I Don’t Want to be a Divorce Blogger 

Fewer-divorces-are-seen-in-arranged-marriages

I don’t know what to write about.

I don’t just mean right now, even though that’s also true. I mean in a big-picture sense—I don’t know what to write about anymore.

I always intended to write whatever I wanted.

Early, I flirted with writing about dating. Not in any advice capacity because I was always so bad at it, but the stories of my experiences in doing so. I thought it might be funny reading about an inept middle-aged dater trying to figure it all out.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t have the stomach for it. I LIKE the people I have gone out with. Writing about them in the way I like to write about things seems invasive and I’m not going to do it.

Most people read this space because of stories about my marriage and divorce. I think people like reading about someone willing to point the finger at himself rather than blaming everyone else for their life circumstances.

I wasn’t evil. I wasn’t even really “bad.” I was just a subpar spouse (though I like the word “shitty”) for so many years that the negativity piled up to a breaking point and eventually collapsed when the shit pile got too massive.

You don’t know this, but I REALLY don’t like being cliché even though I totally am sometimes. I can’t NOT be a single father 23 months removed from my marital separation.

I don’t keep my house as tidy as I should. I sometimes forget things my son needs for school. I let my mail and laundry pile up.

You know. Cliché. What you might expect of a domesticated husband and father finding himself totally on his own for the first time in 35 years of life.

But that stuff is all bullshit.

I’m not going to write about all the salty-water marks (from crappy winter—not oceanfront living) tracked onto my kitchen floor, or a leaky shower head I never fix because only guests use it and I rarely have those, or some other inconsequential life thing indicative of my disorganization.

I feel like I might be getting a little cliché as a writer.

I’m tired of writing about divorce.

Life Is About Today, Not Yesterday

Only people really good at mindful mediation know how to shut their always-busy brains off for a few minutes.

According to writer and speaker Andy Puddicombe from his excellent 2012 TED Talk in London: Humans spend an estimated 47 percent of our lives (when we’re not asleep) reflecting on the past or thinking about the future.

Half the time! Not being present. Not living right now.

Seems sad considering how short on time we all are.

My divorce is yesterday. My marriage mattered. My son matters. My getting-to-a-healthy-place relationship with my ex-wife matters.

But my divorce is yesterday.

And perhaps those stories matter to a few people who can benefit from the experience of others. I’m not afraid to share them when they seem relevant.

People sometimes call me a “divorce blogger.” It’s happened a bunch of times. I don’t think I want to be a divorce blogger.

I Like Telling Stories

I worry sometimes (because I’m a little hyper-sensitive to what others think about me which is a horrible life habit and a colossal waste of time) about coming off like I think I’m a self-help writer or some guy who thinks his opinion is worth listening to.

My opinions are worth the same as everyone else’s. (Not much.)

My opinion ONLY matters when a reader closely identifies with me. They read crap I write and decide: “Wow. I’m a lot like this guy because all those same things happened to me and I felt the same way!” In THAT rare instance where we’re all on the same page is when you should be like: “Oh, Matt likes this song, and that restaurant, and believes being an insufferable cock to his wife is a bad idea! Perhaps I’ll consider that!”

All I really want to do is tell you a story. The only ones I know are the ones I’ve lived. And if you’re sort of like me, maybe there’s value there.

Or maybe not.

Like my favorite writer James Altucher often says: This is not advice. This is just what happened to me.

Divorce is shitty. And really hard. And it has mostly defined my life and certainly my writing over the past however many months.

But tomorrow and the next day and the one after that?

Divorce is going to continue to shrink in importance for me. I’m not going to let most of my life and thoughts and experiences live in dark, shitty places.

I’m not going to let the worst thing that ever happened to me define my existence moving forward.

There’s too much good. Too much beauty. Too much opportunity out there to spend so much time looking back feeling sad and angry and horrible.

We aren’t all stuck being “who we are.”

We can be different tomorrow. Better.

I’m not what I thought I would be when I imagined my life at almost-36.

I don’t know whether I’ve failed to meet the expectations of my parents. Of my extended family. Of my friends. I’ve never asked.

But I know I’ve failed myself. And it is disappointing.

I haven’t lived up to the standards and ideals I always imagined for myself.

But one of the most important lessons of my adulthood is that it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter what. We can make a different choice. A better one. Right now, if we want.

I get to decide who I am today. I’ll get to decide again tomorrow.

Get unstuck.

And then we go change things.

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55 thoughts on “I Don’t Want to be a Divorce Blogger 

  1. completelyinthedark says:

    I really liked this Matt because in my blog I’m afraid I’m writing about the past ALL THE TIME. But what hit me is what you (and James A.) say about “it’s just what happened to me.” And the fact that I too love to tell stories. It’s fun, when it works and someone else enjoys it. Also it helps keep those writing muscles strong, which is important for every writer, I think.

    Also, I’ve been VERY reluctant to talk about my last relationship, and have only done so when it’s dovetailed with another topic already on my mind (like religion, with the Goliath post I did recently, or children, with another one about my late parents love for one another and my not having my own children, “Legacy”).

    Fair enough, to declare yourself “not a divorce blogger.” And I should really think about writing more about the present (noodling a piece now, since I was just hit by a car on Saturday and could’ve lost my life!) as long as something echoes from the past that informs the present, and perhaps could change things in the future. If that makes any sense at all.

    best, Mr. Mike

    Like

    • Matt says:

      First, I obviously didn’t know about the car accident, Mike. I hope you believe me when I say how grateful I am that you’re right here doing what you do.

      Life is fragile. And unpredictable. And there may be no more important motivator to go do something awesome today rather than wait for something to happen to us.

      Things very rarely “just happen” to us.

      On writing:

      Once in a great while we have stories to share from our pasts that can help other people in the present.

      That’s not lost on me.

      We just spend too much time living back there.

      Tomorrow can be awesome. The best day we have ever had before. Finding ways to achieve days like that seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

      I hope I can find a way to write about non-divorcey things a little more often.

      We’ll see, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fairy Queen says:

    I’m so here right now! My first blog somehow got me painted into the “sex” blogger category. I hated it! I don’t think my writing was about sex and I hated the label so much I shut that blog down. Well not really shut it but went private between my man and myself. But I missed the interaction. So I started a new one and now I feel a little lost. I know a few things. 1( I want to write, I need to for me. And 2) I want to contribute something positive in the midst of so much negativity I want my voice to be positive. But how? And 3) even though I’m writing for me, I want an audience. If I didn’t I could write in a journal and be done with it but that isn’t the same. Why? Not sure I can’t answer that with any satisfaction yet. So now I’m in limbo, still writing but I can’t seem to really grasp where I want to go with it. Anyway enough about me. I do want to say that I really enjoy reading your posts. Even when there not about divorce although I really like those too, so please keep writing!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m glad you get it. I think there are millions of people out there and many are struggling in their relationships so it’s an important topic. Sex and relationships applies to damn near every person on earth. Good stuff to write about.

      But I just think trying to evolve a little might be a good idea. I’ll let you know when I have any clue what that looks like.

      Like

      • Fairy Queen says:

        Matt, I hope you don’t mind I linked this post of yours to my post today. i guess I should have asked first, sorry! If you want me to remove it, please let me know and I will re-write my post without it.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Don’t you dare apologize. I can’t imagine someone getting upset about sharing their work, but maybe there’s some blog etiquette I don’t understand. I’m flattered you like things I write and I’m quite grateful you want to share it.

          Thank you very much.

          Like

  3. You are a writer. Plain and simple. You just happened to linger in “this genre” for a while. (I just made divorce a genre. ;-) But you’re a wordsmith and therefore can transition into anything else in the blink of an eye..(I hate cliches too, darn it!) You can even cross into brand new territory in the same divorce post. But certainly your blog can morph as you do. I am furious I branded myself as Little Miss Menopause. But it hasn’t limited me. I am in various sections of Huffington Post (Comedy, Divorce, Health, Travel, Food and yes I started out in their “mid-life” section) but the only person who was keeping me in a box was … Me. I look forward to your incredible expansion.
    Stephanie

    Like

    • Matt says:

      This was a really nice note, Stephanie. Thank you so much. I’m not quite sure where I want to go, but things tend to fall into place.

      Really nice to hear from you. Thank you. :)

      Like

  4. Funny, I haven’t ever thought of you as a “divorce blogger”. More of a storyteller that happens to weave stories that resonate and make me laugh and cringe and sometimes cry all in the same post. Pretty sure I’ll be following and reading well into your post divorce period and the “oh my god Matt’s in googly-eyed” love period :)

    Like

  5. FanTC says:

    Oh, Matt, I’m a cliché college student–AND I NEVER WENT TO COLLEGE! Not in the common sense, I joined an apprenticeship. But I never do the dishes as often as my roommate and I barely clean the bathroom, I have tons of crap and I tend to collect junk, I eat frozen pizzas and work a hundred jobs to pay the bills. We are clichés only because we are similar to each other. That’s not a bad thing, because we’re similar, but not “the same”.

    If you don’t want to write about divorce, don’t write about it. My parents divorced and I stopped writing about it. Took four years, but hey, I’m slow and I’m okay with it. Divorce doesn’t define you, it’s an event. You can take this event and let it become the sole focal point of your existence, or you can build off it (off, not on, very important) and experience your life. Positively. Knowing you are forever learning from mistakes. It’s how we grow, dear. Don’t see it as a failure that will forever pull you down, that’s not life. Life is pushing forward to a higher goal, using the events as stepping stones to be a stronger person.

    Write about your son. Is he at the age where he’s coming up with goofy jokes and silly stories? Write about coffee, or cake, or some person you bumped into on the train and how he made you see the world through a different lense. Write about your job, your hobbies, write about that stupid leaky faucet if it will help you stop dwelling on it. Write about aliens! Science fiction, or fantasy, or history. Write about architecture! Buildings, bridges, bunkers. Dude, what do you want to write about? Do you wake up in the morning with a lingering dream that doesn’t make sense? Do you like to describe exactly how a warm, flaky croissant roll tastes as the salty butter melts into the soft breading and fills your mouth with that one moment of pure, unadulterated bliss? Do you have an opinion on politics? There are so many options for you. Pick one. Pick them all. Write what you want to write. Because there are no rules, no referees, no limits. Climb a mountain through words and discover the world at the top. There is always someone out there who will read your story. All you have to do is write it.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Taking off the mask! Pleasure to meet you.

      There’s a lot of good thoughts here. I’m not sure I’m going to write about croissants or cake, but perhaps I’ll surprise myself.

      Thank you for being part of it. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • FanTC says:

        Looking forward to read about your journey. Who was it, Gandalf the Gray, who said, “Every journey begins with a single step.”?

        Like

        • FanTC says:

          Or maybe it was the Cheshire Cat… “Every journey begins with a single step–trite but true, even here.”

          There is so much floating around in my head.

          Like

  6. BecHanson says:

    Hey Matt, I think when a big relationship, like a marriage ends, it takes a long time to get through it, but trust me you really can. It doesn’t all just go away, but you can accept it and move into the next phase of your life. Twenty-three months is great because it’s almost 2 years and when you get to 2 years it gets easier and again after 5 (write about getting through the 2 year mile-stone!).

    You’re right constantly looking back isn’t such a good idea, living in the now and looking forward can be very, very exciting and rewarding. When I find myself thinking back I actually stop and force myself to think of now or the future, preferably now. It takes some training but it’s worth it, has a very calming effect.

    Just write about life, things you think about (when your not being calm and in the now), challenges you face and observations you make, as a single, divorced father, this is new to you so it’s interesting and dating’s part of it, but not all of it. Stop berating yourself and embrace your 2nd chance, appreciate all the good things you’ve done and now go and do a whole lot of new ones.

    I love your writing and I’m looking forward to hearing about your interesting, wonderful, new life, welcome to the next stage!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      This was really nice. Thank you, Bec.

      I won’t stop writing about life things. Here’s something I’m pretty sure of. Two years ago, I would have really liked reading someone in my exact situation tell me what life is like for them. Something to sort of benchmark with.

      When everything’s horrible, all you really want is peace. I’m so blessed to be where I am now.

      The irony is now I haven’t found my way with writing topics. Perhaps they’ll come.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BecHanson says:

        They will, I think it will all come and you’ll be surprised and strangely grateful that the whole disaster happened, I know I am.

        Like

  7. nights7 says:

    I think it’s easier to find a variety of things to write about when you don’t care if your writing matters. You seem like you want things to matter…and sometimes they should but that creates expectations and pressure which detracts from the fun & the process of really writing. You got a lot of attention and readers pretty fast because of your writing about divorce & then it was almost like you went Oh shit, people are reading this and taking me seriously. I better make it matter. (That’s strictly my outside opinion off course.)
    Write about whatever whimsy captures your attention without regard to how it’s received. If you don’t want to be in a box then don’t.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      “You got a lot of attention and readers pretty fast because of your writing about divorce & then it was almost like you went Oh shit, people are reading this and taking me seriously. I better make it matter. (That’s strictly my outside opinion off course.)”

      Yeah. That about sums it up. :)

      Like

      • nights7 says:

        Whoa! Look at me being all perceptive & whatnot.
        That’s something of a rarity. ;)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          Perceptive, indeed!

          It’s all part of that whole caring-what-other-people-think thing I do.

          I’m working on eliminating that.

          Baby steps.

          Like

          • nights7 says:

            I get it…except the opposite. The last post I wrote was about trying to care a little more about what other people think. Well, sort of, in the context of pajama pants in public not being helpful in attempts to get dates. Maybe it’s one of those things that should exist in balance. Maybe not though. I guess it all depends on what you’re trying to do.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. anitvan says:

    I think that sometimes we don’t really have a choice about what we write. Sometimes what comes out is simply what must be written. We do it because it’s necessary and we really don’t have much choice in the matter.

    Now you have a choice again.

    That, in itself, is pretty wonderful. :-)

    Like

  9. writerlyone says:

    Your honesty is inspiring. Last time I read a post of yours I actually thought: wow, he’s really a writer and not just a divorce blogger. Seriously. Aren’t you working in other mediums? Maybe that is your space for now.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I aspire to be working in other mediums. I’m such a shitty multitasker that if I involve myself in too many things I don’t know how to manage the energy well enough to do everything at a high level.

      I’m still figuring all this out. In the meantime, I don’t feel ready to stop writing here. But it’s not easy anymore. It used to just happen. And now, I’m sort of forcing it.

      Awesome to hear from you. Thank you for saying hi.

      Like

  10. You can write about men and women and love and God and pears….
    Wait, that’s what I do. ;)

    You do blog divorce, but I think what makes you so appealing is that you actually blog YOU. Some of us kind of enjoy watching your journey and you have a nice humility about you so you’re easy to relate to. Also, you tell good stories.

    Like

  11. carsonblue says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the posts in which you reminisce about your youth. Lots of people grew up in the 80s. We remember things like the sneaker craze, tight-rolling our jeans or hoping with crossed fingers that this Christmas will be the one that delivers the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier.

    You have great talent as a writer. And those stories resonate with people… Well, at least with me.

    But, what I like most about this blog is its variety. It’s true, you have it!
    Divorce, dating, your son, novelty underwear… Keep at it, Matt.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Novelty underwear! HA. (I have–not once–even on laundry day–worn the “Bring on the Chocolate” M&M boxers since writing that.)

      You called it “tight-rolling” our jeans. We called it “pegging.” God, we were turds. (Me and my friends. Not you. You were probably awesome because you called it something more sensible.)

      Like

      • carsonblue says:

        No no. I was a turd also. We all were… but the kind of turds that you get nostalgic about. The kind that knew all the words to ‘Calendar Girl’ by new kids on the block

        …before we learned that musical tastes and reputation were inexorably connected.

        Like

  12. I think the last half of your about page answers your question. I do not see the word “divorce” mentioned there. I see you figuring out who you are, striving forward in the best way you can, and with that inspiring others. That is worth writing about – always.

    “Not tall enough. Not rich enough. Not smart enough. Not attractive enough. Not whatever enough. I think about, talk about, and write about the human experience as I see it, and my efforts to live more effectively. I try to be a good person. I try to be a good friend. I try to be a good father. I constantly fall short, figuratively and literally. The contents of this blog will back that up. But, big-picture? I’m tall enough. And so are you. “

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You’re the sweetest.

      I don’t know that I inspire others. But IF telling honest stories does that now and then, then I suppose you’re totally right. That’s always worth writing.

      Like

  13. I don’t see you as a divorce blogger to much. Yes your posts dive into that realm often, but I don’t think you’re stuck there. I read your posts for the interaction ( I’m 40, single, never married, so I can’t “relate” to specific divorce issues) but I can relate to you as a human being, telling your stories.
    I started my blog with hopes to spark my creative side of writing again. Yet I find myself writing about dating far too much. But we write what we live and right now I’m living that, mixed in with the rest of life. So for you I say write what you’re living. Write when it feels right in your soul. And if you mess up along the way of life know you’re not alone and human. We’re bound to screw it up, just try not to make the same mistake twice :) I look forward to seeing where your writing journey takes you. I have a unlimited ride wristband and I’m coming along for the ride :-)

    Like

  14. Bee says:

    I read recently that we retell our story over and over again until we can fully process it. I know that’s happened to me. I no longer feel anything about my husband’s affair. It’s just something that happened. Now I find myself writing more about bipolar disorder and life in general. We all morph and change – that’s life. And the beauty is you don’t have to stay stuck anywhere you don’t want to be. If you still want to write but not about divorce, talk about the hikes you take or what single parenting is like or the wonder of engaging with people outside your comfort zone. Really, I’d read cereal boxes if you wrote them.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Cereal boxes? Now you’re just being extra-nice. Thank you.

      I agree with all of that. I think the problem we’re always changing, but sometimes it goes a little faster than others. Sometimes there’s a little more transition or transformation happening than usual. And I think I’m in one of those places. Lots of new things in my life.

      Still looking for that rhythm. But perhaps I should learn to embrace the off-beatness of it all.

      Because that’s where adventure lives.

      Thank you very much for this. You’ve left a handful of comments. This is the nicest one yet. I really appreciate it.

      Like

  15. Deepa says:

    I’ve often wondered where you’ll go from the big D. I love the way you write and your blog has helped me and others so much but I agree that you need to move forward into different realms. Exactly why I have a food blog. ….that way I can always fall back on that when I run out of things to say :)
    I don’t know what the answer is for you. I do have 1 suggestion…..why don’t you ask for readers’ stories about their relationships. …the successful ones and the failed ones. …and write about those?

    Like

    • Matt says:

      As a former news writer, I do have a fondness for telling other people’s stories. Especially ones I find particularly inspiring.

      I’m inspired by the little things, so that’s really quite often.

      This is a pretty fantastic suggestion, actually and one I promise to think about a lot more.

      My little “Ask Me Stuff” experiment was a colossal failure. Maybe I can find a way to get people to share their stories.

      Thank you for giving me something new to think about. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. curlygirl says:

    kind of like a musician who wrote an album about being dumped & they poured their heart & soul out & that music/album was so successful & maybe if the next songs weren’t about that, the musician worries people wouldn’t listen to the next songs? I wonder if Sam Smith thinks these things…? Probably. I think it’s the source, not the subject that defines your success, Matt.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You’re too kind.

      You should know, my singing voice is absolutely wretched compared to Sam Smith and also everyone in the world who is even kind of good at singing. :)

      I really appreciate this. Thank you.

      Like

  17. jgroeber says:

    You and I don’t have much in common except maybe blogging, people pleasing and a child in elementary school (I’ve got four, but who’s counting). And also we’re white. Also, I think we’re probably both short. I don’t read what you write because you’re a divorce blogger, or even because you’re short. I read what you write because you’re a human on a journey and you’re a really great writer. You try to see the humor, even in the shit, and you try to find the kernel of truth. I’m looking forward to your dating stories or your back-to-school stories or your new job or shifting political views, efforts at the gym or favorite recipe (just kidding about recipes…). Authentically beautiful and a tiny bit funny, life’s journey. To me, that’s what matters.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You often make me feel pretty good, Jennifer. Thank you for that.

      While I’m unlikely to share many recipes here because there are infinitely better sources, I DO have a relatively intense passion for cooking. Before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a chef, and came thisclose to going to culinary school.

      I decided marriage and a family would be a higher priority than 70-hour weeks and every Friday and Saturday night in the kitchen.

      So, that worked out well for me.

      I still care about food prep. And my food is delicious. You’re welcome, friends.

      But being single again, I don’t find myself cooking very often. Someday. :)

      Thank you for all of the kind things you say. Your opinion means a lot to me. (<– pretty sure I've already told you that.)

      Like

      • jgroeber says:

        And he cooks? Whadja talking about?! If you clean up too, may I recommend you put that on your match.com profile (or use it as a pick-up line at the local watering hole.) It could be a deal-maker. Jes’ sayin’. ;-)
        (Mea culpa.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Matt says:

          Cooks well, even. :)

          I didn’t realize that was such a positive.

          As for cleaning? I could be better. I made a nice dinner last night and still haven’t cleaned all of it up as of 1 pm.

          No match.com profiles for me, Jennifer. I swore off online dating in the summer of 2013. It was one of the first things I wrote about when I first started here.

          Online dating is unnatural and bullshit.

          I prefer to meet humans in their natural habitat. :)

          Thanks for pumping me up about the cooking thing! Now that I know that is a bullet point on the Why Matt is Kind of Rad® list, I’ll be sure to use it more.

          Hope you and your family are having an excellent weekend!

          All the wine may or may not have something to do with that.

          Like

        • Matt says:

          Also. All the wine may have something to do with why that last paragraph was out of sequence. #tommyleejonesface

          Like

  18. […] week I read this post https://mustbethistalltoride.com/2015/03/04/i-dont-want-to-be-a-divorce-blogger/ aside from the fact that I really enjoy the way Matt writes, this post really spoke to a struggle […]

    Like

  19. I am in a particularly busy season of life right now but this post has been gnawing at me since I first read it ~however many days ago.

    I refer to you as a divorce blogger in as much as people come to me for advice on their divorces and I direct them to your blog. So…yeah – in that sense you are technically pigeon-holed there. But I agree with a lot of comments above.

    You are a writer. Who blogs… about divorce and a bunch of other stuff, (*Cough* both adolescent and adult). ;-)

    You, my friend, need to take the Seinfeld approach to blogging. A blog about nothing:

    GEORGE: What’d you do today?

    RUSSELL: I got up and came to work.

    GEORGE: There’s a post. That’s a post.

    RUSSELL: (Confused) How is that a post?

    JERRY: Well, uh, maybe something happens on the way to work.

    GEORGE: No, no, no. Nothing happens.

    JERRY: Well, something happens.

    RUSSELL: Well, why am I reading it?

    GEORGE: Because it’s on the blog!!

    I obviously took a little license there. ha ha.

    Have fun! there’s is a lot of life to be learned in the nothing of life but it takes someone with words to get us there.

    Good luck!

    Like

  20. Susana says:

    I am a single mom of one kind. I haven’t been able to find anyone in my area, or state for that matter that will even speak of polygamy. I am actually looking for a family for me and my sons to be a part of, so we can stop hiding what we truly feel is the way things should be. and i need a man that can take care of a good family Of course I have been approached by certain men, but unfortunately most of the time it is perverse in nature. Contact me if you have any sort of questions. susanabonita111@gmail.com

    Like

  21. Shane says:

    Matt,

    I stumbled upon your blog through Dr. PsychMom’s Facebook page and although I am unmarried without children I enjoy your blog very much I think your stories about dating are endearing and funny and it’s great to read the trials and tribulations from a man’s perspective. As a woman, I think it’s nice to see the other side of the story. I don’t necessarily think that it’s because you blame yourself but rather that you take responsibility in an open and forthcoming way. I hope that you continue to keep up all the great posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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