Some say the internet has gotten entirely too confessional. They say we fetishize every personal problem for the whims and giggles of strangers.
I say: “Here is a blog series about the year my husband and I spent deciding whether or not to get divorced!”
When I first told Neal–to whom I am still married, for those keeping score at home–that I was interested in writing about this, he seemed entirely unfazed. He has grown accustomed to me being self-indulgent in the Internet Age and I have grown accustomed to him being a pain in the ass. It’s sort of our thing. Yet while he didn’t seem surprised by my proposal, he didn’t seem to understand why I was proposing it.
If I’m being honest, I first thought of blogging about our rough period because, frankly, a lot of funny sh-t happened.
As it turns out, trying to sort out your relationship actually leads you down some fairly comical roads. And for all of the painful, soul-wrenching work you do to determine whether a marriage will work, don’t you deserve a few laughs???
Once I really thought about what I would write and whether or not I would write it, though, I thought more about people. The legions of people I know who are wrestling and have wrestled with marital/relationship troubles. And having been there, I know how isolating it can feel, because, for some reason, we’re not supposed to talk about it. I mean, with anyone.
And say you do “confess” that things are rough or not working out or ending. Suddenly people crease their brows in disappointment or pity. Suddenly you’re a tragic figure or a failure. Suddenly your relationship troubles trump every other story line. It’s like that Bradbury story “Crowd” in which the same crowd gathers at every accident.
Even if no one’s leveling blame, per se, you immediately get the cosmic cue to panic. It’s been drummed into us. You must excel at People Things such as love or friendship or else you’re not much of a person yourself.
The fact that people don’t always ace being married to someone at first or ever strikes me as entirely logical. What is illogical is seeing someone who’s never ridden a bike before fall off that bike and then racing over to kick them and shout, “YOU STUPID BASTARD. YOU HAVE FAILED. DIE IN SHAME AND YET NEVER SPEAK OF IT FOR IT MAKES ME FEEL OOKY!”
So I wondered if writing about this might resonate with someone. Might make someone giggle thinking of their own misadventures in trying, successfully or unsuccessfully, to mend a marriage. Might help someone out there feel a little less alone.
But, yeah, mostly I thought it might be funny.