“To air your dirty laundry means to talk about private issues amongst others that are not involved. It originates from the fact that your dirty laundry (an analogy for dirty secrets) should be kept out of sight when people are visiting, otherwise it could be embarrassing for you or them.” Idiom Reference
Separation and divorce are hard. This is no surprise. They’re hard on so many levels and in so many ways. But I think sometimes we make it harder by the airing of the dirty laundry for all to see.
Social Media. What a sticky wicket. It’s our limited-consequence forum. People feel as though they deserve to be able to put their dinner, kid’s potty training success, workout and full details of their life circumstances out there, real-time. And I think it’s removed some of the ‘stopping and thinking’ we’d do if we had to say things to people’s faces or print it in a newspaper for others to read.
Personally, I think not ‘airing your dirty laundry’ is a key rule for the whole process. And it has to stick regardless of what the other party is doing.
I’ve been subject to less intrigue and slander than many – but I’ve had my share of phone calls that were initiated because of something the ex posted. And it’s definitely not fun.
Spending an hour explaining to a friend, who doesn’t know you’re separated, why your husband has other women posting to his page is tricky and definitely calls for a glass of wine. Then sit back and wait for it to ring again. Another call. Another Friend. “Oh look! my phone has airplane mode.” Stop the calls for the evening and breathe.
As much as you can, I think it’s so important not to respond in a nasty fashion. For your kids. For your sanity. For your conscience.
Explain what you have to. Keep it to facts – and to the facts that you know you *should* share. You’re separated. Things haven’t worked out and you’re trying hard to keep things good for the kids/yourself/the dog. Etc.
The people who need to know the dirty details already do. Anyone who is figuring it out via social media isn’t part of your inner circle. They only need relevant facts in as dispassionate a way as you can relate them.
But let’s be clear. I am *not* suggesting that anyone should ‘doormat’ themselves. There are plenty of ways to remove yourself from the
situation – to whatever degree necessary – without being an instigator.
Unfollow, Hide, Unfriend the ex if necessary. Explain why you’re doing it in a calm fashion. At this point, I’m assuming you’ve already had a number of unsavory conversations, this may have to be another one.
Don’t answer phone calls from people you know are just looking for the scoop or similar, until you can talk to them from an unemotional place. Or don’t answer them at all. No better time than the present to revisit the people who are key to your life and cull the ones who don’t improve it.
Before anyone slams down on ‘living honestly’ etc. This is NOT the antithesis of that. This is being judicious. You can be honest and judicious at the same time. I can honestly say that my attitude and outlook is better than it’s been in years. I don’t have to add that it’s because I am no longer sharing space with the ex and all that entails. Save that for those who you know love you and won’t misuse it.
Be as kind as you can, without falling prey to manipulation, work with them as best you can – and remember – the junk is in the rearview. Keep moving forward as positively as you can and at least then you’ll rest well at night knowing that you’ve kept your nose clean. (Can I find just one more idiom to stick in here? Please?)