Finding Help When Splitting Up
Divorce Support: The Internet Can Offer Support for Those Seeking Advice, Help
When Vic’s marriage of 32 years suddenly ended in 2000, she did what most people do when faced with a broken relationship. She turned to friends and family for advice and support. But now, in the age of theWorld Wide Web, complete strangers turn to her.
When I blog, I think about my audience, and I think about how I felt six years ago “ how devastated I was, how every day was just a struggle, and about how I’ve changed. I think about the people who read this who are in such pain. I see the times that they come (to the blog) “ at 3 a.m. or in the early morning and they can’t sleep, they can’t think straight.
Some will stay on a very long time and never say a word and some will send me tentative little notes saying ‘thank you, you don’t know me, but you just don’t know how this helps.’ And you realize they are hurting and that they are not thinking straight, so you try to think straight for them and to tell them they’ll be okay.”
Vic’s blog is one of thousands of dedicated websites to the subject of divorce that have sprung up on the Internet in the past few years. Unlike some of the commercial Web sites that provide directories of attorneys and services or storehouses of legal and financial information, blogs reflect a more human side of divorce and present a wide range of opinion and perspectives.
Some are outlets for bitter rants about ex-partners who did them wrong while others focus on divorce laws, children, and financial considerations. Still others, like Vic’s < http://divorcedat50.blogspot.com > provide solace and support “ especially for her target audience: women over 50. I began to blog when I felt emotionally ready. This was five years after the divorce, and six years after Bob left me. Interestingly, I found that the more I wrote about the painful incidents, the less they hurt,” said Vic, who asked to use her pseudonym and not to be identified. This blog has been cathartic, surprisingly so.”
FINDING HELP ONLINE
And it’s not surprising that many find relief online, says Dr. John Grohol, who publishes
www.pyschcentral.com which has been providing mental health information and research for more than a decade. The Internet gives people another social outlet, one in which many people feel very comfortable in interacting and sharing with others. It is, at its heart, a very social medium.”
www.psychologytoday.com or on the American Psychological Association’s Website www.apa.orgas offering basic, factually-correct information. If it comes to randomly finding an article on the Internet, I look at things like the author, their background, and whether they have a self-interest in promoting something that explains their writing or interest in a topic.
I stay away from ‘free content’ Web sites or anonymous blogs when it comes to trusting the information I’m reading. Such sites can be entertaining, but rarely would I trust them with any health or mental health question.”
OTHERS LIKE YOU ONLINE
But does she think the sudden availability of information “ everything from the latest statistics to reviews of divorce attorneys or strategies for hiding money from a spouse “ will have an effect on the divorce rate or even encourage people to go that route? I don’t think the Internet is adding anything to it,” Gallagher said.
Generally speaking, people get divorced because of things that are happening in their living room. They’re more influenced (by) what they learn when they (talk to) their best friend or their sister”¦ or by what their counselor or their clergy says. I don’t think the Internet is any better than those at disseminating the risks or information about divorce.”