Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Told Me Not to Blog About Our Marriage”

I’m feeling confused about whether or not my husband’s recent request/actions are out of control or out of concern for his own pride.

I recently made the transition from a full-time career woman to a stay-at-home mom (my choice completely to stay at home with my youngest child). I suffer from a number of mental health issues – OCD, anxiety, and slight depression, for which I receive regular therapy. I’ve worked my entire life, so this transition from the working world, where I had a pretty well-respected job, to staying at home has been a difficult one for me. One of the things I thought may give me a bit of a sense of identify was starting a blog. I thought it could be somewhat therapeutic for me and helpful for others who are suffering with the same afflictions to let them know there is hope.

Anyway, 2017 wasn’t the best year AT ALL for our marriage to say the least, so I mentioned to my husband that it’s possible some of my posts may indicate that our marriage isn’t all flowers and roses but that I would not mention any specifics whatsoever. He got quite a bit upset and said he did not want anyone to know that our marriage was anything but perfect. I said that’s the point – it will NEVER be perfect, as there is not a single perfect person – so to put ourselves on a pedestal and make it seem like we all have it figured out is not okay. I respect that he doesn’t want his dirty laundry aired (no one really does, do they?) but that wasn’t my point.

So, do I just act like I don’t have a husband as a part of my blog and never make reference to anything that would indicate he may be anything but perfect? I’m part of a family, which includes him, so this really frustrates me. Part of our issues as I alluded to above were very much about control over me on his part, and I almost feel like this is somehow a form of control that I can’t quite put my finger on. Anyway, any advice on how I should proceed would be great. — Stay-at-home Mom Blogger

Last year was a terrible year for your marriage and you think publicly blogging about it when your husband has explicitly expressed his discomfort will be helpful? Really? You’re wrong. And you’re also wrong that his telling you he doesn’t want you to blog about your marriage is a form of control. It’s not. Now, there may be other examples of control in your marriage, but this is not one of them, I promise. It’s normal, sane, and principled to ask your spouse not to publicly blog about the imperfections of your marriage, especially when your marriage is rocky, there are multiple mental health issues at play, and there are children in the picture. Why would you even entertain the idea of blogging about your marriage when your husband has expressed his discomfort?

Do you really think that confessing that your marriage isn’t all flowers and sunshine while not sharing “any specifics whatsoever” is helping anyone? Or do you think such a confession might create some interest around your blog and keep people reading to see if you will share some dirty details eventually? Vague blogging, after all, is a tactic lots of people employ to generate interest and boost pageviews. Is that what you’re after? Because you don’t need to even talk about your marriage if your point is to help people and give hope to those who also suffer from OCD, anxiety, and depression. You don’t need to blog about your family at all, and, in fact, you shouldn’t if your family has expressed desire for you NOT to.

Are you really more concerned about what strangers reading your blog might think versus how your own husband feels? If so, that’s really shitty. You say it’s not “ok” to present yourselves as a couple who has it all figured out. Ok, so don’t. If you can’t figure out how to NOT do that without blogging about the imperfections of your marriage, just don’t blog about your marriage at all. Is there nothing else for you to blog about? Ok, then, so maybe don’t be a blogger. Maybe write a diary instead. No one can tell you what you can and can’t write in a diary. But if you’re just super intent on helping people and you think blogging is the best way for you to do that, figure out your niche, create a posting schedule, think of some topics to focus on (independent of your husband!) and take it from there.

Don’t blow up your marriage because you want to help a few strangers on the internet. It’s not worth it. I say this as blogger and stay-at-home (-ish) mom myself. From day one, I have been respectful of my husband. Any time I share anything particularly personal about him or our marriage, our kids, and our family life I get his ok first. If he’s not comfortable with it — and there have been times he hasn’t been — I nix it. Even when I think the topic could be really helpful to others. Even when it’s something I think is well-written and I’m proud of. I don’t complain, I don’t whine, and I don’t mope or act passive-aggressively. I simply respect my husband and his privacy and keep my virtual damn mouth shut. And I have never once regretted anything I didn’t publicly share. There have been enough times I’ve regretted things I have publicly shared (even with my husband’s blessing) that I think exercising caution, getting an “ok” from your partner, and even sitting on a sensitive topic or post for a few days before publishing it is a wise practice.

I appreciate that the transition you’ve made from full-time career woman to stay-at-home mom, all while juggling various mental health issues, is not easy. I think finding or creating something in your life that gives you a sense of identity, purpose, and meaning outside the day-to-day slog of stay-at-home motherhood is a great idea. Maybe blogging isn’t it. Or if it is, maybe redefining the purpose and the niche of your blog will help you create some healthy boundaries. But bottom line: I can’t think of anything much more important than one’s marriage, and if your husband is uncomfortable with your blogging about it, don’t fucking blog about it. He’s not a control freak for not wanting his marriage to be publicly shared with anyone else.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

27 comments… add one
  • avatar

    brise January 19, 2018, 9:24 am

    You want to disclose your marital problems to the world in a blog and you consider your husband as “controlling” because he refuses? Jesus! I wouldn’t like to be married to you. Disclosing private stuff of a marriage is the first and cardinal betrayal that can destroy your partner’s trust in you and your common sense.
    Please, I have the feeling, reading your post, that you were better off mentally when you worked. Consider at least a part-time work, instead of making public your private marital life.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie January 19, 2018, 9:27 am

    Agree with Wendy wholeheartedly, if I were your husband I would feel very exposed, vulnerable, embarrassed and quite frankly – seriously pissed. Not only are you sharing details of what should be intimate and private information but you’re also providing it only from your point of view. If there is something that makes your husband look bad, what is he going to do? Respond to your blog?

    If your interest is to think about these things and reflect, you have options including : Paper journal, therapy, word document that isn’t shared with anyone.

    Sharing your warts and all world is fine – but not when it involves someone who has stated they don’t want that or to be fair – someone who can’t state it (e.g. your kids). I hope for the sake of your marriage that you understand your husband gets to control HIS narrative and you hopefully respect your children’s privacy to not put embarrassing pictures or stories out in the world.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones January 19, 2018, 11:03 am

      Not only are you sharing details of what should be intimate and private information but you’re also providing it only from your point of view.
      .
      This! Now if you are going to let him write a blog post on the situation from his point of view that’s great. But don’t make him out to be the bad guy.
      .
      If you suspect that he’s controlling in your marriage, and you’re unhappy, get therapy to figure it out. Airing your dirty laundry & blowing up your marriage is not how you fix your unhappiness.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor January 19, 2018, 9:48 am

    I love the idea that if she doesn’t crap all over her husband on the Internet she’s misleading people. Most people implicitly understand that there are fights and difficulties in other people’s marriages without someone airing the details.

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  • avatar

    BakerBabe January 19, 2018, 9:55 am

    I find it sad that this is even an issue . This is placing strangers on the internet above the feelings of a real person in your life. He’s definitely not a control freak for not wanting to share the intimacy of your marriage on a blog. Why would it be anyone’s business and why would you want to make it theirs?

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  • avatar

    BakerBabe January 19, 2018, 9:57 am

    Another huge factor to consider are your kids! If my parents had their difficult marriage exposed on a blog, I would feel vulnerable and exposed myself.

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  • avatar

    A.L. January 19, 2018, 10:16 am

    I suffer from severe, debilitating OCD, and I can honestly say that it has nearly ruined my marriage. Only people who have OCD or have partners / close family members with the disorder truly understand just how much havoc it can create and how painful it is (for the sufferer and their partner).

    Because of the OCD, my husband and I have had to fight, tooth and nail, to keep our relationship together and healthy … so from that perspective, I can say that I am the type of reader who would really benefit from a blog about others people’s experiences (especially marital experiences) with OCD.

    LW, I am a huge advocate of educating people about mental health issues. On a daily basis, I encounter people making wrong, hurtful, and dangerously ignorant statements and comments about OCD and other mental illnesses. Believe me when I say that I support any efforts (such as your blog) to educate people about struggles with mental illness.

    However, THAT BEING SAID: I think Wendy is spot on when she says that it is disrespectful toward your husband to go against his wishes of maintaining his privacy. As your husband, his comfort and privacy is more important than educating people about mental illness and illustrating your marital hardships to the world.

    LW, as you and I both know, even if we do our very best at not involving our family members in our obsessions and compulsions (I assume you are doing ERP therapy for the OCD?), the OCD and depression can be very hard on spouses and kids… so maybe try not to make it even harder on your husband by taking away his privacy. Is it fair we have this disorder? No. It’s a daily nightmare. And to me, it’s understandable that your husband just doesn’t want people knowing that those nightmarish aspects are in his/your life.

    Is he embarrassed that you have mental illnesses? If so, in an ideal world, mental illness would not be taboo, and he wouldn’t have to be embarrassed. But we’re not at that point in society yet. Your blog could help break down some incorrect ideas about mental illness and could work in a small way to help it be less taboo… so I wonder: Is it possible for you to write under a pen name so that so one would know it’s your blog?

    If you were anonymous, would your husband then be comfortable with you writing details about your marriage? To me, that would be the best possible solution. If you use a pen name, you can still educate people about OCD and depression while maintaining your husband’s privacy and showing him that you respect him and honor his wishes.

    Take care.

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday January 19, 2018, 11:57 am

      If you were anonymous, would your husband then be comfortable with you writing details about your marriage? To me, that would be the best possible solution. If you use a pen name, you can still educate people about OCD and depression while maintaining your husband’s privacy and showing him that you respect him and honor his wishes.

      The problem is that no one is truly anonymous on the internet. You can’t be. You reference innocuous details like “watching the sun rise over [landmark]” and some sleuth figures out where someone would be able to see that. Then you mention getting the best donuts at the local shop around the corner, and they figure out where mom & pop shops are within that area. And, suddenly, you’re found out. Plus, when you post from an IP address, it doesn’t stop a site from glitching and posting it, which tracks you MUCH more easily.

      Honestly, I’d have more compassion if I thought this was her posting in a broad sense, like “Today I had this issue, and none of the techniques I learned seemed to help, and it made us an hour late for a party. I hate upsetting my husband that way” or something like that, where the focus isn’t on anything negative about the husband but rather on how her illness can affect him. I’d still question the appropriateness of it for the reasons everyone’s suggested, but I’d be more comfortable. But it sounds like she wants to paint a “real picture” of the warts both have, and while she’s absolutely welcome to show off her own warts it’s not right to post his, especially when it’s the only voice on the subject.

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      • avatar

        A.L. January 19, 2018, 2:03 pm

        Ah, true — that’s a good point about nothing being “truly” anonymous on the internet. (Quite a scary though, eh?) I guess that even if she used a pen name, if someone really wanted to figure out who she is, then they’d be able to do it. (I tend to forget just how “traceable” things are on the internet!)

        I fully agree that if she does, indeed, want to paint a “real picture” of the warts they both have (with real names, real scenarios, real everything), then that is disrespectful to her husband and damaging to the marriage.

        (Also LW: I don’t see it as him trying to control you. I bet he just doesn’t want to deal with the ramifications of people’s judgements. If my husband wanted to write a public blog that showed my warts, I’d ask him not to do that…. not because I’m trying to control him, but because I wouldn’t want people getting a close-up view of things that are private.)

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  • Copa

    Copa January 19, 2018, 10:29 am

    OMG. Get a diary! How does this even seem like a good idea?

    This is one of those letters that makes me wonder how on earth the LW managed to find a life partner and I can’t.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. January 19, 2018, 10:42 am

      I hear you.

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    • avatar

      Ashley January 20, 2018, 9:44 am

      Omigod I know right? I like the idea of a diary. Also I know you think the people reading your blog are going to be like you, understand your mental health issues, but there are a lot of trolls out there, do you think you can handle the inevitable criticism? Just another thing to consider.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. January 19, 2018, 10:41 am

    I have lots of friends that participate in various online forums: Facebook, blogs, LiveJournal, etc. and every single one of them respects their partner’s wishes not to be mentioned. If mentioning them is inevitable, they only use a first letter or a pseudonym, and they avoid any subject that their partner has told them they not comfortable sharing. If you value your relationship, this is what you do.

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  • avatar

    Kate January 19, 2018, 10:44 am

    I work in a building full of medical and mental health offices. There’s a “life changes group” down the hall. I feel like something like that can benefit you if your husband’s insurance covers it. Or plain old talk therapy. I think starting a public blog to process this stuff is a bad idea unless the focus is just on the career-to-SAH-transition. And honestly probably not even then.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star January 19, 2018, 11:57 am

    How would it be therapeutic to you or helpful to others to broadcast the details of your marriage going down the tubes because you don’t respect your partner’s right to privacy?

    How would you feel if your husband started a blog about how difficult it is to deal with a wife who suffers from OCD, anxiety, and depression? How would you like YOUR faults exposed to the world without your input or consent?

    How selfish of you to consider doing that to your husband.

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  • avatar

    CanadaGoose January 19, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Please do not embarrass your husband to make yourself feel better. Consider how he might feel if his friends, other family members, coworkers, his boss and prospective employers read what you write. Consider the implications to his other relationships, his career and his self-worth.

    Have you ever noticed (I don’t even watch these shows but still am aware of this so you may be too) that the women in those Real Housewives shows all end up divorced? Airing martial discord in public, particularly for entertainment (which a main reason people read blogs, before education I believe), messes with the strength of a union.

    Child rearing can be a real slog at times. I understand why you are searching for a way to feel like you add value to the world as a person and not just as a mother. There are other ways. Perhaps blog about something else, start a book club, talk to your friends and see what they suggest. Good luck!

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 January 19, 2018, 12:53 pm

    People don’t think your marriage is perfect. Do you think everyone you know’s marriage is actually perfect? Give the guy a break, you guys just went through a shitty period, and telling all of your friends through your blog isn’t going to make that any better. It’s probably going to make them treat you differently.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy January 19, 2018, 5:15 pm

    From the LW:

    Thank you for your reply. Although a reality check, I appreciate all of your feedback. 🙂

    I wanted to take a minute to clarify myself on a few things. I didn’t intended to imply I was going to write about anything with a subject very specific to my husband, our marriage, or especially last year (I should have explained myself better in my original question – in re-reading, it leaves room for that interpretation). That would not be good for no one. That being said, I do understand the point made that if I choose to reference my marriage, that it does include and will affect my husband and our family. I certainly do not intend to “crap all over him” in any post. He’s the father of my children – even if we weren’t together, I wouldn’t do that. We together struggled last year with a number of issues, and my response to his response to my comment (which I admittedly could have been worded better), was perhaps a bit of a remnant of those struggles. Rather, what I was trying to say to my husband is that at an undetermined time (perhaps maybe never, actually) I may find it helpful to reference our marriage and it may not come across as sounding like we haven’t always/or don’t currently have it all together, or that we had/have to work at things and through things to get to where we are today. But as many of the commenters suggested, I can and should perhaps consider completely avoiding any reference to our marriage; I don’t have to mention it, and likely will take that advice, as it may not be worth it to for the few people that may help.

    Anything I do write about will be good intentioned – meant to help people who have struggled like I have throughout my life. I obviously don’t have any real answers, but I want to share my experiences, good, bad, and in-between, as I function through life with my mental health issues. It helps me to see/hear other people are making it and that gives me inspiration and honestly sometimes it keeps me from wallowing in my own pity. As A.L. said in her comment, living with a person with a mental health disorder wreaks havoc on your relationship. I’m not sure exactly what all this will turn into, if anything – perhaps a diary is a better forum for me (again a suggestion from another commenter) – but believe me when I say that my purpose is good intentioned. I know this won’t do it on a large or medium scale (I can hope for the “starfish on the beach story”), but I also want to bring more awareness to mental health disorders. I too hear people making wrong, hurtful, and ignorant comments frequently about mental health. It hurts, especially when those comments are made around or to me, because I look perfectly normal outside, and with medication and years of “faking it” in public, no one ever suspects a thing. There is not enough understanding out there. Generally, if I do a blog, I’m still on the fence about posting as myself or posting anonymously, really because I’m scared as hell, but as someone mentioned no one is really ever truly anonymous on the Internet.

    Anyway, thanks for providing perspective. I often get wrapped up in my own thoughts and it takes something like this to break me out.

    Thank you and take care!

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    • avatar

      Kate January 19, 2018, 6:12 pm

      Really, really do not do it. Your husband asked you not to, and you need to not. If you must blog, and your intention is to help others, keep it anonymous or under a pseudonym. I did that when I got laid off from my job. It was part therapeutic for me and part trying to help others in the same boat. And just leave your husband 100% out of it other than saying you’re married, or he helped you with something or you did something as a family. It does NOT matter that your intentions would be good. Obviously they would, but it’s irrelevant. He 100% does not want to be blogged about, and you 150% have to respect that. Don’t. Don’t ever.

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      • avatar

        Kate January 19, 2018, 6:13 pm

        But as many of the commenters suggested, I can and should perhaps consider completely avoiding any reference to our marriage; “

        It’s truly not a matter of “should perhaps consider.” It’s just not something you can do.

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      • avatar

        Kate January 19, 2018, 6:36 pm

        You could also, on the About Me page, say that you’re married with 2 kids, but the focus is going to be on you, your transition, and your mental health rather than on your family. And then never mention your husband.

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  • avatar

    Jimmyjamm January 19, 2018, 6:46 pm

    Hey everyone!
    I say go ahead and do it , post the link here

    I need some drama to read up on during these winter months . I think you should have an affair too, and hint about it on your blog

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  • avatar

    baccalieu January 19, 2018, 7:42 pm

    LW I hope you continue reading the thread, because your long explanation doesn’t really give a lot of confidence that you got the point of what Wendy and the commenters were saying. They were saying that your husband has a right to privacy that trumps your laudable goal, your good intentions and the fact that your comments would be mild and fair. Just because you have a good reason to publicize your story, your struggles and your feelings does not mean that he is required to go along with it in so far as your comments mention him or your joint marriage. Given this, it doesn’t matter whether your husband’s concerns about what you might say in your blog are reasonable or not. What matters is that he gets to have a say at the very least and I would go so far as to say a veto as far as discussions of him and your feelings about him are concerned.
    Furthermore, I would think that if you are trying to strengthen or at least maintain a marriage that has been rocky, you would see that proceeding over his objections is going to be very damaging to this goal. I would be very upset with a partner who ignored my feelings in this regard and might even consider ending the relationship over it. He is going to be upset if you proceed without his input or approval and he has every right to be. You do understand this right? Is it what you want.
    There is absolutely nothing in your response that suggests that you now accept that your husband gets to have a say and that you are going to either avoid mentioning him or things connected to him in your blog or let him vet the comments you do make. Instead everything you write seems to suggest that you will make the decision for yourself without his input and that you feel you have the right to do so. It also clearly suggests (since you spend so much time on it) that you still feel that your good intentions and your belief that your comments would be fair and mild are the determining factor rather than his desire not to have his life made public.
    Another commenter made a very good suggestion: what if your husband started a blog about the struggles and issues he has had being married to a person with OCD and other significant health issues (that is, you). I am sure that you would at the very least want to see what he was writing and approve it or voice any concerns about the words and you would want your feelings to be taken into account. You may even feel that you did not want him to do it at all. I hope you consider this scenario and take into account that the feelings you would have are the same as the feelings he would have.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 20, 2018, 8:22 am

    “I’m feeling confused about whether or not my husband’s recent request/actions are out of control or out of concern for his own pride.”

    The answer is no, your husband is not out of control. You husband has every right to control his own media presence and to say he doesn’t want himself included. Your husband has every right to protect his own dignity.

    What I hear in your choice of words and description of your marriage is that you have hit a point where you don’t particularly like your husband and don’t respect his opinions and suspect he has bad intent. You’ve reached a point of contempt. You feel that your point-of-view is not only more valid than his but if his differs there is something inherently wrong with his point of view, maybe even malicious.

    In a situation like this you would be far better off working on the marriage with a counselor rather than blowing it to pieces with a blog because that is the likely outcome of the blog. It might start as therapeutic for you but end in a blogged divorce.

    When my daughter was younger and had birthday parties I would take lots of pictures but the only ones I would post on social media were pictures with none of the invited children showing. I did that because the parents of her best friends didn’t post pictures of their kids on social media and didn’t want their pictures put out to the public. I respected that and so my daughter had parties where it appeared that there were no guests. Who cares whether people thought it looked weird of if they realized that other kids were there but not pictured. It doesn’t matter. People have the right to opt out of social media and you respect their choice. In this situation it appears you don’t respect your husband’s choice.

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    • avatar

      Kate January 20, 2018, 8:31 am

      I think she means is he doing it as a means to try to control her / exert control over her. Which, no. LW, that you’d even think this about him is a sign your marriage needs help. You’ve assigned two possible motives to his desire not to have you blog about your marriage, and they’re both bad. You need to be giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming his intentions are good. He values privacy. He likes to put forward a positive impression and avoid airing the family’s dirty laundry. This isn’t about “pride” (one of the 7 deadly sins, right?) or him being a control freak.

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  • avatar

    CET January 20, 2018, 9:33 am

    My advice is you should not do it. Talk about other things on your blog. Don’t disrespect your husband about mentioning problems in your marriage when he asked you not to. He is not comfortable with that. You are a team. Respect your team member. Don’t be selfish and put your wants first…sometimes you have to compromise and this is one of those times. Your marriage is MUCH more important than your blog. My other advice is to look for a 2nd outlet for yourself in life besides blogging.

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  • avatar

    CET January 20, 2018, 9:35 am

    Look at how Wendy does it….learn from her. She always mentions her husband in a very positive way. It is obvious they are a team. All marriages have problems yet you don’t year her venting on her blog about it. If you really need to mention your marriage problems I suggest seeing a therapist and talking to her about it instead.

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