How to Air Your Dirty Laundry

I often receive messages from people who are contemplating starting a blog documenting their own divorce journey. They are usually nervous about discussing such personal detail in a public forum (me too!). And they have questions for me. Sometimes really good concerns, like the ones below.
Here’s my advice for those contemplating a divorce blog. I’m no expert. I screw things up a lot. But I do have several years experience now sharing my personal life with others (Why I Write).
Frankly, I’m kinda nervous to go through my writings and remember things I’m happy to have forgotten.
Yeah, it sucks. I cried a ton while writing the book and I’m still known to cry while writing (or even re-reading) certain blog posts. But it’s cleansing. The writing helps the processing and the repetition helps lessen the sting. We often want to hide from the pain, to pretend we are healed before we really are. If you read it and it still bothers you, you’re still holding on to the pain. The only way to truly heal is to go through it.
I’m nervous about looking pathetic and/or vengeful and/or vindictive
Some people will always read you that way. You should see some of my HuffPost hate mail. I finally realized that it’s their own garbage talking. But most people reading you will be going through their own divorce and they’ll get it. Trust me, we’ve all had some pretty powerful revenge fantasies. Don’t slander but also don’t be afraid to speak the truth of your emotions.
Over-sharing (maybe somewhat related to the above). there are things that divorced people fantasize that I assume would horrify the general public.
Create your own boundaries and stick to them. For example, I’ll share anything about my ex/former marriage (except his identity – read why) but I’m much more careful with my current marriage; much of that is off the table. As for the content, I’m not afraid to speak the brutal, harsh truth. It’s reality sometimes. An important note here – if your divorce is not final, most attorneys will tell you not to share publicly.
Something about letting sleeping dogs lie
I thought about that one myself once I entered into a stable relationship and had done most of the healing. However, I realized that it’s important for those of who have made it through and are willing to share our stories: beginning, middle and hopefully not-the-end.
The possibility that repercussions could involve her posting her own commentary that escalates things in a public forum.
It’s a risk. I don’t worry about that since mine has a felony warrant – it makes a nice “gag order” 🙂 Always assume that anything you write online (even if posted anonymously) can (and most likely will) be found by your ex and his/her family. If you have kids, they may see it too. Keep that in mind.
Since my documentation is almost exclusively emails to various people or gchats or text message, it is very personal and colored with visceral anguish. i wouldn’t know how to turn these into something along the lines of a palatable blog.
Just write. It’ll shape itself over time as you find your voice.
However, going with a “just the facts ma’am” approach, i’d fear being too cut-and-dried/black and white/matter-of-fact/sterile, and where is the catharsis in that? 
People respond more to emotion. Let your fingers be a conduit for your feelings.
Getting my facts messed up (he-said-she-said, second-hand communication, etc.)
Don’t worry about it. All memory is fallible.
Writing is one of the most effective strategies for dealing with divorce and loss. Sharing your story add another dimension: dialog with others, the sense of being part of a community and an opportunity to help people in a similar situation. However, sharing is not without risk. Make sure you plan ahead before you hang your dirty laundry out to dry on the internets.



Thank you for sharing!

27 thoughts on “How to Air Your Dirty Laundry

  1. I’ve thought about it but I always worry that no matter how discreet I tried to be, that my ex would find out and find away to use that against me in some way or another, or would accuse me of slander. Either way I just don’t want to take that risk.

  2. I am very fortunate. Simply because I was overly sentimental, I have a trove of “hard evidence,” including the “nice” and the “nasty.” My mission has been to get out the story AND the residual emotions and grief for my healing and for the benefit of future (and current) victims, while sticking to what was factual and what I could prove. When it comes to things that happened face-to-face, with no “tangible” proof, I always try to clarify that these things were my perceptions and my memories of how things unfolding.

    My wife has already found my blog, and I don’t care. I’m fortunate there, too, because she’s on one side of the ocean and I’m on the other side of the ocean, and there is nothing more she can do to me. For me, emotionally, she is dead.

  3. I kept my blog “private” for months while my divorce was still being finalized. Obviously, I use aliases for everyone except me. I have probably let a few too many real details slip through; but I agree that blogging is therapeutic.

  4. momfawn – Visalia, CA – I am a sixty-something baby-boomer -- daughter, mother, wife (twice), grandmother, aunt, Independent Consultant with Close To My Heart -- retired and celebrating a life thoroughly lived.
    momfawn says:

    After 4-1/2 years of separation, I do talk about my husband-who-lives-across-town in my blog (which is more memoir than anything else). I don’t refer to anything there that isn’t already fairly common knowledge, however; we aren’t enemies, I am simply healthier without him. – Fawn

  5. It is equally a minefield if you stay together but want to blog about infidelity.

      1. Well I am lucky Paul doesn’t choose to read my blog. I would be okay if he did but I’m sure it would cause at least a few difficult discussions. But it’s harder in that the OW can threaten you and you worry about her finding it. More than 3 years after the end of the affair and she’s still rubbing my nose in it regularly. I guess you could say I have endless material, but it sucks having to close it to the public. I hope one day to write a book based on the blog material. I just wish I could see her face when she sees it’s fictional character has her very unusual first name. 😛 Yeah, I’m evil.

  6. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Days ago, Lisa Arends, subscribed to my WordPress blog.

    She has written a book about her nutball shitball ex-husband called Lessons From The End Of A Marriage , which is a must to read for any person who has been horribly disrespected, used, and deceived by a Narcissist. …Because, really, the person who makes up reasons that it’s okay for him or her to cheat, deceive and then be evasive, is a Narcissist.

    Probably the most clear situation that makes a partner a Narcissist is when that cheating or manipulative person puts any blame on their spouse. This decision to deflect accountability onto the betrayed spouse is a real act of a Narcissist. So whenever that spouse is finding out about the cheating and the lies from their partner, and their partner tries to continually evade or deflect their responsibility for their bad behaviour onto someone else and their spouse, then undoubtedly this partner is a Narcissist, Asshole, or Jerk.

    Anyway, I’m not divorced :-P. But my point is that I read this post from Lisa today :).

  7. keigre – DC Metro – Just one year before 40, I recanted the white picket fence and loving family and exposed the truth of my failed marriage and the events that happened next have placed an imprint on my soul. Countless women reached out to me looking for answers for their own life. The pain they have shared was so thick you couldn’t swallow it if you tried. The desperation to move forward, but the fear of the unknown held them captive- just as it held me. My goal is to just write, release and face my truth until I find out who I truly am. I pray that this blog will offer a place where others can anonymously share their truth without fear of judgment. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to rewrite a new summary about me, but until then… read on.
    keigre says:

    I totally agree with this post. When you go through a loss such as a divorce you often find yourself at a crossroad between being bitter and being better. Blogging has helped me release the shame associated with my marriage. I chose not to place blame on who did what to cause it to all end simply because that doesn’t help create that peace and joy that I seek. Instead, I just decided to focus on the journey to healing, self awareness, self discovery and all that good stuff. My life has become so much richer after starting this blog. I can release the pain, reflect on my underlying feelings and document the lessons learned.

    Truth be told, I stumbled on this whole blogging thing by accident. The moment, I publically announced my divorce through FB countless women began contacting me and asking how did I get the strength to move forward. Funny thing is, I didn’t feel equipped to answer the question so I just began telling my story and documenting the lessons. What I learned is that sometimes your account of the truth may not be for you it could really just be to help someone else.

    A wrote a blog a few weeks ago on shame and I thought an excerpt would be fitting for this post.

    “Shame is eating at our consciousness, devouring our spirit, creating bitterness, spewing negativity, delaying promises, ruining relationships, creating dysfunctional families etc. Visions and dreams suffocate when you are carrying the enormous weight of shame. What would really happen if we were just honest and authentic? I’ve learned that when you tell your own truth, it doesn’t have the same momentum of the rumor mill. Instead you seem to provide a key that unlocks empathy, meaningful conversations, deeper appreciation for friendships and a better understanding of others.”

    Thanks for speaking your peace, sharing your journey and paving the way for others to be strong, brave and find their own road to wholeness.

  8. I already had a blog. I wrote throughout my marriage, sometimes I wrote about the difficulty of making marriage work, I did so with humor. Sometimes I wrote about how marriage can be fun, also with humor. Sometimes I wrote about in-laws, with humor and snark. My then husband had a nickname, I never used real names. Then I wrote about divorce and healing, very little humor in those. Finally, I took down most of the posts about my marriage, they were no longer relevant but left up those that were more snarky but impersonal.

    My ex said to me during our divorce, ‘anything you write about me will come back on you 100X’. I called it the Ceily curse. Laughed at him and moved on. Never during our divorce or since then have I said anything negative about him, I wrote only about me and what I felt. The best revenge? Indifference. He still stalks my blog. His family still follows me on Facebook. I think that I am not a puddle of misery makes him slightly insane.

    Being able to say, this is me, this is where I am and how I am moving beyond the hurt; I think this heals and helps.

  9. I don’t get this, start writing people!!! Sign up with an alias, change names of your ex-husband (and children). He has no proof even if you’re in a country where there’s blame in divorce. It’s not your ISP is going to tell any court, yes it was this person who accessed this site on this date. More information is being uploaded to the internet in the last two years than what has ever been documented in history!!! They wont find you unless you tell someone.

    1. And therein lies the rub…I think most people divulge their site to someone. And not all someones will keep their mouths shut about the true identity of the writer.

  10. In my divorce blog, I use false names and I don’t use identifying details (e.g., the place where I live, where I work, etc.). There are no photos of me or anyone else from my life. My ex knows/knew my blog exists, but he wisely has no desire to read it. I’m so glad I had the courage to write about my experiences!

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