I’ve been following Jon Armstrong’s blog since he and Heather Dooce Armstrong split up. Today, he wrote that he will not publish any comments that discuss Heather and if anyone writes about her he will delete those comments because she “deserves” that. He is totally not in the petty backstabbing phase yet. If he believes there is still hope, then so can I.
Heather, please take Jon back. And if you won’t, then please explain why. I think you are making a huge mistake.
He admitted in another post that he didn’t want this separation. I feel for the guy, but that’s because I have read her blog for years and she seems like she’d be impossible to live with. Creative types often are. I’m not sure what comes first, the writing or the suicidal impulses, but the two frequently go together.
Medication helps, but mentally ill people are still challenging to have relationships with. I once dated with a man who had bipolar disorder (once called manic depression) who was also an alcoholic and an unemployed wake and baker. I initially typed “lived with a man who” but went back and changed it because I remembered that while he did move his stuff in, he moved it out again in the middle of the night while I was sleeping because “shit got too real” and he was convinced that I was trying to steal his favorite lamp. I had no interest in his stupid lamp, but that relationship was so messed up, when I finally broke it off, I DID steal his precious lamp. It’s actually in my garage right now.
Jon Armstrong has my sympathy, but at the same time, I have to wonder how bad he fucked up. Because it must be epic. This was not an “amicable” or “mutual” split. He had to have really screwed the pooch on this one. All he will say is that it’s hard to live with someone who doesn’t tell you you’ve been doing it wrong for years, and then when she finally tells you, it’s too late to fix it. He can’t mean banging someone else, because he’s just too smart to NOT know that counts as “doing it wrong.”
I find this so confusing because according to Dooce, the two of them have been going to therapy for years together. Dooce has praised her husband and openly loved him for years. I don’t get how this happened. Was she lying to us about how things really were?
I’ve noticed that many very successful and/or famous people do not stay with the partner they were with prior to that success and/or fame. But Dooce has been successful and famous for a long time now. The marriage had the outward appearance of surviving not only Heather’s mental illness, but also her career. Jon doesn’t seem like the kind of man who would begrudge Heather her success. He seems to really love and respect her.
There are two sides, though. No one knows what goes on in another person’s marriage. I have a friend who once told me that when she gets angry she name-calls, yells, and throws things. I would have never in a million years pegged her for a screamer nor prone to violence. She is the sweetest, most caring, giving woman I know. But her husband thinks she’s mean. I’m pretty open about my marriage here, but there is a lot you don’t know. Nor should you, because it’s private. One of my big struggles as a wife is that I come from a family where there is always a hidden agenda. So when Odie sits down and says about our daughter “I’ll bet she watches 20 hours a week of television” I hear “You are a shit mother. All you do is let our daughter watch television.” What he meant was “I am a shit father because I don’t do more fun stuff with my kid.” Or maybe he just meant she watches 20 hours a week of television.
For me, it would have to be something horrific for me to separate Odie from his girls. Like at least 24 hours a week of television. He loves them more than anything. If you had asked young single me how I felt about a future husband who loved our children more than me, I probably would have bristled. If I’m honest, it hurts a little bit. I’m slightly jealous. I’m also glad. When Viva says, “Daddy, will you play with me?” the answer is NEVER “No, honey, I have to work” or “I have to send emails” or “Sorry, baby, but Daddy’s busy.” The answer is always “YES! I would love to play with you. What are we playing?” It makes me love him even more that he’s so good with them.
What would it take for me to throw him out? I already put up with his shit. I’ve put up with his shit for almost ten years. His shit is TIRESOME. The qualities and characteristics that counterbalance his shit are magnificent.
Plus, he puts up with my shit. And my shit is TIRESOME.
Infidelity? It would ruin our marriage. I’m not saying it wouldn’t. But would it separate him from his kids? It depends. The world isn’t as black and white as I once thought. I always thought it would be him cheating on me, and not the other way around. All of a sudden, forgiveness seems like the way to go in that situation, you know?
On her blog, Heather got real mad. She spelled out “jerk” with alphabet blocks and balanced them on the head of her dog and took a picture. She said that she is so healthy that her therapist pronounced her cured and may even be moonwalking with joy and approval as I sit here typing. I have two family members who are therapists. They only moonwalk for the super sane ones.
Heather is tired of reading all the negative shit out there and wants to say “fuck you” to all of you. I don’t say “us” because I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for her to have a breakdown like the rest of them. People who hate her are legion and they are all salivating over her suffering. People are just like that.
I will say this. Girl needs to come clean. Jon loved her and stuck by her through hell and back by her own account. I read her book. He brought their infant to the mental hospital to visit her every day. And when she got out, he didn’t divorce her and take their kid. He stuck by her. He kept his vows.
When she was better and they had built her business together, they had a second daughter. I’ll bet they were both terrified. I didn’t follow her blog faithfully, so I don’t know how things went after baby #2, but I know she didn’t wind up in the looney bin that time. They bought her dream home. A home so big, they needed cell phones provided by sponsor Verizon just to keep in touch with each other inside their home. Not, it turns out, big enough for the two of them.
When Heather got attacked for blogging about her “life changing” trip to Bangladesh, Jon wrote passionately and eloquently to defend her. His love and respect for her shine through in his writing. There is no undertone of resentment or irony. Now, he sounds hurt but optimistic. He defends her. He clearly still loves her.
So, what is the story? Why does a handsome, tall, fit, smart, funny, supportive man get thrown out of his home and separated from his wife and children?
Maybe she is depressed and not thinking clearly, hence this decision to ask him to leave. She could be lying about the therapist saying she’s “graduated” from therapy. I don’t understand why she doesn’t take a sabbatical from the blog and sort herself out. That would be the sanest thing to do, under the circumstances.
I’m sorry, I think she’s gone off the rails. She’s got delusions of persecution, thinks that being in the midst of a separation or divorce is a good time to leave therapy (I have no idea how someone could be pronounced “graduated” from therapy when they suffer from mental illness and are in the process of one of the most upsetting experiences in human existence and are CLEARLY suffering from it) and seems to have no interest in hearing from anyone unless they’re blowing smoke up her ass. I’m another in on the camp of she needs to get guest bloggers for awhile, or just put up a post saying “This is too real and intense to share, I will be taking a break for awhile.” The Internet just DOESN’T NEED TO HEAR about her divorce and its repercussions on her. Some things are sacred. The Internet right now is doing her more harm than good. I don’t wish her harm and I don’t wish bad things to happen to her. I just think she should get off the computer for awhile (her Twitter legitimately worries me), cool off, and come back when she’s a little more… settled. I feel for Jon and the girls. I don’t know what to feel for Heather. She is in a grief-induced rage right now I think and is angry at the world, including the very people who have put food on her table for years (her readers). It’s, to say the least, not a fun read at the moment.
Thank you, Jessica and Mrs. Odie for posting your thoughts. I was a long time reader, even though I don’t have kids or PPD. I was genuinely sad that Jon and Heather had separated. However, I think it’s more than a little off-putting to basically be told to eff off and be called a jerk. And while I’ve never posted a comment of either the “jerk” or “sunshine” variety, and I by no means wish her or her family any ill will or harm, I’ve thought some of the same things her critics are vocalizing and thus her Twitter meltdown and harassment of her critics has completely turned me off. If she doesn’t need my clicks to put food on her table, and is willing to drive away long time readers by her passive-aggressive and completely unnecessary “feedback”, I am happy to oblige by unsubscribing and unfollowing both Dooce and Blurbomat.
I hope for the best for the sake of Jon and the girls, but like Jessica, I’m not sure what to think or feel on Heather’s behalf other than I hope she gets the help she seems to desperately need.
because she thinks she can do better? either on her own or in the future with someone else who is more _____. (athletic, confident, assertive, lumberjack-ish,pick an adjective…better). it’s tough when the wife is the vast breadwinner, the husband becomes much less attractive. she feels like she’s ‘settling’ and wants to get out while they’re still young?
I am definitely Team Jon at this point. He put up with a lot from her and the public, naming him Vagina Jon and making fun of him for not working a 9-5 but instead working for a wife who has a very successful blog.
I think I read somewhere that Jon told her he was tired of putting up with her abusive behavior and she told him to get out then. GET OUT!
I once watched a girl like Dooce go through men like Kleenex until she found a man who wouldn’t put up with her narcissistic bs. He was not going to let her push him around. This girl was extremely domineering once she felt comfortable in a relationship. Their marriage has had ups and downs but has lasted for a very long time.
Playing armchair psychologist and quarterback here, but I notice she is extraordinarily attached to an employee affectionately named “Tyrant.” That is what she needs, I think. I don’t think any of us want to go back to the caveman mentality of the fifties but I think Heather wants a man who will not tippy toe around her and will stand up and say, “Woman. Enough.”
I think Jon was initially heartbroken but I think he is slowly beginning to realize that life is easier without always having to tippy toe around feeling out Heather’s moods. It sounds like the Mental Illness is so bad in that house that it needs to stay in the guest bedroom Ikea is furnishing for Heather while Jon is buying his own apartment furniture. (Ikea must be tearing their hair out at this awful ironic turn of events. I predict a hasty withdrawal as soon as their contract is over).
I am very sorry for the pain that everybody is feeling in the Blurbodoocery and I do wish them all a happier future.
I think she has definitely gone off the deep end. I truly feel sorry for her, and for her husband, but most of all for their daughters. Jon’s position in this situation sucks, but he is a grown man, an adult who can (or at least should be able to) handle this shit. Their children are just little girls, who unfortunately are probably going to have a lot of long-term issues because of all of this.
I’m a very new reader here, but I’m totally hooked on your writing. Also, I agree whole-heartedly with your assessment of the Dooce situation.
Like Beverly, I’m a new reader here as well and really enjoy your writing. I’ve never read Dooce, but I’d have to live under a rock not to know about the divorce drama. I agree with the others that she is clearly not “better” and is in fact worse. She needs to take time and focus on her family and her health. I’ve never been a fan of Jon, but yeah…I can’t imagine what it feels like to be him right now.
I don’t even know who these people are, or have I read a single blog post. But now the suspense is killing me. I’m dying to know what happened, what did he do?
I don’t know Dooce, don’t read her blog and frankly, from what I’ve read here, wouldn’t want to. I feel bad for their kids though. Hopefully, they aren’t school age yet, thus don’t have to deal with their friends and the parents reading both blogs. Troubling world we live in when private matters are on full display, complete with all sorts of feedback from all sides. People need to unplug and take a breather.
Now, on to why I was really writing this comment. How sad for you if you really feel that your husband loves your girls more than you. It is wonderful that he loves and plays with his daughters, but shouldn’t the love he feels for you and the love he feels for them be on a different level…as in, not comparable?
I found your blog while searching for news about real blogger. It seems to me your blog is gossiping about other bloggers. Pretty boring. By the way, I NEVER make negative comments, but you are just begging for it.
This is a great, insightful post. Thanks for sharing. Team Jon.
Found your blog while searching for info on Dooce. I’ve got to say, I like your wit and writing style 😉
I feel bad for her because I have no idea what happened between them. I honestly wish them oth th best. I’ve gone through some intense messy breakups, but the difference is that I have no kids.
Thanks, Sara! I feel for them all too.