A Society of Oversharing

Lately I’ve been wondering about the proper amounts of sharing, conveying and unwinding about our romances we ought to do. What’s too much?

I woke up to a humorous cartoon that my friend shared on Facebook. The image showed a serious-looking, bearded artist painting a very classic scene of a fruit bowl and wine. He’s squinting at what he’s just done and studying his work. Below the caption tells us that this is “before Instagram.” The thought bubble reads: People need to know what I’m eating right now.

We’ve become a society of sharers, and in growing cases, over-sharers. Instantly, immediately the world must be made aware of the minute details of our lives. God forbid there is an unacknowledged thought. Our sonograms must become our profile photos. Every spill by our children must be documented and passed around. And every libation consumed or chugged has no choice but to written down and analyzed.

This sharing certainly extends to relationships too. Afterall, not until someone’s Facebook status changes to “in a relationship,” “engaged,” or “married,” does it really count, right?

Lately I’ve been wondering about the proper amounts of sharing, conveying and unwinding about our romances we ought to do. What’s too much? What constitutes simply being a human wanting to tell stories to others? And what’s going overboard.

Sex and the City” is often credited with opening up the dialogue that women have about everything from their boyfriends to their dates to their orgasms — and the Rabbit vibrators that amp them up. The show made it OK to share around relationships and sex—or at least acknowledged that some ladies were just as open as the guys.

This, to be clear, is spectacular.

What I’m not so sure about are a few of these types of scenarios:

Exhibit A: A man or woman wants things to go further in their relationship so one of the parties broadcasts it to the world via social media. “I’d love it if I had a ring soon. Ahem.” It seems innocent or playful. Sometimes it could be. I don’t know if I’d personally hint around about popping the question or wanting the question posed to me. Easily this could turn into an ultimatum—and a public one at that.

Exhibit B: There’s a problem between two dating partners—or a married couple, for that matter. The man and woman want to go to friends for consolation or just to vent. How much is right to reveal about issues transpiring? I’ve had at least three friends complain and gripe about their mate. “I don’t know if I can stay with him.” “I’m going to break up with her.” They’ve made declarative, definitive statements about how bad things are and their intention to get out. Then the next time we talk they’re engaged or they’ve moved in together, stepped up their arrangement in some way despite saying in no uncertainty that they’ll end it. At least, to my credit I didn’t dog my friends’ mates. Perhaps, if I had, if it would be—not them—out of my friend’s life.

This isn’t a new scenario persee. But I’m starting to believe that how much we reveal via social media has made us more confessional in our overall lives. Nothing’s off limits.

Are some parts of a relationship sacred, though, best kept close to the vest?

-Dena

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