Social Media & FBAMM

Divorce in the Age of Social Media

A Plan, An Intervention, Nashville, Failure


 by banjo d


Chapter 4:   A Plan, an Intervention, Nashville, Failure


(Excerpt From Facebook Ate My Marriage.  Republished with permission from Hell Bent Press and the Author)

To chart Facebook’s role in DeeAnn’s planning is difficult, as the process of divorce is one of discovery. That there was a plan is clear, that I was not participating in it as expected is equally clear.

In March, the day before we were to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, on what was to be my first vacation in two years, DeeAnn had an “Episode.” I mark it as an “Episode” in distinction from the numerous fits, rages and generally bad moods which had become part of daily life. What marked this one out as distinct was that she had called me at the clinic to scream about her psychiatrist’s receptionist, the misplacement of a credit card, and the poor quality of coffee on offer at fast food restaurants in the state of Florida. Her disgust with the state she punctuated by throwing the phone across the van (information that would be later related to me by our middle daughter, Heather).

After finishing up with my patient, I called to find DeeAnn still seething and driving back to our home in the Balboa subdivision. I directed her to drop off her prescriptions with the pharmacist and go get some sleep. Heather, the possessor of the Grandmatriarch gene, could and would ride reign on the youngest two Lynns until my arrival.

When I came home I was greeted in the usual manner, a tackling hug of the youngest three Lynns.

“Mommy is sleeping!” Kiefer chirped.

“Yeah, and we have been real quiet,” Julie, the youngest Lynn, said in a cherubic voice laced with expectation of some sort of compensation for this demonstration of personal restraint.

“Shh!” Heather intoned maternally, and ushered the younger Lynns back into the living room.

With the youngest Lynns occupied, I went and got DeeAnn some iced tea. I came into our bedroom to find the familiar sight of a large, indistinct lump in a fetal position beneath the comforter, with a foot hanging over the side of the bed, against which Gertrude was straining to rub himself to feel the semblance of affection.

“Honey?” I said in a hushed tone, not yet able to gauge the mood of my wife.

“Hmmmm,” a snuffling interrupted what had been a gurgling snore.

“I have some iced tea for you and I picked up your medications,” I said.

Not knowing whether Vesuvius was about to erupt, I was shocked to find a beatific DeeAnn thanking me gratefully for the tea and her medications.

“Cusper,” she said in a dreamy voice, which seemed to still be adrift in sleep.

“Yes?” I asked, as I set about the process of divesting of my work clothing and changing into my sweats.

“I had a dream,” she said.

I considered a comment on the subject of Martin Luther King but, given her good mood, elected to let it pass. “About what?” I asked as I stepped into my sweatpants.

“Cusper, please come here,” she said, in a voice that was at once a command and a soft entreaty.

Being male and lacking any understanding of the circumstances, I did what I was told and set at the foot of the bed, where the flatulent terrier was whimpering as DeeAnn had withdrawn her foot.

“Cusper, I dreamt you were sleeping,” she began reasonably enough.

And it occurred to me how much I would like to be asleep and how little sleep I was actually getting.

“And I came up and kissed you,” she continued.

My thoughts moved on to the general lack of affection she had displayed of late and found this to be an interesting and oddly chaste dream.

“Then I let you go, and you were happy and I was happy,” she said, eyes glistening with tears of joyful revelation.

My thoughts at this point came to a screeching halt.

“I think we should get a divorce,” she said, with a nearly angelic quality in her voice.

I was silent.

“Cusper?” DeeAnn said, reaching out to touch my arm.

I did not move. My thoughts were a single mantra that rolled over and over again, “You must take this, you must take this. Just like everything else, you must take this.”

“Hmm,” I finally said.

“Do you understand what I just said?” DeeAnn asked, as if speaking to a small child.

“I believe I do. You get some sleep. I am going to take care of the kids,” I said and got up from the bed.

Going out into the living room I was once again tackled by the children, who had, for their various and meritorious deeds of inactivity and generally nondestructive behavior, wanted their compensation. For Heather it was dinner, which they had as yet to be given. For Kiefer, it was the video games he wanted to play, and for Julie, it was a glass of chocolate milk. Meeting all the requests as given, I moved through the activities like a machine. Then, at the request of the kids, I sat among them on couch as they engaged in acts of electronic violence against one another on the game system.

How much time passed I could not say. But I believe it was past eight o’clock, as Bryce had returned from his last class in Sarasota, when there was a knocking at the door. Bryce went to answer it and was informed it was the police.

The officers were calm, professional and responding to a report of a domestic dispute. I and the children were directed to remain where we were and the first officer asked the whereabouts of the master bedroom.

In retrospect, I can say it was a very orderly and properly executed investigation of a report of a domestic dispute. After asking the kids about their evening in as casual a manner as possible and confirming Bryce’s time schedule, the officers directed that the kids could go to bed. Once they were out of the room, the officer said to me, “Your wife says you threatened the children and that you were behaving in a violent manner.”

It was not a question, but simply a recitation of what had been communicated. The officer’s partner, who was with her in our bedroom, continued to talk to her and now DeeAnn began to scream – the scream very much reminiscent of the phone call earlier in the day.

I gave the officer a detailed description of the day’s events and my activities since DeeAnn informed me she wanted a divorce. He nodded his head, took notes, asked me my height, weight, age, hair color and if I had any other significant features, to which I assumed he was referring to scars or tattoos. I provided the requested information, replied in the negative as to features, and I waited.

In the meantime, the officer’s partner was having a very bad time of it with DeeAnn, who was becoming outraged, “It’s his medications, he is having a reaction!”

“Ma’am, ma’am, what we need is a solution,” the responding officer said in a cautioning tone.

I felt myself clench involuntarily as I knew what I was about to hear.

“It’s DOCTOR Lynn, not  Ma’am!” she shouted.

I closed my eyes and there was a silence.

“Dr. Lynn,” the responding officer said, with a restraint I had heard being used with my wife on many occasions by a range of professionals, “what we need here is a solution. My partner and I do not want to have to come out again tonight.”

Having been addressed properly, DeeAnn resumed screaming, “It’s his medications! He is having a reaction! I just want you to…”

“Ma’a…Dr. Lynn,” the officer corrected himself in mid-thought as he cut across the renewed shrieking.

I opened my eyes and looked at the officer, who stared off down the hall with a look of aggravation and disgust.

“Officer,” I said as quietly as I could manage, and it seemed to startle him as he had appeared to forget about my presence on the couch, from which I had not moved since the interview began.

“Yes, sir?” he asked, his voice tinged with a slight bit of menace lest I begin with a “doctor” speech of my own.

“I will leave the house immediately and will not return,” I said, having made an oath on the last point that included the word ‘ever’ in my own mind.

“Mr. Lynn has offered to leave the house,” he called down to his partner.

There was a brief conference among the officers, who, it seemed to me were considering the question not of my offer but of the advisability of leaving DeeAnn home with the children. Finally, my offer was accepted by the officers. DeeAnn, however, was still not satisfied and renewed her screaming, “It’s his medications!!”

Officer Ballinger, as I was to learn was the name of the officer who had interviewed me, escorted me to retrieve a suitcase from the family room that was packed for the next day’s travels. Outside the house, as I got into the red car Bryce had been driving, officer Ballinger leaned in and said, “Sir, I have seen a lot of these. The fact is you may never know what happened, and if you found out you really wouldn’t want to know.”

I thanked him for the observation and wished him a good evening.

That night I would not be able to find a hotel room and would instead have to sleep in my car at the airport. Regardless of what had happened, I was going to Nashville. I was also considering continuing on to Wisconsin if the family did not arrive for the flight.

To my surprise, the Lynn children and DeeAnn did arrive at the airport the following morning. In Nashville, I checked into a separate room from the suite I had booked for the family and I slept for 24 hours straight. The next day I met with DeeAnn and agreed to the divorce that DeeAnn requested and returned to her my wedding ring. She threw a fit. I had granted her all of her terms, except one. I refused to move to Pennsylvania. She stormed off in a fit of rage and I spent time with the kids. Two days later she returned and demanded a reconciliation, to which I did immediately agree.

At the time I attributed the family’s arrival, the reconciliation and our return home as DeeAnn returning to some semblance of sanity. I also thought I sensed Bryce’s intervention. Later I would speculate that this entire drama – the demand for the divorce, the call to the police – was a drug-fueled psychotic episode on DeeAnn’s part. Officer Ballinger was correct in his observation, that I did not know what happened.

He was equally correct that I really wouldn’t want to know. The only error he made in his assessment, and it was a small one, was that I may never know. It would be a month after DeeAnn moved to Media, Pennsylvania, and only after going through the computers left behind and correlating phone records that I would find out. I would find out about the doctor shopping, the drugs, the Web sites and Facebook. It was then that I had discovered I had missed my lines in the drama DeeAnn was planning. I had failed her again. I had failed to blow up, I had failed to become enraged. I had, in essence, failed to provide her with the pretext for a restraining order in Florida.


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