Jill Smokler, the founder of the popular parenting website Scary Mommy,announced earlier this week on Facebook that she and her husband of 17 years were getting a divorce.
In a message to members of a private group for contributors to her site, she explained why:
"Yesterday, Jeff and I told our children that we are divorcing, after more than 17 years of marriage and 23 years of togetherness. We also told them that the impetus for the divorce is the fact that Jeff is gay," she wrote. "...We have spent more than half of our lives inseparable, and we are very proud of the life and family we have built together. We have been true partners and friends; we are a kickass team. And while we will no longer love each other as husband and as wife, we remain deeply committed to one another as partners and co-parents to the three most incredible kids we could ask for....Love is love is love is love...Always."
Smokler and her husband have been open and honest about their marriage and now their divorce, with Smokler's husband, Jeff, penning an essay for her site about why "love isn't enough" to sustain a marriage. He said that the realization that he is gay prompted him to understand that he had to choose his own survival or come clean and hope for the best.
"Once I came to terms with the fact that I was gay, I figured I had two options," Jeff wrote. "I could die—either from my intentional neglect of my health and well-being, or perhaps from something even more tragic—leaving my children fatherless, or I could come out and hope that I remained surrounded by the love of my friends, family, wife and children."
Smokler and husband have known each other since they were teenagers. She's been blogging about her marriage, life and three kids since 2008. The couple told People magazine they have both long known Jeff is gay. Two years into their marriage Jeff started to understand his bisexuality.
“The first person I talked about it with was Jill," Jeff wrote in his own blog post about their divorce and his coming out. "I really believe I was bisexual then, and it wasn’t something that was all-consuming. But over the years, my sexuality became much more a part of who I was. For many years, Jill and I viewed it as a piece of me that we had to deal with, but I think we both silently knew over time that it was becoming a bigger piece of me.”
The couple said they talked openly about it over the years and have been open and honest about it with their kids—Lily 13, Ben, 11, and Evan 9.
Jeff now lives in a house three miles away from their home. They've kept their daily routine mostly the same.
“We will still have family dinners. We will still go on family vacations. We will still be a family, it’s just a different kind of family,” Jill told the magazine.
“I actually think that this evolved in the way that it should have, in a way where we thought the kids were at a point to be ready, we felt we were at a point where we were ready, but I certainly don’t have any regrets about marrying or staying married as long as we did,” says Jill.
Their announcement is another marriage break-up that, while not playing itself out online, is at least widely announced there. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love," announced her divorce to the infamous Filepe, whom she married shortly after her book about her first divorce came out. Shortly after her split announcement, she professed her love for her terminally ill best friend.
Next came Glennon Doyle Melton, who released a best-selling book titled "Love Warrior"—a memoir about her marriage with her now ex-husband who cheated on her, right after announcing that she, too, was divorcing and in love with a woman, soccer star Abby Wambach, to whom she is now engaged.
And then, of course, the first-ever "professional mommy blogger," Heather "Dooce" Armstrong, who announced her divorce on her blog, when she and her husband of 10 years separated.
Jill and Jeff's announcement—details, explanations, frankness—aren't just a blogger's habit, she explain's on a Facebook post.
"We decided to be as transparent in our online life as our real life, mostly because we'd spent 15 years lying and didn't want to for another moment. While what we dealt/are dealing with is indeed personal, we also know that we're far from alone, and countless couples suffer in silence. If sharing our story can help a single person realize that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and that the truth is infinitely better than living a lie, it will have been worth it."