • Thanks Beatnik. The irony, as it always seems to be with him, is I can barely get text responses let alone any commitment from him to see me again. It’s always “let’s play it by ear” and he is always tired / too busy with work to make me a priority.

      So I may change my mind if I can’t get any real communications from him. Might not be worth my effort.

      • I can relate with this. I think ultimately this is what led me to end it with G. He seemed to be happy mostly being on the phone with me every day, and planning trips at the last minute. But what happened for me was that I’d try to keep my weekends open for him, in case he decided he could come. I didn’t feel he understood that I needed more than that in the long term. Not that the long term had to start ‘now’, but I needed to feel there was some progress, that I was important as more than a voice and that he wanted me in his life…

  1. Honesty makes it easier to look your harshest critics in the eye. You see that critic every morning in the mirror. Unless you have a perfect memory, all the time, in all circumstances, it’s easier to be honest. You don’t have to remember the story you’ve made up.

    • Which part? Everything?

      I’ve been counselled offline to not share that I blog. Perhaps if I feel a need, to share some more of my story – but that there will likely be no impact at all to him / our status and it could do me harm.

      So I’m absorbing that advice and very strongly considering it.

      • When I was seeing a counselor o was advised that my need to be so raw and honest with men was not necessarily a good thing. A woman must maintain a bit of her mystery. More than that, you are risking exposing yourself to more hurt and possibly some nastiness. It seems like a can of worms that’s best left shut to me. You gain nothing by coming clean.

        • I think there is a difference between telling him she has a blog and giving him access to it. But considering she posts here every day, and wrote about him, it feels normal to me to come clean about it. That is, if she thinks the relationship has any hope of continuing. If not, I wouldn’t share about the blog either.
          By telling him she blogs, she tells him about herself, about her need to write (and beautifully at that) and to sort her thoughts. She doesn’t necessarily lose her mystery.
          But if you want a meaningful relationship, I think you need to be willing to bare it all. Otherwise, the person you’re with never knows the real you. And Ann and I have already been in relationships where we had to change who we are deep inside. I know that I wouldn’t want that any more.
          Maybe what your counselor was saying is that you don’t need to bare it all on the first date, or even in the first month. But surely after close to 5 (or 6) months, then you should try to be honest. At least that’s the way I see this…

  2. Can I offer you a little cheese with your whine? Oh good God woman – Move on! This guy is playing you like a fine violin. How much more psychic energy are you going to waste on him? He is loving you chasing him and aren’t you one fine booty call. And that’s all you are to him. Accept it for what it is and move on.

    (Am I being harsh? No – just a realist. I’m 68 years old and I’ve been there and done that. )

    • Thanks for your comment, Grace. I didn’t think it sounded like whining…but perhaps it does. I’m not in the best headspace to analyse at this particular moment.

      I fundamentally believe I am more than a booty call to him. But he’s not acting like it, I will give you that.

      I’m in love with him. Somehow, he got through the walls. So that’s why it’s been important to me to do everything I can. But I’m pretty much tapped out.

      • You see yourself in Tony yet from the stories you’ve published the two of you have acted in very different ways since becoming single. Maybe there are some personality / emotional similarities… but you aren’t the same person.

        I know when I’m a booty call and nothing more. And this wasn’t it.

  3. I am reading this post on my phone so explanations will have to come later…DON’T DO IT! I couldn’t see anything positive coming with that at this point…

    • A little easier from a computer…This is your journal and like I said before, also “your dirty little secret”. That doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. Relationships start with secrets not because we are hiding things, but because we don’t know each other yet. Until you know and develop a relationship with a person, those things should be unknown. As the relationship builds you learn about that person and those unknowns become known and the secrets become stories. By giving access to your “kimono” (I had to google this because I didn’t understand how you were using it, lol) you are giving him you and all your secrets…Dirty or not. That could be quite a overload.

      1. Is that the way you want your relationship to develop? Do you want him to know more than you tell him or have him develop ideas without you having the ability to react to his thoughts/questions…Sort of like going thru his phone and making judgments without hearing it directly from him with his explanations. (Hehe…sorry I had to)

      2. At this point, he doesn’t seem to deserve it. From what you say, he hasn’t made a effort to be more like you want. I wrote “You go Ann” after the Friday event, because I was genuinely happy for you. You got what you needed from him for once, emotionally and sexually. It was nice to hear and it gave possibility to the future. I also don’t think you are ready to move on. In most bad relationship what anyone tells us goes in one ear & out the other one. So while your in that situation and you get what you need, why not allow yourself to indulge and enjoy that brief time. It provides hope to what could be, but more importantly drives home even more what you don’t want. Reading your comments since I think you see that.

      This is just my opinion from my experiences…Sorry for the extremely long winded comment. I hope it make sense since I wrote it so quickly.

  4. GAH. Come ON, Tony. Talk about handing him an amazing woman on a silver platter, only for him to say, meh, I’ll get to it when I can. Disappointed for you, Ann.

  5. Ok, you’re probably not going to like this comment, but this is how you ended your post and this is what stuck with me right now. There will be another comment later on about the rest of the post, but for now… It may be a grammatical technicality, but when you write “I’ve been honest with him”… that’s not true. If you wrote “I was honest with him”, that may become true, when you indeed reveal everything. But let’s face it: You haven’t been honest with him, otherwise you wouldn’t have to reveal anything, would you?
    Or… my understanding of English grammar is lacking 😉
    Oh, and HUGS! 🙂

    • Oh, what I meant was if I told him all those things…the journey stuff, and about me writing, then I would have been honest with him when I walked away.

      Versus not doing it, which as you point out, means there are things I have avoided telling him.

      • I know that’s what you meant. I was just pointing out that what you wrote was different… possibly because subconsciously, that’s what you would have liked to believe? 🙂

  6. Right, now for the other part of my comment…
    As I mentioned above: if you don’t think there is any chance with that relationship, then don’t tell him about the blog, or any of the rest, really. I don’t see the point.
    All it could bring is him getting angry and retaliating. I hope he wouldn’t but that’s one possibility. The other one is that he just could crumble even more… and start to distrust all women. Considering your feelings for him, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want that.

    Also, you were mentioning that him not sleeping with her may have had to do with the ED, that he was having with you around that same time… and a thought hit me: Is it possible that the ED was caused by this ambivalence he had, not knowing whom to choose, or better said, by feeling guilty that he wasn’t being honest with you when you were asking him to be…
    My next thought along this line is: did you get tested? Because I seem to remember that he doesn’t like condoms… so it may be that he didn’t use any with the other lady…

    And finally, I won’t say like everyone else seems to do. I don’t think we should have a double standard just because we know you. We can’t expect Tony to accept you with all your special needs and refuse to give him the same. The fact that he isn’t able to communicate better with you may be something temporary, it may be who he is deep down. And just as you wouldn’t want to be expected to change for a man, you cannot expect him to change for a woman, no matter how much he feels for her, because I think he feels a lot for you too. So basically, you cannot blame him. LEt me rephrase this, because I don’t wnat you to think this is aimed at you particularly… WE cannot blame him, for not stepping his game up. We can regret it, wish for you (and him) that he did, but certainly not blame him.

    I’m sorry, because I know it hurts.

    • I missed responding to this one – sorry!

      The ED is an interesting thing for sure. It got better through the month of Jan / Feb but I do think it was mostly mental for him (sure, there some pot related issues as well but they manifest slightly differently). Originally I think it was nerves, then yes, probably that other stuff. It changed once he got more comfortable, connected, and started to feel more strongly.

      I haven’t gotten tested because I didn’t know. And while he insists he didn’t sleep with her, I suppose I should probably go get tested. Ugh. Will add it to my “to do” list.

      I don’t blame him, for exactly why you say. Some of his stuff is definitely situational, but some is just who he is. I’m angry at the deception and frustrated that he can’t move intention into action… but that’s different from being hurt or taking it personally.

      Thanks for your support and wise counsel.

      • I know that I probably should get tested too, just in case… But at least for me there is less urgency :-/
        Not that I’m worried, but it’s always a good thing to do once in a while, especially if you’re going back dating…
        As for the rest… I know it’s frustrating. Sending lots of love your way.

  7. I applaud you in your desire to do that leap of faith, and agree best to be honest about who you are to know now if he’s the right one for you. Or not… The omission about the blog may be the biggest lie as you say. It’s a huge deal.

    Hang in there!

  8. Hugs. Know you are not alone. Lots of us are dealing with men that can’t be emotionally available. You are an awesome woman and a great communicator. You deserve to be with someone who can reciprocate. Sucks that we have to have chemistry with those that are emotionally unavailable to us. Personally I am looking inward to see if on some level I am drawn to that. If I find any insight I will share. Don’t hold your breath. Remember you are awesome and not alone.

  9. Oh Ann. I love your unfailing honesty here on the blog (though it’s SO frustrating to read: like watching a slow motion train wreck, my god! You’re standing on the tracks and everyone is yelling ‘There’s a train coming!’ and you’re going ‘Well maybe if I put my arm up like THIS, I won’t get hit’), but this post is not about honesty.

    Honest is ‘I slept with Jason the night after we DIDN’T break up’ and ‘I went through your phone when you were in bed’ and ‘I had group sex and a gang bang when we were separated’. Honest is not ‘I write a blog and I’m not giving you access to it’.

    I don’t know what you hope to achieve by throwing more and more into this Tony-shaped black hole: some revelation that will lead him to behave differently? Not gonna happen.

    My advice: really carefully examine WHY you want to do it (I know you said why in the post, but you’re a smart woman and it just doesn’t ring true), and don’t lie to yourself about what honesty looks like.

    *warm hug*


    • Ferns, I love how you set me straight with humor and compassion. Thank you from the bottom of my fucked-up heart.

      That’s exactly, if I’m being brutally honest, what I hoped to achieve. I was thinking if he knew that I could really understand him, he could be honest and open up etc… and the birds would sing and I’d see rainbows and we would go skipping through the rest of life together, happily.

      But intellectually yes, I realize it’s pointless.

  10. Well it’s been awhile since I’ve commented but I’ve been keeping up on the reading … for the most part.

    Let me just say this Ann, there isn’t an ounce of me that can see you are “in love” with this guy. What I see is a woman who is “in love” with the idea of being “in love”.

    You’ve never and I mean NEVER spoke about Tony the way you had spoke about Johnny ID or even your free pass guy. You’ve compromised who you are and who you want to be because of this guy and you need to let it go already. He doesn’t deserve the excuses you keep making for him and he sure as hell doesn’t deserve to know about your blog.

    I feel like you need to be reminded of the saying, *fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.* Don’t be the fool Ann!

    • Thank you from coming out to comment, ‘Tis. I really appreciate it.

      I won’t debate whether I love him. I am pretty sure my challenges with everything with him has overshadowed it. But I know how I feel. Maybe in time I will see it differently.

      BUT how I feel for him doesn’t really matter. I HAVE compromised what I want and need. I’ve worked at letting go of things I desire, which are quite reasonable. Etc, etc.

      I do need to be reminded of that. Thank you.

    • Hi ‘Tis!!

      I see Ann has already replied, and I agree with both your point of view and her reply.
      However, I would like to add a little something to the debate: how I write about a guy doesn’t necessarily reflect how I feel about him deep down. Because, like Ann has written somewhere in a comment, I don’t want to admit it to myself.
      I was discussing things with a friend of mine off blog and she was saying that there is a big difference in style between when I write about the Dancer or when I wrote my Witchcraft post for example.
      We wondered why, and the reason she and I came up with is that I am more guarded when I write about the Dancer, because I don’t want to let my feelings run wild and get hurt. So I’m protecting myself by not writing about these feelings.

      Now, whether this is love or not, I don’t know. The reason I don’t know is because I’ve never known love, at least not romantic love. All I can do is observe my feelings. But sometimes, it gets scary, so I hide them even from myself. And it shows in my writing, which comes out more guarded. So you wouldn’t feel I am in love, even though deep down I might be (I’m still debating this with myself 😉 ).

      I’m not sure it makes sense… Ann can tell me what she thinks of that theory.

      But as she justly pointed out in her reply, whether she is or not doesn’t really matter, because all the other points you raised are more than valid!

  11. I wish I was surprised. It seems with Tony that when others are out of sight they are also out of mind. He seems to be only interested in something that is easy with no effort required. He will tell you what you tell him you need to hear, but he won’t be able to give you what you need without that constant prompting.

    If you are fine with being in a relationship where you are continually telling him how you need to be treated and what you need to hear, go for it, but I have a feeling that is not what you want.

    • I’m not okay with it. I’m okay with something that is making progress, because if I see progress I am better at being patient. I know sometimes things take time to sort out.

      But that’s not the case here, clearly. It’s been almost 6 months. I’ve been clear with what I need – and literally I’m talking about what (to most) are such simple things…some texting and communication in the times we aren’t together.

      • I wonder if when he is actually looking for/wanting a real relationship if he would actually be able to provide those things or if he is just always a “I will take what ever presents itself” kind of guy. Given how undecided he is about his marriage, his lack of even committing to making a decision about that, I think this is just who he is.

        He really does need a plant that requires zero watering. He just doesn’t have it in him. Maybe that’s why to him, the girl from Valentine’s was insignificant…she, like you, likely did all the leg work, and when she saw she wasn’t getting effort in return she bailed..or she tried the tactic of “I will wait to hear from him” and she still hasn’t heard from him at all. I think that is how he is in any relationship right now and he will be like this at least till he sorts out whether he wants his marriage or not. He isn’t likely to put work in for any relationship.

        I have no doubt he really likes you, and has a great time with you, but he is just not the guy for you.

        • You raise a very good point and it’s hard to know why he isn’t translating intention to action. For example, it could be because he just doesn’t feel that way about ME. If he met someone who was a better fit, he would do those things.

          OR it’s just how he is, and he will never provide any real, prolonged, meaningful effort. Certainly what I’ve seen with his friends, his ex, his kids, would reinforce this may be the case. It’s not just about me and no matter how he feels, it’s how he’s wired. He’s definitely he’s not a huge communicator, he does go quiet, and that will always be the case.

          OR part of it is just the situation he’s in. He didn’t want to be single, he’s overwhelmed by the decisions he has to make and unsure how to move stuff forward. So while is normally less communicative, this is all exacerbated by his situation.

          Of course, my fear is that it’s the first thing – that’s is just about me and he’ll meet some great woman and suddenly he’ll find it in him to do all that stuff that a relationship needs. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. My bet is, if he gets (ever) to a better place, then he would be able to make progress on the communications and be less afraid about moving forward with someone.

  12. Damn, Fern said what I could never even articulate properly! That is so dead on … but I do think you had another purpose for revealing the blog, which is to let him know you “get him” or his journey…. not necessarily just about coming clean.

    • Absolutely. That was the motivation – thinking about why he would feel he couldn’t be honest. And compassion for knowing he has things he wants to explore and was never in a safe space to do so.

      It was more about that. And of course, as I said, a part of me hoping that by opening up it would change something within him. Foolish, I know. Telling him about the blog would be something to do if we were going to move forward in our relationship. But not at this point, given everything. And not to give him the name or let him read it.

  13. Just an odd place to be. I think every relationship has those things you don’t talk about until you really know each other, but there’s a lot of “wrong foot” moments. As in an opportunity to share or disclose that neither of you takes. Why is that? Is it a wanting of each other, but not that innate ability to really trust the other person? I’m just speculating. You can ignore my words. I’m guilty of withholding out of fear or mistrust so maybe I’m projecting

    • I think it resonates with what you said. I think he actively withheld and deceived for those reasons. For me, the whole notion of telling someone about the blog is more about knowing when someone is worth letting in to that part of me. Johnny already knew and there hasn’t been anyone else that’s come close to that before.

  14. The wrong person can not turn out right.

    Stop. Take a break.

    You’re at a tipping point. The other side is a dark morass of pain. Keep going on as you are and you will be drowning in it.

    • As you have probably now seen from my subsequent post, I have taken a break. I’ve said goodbye and while yes, we agreed to check in with each other in a few months, I have to move forward as if it’s over, forever.

      I’d love to believe that his issues are just circumstantial – and while some may be, most of it is just who he is. And that’s not going to work for me in it’s current form.

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