I’d posted a brief, “I’m glad you’re in my life” message to my then-beau’s social networking page after we were exclusive for four months.
He said, “I feel like a fire hydrant.”
“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.
“I feel marked.”
Wow! I hadn’t thought I had posted anything personal. No reference to our dating. No pictures of us snuggling. Nothing I wouldn’t have posted to a dear friend’s site.
Yet he felt I was claiming him as mine to the world. Which, since we’d been dating for 4 months exclusively, I thought he was. But that wasn’t really the purpose of my message. It was just to write something warm to him. Okay, and I thought it was a subtle way to tell all the women sending him love messages and scantily clad pictures that I was actually in his life, and they just wanted to be.
I didn’t imagine my gesture would be interpreted negatively. After all, within weeks of our dating, he had a server take out picture cuddling in a restaurant, then kissing. He then posted these pics to his Flickr page for all his family and friends to see. He didn’t ask my permission to do so, and if he had, I would have been flattered and said “yes.”
Another friend shared he’d felt marked by his then-girlfriend of 6 months. She posted pictures of them cuddling during a weekend getaway. He considered these intimate pictures that he didn’t really want shared with her 700 and his “friends” 500. He said he was a private person and he’d have shared them with his inner circle via email. He resented her posting them without his permission. He felt it was her way of marking him and letting the world know he was hers.
This has given me new perspective on what the people we’re dating are comfortable sharing with the world and what they aren’t. I once posted a blog piece announcing a dinner date’s amazing accomplishment, including his name. (This is the only time I’ve listed any date’s name.) I thought he would like getting a little more publicity. I was wrong! He was livid that I’d posted it as he didn’t want people to know about his personal life, including who he’d taken out to dinner.
Have you been publicly marked? If so, how did you feel? Did he let you know ahead of time, or were you surprised? If you’d marked someone you’re dating, how did he react?
Are you stymied about the men you’re considering dating? If so, get your copy of Embracing Midlife Men: Insights Into Curious Behaviors