Home DIVORCE ADVICE: Q&A Hey, Ann Kelly, did GOSSIP about you and Bruce Springsteen kill your...

Hey, Ann Kelly, did GOSSIP about you and Bruce Springsteen kill your marriage?

Last night, I made dinner for a friend. I made a version of lamb stew with left over lamb from Easter (from a recipe I got from Saveur Magazine) and (hold on to your chairs  you are going to be shocked witless) I baked a bread from scratch. No. I am very serious. I baked a bread! It didn’t look like 100% something you’d see in the store, I can’t lie. But it tasted really really good, and we buttered it and everything and my guest even asked for seconds. I was so proud of meself!

 Over dinner we got to talking about a whole bunch of stuff, including Divorce Saloon, and I think I may have mentioned something about Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter this week that was about gossip, and somehow, that whole discussion led to this post about how gossip (“the evil tongue” as Paltrow put it), can kill a marriage and lead to divorce.

Actually, it is not just your marriage that gossip can kill. It can kill your reputation too. It can destroy a person’s life. Often, the line between slander and gossip can get blurred too, and now you are even looking at actionable damage that someone has done to your name and reputation as well as, quite possibly, your relationships–past and future.

How can gossip lead to divorce? Well, there are many ways, I guess. One way is if you are the chronic instigator of the gossip. And finally, after many warnings, your spouse has had it with you and this nasty tendency and it causes so many fights and so much friction in the marriage that it (the marriage) ultimately implodes. More wives vis a vis husband will probably find themselves in this predicament, where their habitual gossiping leads to trouble in their own marriage, because it seems that gossiping is an affliction that disproportionately affects the female gender. And with the Internet, it has become even more pervasive and hard to track.

Why do people gossip about other people? I don’t know. But you may want to check out this week’s GOOP at http://goop.com/newsletter/30 to get some insights from some experts Ms. Paltrow spoke with…I really liked the way she posed the question to her “sages” when she asked, “What are the consequences of perpetuating negativity or feeling schadenfreude?” What the heck is “schadenfreude?”….hang on. I am looking it up right now….aah… it means “enjoyment derived from the misfortune of others.” ( Did I mention that I love words? I like this word schadenfreude. I am going to try to commit it to my vocabulary.)…Some people probably feel schadenfreude when they destroy other people’s names, reputations, and marriages….

Okay. So. There is but another instance, I think where gossip could destroy someone’s marriage. That is when you are the object of the gossip. I mean, look at Ann Kelly, the New Jersey woman who is “rumored” to have had a relationship with Bruce Springsteen after the two met a gym. People were evidently gossiping about that for years. Then some things went down, and the husband was apparently banned from the marital residence (something having to do with domestic violence charges, supposedly) and the next thing you know he is levelling divorce charges against his wife and he is using the gossip of the alleged relationship with Bruce to publicly humiliate and embarrass her.

But was this gossip? Or did it cross the line over to slander?  

I am sure she is not the only person whose marriage fell victim to gossip. Gossip can be particularly damaging and destructive. Now with the Internet, only lord knows how far these monsters will go with people’s names, reputations and relationships. There is always the FBI when things get really out of hand, of course–such as cyber-slander and stuff like that.  They can do IP checks and figure out who is behind some of these anonymous hits. But for the everyday snail-gossipers in the neighborhood who won’t mind their business? What can you do about them?

Protect your marriage at all costs from these types. Even if it means moving to a more anonymous part of town.

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