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Melissa A. Featherston

Avoid online journaling during a divorce

One of the tools that many people, particularly women, are advised by therapists to use as they go through the tumult of a divorce is journaling. Oprah Winfrey has famously touted the value of keeping a "gratitude journal" to help people remember everything they have to be grateful for, even when they feel like nothing good is going on in their lives.

Although journaling used to involve putting pen to paper, like most everything else, it's become more common to do it online. If you're going through a divorce, however, online journaling (like using any form of social media) can be dangerous.

First, even though your online journal may be password protected, it's certainly not impermeable. Anything you write can be used by your estranged spouse against you. Deleting it doesn't necessarily make it go away. Anything put online can live on forever.

Even if you're not using your online journal to confess having an affair with your husband's best friend, leaving your kids alone while you go down to the local pub or stashing away cash in a secret account, you never know what can and will be used against you as you work to negotiate a settlement or seek child custody.

Further, divorce proceedings (including mediation negotiations) are confidential. You could face consequences for sharing them online, even if they're intended to be private.

It's important to remember that not all journaling is therapeutic. If you're only doing it to vent anger and sadness about your break-up, you're not going to move on. There are plenty of resources for advice on productive journaling, even if you don't have your own therapist.

Even positive journaling, however, should be done offline. Get a good old-fashioned notebook or any of the multitude of journals available at bookstores. Just the process of physically writing can be calming. It will also help you improve your handwriting, which for many people has suffered in the age of computers, e-mail and texting.

Source: WOTV4women, "Blogging during divorce: Yes or no?," Laura Rizzo, Sep. 23, 2016

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