CHANGE YOURSELF: 'Til Blog Do Us Part?

Liveblog

BLOGHER '11
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
AUGUST 6, 2011
CHANGE YOURSELF - TIL BLOG DO US PART?

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>> So it's like 10:47. So we are going to start. And if somebody comes in and tells us that's wrong, then sorry. My name is Britt Reints and you are in Til Blog Do Us Part. It has the hash tag and everything you need up there. So my name is Britt Reints you might know me on line which is Miss Britt which is the name I have been using for five years. The panel today is going to talk about the relationship between blogging and that's like the equivalent of making bunny ears.
>> DOUG FRENCH: I'm sorry, I was making fish noises I want to make that clear.
>> BRITT REINTS: We will be looking at the relationship between blogging and marriage and what those two have to do with each other. I'm on this panel, I guess my personal experience, I have been blogging I started blogging a personal blog about five years ago, and always blogged about my personal life as we all want to do, and then my well, as part of blogging about my personal life, I did definitely blog about my marriage, good, bad and otherwise. I definitely was guilty of using it as a place to air my grievances and stuff like that. The point being that my marriage was very much a part of my blog and then about two years ago, my husband and I separated. And because I had always blogged about my life, you know, you couldn't keep going and not blog about that. So my separation was very public. And all of, everything around that was very public, and then my husband and I reconciled, went through marriage counseling. We are happily married today. Yea! But I kind of blocked through that whole thing and I learned a lot through that process. So that's my story. And we are going to start, I guess we will go left to right here, actually, Doug, tell us a little bit about yourself.
>> DOUG FRENCH: My name is Doug French. You may know me, I write a dad blog called laid off dad and I am cofounder of the dad 2.0 summit coming up next March.
(Applause).
>> DOUG FRENCH: We are psyched but I am here because my ex wife and I, she writes a blog called Ask Moxy and she and I divorced four years ago and recently we began writing a blog together about co-parenting with our two boys. We were both invited. They can't be here because she has a business school this weekend, but I want to represent the two of us because I think the way this blog is called when the flames go up. And it's we write posts to each other about each other and just kind of talk about what it's like to be in the business of raising children with someone who is slowly and surely becoming an entirely different person in your life., so and it's been our salvation for reasons we have discussed. Because I have learned more about her over the past 18 months than I did during the nine years of marriage which speaks about the quality of our marriage but also how this blog is helping us move to the next level and raise our boys the best we can and make them feel as if they are both loved and it's just normal to have a mom and a dad in two houses.
>> BRITT REINTS: And next Deesha Philyaw.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I also share a blog with, like Doug, with my ex spouse, my ex husband, Michael Thomas. We divorced in 2006 and we co founded Coparenting101.Org in 2008. I'm a freelance writer and he is a banker who doesn't mind me editing him. So it worked out for us to blog together. As you can imagine from the fact we are divorced there, are a lot of things we don't agree on, but what we did agree on is that we wanted to be cooperative as parents after our divorce and we wanted to spare our children the adult drama and conflict that come with divorce and that has been sort of the marching orders we gave ourselves upon separation. So we founded Coparenting101.Org to be a resource for others like us who are parenting across two households. We also wanted to challenge the cultural assumption that post divorced parenting has to look like Kramer versus Kramer, which if you are same generation I am, that was sort of when you hear divorce, that's what you would think of.
That movie is 30 years old, so it sort of the attitudes about what it means to parent after divorce and how children are just pawns and stuck in the crossfire. So we want to challenge that assumption, not only by our own example, but also sharing the stories of other coparents who are navigating these Walters, who are facing challenges but who are doing so in a spirit that helps their children to thrive even after divorce and to show a different way other than what might come to mind when you think of parents divorcing. We are going to have a book by the same name that's coming out in 2013 and we also have a show as another resource called co-parenting matters that we do through blog talk radio every Sunday night except in the Summertime when we are on hiatus and it's live, it's blog talk radio co-parenting matters. We do that with Taliba Umbanisa, who is the founder of co-parenting site dedicated to African American coparents. I am remarried and I have two step daughters in addition to the two daughters that Mike and I have.
>> BRITT REINTS: Erin, if you want to give us a brief summary.
>> ERIN MANTZ: I'm Erin Mantz and I blog at ErinMatnz.com and I'm a blogger for Huffington Post. I do not write a blog with my ex spouse. I write more about my ex spouse, which is proving to be very challenging. And I laugh when I say about him because I probably reveal maybe 20% of what I could. I always try to relate my topics and postings to larger issues going on and not reveal too much about him personally, but nevertheless, every time a posting goes out, I do often get an angry email from him, a threat, a request to change my last name, and on and on. So it's interesting. My background is I have been a writer for a long time, before I started blogging about divorce and relationships and blended families, I was a parenting writer, which I continue to do, and looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all today.
My background too, just of note is I recently started blogging on my own site about six months ago. I was more of a freelance writer doing articles and things of that nature, so I'm relatively new to social media realm, but very excited.
>> BRITT REINTS: Just a quick technical question, are we all echoing and does she echo more than anybody else.
>> AUDIENCE: It's worse when you are up there. It's fine when you are here.
>> BRITT REINTS: Never mind then. We just kind of wanted to get an idea of where you guys are at too, who you guys are. Can we see a show of hands, how many of you guys are married still? Okay. How many of you are separated or divorced? And do any of you blog about your marriage? Some of you, do any of you not blog about your marriage but think maybe you might? I'm seeing a lot of do any of you not blog about your marriage and think it's a horrible idea ever to blog about your marriage? Okay. So basically what we will be covering two themes today, how changes in your marriage affect your blogging and how blogging itself can affect your marriage. And that is kind of might near and dear to my heart. So let's start off first by talking about some of the challenges that you might face if you do decide to blog about your marriage or maybe some reasons why you wouldn't or how you can and have it be okay. Erin, you had mentioned this a little bit, but you have faced some unique challenges. I know a lot of us worry about pissing people off, but some of your challenges are more stronger when you started writing about your ex husband and stuff, can you tell us about what you
>> ERIN MANTZ: I think probably the first sign of trouble was about a year before I asked for my separation, I wrote a piece, one of the first pieces I ever sold to Tango Magazine called Meet the Campaign Widows. My husband was on a presidential campaign traveling all of the time. And it was the first kind of very personal piece that I wrote, and it warranted all kinds ever calls, like my mother in law called, are you okay, things sound tough and my ex boyfriend from college called he was like wow, what's going on. I hadn’t talked to him in 15 years. So I realized the power to move people. I guess the biggest decision that I made and it was almost a no brainer even though it was a big decision is I made a contribution with an essay to a book called dear John I love Jane when as published in 2010 about leaving my husband for a woman. And when I decided to submit my piece, I thought, you know, okay, well, not only is everybody going to know my story. He is going to be really pissed that I'm sharing this story, never mind our personal exchanges on this. So once I did that, I felt like, well, now I can blog and write articles about it because it's going to be out there in the book. So, you know, through a lot a long period of separation of litigation I was continuing to write kind of always under the threat of, you know, more litigation, again, pressure to change my name and things of that nature, but I really stayed strong in my path to continue to tell my story. So far so good, but it definitely is a tenuous situation, and everything that I write, you know, I feel could potentially be used against me, but I doubt we would end up in court.
>> BRITT REINTS: So you think you have it bad writing about your in laws. She is worrying about getting sued. Obviously we are not all writing about our ex spouses, I'm still married and the majority of you are remarried or still married, but when we write about people in our lives, obviously there are some there is some care we have to take. Deesha can you tell us a bit about how you manage to write about things that could be controversial in your relationship without pissing people off or do you care if you piss off our spouse or your new husband or whatever.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I care about those relationships to I try and be mindful of the importance of the relationship first and foremost as I'm balancing that with telling my story and recognizing that it's also someone else's story too, you know, where is the line between having the right to tell your own story and the implications for other people. So what I have done generally, there is a handful of people that I have to care about not pissing off or not hurting and not upsetting so starting with my ex husband, we have a bit of an unspoken agreement in that it seems that we don't write about things where our children would discover it on our blog. Meaning that, if it's things that they are already aware of because they, you know, at least our oldest daughter occasionally reads the blog and my step daughters read the blog. So we don't want children discovering things that they don't already know about.
Our most loyal visitor to the blog is my husband's ex wife which is probably not a surprise to anybody, especially step moms who blog. There is step moms who go underground for that reason. So I have to be mindful that she is reading that, and but it's no secret in our family that she is and don't have a close relationship. So my step kids aren't going to discover that. At the same time I don't exploit that on the site either. So in thinking about not pissing her off, it's not her so much as there are repercussions for the step kids.
So if there is a topic I want to talk about that will piss her off instead of this is what's going on in my life. So that way it's advice that I think people or hope people will find helpful as we are trying to navigate different challenges and co-parenting and step parenting. You don't need to know who the players are to get the benefit of the information and that's what I'm hoping will come through. There are times, though, that I will be very clear that I'm writing about myself as a coparent and myself as a step parent because I do want to share my journey and I do, especially with Mike, we want to make it clear that we are not, you know, super coparents, that it's not all sunshine and roses and we have challenges and here is how we address them. That's one way of finessing it, turning it into something that's more neutral. If you think about blogs where they will have a letter from a reader and this is from Kate in California. Well, you don't know if that's Kate or not because Kate might have asked for a pseudonym. Kate could be Kevin, I change genders, I change situations so that the crux of the co-parenting issue comes through, so that somebody can be helped without necessarily knowing who is involved. So that's another way that we can get around that.
>> BRITT REINTS: I think that's interesting that you need to do that without being I think that's an interesting tactic because you do it without it being shrouded in cryptic, you are saying I'm not saying who this is about, but sometimes when people do that and the message gets lost in those posts. And I spend the whole time going is she talking about me. Is she getting divorced? So that's a good way so you don't lose all of that in the mystery while still being respectful.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I want people to learn from my co-parenting and step parenting experiences. I don't necessarily want to entertain them through it, and I think that's where the line is. The other strategy is giving it time and letting things sort ever marinate and seeing how things play out. Because you can tell the whole story, some of the stuff that could be more caustic or that could piss people off necessarily. I don't think there is a problem with pissing people off if it serves a purpose. I have done that as well, when Mike and I have had issues come up in our own co-parenting, there might be the impetus to take to the blog, but I have learned that it's a lot more interesting even for me to write about it if, you know, we can have the postscript already there and knowing, too, that your first reaction isn't always the one that you are going to stick with. I tend to know what his first reaction is going to be at this point, and then I sit there and I wait.
Then it's a different reaction that comes through and that's sort of where we go from. So by the time it ends up on the blog, hopefully people can see themselves in that, having been in that moment, having wanted to do that thing and having not wanted to be the bigger person and then come to a solution that was best for their kids.
>> BRITT REINTS: You mentioned about your goal isn't to be entertaining but one of the things we had talked about is any writer on a certain level your job is to entertain or at least be interesting unless you are writing a textbook. So, Doug, can you talk to us about, do you and your ex wife have basic ground rules that help you have a blog that's entertaining and interesting without being disrespectful to each other. We have a failsafe in that we each contribute to the blog but each of us has first refusal before the blog post goes out. Before I write something, she reads it, and sometimes we will read something and more often than not it's enlightening than anything else because it's something to see someone writing about her perception of you that might not necessarily come out in your normal conversation because when you write a post, you choose your words wisely and you choose them with some circumspection and you recognize that you have a very specific meaning to convey.
I mean, we each both we write for Huffington Post as well, which is a nice gig, I guess, but that's different because we can just write about what we want to write about without the other person's approval and that's fun. That fits a purpose once in awhile, but our blog together is very mutual. It's very there will be no surprises for the other one when it goes up. And that's also, that's a blessing I think because she is a blogger, I'm a blogger. We were married bloggers first. So we get the idea of what a blog is supposed to be, and we get the sense of what we are trying to achieve, but at the same time, even though we are definitely not going to upset the other or at least we are not going to sandbag the other with something that we have never discussed before, the ultimate litmus test is the kids because this will outlive all of us and one day they are going to read it. That's why I got into blogging in general in the first place. I would love to read a blog that my dad wrote when I was ten. And especially, I mean, they were together, but if they were divorced I wanted to know what it was like to go through the divorce. They have no perception of what it is now. We were divorced when they were six, so it's common nature to them, but when they are adults and they understand a bit more about the fine pudding that is marriage, they will take a look and see that it was for the best, and that in many cases, this is going to be the salvation of all four of us.
>> BRITT REINTS: This is advice that I have heard from writers since I started blogging, it's kind of along the same lines of as a writer you are supposed to write, let it sit, edit the next day, which I don't do that either. I know when it was the hardest for me and when I should have taken the advice the most I didn't want to, and people would say, well, you got to think about him, screw him, I want to write what I want. I kind of wish somebody would have said to me if this advice is hard to take, it's probably the time when it's the most important to think about that or think about why is this so hard to say, why do you need to hurry up and say that. For me I know too as a writer, one of the things I have heard people say is that they do worry about being boring. Once you start to set up those boundaries that you worry you won't be an interesting writer.
>> DOUG FRENCH: I actually hope we are boring. When you say where do you this blog going, I hope it will be so boring it will die out.
>> BRITT REINTS: It's being recorded.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Yes, transcript.
>> BRITT REINTS: So, I have heard of people that do worry about that, and I do think that it's possible to still capture the emotion of we have all read the posts, right, where somebody is in their darkest moments and they can be really powerful posts.
It is not necessarily good for that person to have put that out there right away in that space, but I think it's possible to have those really powerful posts while still having boundaries in your life. For me I have this exercise, I try to do like what Deesha says and wait until the situation is more resolved. I'm not saying I waited until we were done with marriage counseling, I would at least wait until the argument was resolved. And I do this thing where I like sit and kind of close my eyes at the computer and try to go back mentally. I don't know if anybody has that emotional memory where you can go back and you can pay attention, you put yourself back in the spot so you can capture those emotions, but you have this new perspective of knowing how to ends. I think it's important that people understand that you can do that, and that's my writing tip for the day. That's how I do that, the emotional memory thing. With all of this talk about being respectful of people we write about and things like that, I do think it's important to talk about how blogging itself, no matter what you write about, can affect our off line relationships, whether that's your marriages or your boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever. Doug, one of the favorite things you have ever said that I have heard you say is that blogging is horrible for your marriage but great for your divorce.
>> ERIN MANTZ: I agree.
>> BRITT REINTS: You are divorced and that's behind you and stuff but can you share at least what you are comfortable sharing about that, about the effect that blogging had on your marriage?
>> DOUG FRENCH: Well, I think, I love blogging. I love writing and the fact that we all have these platforms is just a great, it's a great time to be alive. But at the same time, it's, you know, the act of writing is empirically a solitary exercise. It's an antisocial exercise. And I do think that if you do write and write often, that's a special challenge for you when you maintain a relationship with a spouse, especially if that spouse doesn't write like you do. And I think there is a lot all of you who are married, do you have a spouse who doesn't write and doesn't know why you do?
>> AUDIENCE: Yes.
>> DOUG FRENCH: That's the real challenge, I think, because in fact we have lots of mom bloggers who want to send their husbands to dad 2.0 so they can introduce them to what it is we do and have a dad explain it to them instead of the mom. But for our marriage, we realized because we were both bloggers and we would get the kids to sleep and we would go off to separate corners of the living room and write and ignore each other. That works for each other but at the same time it kind of took our minds off how our interpersonal relationship with spouses was riding because all of our attention was focused on ourselves and the pipe out to the world but not including the other. So, but now, I have learned more about her again, about how she reacts, how she teams when she calls the kids when they are with me or when she talks about why we got divorced, why she asked for the divorce, and why it took me awhile to realize it made sense and then recognize that it did make sense. Now that we are in this new phase, you know, we are all moving together, if you have read the last post on the blog was a couple of weeks ago, we announced we are moving from New York to Ann Arbor, all four of us we are what' call a u shaped family. We may have separate heads going in different directions but we have the base at the bottom. That was hard for me. I couldn't write about it because I had to decide what I wanted versus what I wanted for my kids and what I was clinging to. But the fact is we have this rapport now, the fact that we are including each other and we both love to write and the fact we are including ourselves in this process has done wonders for our friendship. That's whether I'm grateful for, the fact that she is a blogger and she gets that. Not everyone is blessed with that. If you have a spouse that's like stop writing already. That's got to be hard. Marriage is choppy enough, but when you have that specific divide in terms of someone who writes versus someone who doesn't, that's especially a tough thing to reconcile. So as long as you pay attention to it, recognize that and be inclusive, you can do as I say and not as I did.
>> BRITT REINTS: I think one of the things you said though can be applied to a mixed marriage.
>> DOUG FRENCH: A mixed marriage, yes.
>> BRITT REINTS: Between a writer and non writer. There are ways to include them in the process, whether it's reading it to them or asking them for advice or finding a way to get past that initial, like, whatever, those are your people, to push passed that and get to where you find a way that you are sharing this with them, that it doesn't become your own side thing. Because we all know, everybody here if you spent the money to be here, blogging is not something you casually do. It maybe started that way, but it's gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. You have something that big not bridging.
>> DOUG FRENCH: That's nice, sweety. Enjoy that.
>> BRITT REINTS: I'm going to ask you the same type of thing, having been through a divorce but now being remarried, are there things you try to be aware of in regards to how blogging would affect the relationship with the first husband. Here you are blogging with an ex boyfriend. My husband would not be cool with that. How do you what do you do?
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I think, and this is kudos to my husband, because he is one of the most confident, supportive people I know. He is not threatened by my blogging. He is not threatened by because even if I wasn't blogging with my ex husband, we have such a congenial co-parenting relationship and close that anybody I was going to be involved with, you know, like Doug, it's a package deal. And I'm note saying that everybody's post divorce reality needs to be that way. That's just what worked for us. So, for example, for the first three years of our divorce and separation, four years, until Mike remarried, he lived right around the corner because we wanted the girls to have that proximity and when I was dating, there were guys that thought something was still up between us.
And I thought, again, what a failure of imagination that it couldn't possibly be because this guy still wanted to have his kids in walking distance or for his kids to know that he was just around the corner and no flames, like gone. Everything was extinguished and if I have to explain that
>> DOUG FRENCH: If you don't get this, there is the door.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: So when I met the person who later became my husband and he was embarking on co-parenting as well, and he thought that what we had was just great. He was like, yes, that's kind of what we are working towards, meaning he and his ex wife. And that would have worked out for them had I not entered the picture. I totally get that unfortunately. A lot of times relationships do, co-parenting relationships do change when a new partner is introduced and everything goes out the window. So he appreciated the kind of co-parenting partnership I have even though he has not unfortunately been able to have that similar with his ex. He is super supportive of me as a writer so when I write about co-parenting and step parenting, it spills into his life as well and either of us wants the kids to discover anything on the site. Other than that he has never tried to edit me and there has never been anything I put forth that he had a problem with. And back to the point about entertainment versus information, trying to blend those together, you know, I'm not going to entertain at my kids' expense or my step kids' expense but there are ways to finesse it. And one of my favorite posts was something I called the Elmira Gulch Chronicles how not to be the ex wife. And Elmira Gulch was the wicked witch when they were in Kansas, so I had a lot of fun writing a blog post about how not to be that ex wife. And I felt I could get away with that because I'm an ex wife as well as current wives. And so many people could relate to that and, of course, I drew on my experiences with that ex wife because that's my reality. Never named her by name, ever. I'm sure when they read it, she recognized herself, but I never said this is my reality. And so I think I did manage to entertain in that one. I really needed to get that one off my chest, but I didn't want to do it in a way that it would have direct repercussions for my step kids.
>> ERIN MANTZ: That's a good point saying there are ways to finesse, and one strategy I use and it may be a little bit because of my background from writing magazine articles, a lot of my blog posts are feature articley for lack of a better word so I will be writing about personal experience or something I want to get across but I will relate it to something going on in the news, a new study. I did a piece called peek a boo I still see you, following ex family on Facebook because I wanted to send a message that I missed my ex family, my ex sister in law, but I didn't want it to be about me and her and Facebook wasn't as exploding, so I built it around that. And after the piece came out, my ex husband sent me a furious email, but what he didn't know is I had also gotten three emails from several of his family members saying I loved your post so there are ways and strategies to go about getting your point across.
>> BRITT REINTS: Erin, do you feel like it's important to protect your personal life from being affected by your writing at all? Do you feel there are boundaries you need to keep in place so that that's the writing over there I'm curious especially since you are new to the blogging.
>> ERIN MANTZ: There are definitely boundaries and I'm still trying to figure that out. I feel like blogging is not as safe as writing an article because it is very personal, and it is more about you. So I'm still kind of putting my foot in the water, so to speak. And being careful too because at the end of the day, I mean, I still could have a situation where custody of my children or pending litigation. But at the same time, I need to express myself creatively, so it's definitely a challenge to find that balance.
>> BRITT REINTS: I feel like I have written down here my experience that's what I'm supposed to talk about next and I'm struck by you guys seem so professional and have these very good guidelines and stuff. For me, blogging definitely affected my marriage and not in a good way. I was talking to a reporter recently and she said has your husband always been supportive of blogging and I said he has been too supportive. When I first started blogging, you know, it was like I was a person who liked to talk. I like to talk about my feelings. He is not. And it was this perfect we were like this is the perfect solution. I can talk about my feelings with these other people and he doesn't have to hear it.
And, you know, that's not a good solution. I see that a lot, and I blog a lot in the personal hemisphere, and it's not a good solution. I feel like a lot of times there are things we say on line because we need somebody to hear it, and sometimes I think it's really important if we are feeling I know that's why I started blogging. That's what made me fall in love with blogging is I needed to be heard, I needed to be heard. And it took my marriage falling apart to realize that I needed to be heard, and I wasn't getting heard at home. And going to the blog wasn't a good replacement for that. And so for me, I think that's how blogging and for a lot of friends that's how I see blogging negatively impacting their marriage. It's not just the writing. It's the whole community, it's the whole community of blogging. I think that's different with magazine articles, it's this whole thing that blogging is that can make a really good standing for any deficits you have in your relationship and I think that's something that we caution to be careful for.
>> DOUG FRENCH: That was a question I had for Erin about that because coming from print media to something that's much more immediate in terms of the response, I know you must resonate with there are plenty of people in your position, not in your specific position, but enough, and you are not accustomed to getting that kind of immediate feedback from commenters or people who DM you or follow you on Twitter. How has that helped you navigate this?
>> ERIN MANTZ: That's right, people kind of come out of woodwork and they want to tell their story or they can relate. And, again, that's one of the reasons I write is to connect with people and to hopefully give some kind of support or insight into folks that are going through the same thing or a similar thing, but, yes, it's a whole new connection that rather than someone reading an article. And I do like the immediacy of it as well, and building those relationships and having more of a dialogue.
>> DOUG FRENCH: It's like being a screen writer and doing stand up.
>> BRITT REINTS: I don't know where our Mike wrangler is.
>> BRITT REINTS: Since we are recording will you say your name and your blog. Just your name and your blog.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Janet. My blog is (off microphone) and my question was did blogging about things going on in your life and about your marriage, I know you were saying that it didn't necessarily personally help you, that you really needed to work with your husband. Did it hurt your marriage?
>> BRITT REINTS: See, and this is the thing that I'm torn on because I have, since then I just had somebody come up to me last night and say I went through and I read all of your marriage posts and I want you to know that I was getting separated. Now that I think about it. I was going flu it, we are divorced but thank you that has helped and I don't think I have had anybody come up to me and say thank you we are separated and now together. I know it helped other people's marriages, but, wait, no, they are divorced so I think it hurt everybody. I think it did hurt my marriage because getting those needs met elsewhere, whether it's from, you know, your girlfriends on line or whatever, because you have to remember it's not a two way street. Having your blogging commenters be like, oh, I know, you get it, you make total sense, you are so wonderful, it totally screws up your perspective. It makes it way too easy working through your problems in your marriage is hard and going back to the whole mixed marriage, it's hard. If you are not feeling heard, it's really hard to be like, listen to me, listen to me, listen to me. It's so much easier to go get the quick fix. Say that Twitter and Facebook and the immediacy we are talking about, it's like a slot machine, right, where it's like ding, you are pretty, ding, you are pretty, and it's instant feedback. It's not like that in real life. You have to work through the and you know, the defensiveness and all of that stuff.
So I think what happened is it's just natural human emotion or human tendency to look this is really hard to get the needs met this way. It's super easy to go on Twitter and be like, God, I hate it when people
>> DOUG FRENCH: I know it sustained me during my divorce, being told I was pretty.
>> AUDIENCE: What I want to know was your husband, Jared, was he resentful of your interaction on your blog?
>> BRITT REINTS: Unfortunately no. I think if he had the good sense to be resentful sooner, that that would have been better. Like if he had said and you know, I have heard a lot of bloggers who say my husband hates it. My husband doesn't get it. My husband doesn't get it, but he is a very understanding, wonderful the understanding that he has is a testament to a wonderful forgiving guy, but unfortunately he wasn't resentful. Actually that's not true, towards the end of the phase, he did start to get resentful. He was resentful of the fact that I was not plugging into him, but I think when he didn't realize, you know, why exactly.
>> AUDIENCE: My husband I'm Guy queue from life on in order nare.com. My husband doesn't mind me writing about him at all, but he asks that I don't write about my in laws so I was asking is there any fun way around that without me being.
>> BRITT REINTS: No.
>> AUDIENCE: Maybe Erin because you spoke about your in laws.
>> ERIN MANTZ: That's a tough one. Again, my strategy, and I have written pieces about, you know, certain things I would like to say about my ex mother in law, for instance, I have turned it 2450 like a larger issue. And I may use an anecdote from something that happened with she and I, but I will make it more about an issue at large or a trend or somebody's wedding. I mean, the night of our wedding, my mother in law came in the elevator with my husband and I and wanted to check out the bridal suite at the end of the night. I should have known then what was to come. But I can turn that into something. And, again, I approached it more like an article. And you don't want to hurt people. There are a lot of things I would like to blog about now that I don't out of respect for her.
>> BRITT REINTS: Don't you find that when you make it into a bigger you say that in is the end that's a more useful story for your reader.
>> ERIN MANTZ: I would like to think that. It's a little safer for me, so I like to hear that.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Drey, I write at LifeonaTightrope.com and Tweet at WalktheRope. I have a slightly different perspective I have been separated since October after 13 years together and this community actually saved me from a dire situation. I was isolated, in an abusive and controlling relationship when I started blogging three years ago, he did not like it but I felt heard, as you were saying, Britt, you need to be heard. And I felt heard. I never blogged about anything negative. I wasn't allowed to. When people emailed me or Tweeted they I wasn't allowed to talk about anything negative because he monitored that, but the relationships I developed through blogging and through this community opened the door for me to have a support system that I wasn't would had. And at BlogHer last year some friends took me aside and they had to wait until BlogHer because they knew they couldn't communicate with me electronically, openly. They waited until New York and took me aside and said, look, you don't talk about it, but we can read between the lines. This is no good. And they gathered money for me. They developed a situation where I would have a safe place to go and got me out of a horrible situation that has turned into something amazing. It turned out my ex husband was on drugs and he is clean now and we can coparent and I write about it a little bit and he is okay with that, but without this community, I wouldn't be here on this earth. So it did damage my marriage, but that's okay because it saved my life.
(Applause).
>> BRITT REINTS: Yes, I was going to say, your friends helped you, but you got out so you should be commended for that. I think Doug had actually talked about this a bit and please forgive me because I know I tend to get peachy about this. This is very new in my life. We have only been reconciled for two years so I'm super psychotic, every marriage can be saved, but that's not true. What we were trying to say is that it shines a light on where that problem is happening. You know, like you said, you weren't being heard. In my situation, I wasn't being heard and it was possible. Like that was there. You weren't being heard and it made it clear that you weren't being heard because your husband was actually an ass the important thing is to recognize that it's not a fill in and go, wait a minute, why am I looking for that replacement. And you had talked about that a bit.
>> DOUG FRENCH: When I was prepping for this talk and I was thinking about my blogging community friends and my friends who don't blog. And I'm actually curious among you, each of you as a blogger can kind of see, you have your blogger friends and you have your real life friends, and I don't know if you see the same way I do, but it occurred to me, I think the instances of marital strife, separation, divorce or just terrible situations they are disproportionately high among my blogger friends. And I think it's because of that. I think, again, it's you want to be heard, and you want to say something and you don't have an audience for it in your own home so it's like having an emotional affair with someone who understands you.
But I think in general what that also does is it's an isolating thing. So why I say that it's great for my divorce, this blog, is that it's a dialogue. It’s a dialogue between my ex wife and me. And just like a lack of dialogue can help foment hostility. You can use dialogue as an anecdote for hostility. Any dialogue that goes on with you and your spouse that I wish I had with mine is going to help as long as you at least try to reach each other and say this is why I do that. If you can't share that with your spouse, who can do you that with? And that's why I was thinking what Deesha was saying about, if a woman, if I were getting involved with a woman who was divorced from her husband I would love if they blogged together, but if they are blogging together, they are talking stuff out, we don't want you know, the drama is a tough thing to deal with in your own life, and that will be exponentially more. So any opportunity to get that communication going is what's going to smooth the waters as much as possible.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Lisa from LNS.com. And my question goes back to kind of the same issue, but the writer versus the non writer marriage kind of thing. I don't write about my marriage except in funny or glowing terms. I don't write about anything that my husband would find objectionable, but we have this conflict where I have this whole community of people that I know that he knows nothing about. And he doesn't understand, you know, that these are very real people to me because I have met a lot of them and interact with them on a daily basis but he doesn't meet them because he doesn't go to these events so it's like I have a separate life from what he does.
>> BRITT REINTS: I think it would be helpful if you invite those people to stay with you for awhile. Especially if they are in an RV and need a place to stays for free.
>> ERIN MANTZ: I can comment on that a little bit too. In my relationship now, I mean, my partner is not a writer, not creative. She is a financial advisor and very impressed by the whole writing thing and doesn't get it. And something will happen with us and I will say, well, someone on my blog said this, this and this, and she will say who is this person and why are you quoting this person and what's their situation. So it's like more than like the two of us talking about an issue. So, yes, it keeps things interesting that's for sure.
>> BRITT REINTS: I think the trick is when you they say who is mommy 346, I'm tempted to be it's a person you don't know them. That's the worst thing, again, I think one of the keys to push through that and take the time and be like this is who they are, they comment on my blog. Or it starts to be like you can say remember that person I was telling you about who lives in the RV? Remember the person I was telling you about who pissed me off, remember she was the person with the three dogs. How many of you guys have spouses, you know, that maybe they don't have company Christmas parties so they have co workers that you haven't met, but you come home and you share stories about the people that, you know, I think we have suck it up and get past our own ideas that they are in the computer so we are not going to talk and explain about it and talk to them, talk about our spouses with them as if they are real people. Because I know tons of stuff about people I have never met that my husband has worked with.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Social media is doing that to our relationships any way. Divorce lawyers say one in five divorces involves Facebook in some way and that's on the rise. You look back and people are friending old girlfriends and boyfriends and the fact that we have that capability makes it that much more of a challenge to with stand that.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello, my name is Sarah Wilson I'm with Huffington Post Divorce. Hello. Some of you have blogged for me already. So nice to meet you. My question is about the acceptance of blogging divorce, and sort of when you started out, was that conversation taking place in the blogosphere and if so how has it changed? And before you answer that, if any of you want to blog for me, come see me after or rerun blogs you have already had on your sites ant sort of expose them to a wider audience, I would love to get your voices.
>> BRITT REINTS: Not me.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: Doug, I know you have had this experience too, as high as the divorce rate is, I have been surprised to find in blogging about divorce and specifically cooperative co-parenting how many people view it as such an evil that if I have anything positive to say about life after divorce, you don't love your kids, you didn't try hard enough. If you can get along so well now, why couldn't you make your marriage work? Which is none of anybody's business, but.
>> BRITT REINTS: Amen.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: But as bloggers, we don't say none of your business. You find the tactful answers to those questions. And so I was surprised when I started writing about co-parenting that those things would come up. And our short answers are, you know, divorce happens just like anything that you don't plan for that you don't expect that is traumatic. After it happens, you work to heal. You work to recover. And so by co-parenting cooperatively, that's what we are trying to help our children do. So we are not saying oh, you know, our divorce is no big deal or oh, the kids will be fine, you know, that nothing could be further from the truth. We are very focused on helping our children heal and helping other people help their children. And as far as the other way we get sometimes, which is very, you know, very angry, you know, you obviously didn't try hard enough to make your marriage work and, of course, only the two people in the marriage know who tried and who didn't and what you did and didn't do. So our boilerplate answer to that is if you have ever been through a divorce, if you are the child of a divorce, you know, and as parents that love your kids, I would like to believe that people only take their children through that experience after they have exhausted every other possible option. And it's a bit of a slap in the face to say you didn't try hard enough for your kids, but I also recognize that people bring to bear their own feelings about divorce whether from their childhood or their own marriages and their fears and insecurities and I try not to own that. I don't want to tell Doug's story but I was shocked at the reaction when he and his ex wife started a blog together, the angry comments in the New York Times about.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Oh, yes, good stuff.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: You are rubbing this in your kids' face and
>> DOUG FRENCH: How did they know I was doing that? They are so perceptive these people.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: There is a lot of emotion that comes because people feel like if you have anything to say or healing to say about divorce that you are minimizing the trauma not just on kids but on the adults involved. And there are a lot of people hurt by divorce, present company included but there is also healing.
>> DOUG FRENCH: The way it works is people say we didn't work hard enough for the kids and going through the divorce is a lot harder work than recognizing, kind of playing out the strain. I feel as though we actually undertook this to save them because we get much better we are so much better off now as shareholders in this business of raising our children and we you are just, we have our boundaries. And that's we took that step. That was the work we took. But a nice pat thing to say if someone says why aren't you still together, and I get that all of the time now because I'm looking to rent a house and there is a chance that she might cosign my lease and I'm a freelance writer and I'm trying to explain what I do to landlords in Ann Arbor, and I say I don't miss payments, trust me. They ask me why aren't you back together again and they say have you ever tried to shove a butterfly back in a chrysalis. We have evolved, we have improved. This is actually better and it's hard to explain. It doesn't play in the normal psyche, but I can give a gesture that will make the transcript.
>> BRITT REINTS: That is not what I expected. Did any of the three of us get kind of the because I know I have that you don't air your dirty laundry, like what are you doing?
>> BRITT REINTS: It's the ignorance stuff that bothers me because the second day of the blog we were profiled in the "New York Times" and people say is there no sanctuary? There no decency?
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: You should be ashamed.
>> ERIN MANTZ: I haven't gotten that surprisingly, but let's face it, the reality is divorce is out there. People are fascinated by other people's marriages or failures of marriages. How many times have you come home from an event with your spouse and oh, it looks like Jim and John are having trouble. It's fascinating, and then when your friends start to get divorced, it makes you nervous. I don't think it's any surprise that more and more readers are captivated by this inside look and, look, it's fair game as long as, again, the children are protected and not hurt. It's kind of your story to tell ultimately. You just have to be a judge of how you say it and what you say and respect and do it with honesty as well.
>> BRITT REINTS: I wanted to say quick before we take one other question. You had said as bloggers we don't say it's none of your business and I would like to go on record as calling bull shit on that as blogger just because you share part of your story doesn't mean you know readers the whole story. We have every right at any point to say it's none of your business. I will tell A, B, D and E, but C is none of your business. We have the right and a lot of times when you do blog about marriage, divorce, anything, you know, people start to feel like they own your story, like they have a right to your whole story. So I think it's okay to say, yes, I mean, you could say it nice. We do that. My husband and I will say we are not talking about that part.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Erin pegged it I think people are nervous about divorce because it's contagious.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: Divorce cooties are very real, and to some extent if you are divorced or co-parenting
>> BRITT REINTS: I have spent a lot of money on therapy.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I think there is a point where, I totally agree with the corollary that there are things you don't share. We have been blogging before 2008 and no one can tell you why Mike and I got divorced but to your point, I mean, yes, people would have to know us intimately, so, yes, I definitely agree, but for those questions coming at us about you didn't work hard enough and all of that, I think to fully deflect and we are trying to do this and would have been a hindrance, but I totally agree that don't tell the whole story.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Karen from Milwaukee, I'm Karen Lynn with three NNN's on BlogHer and Twitter. I was married for 20 years and then had a nasty, really hard divorce, and I met a wonderful man. I have been married for almost 12 years now but I have a lot of unresolved issues that I would really like to write out because it's cathartic for me to write, but I fear hurting my husband now, that he would know that I still have emotional ties to the first marriage. And I was wondering if you could give me any advice on how to get it out there so maybe I can let it go.
I did go to therapy, but I find blogging helps me more than anything, really.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Get an anonymous blog.
>> Or a journal, there are things that they sell with paper in them.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Go to tumbler and create a separate ID and vent your brains out and mention no names and I wrote I have during when I was deep in the weeds with my divorce, I just spent hour on hour just writing the most vitriolic, caustic, toxic sludge that no one should see in their lifetime and it's tucked away somewhere that I will look back on and say hey, I remember that.
>> BRITT REINTS: Where is that?
>> DOUG FRENCH: And the point is I share that. I think you are absolutely right. Getting it out and seeing it on paper is a cathartic thing. If you need to show the world that, I mean, I think just writing it is enough.
>> AUDIENCE: I need input, I guess, from other people who may have the same emotional distress that I do, so I need input from people that may have the same kind of emotional distress that I have every time a holiday comes up and my grown children are with their dad and I feel like I'm completely left out.
>> BRITT REINTS: Send us a guest blog on co-parenting 101.
>> DOUG FRENCH: The community, a lot of these blogs that are coming up, are building communities and people kind of respond. I know that my ex wife's website is very community based, people tune in and respond to people's comments and respond to people's comments and communities build out of nothing. They are remarkable how they build.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: What you are describing is so common, but you are being honest about it. There are a lot of people who have those ties and they haven't explored it writing or otherwise and it ends up hindering the relationship. Or if injuries the co-parenting relationship because that hasn't been explored but we do welcome guest posts and we do that anonymously if you didn't have your own format. You would be surprised, I think, at how many women would be nodding cyberly saying me too, and feeling the same concern about the new spouse and what would he think, and what does this mean.
But, you know, I echo what others have said, even if it's anonymously, go for it.
>> ERIN MANTZ: Visit on line communities and web sites where you are going to see and read articles that are kind of reflecting the same things you are going through, like Huffington Post Divorce, Tango Magazine who talk about a lot of things you are feeling. So you will know you are not alone. I would agree on anonymous blog.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you. I'm Pfica from NativeBorn.com, I think that, and I make this assumption that all bloggers are writers. That's not necessarily an assumption, but I'm a writer. To me, you have to create a sense of intimacy with your audience. Someone had asked about their in laws. I feel you, sister, I do. I want to blog about my in laws really bad. One of the reasons I don't is because I'm not willing to compromise the intimacy that I share with my family for the intimacy I'm going to create with my reader. And I think that that's a really hard line to sort of travel on.
Like how intimate do you want to be? What are you willing to give up in order to gain something? And is gaining that even worth it is the question I pose to you?
>> BRITT REINTS: I think what you said though is right, what are you willing to give up. I think that's something important to remember that whenever you create an intimate relationship with somebody off line, on line that you are giving something up of yourself. You are not just getting something, and, again, I wish that women especially that we would be more conscious of that before we get intimate with our readers metaphorically, I'm speaking, that before we start giving ourselves, you know, putting all of this out there, that we do remember that we are exposing ourselves. What we are giving up is some safety, is some boundaries, is and that you have to remember when you are doing that with a faceless audience, those people might not be worthy of that level of trust. So I think that, you know, maybe change emails, I don't know, but.
>> AUDIENCE: It's like being at a dinner party, right, who are you with at the dinner party? Are you going to sit there and trash your mother in law, and there are people I will trash my mother in law to and there are people that I won't, you know. And I think we forget, I think it's
>> BRITT REINTS: You know this is being recorded, right.
>> AUDIENCE: It's okay. I love my mother in law, she is awesome! I meant someone else's mother in law. But you kind of have to ask yourself these questions. The problem is if you don't, it's so like the focus on the audience, create the audience and that matters because if your audience is really big, then you are trashing your mother in law in the middle of the BlogHer lunch that's what you are doing.
>> BRITT REINTS: That's a good question about how do you and I'm curious,.
>> ERIN MANTZ: Again, do it subtly. If your mother in law, you know, you were at a dinner party with her last night and she was really annoying and meddling. I would turn a piece into meddling mother in laws. Yes, she may read it and say oh, gosh I wonder if she is talking about me, but make it a broader topic. Because it is a sensitive road to go down.
>> BRITT REINTS: I'm curious if any of you have an idea about that. Can I just, is there a quick show of hands of anybody who feels like they have a good idea about how to create that intimacy, how do you have that too? I don't want to advocate be cold with your audience. I don't agree with that either, but how do you draw that line?
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: What we haven't talked about the inverse of brushing up against that line is that you do have to sacrifice, I think, as a blogger and writer some really good material sometimes because you are making that choice of the relationship that you have with your family or whoever the other person is. I will give an example of my own. We have, between kids and step kids, I have four girls, so there are going to be four rounds of puberty, some have already taken place. I think there is a lot that can be written about, you know, if a girl starts her period and which house is she at or what if she starts her period and she is with her stepmother. But my girls would be mortified, even if I didn't name them, they would be mortified, but, boy, I know other people are going through that. So either I won't write about it or I will ask one of their permission when they are older and they will say yes, or I will do a co-parenting question of the week, or, you know, it's just, it's like a lost opportunity. But there is nothing more important to me than my relationship with my girls.
>> BRITT REINTS: It seems like you are weighing, and maybe it's a one on one thing. What do I get out of this? This will help me be more intimate with my audience, but I give up a little bit of something with my family. I wonder if you have to do that on a case by case, this will piss off my mother in law and this because I have written about my in laws when it's okay with my husband.
I have really pissed off at least some members of his family, and I have told them when they have contacted me, I'm like, I ran it by my husband. And they are just like well, I don't care, I'm like, but I don't care. I don't care about pissing you off, he was fine. So there is that line. So I guess you have to it's like when you go to the grocery store, apples, $3.
>> DOUG FRENCH: What I think as a counter balance as the dad 2.0 conference comes into play and I look at the mom bloggers and the dad blogging community and their relative size, obviously the size is one thing, but the level of intimacy that the mom blogging community has, it's thrived on how intimate it is. It's thrived on how emotional and raw and real these stories that women have shared that men have been loath to do, either we are not wired to do that. We are much more private or we just don't think at the same level.
>> BRITT REINTS: It's recorded. I don't have to say anything.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Again, at the same level, not better or worse, just at a different level, from different directions. I do think, I know when I do see posts about men in pain, men suffering from loss, men anguishing about losing a job, losing a wife, losing a child, living apart from your children, you know, I find myself wanting to foment that to some extent to get men to share more because that's when you become good friends with somebody when they have gone through this and have the bravery to share that. And I envy that among the moms. I have read real pieces about pain people have persevered through and these women are my friends. And I will be grateful for that forever, that's what blogging has done for me. It's a difficult line to draw, and there is no one way to draw it. It's individual. And the work is finding it.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Kyran from PlantingDandelions.com and I wanted to observe that what you all are doing is leaving a narrative that exists beyond the breakup of the family. And I think narrative is a shared narrative is so important to a marriage, to a family, you know, telling the story of us, and one danger of blogging is when we get swept up in our individual narrative and are support in that narrative by a different community and we lose the story of us as a couple.
I just think it's a beautiful thing that you all are telling the story of us post divorce. I think it's tremendous, so kudos.
>> ERIN MANTZ: Thank you.
>> BRITT REINTS: There is one back there too.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Robin, I blog at Bellaventa.com. I wanted to share with the group. I don't have children, and I don't I have never been married, but I think your advice that you give helps us single people that have job issues or that have family issues navigate on how to blog about them because I have gone through some painful things in the past six to eight months, and I have done what you have done. I have written posts and they were very vitriol, and had I posted them I would have had family members disown me. So I want to say thank you for that also because this is advice I can take moving forward. Do you think that that's the same thing really?
>> BRITT REINTS: That it's about boundaries in general. I do think that it's one of the things when we pitched this post, this panel, I said, we started off as saying, BlogHer especially has been about parent blogging and how that's radical and we celebrate these women who are selling family stories, but it's different when you start talking about marriage and you start talking about grownups and you start talking we don't talk about that as much or we don't discuss the rules as much. So I do think so. I think anytime you have another adult, whether it's your boss or your co worker or if any of you were at the community keynote, the stranger on the train who is a person too, you know, all of these things are things to consider about respecting the other person, about what is your I wish you guys could have been on the conference call we had before this because Deesha said something about consider your intentions before you write. Why are you writing this? Are you writing for cheap entertainment value? Are you writing it because you think the world is a better place? You can throw somebody under the bus if you think you are changing the world, but are you throwing your mother in law, your ex mother in law, the stranger on the train under the bus because you think it's funny? So I think all of those things I think it does apply in any area in your life.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: In my drafts folder on WordPress and I hope I don't hit by a bus on the way back. And I didn't make it funny, I didn't finesse it and it was just spewing, but I knew what those implications would be, but there was even something cathartic in writing, just getting it off my chest that way, but I also knew that it wasn't going to help anyone else. There was one post in particular that I started writing like that and I was aiming for it to be funny and some sort of top ten list or something like that, and I was going to hit send, and I just had this sort of feeling like I'm not sure. I'm just not sure and Taliba, who I mentioned before she co hosted co-parenting matters with us and she has a co-parenting blog and I sent it to her and I said tell me what you think and she knows the story of my step family and marriage and his ex wife and all of that, and she said I see what you are trying to do here, and it just doesn't work. It just doesn't work. She said you are so angry, this isn't going to help anybody. And she says, you have made it work before, but not this time. And I had to respect that opinion.
>> BRITT REINTS: That's a good question to ask in general.
>> ERIN MANTZ: And trust your instincts is what I say. They are usually right.
>> AUDIENCE: My name is Marisa my blog and Twitter handle are sheeps eating me. It's nice to meet you. We are talking boundaries and gender differences and one of the challenges I think I have is honestly my wife kind of hates the internet, I mean, she didn't like Facebook, Twitter, she doesn't like blogging. She is very private and she really objects to things about our lives being out on the internet, and I think over the years, she has moved a long way because she understands the support that I have gotten from it, but it's very difficult for her. She doesn't edit my posts that's not something we have been able to come to that works but honestly I write a lot less than I would. Otherwise, if she was more comfortable with it because there have been so many times I have put something out there without and with her in mind and thinking is she going to be okay with this. Oh, this won't be a big deal at all and she has had a really strong objection and I have either changed things for her or taken posts down. It's been six years that I have been writing and we are still struggling to try to find a balance without arguing over it.
>> BRITT REINTS: I will totally preach for two seconds and I was thinking this actually when you spoke up. I think it's okay sometimes this is what my therapist toll us. It's okay to hurt your spouse's feelings sometimes. It's okay to piss your spouse off sometimes. When we are talking about the sacrifice and whatever, it sounds like, maybe you have that kind of voice, but it sounds like that's an emotional thing for you. If it's that important to you to share some of this stuff, that's okay if you piss her off, right? I mean, not piss her off, but I guess, have you considered that sometimes my point being you are not always going to get to a point where, you know if my husband hated steak, it would be awesome! If my husband hated steak I might make the sacrifice to not make steak, but if my husband thinks being environmentally green is stupid, which he does, and I think it's important, well, that's one area where it's important, yes, you will recycle. Don't you think that's the same type of thing? You weigh what's really important. If it's really important to you, you will get through it. My husband refuses to put the toilet seat down, but he is worth it. I let that go. If he refused to flush, I might reconsider.
>> DOUG FRENCH: I have a question about that actually. To what extent do you discuss this with her, I mean have real long discussions about that blogging is you? You are clearly struggling with this. Do you have discussions? Do you have cost benefit analysis in your mind in terms of do I want to blog or do I want this person?
>> AUDIENCE: We have had a lot of those conversations and she is trying and I'm trying which is why I'm still able to write some, you know, but I guess my question is, you know, what is that balance because I hear what you are saying, yes, sometimes it's okay to piss her off and I certainly do, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not on purpose, but if I'm pissing her off for the purpose of having that vent in my space. She is not saying don't talk about these issues and she is not objecting to my perspective on things. She is objecting to it being on the internet.
>> BRITT REINTS: Here is a bunch of people that get that why having it public would be important.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Talk to John Armstrong.
>> DEESHA PHILYAW: I would also say that she is weighing the same things you are weighing. The onus isn't necessarily on you just to decide what's most important and what's a deal breaker. Just because you are the one blogging I don't think you have to feel like you are the only ones that make these decisions. She has to decide here is what you are putting forth and where is her line.
>> BRITT REINTS: Last one.
>> AUDIENCE: I have a question about where the line is between something that's your story, your spouse's story. This is the example. My husband cheated on me in an emotional internet based affair with someone from his past a few years ago, and as expected it was devastating and soul crushing and I didn't want to talk about it with anybody in my real life. I was so humiliated and horrified, I smashed plates in my driveway. I was so upset. I didn't blog about it. I didn't go on the internet three for four days, and one day I sat down and wrote a post and as I was writing a post saying this is what happened it really started to come together to me right there in writing that post where my marriage had really started to falter. It was actually quite amazing. I went ahead and I posted it not because I wanted to get traffic or have people feel sorry for me, but because I had to put it out there. I felt so alone. I needed somebody to tell me like it's going to be okay. Like you can get through this, and this is my story, and, you know, so forth, so on. We ended up working things out. My marriage is good and solid as far as I know right now, but after that I wrote sort of a follow up, the aftermath and that post stayed up for awhile. And the comments were amazing and they were really all over the place from people that said this helped me or here is what I think, and this can help you, but I ended up taking it down because I wasn't sure if I had crossed the line. I felt like this was this terrible thing that happened to me. I had every right in the world to talk about it, but it involved him. It involved another person. And it's a private thing, you know, to him, because he doesn't share things on the internet. And I was wondering what your thoughts were on that, just in general, lines, was it wrong of me to post it? Was it stupid of me to take it down?
>> DOUG FRENCH: I don't think it's a black and white question.
>> ERIN MANTZ: Everyone's comfort line is different. It's your story but you have to live with it not only do the people you write about have to live with it, but you have to live with it.
>> BRITT REINTS: It doesn't matter if we think it's wrong, we keep saying there is no wrong answer. We want to share we tried this and this and we got this and stuff, but ultimately, I think we all want to say we trust you to figure it out. If it feels right for you, like you are the expert on you are, you are the expert of your own life.
>> AUDIENCE: I was curious, I figure there would be probably a different opinion from anybody, but just in posting something that personal that actually involved another person that's not a child.
>> BRITT REINTS: Well, he shouldn't have been an ass hole.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Do you think posting that post helped save your marriage.
>> AUDIENCE: I think writing it helped save my marriage.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Sometimes writing it's enough and you decide whether to hit publish or not.
>> AUDIENCE: I did take it down. We are good now and I don't want to humiliate him.
>> DOUG FRENCH: So it served its purpose.
>> BRITT REINTS: So we are done. We are five minutes after and I apologize. Thank you. Thank you all very much for coming.
>> DOUG FRENCH: Thanks very much.
>> ERIN MANTZ: Thank you.
(Applause).

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