Dooce Divorce


Heather Armstrong aka Dooce

“Dooce Divorce” was the search engine referral that began to appear on my site stats page a couple weeks ago. This was my first glimmer that the power-blogging husband and wife team Heather and Jon Armstrong, aka Dooce and Blurb, might be breaking up.

I didn’t think much of it at first. Because I write a blog about divorce and I reference other bloggers and writers I admire, I often get odd search engine referrals incorporating the two. A lot of people, for instance, think that Anne Lamott is divorced, because terms such as “who is Anne Lamott’s ex-husband?” lead to my site. Sometimes I wish search engine referrals came with an e-mail or twitter address so I could respond with, “if you actually read any of Anne Lamott’s books, you would know she has never been married” or “honestly, I have no idea if Dooce is getting divorced.”

Except that now I do, and so does the rest of the blogosphere. Or at least we know she and her husband are separating, as they announced in their respective blogs on January 17, Dooce here, and Blurbomat here. I suspected that there was more to the rumor than rumor yesterday went my traffic spiked from oodles of  “dooce divorce” and “dooce divorcing” search referral terms.

So I googled “dooce divorce,” and saw the headlines from the Armstrongs’ individual blogs announcing that they were, indeed, commencing a “trial separation.” Both blogs were raw and poignant, Dooce’s in an in-the-moment way, and Blurb’s in a my-head-is-spinning-because-I-need-a-place-to-live-and-a-new-job kind of way.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Armstrongs, Heather is the writer and creative force behind Dooce, while her husband is the web designer and in-house techie. They are kind of the Ricky and Lucy of the internet, both ridiculously photogenic and possessed of star quality, while also being kooky, vulnerable, and uniquely engaging.

Dooce blogged her way through severe post-partum depression, a psychiatric hospitalization, the births of two fabulously good-looking children, and more mundane happenings such as broken refrigerators. And while blogging about every crevice of her personal life, she blogged her way into a one-woman blogging empire, a big fat house in Salt Lake City, and a six-figure income that supports her family.

Except now Jon appears to be out of work. But anyway.

I scanned the hundreds of comments in response to each of their blog posts and I had two reactions:

1. Relief, but surprise, that no trolls were casting judgment. All the comments that I have read have been sensitive, heartfelt and supportive. Considering all the divorce backlash skulking around the internet these days, I was really sort of stunned that no one was harpooning the characters of Dooce and Blurb. No one was deriding them for being selfish derelicts en route to ruining their kids for life. Which are the kinds of comments most divorced bloggers get. If you don’t believe me, read here.

And so I got to wondering why everyone was making nice. Don’t get me wrong — I think couples announcing marital dissolution should only be offered gentle condolences. But, given the pervasive nastiness on the internet, it did strike me that people were perhaps colluding — agreeing to things they did not actually agree with but were afraid to say otherwise.

But why?

Part of the answer, I think, has to do with the way Dooce draws readers in, makes us feel they we are guests in her living room. Her honest handling of her mental health issues made others feel less alone, and, I think, somewhat inspired: if Dooce cracked up but still hit the blogging motherlode, then there’s hope for me!

I don’t know what the other part of the answer is. But upon reading news of the Dooce-Blurb separation, this was my second observation:

2) Dooce is the blog version of Reality TV. We see this couple and their kids up close. All their foibles and weaknesses. She blogs about her separation because she blogs about everything: miscarriages, kitchen remodels, breastfeeding. Heather and Jon are younger than I am (in their 30s) and they belong to a generation that doesn’t delineate private and public in the same way that do those of us in the geriatric set (okay, in the fumes of our forties).

So the thought that kept bouncing around in my head when I read their posts, and the torrents of sympathy comments, was: why would anyone want to go through a divorce publicly? Unless they’re a Kardashian, which the Armstrongs are decidedly not.

What they are embarking on is wrenching, beyond description. Will they look back and regret exposing themselves? Will their kids (the older one is eight) read about their parents’ separation online and be traumatized more than they already are? Of course their daughters have grown up knowing their parents only as celebrities, so this might not be as weird as it appears to me to be.

And what if their trial separation segues into a divorce, which then turns ugly? How would this development affect their following and Dooce’s status as the ultimate Mommy Blogger? Will readers feel the need to take sides? Will there be a Team Dooce and a Team Blurb?

I blog about divorce, but mine is in the past. I blog about my son’s issues, which are still unfolding, but I hide him — and myself — behind  pseudonyms. No one knows his name, where he lives, what he looks like. No one knows what anyone in my family looks like. I like the protection that the pseudonym offers us, and me– that I can go about my day and no one has to know about the tawdry details of my train-wreck of a marriage and custody battle — unless I choose to tell them.

But maybe if I was the Internet’s Sweetheart I wouldn’t care.

What about you? Would you use your real name to blog about something as intimate as wrenching as divorce, while you’re going through it? 

Or would you use a pseudonym so you could vent discreetly?

About perilsofdivorcedpauline

I am a survivor of a world-class gnarly divorce. My dastardly ex-husband is suing me for full custody of my son, and more time with my daughter. He’s super-rich and I’m super-not. You get the picture.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Divorce, Custody, and Parental Alienation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Dooce Divorce

  1. This is so reality TV-like. Sad.

  2. Lori Day says:

    I would use a pseudonym if I had the choice, but the problem for them is it’s already too late–they’ve used their real identities all along. I find myself in the same position…I’m not getting divorced, but I now regret having started blogging with my real name. It forces me to choose between too much personal exposure, and limiting what I actually write about. But I initially used my own name because my blogging is meant to support my business, which is Lori Day Consulting, and so Lori Day the blogger links everything to her business website, and now I can’t really go back unless I want to start over and only blog for a creative outlet and/or to make blogging my actual career, if that makes sense. I don’t know how Dooce and Blurb started out or why they did not opt for anonymity, but I know a lot of bloggers who do not know all of the factors they should be considering up front. For example, once you’ve blogged under your real name, if you’ve blogged on controversial topics/sites or blogged about your explicit private life, you are really vulnerable if you decide to apply for a traditional job where employers Google you and see your blogging. This seems like yet another way in which the technology evolves so fast that the common sense pieces have to catch up…lots of people love the idea of blogging and throw themselves up onto the internet in a nanosecond and get down to it…only to realize some of these repercussions when it’s too late. There’s a book in here somewhere!

  3. Phenom says:

    I’m using pseudonyms, as I blog about starting over after leaving my now soon-to-be-ex (I refer to him as “the STBX” or the “douche canoe” on my blog). I’ll be filing for divorce and turning 30 this year, and I really wanted to use this time to self-reflect, internet project and maybe start a whole new life for myself through my writing and photography. I do share pictures of myself, my one year old son “C” or “C-Man”, and other bits and pieces of my life — but I leave real names out of it.

    Maybe some day, I’ll feel free (safe, even?) to divulge real names. But I won’t do it yet purely because my divorce isn’t final. What is currently an ugly break up could turn into World War III with tweet-recaps giving the world a play-by-play at any waking moment, so until all is said and done and we are no longer legally bound … I’m trying to keep official names off my blog.

  4. phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    I had never heard about this couple and their blog til now, but to answer your question of whether I would publicly use my own name when blogging about divorce, it appears they were already fully self-identified when the divorce began. You – on the other hand – began blogging AFTER your divorce and custody issues began.

    When you live life as publicly as this couple did, I think your marriage no longer is your own and maybe becomes less precious and worth fighting for. Dunno other than that observation…

  5. Hayley says:

    Great post Pauline. I did blog about my co-parenting years ago when I first got my divorce and it was ultimately just too revealing. When my ex would read my blog on occasion, he’d take offense to anything I wrote or disagree with it–even if it was something positive. I found that to just be the nature of divorce. That you stop agreeing on even things you are yes, agreeing on. It’s like talking to someone with your head on backwards. So I stopped doing it. I found one other couple that have been able to to blog about co-parenting and divorce – that’s Moxie and LOD they write When The Flames Go Up. Not easy.

  6. Marriage is one of the only things I don’t blog about. And I don’t like to read about other’s. It seems so intensely private, and I know from personal experience that one can never “know” what marriages are actually like. I’ve never been a Dooce fan, anyway, married or otherwise. For one thing, I find her blog difficult to navigate and for the other, she is like the girls in middle school who seemingly knew nothing of awkwardness. She has always intimidated me, despite the mental health issues, and I just have never felt connected to her. I think I’ll be in the camp that is sort of creeped out by the attention she’ll continue to get.

  7. I need some time to process this question because I can relate, having gone through a breakup of my own and blogging about it. It felt uncomfortable and raw in a way that blogging about my past breakup does not. Time and distance certainly help.

    The only answer that i can come up with is that blogging is a way of processing emotions for many of us. I get so much great insight and support from my readers.

    Yet, will I blog about my next relationship or keep it quieter? I don’t know. It’s a tough one.

    I hope the best for this couple. I’m sure that they will keep blogging. Will they come to regret it? Maybe, but maybe not. For better or for worse, perhaps this is now a lifestyle for them (and I don’t just mean the fancy house).

    • Molly, I think it is absolutely a lifestyle for them, as Lori pointed out. They have blogged about everything, so how could they keep this private? I think, for me, the question is how much will they reveal? It’s like when celebrities announce their divorce…most don’t go into details. But, yes, blogging is absolutely a way to process emotions and get closure. For me it’s been so much more valuable — and cheaper — than therapy.

  8. I did use a pseudonym at first. Then I was hit with a threat from Mr. Ex–even though I never used his name or the name of his law firm. When the stipulation to divide joint assets was finally settled, I agreed to a restraining order that demanded I change the name & URL of my blog–It had been His Big Fat Indian Wedding–and refrain from writing about him and the people I referred to as The Little Missus and The Kiddo. So I did that. Then I stopped using the pseudonym, Ex-in-the-City, and began to blog with my real name. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me either way. I still have plenty to say, and I say it. But I completely understand why pseudonyms are necessary. Like you, I am conscious of the exposure I give to my children (they are adults.) I give them the option to ask that any photos be taken down even though the photos are old ones of them as little children and are unrecognizable. It seems to me like a reasonable way to proceed.

  9. Wow, Heather Armstrong and her husband blog about their lives in front of the entire world. Personally, I’ve always tried to restrict myself to my four hundred and fifty-three thousand, five hundred and eighty-six closest friends.

  10. Gina Osher says:

    Such a good post, Pauline. I have blogged about very personal issues on my blog and taken great comfort from my readers’ comment. I also find that the more raw & honest I am when I write, the more people can connect & the more people are helped (which is why I write). I don’t tend to write anything controversial so maybe that’s why I’ve been lucky to not have trolls or mean spirited commenters (yet?). However, I do blog under my real name & have often had to consider what I’m writing so as not to hurt people who know me. In some ways this limits what I can say on certain subjects. In other ways it makes me think, long and hard, about what I do write. Just as those trolls hide behind anonymity, so, too, can bloggers. I wonder if I would choose my words as carefully as I do if I felt complete freedom to say whatever I wished.
    As always, your post has me thinking….
    -Gina

  11. I am not a regular Dooce reader either. I don’t find her intimidating so much as depressing and abrasive. The things you like least in yourself are often those you like least in others! (The overt commercial prostitution of her site is also off-putting.) I have to wonder what Heather is really like in person. It strikes me that she may put everything out there on the interwebz because the flesh and blood people in her life take a few steps away every time she opens her mouth. I dunno. For me, putting things on the internet in my own name has—save for a few exceptions—had the opposite effect. It has brought more authenticity to my everyday life and helped to foster a kind community of supporters who nudge me in the right direction. (Okay, sometimes they shove, but it’s all good.) Any ol’ way… thank you for the provocative post!

    • In his post her husband did mention how difficult it can be living with someone with depression and anxiety. He did not go into it in detail, but that reference may fit with your thought about people in her life backing away.

  12. I started reading Dooce a very, very, very long time ago. Leta was so little. And then I stopped. I don’t know what it was exactly but she just became someone I didn’t relate to anymore. She reminds me a lot of that other lady you mentioned the other day. That consultant abused lady.

    I use(d) a pseudonym but I made it a point to never really get into the rawness of it all. I just didn’t want to be that person. I refused to allow myself to wallow in any sort of negative emotion that came up with the divorce and not allowing the blog to go there was part of that. Blogging and keeping out the nastiness was a tool I used to look at things clearly.

    Nowadays, I’ve dropped a lot of the anonymity and it doesn’t take much to figure out who I am. It’s not because I aspire to make tons of moolah off my blog because I don’t but it’s more because I just don’t want to deal with the anonymity anymore. It’s kind of annoying for me to keep it up.

  13. Heather jokes about having thrown a milk jug at her husband’s head when she was in the throes of misery—wonder what truth? I just hope she doesn’t hang herself in the garage with the dog leash. HELLO! That is suicidal ideation. She puts it out there like it is no big deal, saying that she doesn’t know if she has ever been more stable than she is right now, which has to make you wonder just how bad things have been. Living with crazy can be so damaging. I feel sorry for her girls and have to wonder about John’s judgement when he is leaving them with a woman who finds herself wondering exactly how she ended up in the garage contemplating suicide. It’s scary stuff and I wish them well.

  14. Jennifer says:

    I have also read Dooce for many years – daily for a long time but like Mutant grew tired of Heather and only check in a couple of times a month now. Still, reading their blogs the other day, especially Jon’s, made me sad. I don’t know how they could have avoided making some kind of announcement – it will be interesting to see how it’s handled from here on out.

  15. Susan says:

    I used to read her pretty regularly but now I check in once a month or so. I like her photography more than her writing. Her humor is too self conscious for me and all that advertising is sort of gross. I caught that about the dog leash too. Writing stuff like that might bring CPS around. She should switch to writing fiction and shut down the blog. It would probably be healthier for her family too.

    • mindy stauber says:

      susan, i agree! she has a great knack for photography, even moreso than her husband whose hobby is snapping pictures of interesting sites (from what i recall reading some years back on his blog) also, youre spot on right about the dogleash comment and child protective services; i pray jon is keeping a close eye on his girls and gets reports from someone he trusts as to whether her depression is affecting her judgment on caring for her children.

  16. Jenny says:

    I never read her blog, but I’m familiar with its content. I think they probably felt they had no choice but to blog about it, since they’d already laid their whole lives out for everyone over years of writing. I use my own name when I write, but I don’t think I write about anything too personal (although my ex would disagree, and once threw a fit about an oped piece that mentioned my daughter’s real name and school… some paranoid fantasy about her being kidnapped… I think he just wanted to snipe at me). Anyway, I’m careful now about not involving anyone I know personally, although I could frankly care less about offending the community at large.

  17. You pose an interesting question. I use a pseudonym, but it hasn’t kept me secret from the the people I most wanted to hide from. Plus mine’s not very creative — if I had to do it all over again, I’d pick something better!! What it did give me, though, was the mechanism to think past who I really was and go into the thoughts of the person I wanted to be. I even wrote a post about the power and price of a pen name…a post I pulled because it was later used against me by the people I wanted to be free of. Ironic. I wasn’t savvy in the ways of anonymity then, I guess. Even now, though, I wouldn’t use my real name. First to protect my kids, but also because it’s not even “my” name. It’s my legal, married name.

    Thanks, as always, for a thought-provoking post!

  18. ratherbeinmelbourne says:

    BTW, Jon is 10 years older than Heather, which makes him 46/47-ish. Heather is his second wife.

  19. Liz says:

    When I blogged, I wrote under a very very easy to discover pseudonym, but it was not linked to my real name – so if you knew me or found me you’d figure out it was me pretty fast. But you couldn’t google me and find my blog. When my marriage got bad, I stopped blogging and shut it down. We reconciled, and perhaps this is why I find posts about recent separation so stunningly sad. I want to reach out and hold their hand – be the one friend who will listen and not jump to one conclusion or another. I found it incredibly difficult to have friends support my desire to fix my marriage – isn’t that sad?

    I also stopped reading her site and her husband’s, mostly because it found their voices pretentious and fake-real. It was always amusing and in all caps – it made me tired. It seemed like it was show, not reality. Talking about real things but keeping them at arms length. Polished, not raw.

    So yes I would expect nothing less than publicly stating it – yet I am torn. A real look inside a struggling marriage would help SO many people – but those kids deserve privacy. At the end of the day, it’s not my place to find her lacking – judge her, yes, we all judge – but I am not in her shoes and don’t know her. I wish them peace and good good friends.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Liz. You raise an important point, that many people are quick to judge someone else’s decision to leave or stay in a marriage. None of us can ever really understand what would be better for another couple.

  20. mindy stauber says:

    the reason why all the responses on their websites are kind encourgaing ones is because they censor each and every response and only allow the ones that dont challenge anything theyve written!

  21. ratherbeinmelbourne says:

    Yes, these two have a history of heavily censoring comments. Jon is doing so right now on his site…singling out comments made by people who talk about Heather’s account of contemplating suicide with children in the house.

  22. Ruth says:

    Per the comments above: There is “hostile” and there is “respectful disagreement”. Most bloggers I read accept the latter, and it makes for a more authentic, enjoyable experience in my opinion. However, Heather and another blogger I used to frequent, Monica Bielanko (“the girl who” blog) have a tendency to go foaming-at-the-mouth defensive in response to those who disagree with them … no matter how respectfully that disagreement is expressed, I have no issues with bloggers who monitor comments to keep the trolls at bay; however, if you (global “you”) are going to put your life out there on display and allow people to comment on what you have written, either filter your blog so that only a select audience is able to read it, or develop a slightly thicker skin that can weather reader dissent. Based upon some past incidents, I suspect that the comments that are being censored by Heather and Jon are not limited to the “hostile” ones, and I do have some issues with that.

    I, too, read “Dooce” much less frequently than I used to. I still enjoy Heather’s posts that talk about issues of substance, or even just about the day-to-day minutiae of life. But those posts are fewer and further between than they used to be. Filling in the spaces between them are photos of the results of her very upscale decorating efforts, tales of what her “workday” entails (hint: it includes multi-hour trips to the gym and a personal trainer), and photos and blogs from an ever-increasing number of spur-of-the-moment get-aways.

    Heather has undoubtedly worked very hard for all she has now, but she is caught in a Catch 22: The very success of her blog is enabling a lifestyle, and forming a perspective, that may make her unrelatable to many of her readers (including me), and actually dissuade some long-time readers from continuing to read her blog. More “Catch 22”: At a time that Heather would probably benefit from stepping away from her keyboard for awhile to regroup – and, you know, figure out her life – her dependence upon sponsors and page hits to pay the bills likely won’t allow her the latitude to do so.

    But she can’t win: She writes about her life. Now, being separated from her husband is an integral part of that life (particularly since they spent nearly every minute of every day together previously). So, if she goes radio silent, she’s endangering her livelihood. If she ignores her imploding marriage, then the media speculation goes rampant. And if she addresses what’s was going on with Jon that led to their separation/their separation/her kids’ reactions to their separation (etc.), her motives and actions are dissected endlessly.

    Even more irony: Now Jon is out of job, after helping build the empire that is “Armstrong Media”.

    A success story intertwined with a cautionary tale, all of it …

    As far as the issue of anonymity … I stuck my pinky toe into the icy blogging river awhile back, and I was careful to “blind” as much as possible – I used only pseudonyms, never talked about where i live, etc. I have a son, and it’s not for me to say how much of his life should be preserved in an online format where he can be identified by anyone, at any point in is life. He also has some neuro-chemical issues – including generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder – and I have written about those issues and the affect that they have had on our family. It’s entirely possible that if someone were able to identify him through my writing it could, someday, be the difference between him landing a prospective job, or spouse, or health insurance, or political office … or not.

    I also don’t want a traveling Greek chorus to judge – or even weigh in on – my every action and decision; I’m frankly NOT that thick-skinned, and I second-guess myself enough as it is. Keeping my life anonymous somehow makes what I write feel less “personal” for me, and provide me with a sense of distance from what I’m writing as well – in a good way. (But all of that may also be generational: I’m 50-something, so I can recall life before endless introspecton about private matters within public fora became the norm,)

    No matter what one’s age though, why would you (again, global “you”) want your daughter, or your mother for that matter, reading that you contemplated hanging yourself using a dog’s leash flung over a metal pipe in your garage? Or – from a highly-controversial blog post by another blogger who uses her real name – why would you want them to read your admission that you love your son more than you love his older sister, and that you’ve thought about which one you would choose in a “Sophie’s Choice” scenario? (Yes, seriously.) We tell our kids to be careful of what they “deposit” on the forever-and-ever-amen world of the Internet … but some bloggers just tend to forget or ignore the potential repersussions on their journey to the ‘publish’ button.

    Pauline, I really enjoy your blog, and I am riveted by your posts about your own son (although I’d love to whack your ex in his cojones with a 2 x 4 for pretty much everything he does). I truly respect the fact that you don’t disclose the identities of any of the “players”, and your posts are no less compelling for it. Please keep on writing! I wish you all the best.

    • Ruth, you’ve unpacked the Dooce scenario very thoroughly and astutely. I never read her blog a lot so I am unaware of how they handled their blog comments, or if censoring comments was the reason the reactions to their separation announcement were only kind. It is a really thorny issue of how much to divulge, or whether to be anonymous entirely and I think some of the decision in generational..I think the lack of privacy feels much more normal to those in their 20s and 30s since they have grown up with the internet. It is really hard to imagine how the separation will affect their empire, especially now that Jon has to de-dooce himself and get another job. And much of what they’ve been selling is the beautiful-in-tact-family lifestyle, so the separation may cause her to lose — or gain — readers.

      Finally, thank you for your kind words about my blog. Even though I write anonymously, your concerns about blogging about children’s mental health issues influencing future employment and health insurance gave me pause. I hadn’t even considered that. Maybe the internet will help de-stigmatize psychiatric disorders. Hope so anyway.

      • JESSICA says:

        ” Maybe the internet will help de-stigmatize psychiatric disorders. ”

        This is the reason dooce writes so candidly about her mental health. Shes stated so herself! There are so many more people suffering than we know, and if someone reading her blog sees that they’re not alone, and that she got the help that she needed, then she’s done a service.

  23. You should pop over and read Lisa Belkin at Huff Post on this topic, if you haven’t.

    I’m ambivalent on the subject; I started out fully anonymous as I wrote online, for many reasons including my own privacy and that of my children. I don’t write of far more than I do write, and I also write about much more than divorce or single/solo parenting. I’m less anonymous now, but still leave out many details intentionally, and tend to speak of things that are past rather than current, leaving out whatever would make someone else uncomfortable.

    I am not a Dooce reader, particularly. But her (their) “shtick” is something else. It’s not my thing, but it’s theirs (and profitable!), so I agree with the person who said it was a bit of a Catch-22.

    • BLW, I did read Lisa Belkin’s piece. Interesting how much the Dooce situation has taken hold of the blogging zeitgeist. I wonder if more bloggers will be anonymous because they don’t want to risk the whole bloggy world watching their home life fall apart, should that ever happen.

  24. Kris Kahle says:

    I’m just a simple little blogger… so, no need to hide my name and those of my family’s. Popped in over here following a lead placed at the end of Jon’s blog and enjoyed all the reads! I’m not divorced (married for 22 years) and not headed in that direction so I don’t know that I ever would’ve found your blog on my own… but I’m glad I did. Y’all write very well, very nicely and very entertaining. (Guess where I live… I just said y’all.) And I love how you comment on the comments! Good idea.

    Anyway, I’ll be back! Frequently. I plan to come back and give this blog the read that it deserves!

    Oh, and I have been an avid Dooce follower in the past, too… but I’ve strayed, like a lot of your readers. She’s just been… different… for awhile. Now we all know why. Sigh.

    Oh well, it’ll be interesting following these escapades. That’s for sure!

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  26. Last spring, on a mild Sunday afternoon, I do what I usually do: write a blog post. But what had been occurring more and more was that I was actually writing two posts. Publishing one, keeping another because it was the story of my marriage unraveling and the other woman helping to unravel it. I have always written for therapy. I needed to get the words out of my head and put them someplace else. It was never meant to be public. Except on that day, amid emotional turmoil and confusion, I published the wrong post. And the rest is history for those that read my blog, Cozy Little House. I thought my life as a blogger was over. But my readers were ultimately the wind beneath my wings. I am now divorced and living in another state, curled up in my chair with my dogs. I had to leave my cats with him and HER. It was the revelation of my REAL life that led me finally to end my marital misery, and go forth alone. I feel for her (Dooce) and her husband, and their children. Life can change so quickly. And it doesn’t matter if it’s public or private. It is always painful.
    Brenda@Cozy Little House

  27. Laura says:

    Would you ever want your young child to know you almost hung yourself right after you kissed them goodnight? That is like dropping an atomic bomb on their childhood.

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  29. Jana says:

    Dooce’s comment about contemplating suicide by hanging herself with the dog leash was poor judgement and will be devastating for her daughters to read one day. Unfortunaltely, with her you never know if it is the truth or if she writes that drama for clicks on her website.

    My parents, I must have been around 8 years old, went thru a difficult time in their marriage. During one of their very loud evening arguments, I overheard my Mom saying that she would use an empty syringe to put air bubbles in her venes so she would die.
    Today, I am 43 years old. I have not forgotten about that and I feel resentment for the selfish, careless way she talked about taking her own life and shaking the very foundation of a 8 year old girl.

    • Jana, I can imagine how devastating that remark must have felt and I can understand why it’s stuck with you. When I was 5, my mother, who was 44 when I was born, told me she probably had “only about 30 more good years left.” I remember how terrifying that was, and how I always worried about something happening to her. I just think, back then, adults didn’t have the same awareness of the impact their words had on kids.

  30. Lisa Gilbert says:

    I blogged my entire divorce through photos and music and more than a little passive-aggression (http://www.sunset-pig.blogspot.com). Despite my efforts to conceal it (perhaps), my ideation came through and got me in a lot of trouble with friends and family who couldn’t understand the way I was suffering. It caused far more drama that I intended, and widened the chasm that had developed in my family. Now, five years later, I look back on some of the things I wrote and give thanks that I was able to find some sort of pseudo-anonymous outlet for the pain. I hardly had the audience that Heather or Jon do, but I was amazed that it was the people I didn’t know who gave me strength to get through the hardest days. Perhaps that’s what they’re looking for at this point in their situation.

    • I feel the same way, Lisa — although my friends and family are supportive of my blog (the ones who know who I am), it is really the support of people I’ve met via the blogosphere that has sustained me. Divorce devastates people, and if you’re inclined to write, how could you not write about it?

      • Ruth says:

        I totally understand that impulse. But, given that they are so early in the process and that they still need to trudge through the quicksand of custody issues and property division, it would seem wise to remain somewhat circumspect … if not downright radio silent.

        I’d imagine that an attorney – and I am not one – would be pretty upset to read some of what’s been written on both sides. If you are pursuing custody, and you’ve already written extensively about your battles with depression that still continue to plague you,perhaps it isn’t the wisest choice to write publicly about contemplating suicide. (Not to mention the permanent record you’re creating of a very tenuous time that your kids will likely read someday.)

        Maybe the old habit of keeping a locked journal as a place to vent wasn’t such a bad thing.

  31. askea says:

    Thinking that if Dooce continues to berate her readers, what will her new name be when she is fired from their daily routine?

    • Ruth says:

      @askea, I was thinking along the same lines today. I’m assuming you’re referring to the “Chuck” photo in which the kids’ blocks balanced on his head spell “jerk”, with the pointed music video
      accompanying it. Subtle …not so much.

      As these things are wont to do, the comments on her blog seem to be coming in waves. The last time I checked, the “Team Heather” defenders were out in full, indignant force; previously, though, she was taking quite a beating.

      Besides the whole “decline-of-relatability-daily-personal-trainers-and-jetting-off-with-supermodels” issues, she’s *really* not helped by two things: they’ve clarified that Heather asked Jon to leave, and she’s had a series of IKEA-sponsored posts in which they are paying for her to remodel her guest room with their stuff (and video the process) even as Jon has had to find and furnish his own apartment. (Mensch that he is, Jon is even sticking to an old agreement to edit the videos.). Unfortunate timing to say the least!

      But instead of copping to that, she’s become very defensive.

      Ironically, Jon has been sounding much more centered and down-to-earth on his blog, and he’s probably enjoying more page hits there than ever before. He’s really been taking the high road, and has closed a thread in which the dog piling on Heather became too extreme.

      But people are reacting strongly to the fact that he has seemingly been extremely supportive through all of her issues, has been instrumental in helping to build the “media empire” … and now she has the dogs, gonzo house, and kids and he’s picking up apartment keys and getting proficient with an Allan wrench.

      Of course we only know what they’ve chosen to share publicly – both over the course of the blog’s lifespan overall and about this specifically. For all we know, Jon could be a controlling bastard to live with, and Heather could be Mother Theresa. What’s that old saying about “His side, her side, and the truth”?

      With all of that said – Heather would probably benefit from a large dose of humility, from a measure of honesty about some of the apparent inequity of the current situation, and from counting to 100 before she posts anything on that blog. She owes it to no one to justify her life or her decisions, but if she wants to continue to rake in the big bucks she will need the support and following of more than her core posse of minions. Time to suck it up a little, it seems.

  32. Wow. The commentary here is much better written and truly thought-provoking. The comments on gomi are absolutely hellish. Nice to read what everyone has written here.

  33. This is a really sad condition for the parent who wants peace and lead a happy married life. A high conflicting situation arises when one of the partners starts making a mountain out of a molehill. Issues which have been highlighted in the post such as haircut etc. are limited to the individual. In such a case the parents can opt for a parenting class instead of going for separation. This is helpful from the point of view of your children as well.

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