A wife, whose husband is divorcing her, posts a video on YouTube ranting about how they never had sex even though she found a stash of Viagra. A man whose ex-wife has dragged him into court more than 30 times gets so fed up that he launches a Web site about her -- www.thepsychoexwife.com
. Two New York City women post podcasts about their divorces, including details of infidelity.
According to the nonprofit Pew Research Center's
2006 report, "Pew Internet & American Life Project," eight percent of all Internet users, some 12 million adult Americans, write blogs that are read by 57 million Americans. Some of them are ex-spouses seeking solace and sympathy for the wrongs they've perceived by former lovers.
This digital airing of dirty laundry is therapeutic for the dumped-upon exs and helpful to those in similar situations who visit their sites, they say. But the phenomenon has raised ethical questions about how much self-revelation is too much as well as legal concerns about freedom of speech and what can be said in such a public venue as the World Wide Web. YOUTUBE, THE PSYCHO EX-WIFE
In April, New York resident Tricia Walsh Smith posted a video on YouTube claiming that she and her husband, theater executive Philip Smith, who is divorcing her, haven't had sex, even though she found a stash of Viagra, condoms and pornography in their home. The story made headlines on Fox, The New York Times and divorce360.com.
The Internet is populated by less attention-getting divorce postings that resonate with readers nonetheless. Consider Mister-M, who created the Web site, www.thepsychoexwife.com
, in honor of his former spouse. He'd had enough of her dragging him into court, sending him harassing e-mails, manipulating their children and filing false reports of abuse with child welfare authorities, among other behavior. He needed an outlet from the woman he says suffers from what he believes is borderline personality disorder. He posts blogs about her latest rants, and readers comment on the situation.
The site is intended to help people in similar situations, says Mister-M, who asked that his name be withheld from this article for fear of retribution from his ex. "I had always felt like no one really knew or quite understood the level of chaos that had existed in my life, and this was a way to express it all without burdening others with such horror or having to explain myself, re-explain myself," he says. "It served as a means to tell the truth of my experiences but to no one in particular."
Mister-M started the site in January. "Soon after launch, the original tag line '...because you're not alone' seemed to be prophetic," he says. "We started getting lots of e-mails and contacts from others going through similar horrors." People sought advice on their own situations. "The site took on a more meaningful purpose," Mister-M says.