Author Topic: Disclosure etiquette  (Read 20737 times)

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jmarvellous

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2012, 11:25:11 AM »
I would find it extremely, oddly, deal-breakerly weird not to find out until I was already engaged to someone that they had been previously married.

That said, I actually like to get to know my partner, including many details of their personal history. Clearly Robert wasn't too interested in Alice's past, and vice versa, if it came up in this way. So their responses would be otherworldly different from mine.

She doesn't have to mention it, but not mentioning it until after an engagement is bizarre in my world.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2012, 11:28:07 AM »
I would find it extremely, oddly, deal-breakerly weird not to find out until I was already engaged to someone that they had been previously married.

That said, I actually like to get to know my partner, including many details of their personal history. Clearly Robert wasn't too interested in Alice's past, and vice versa, if it came up in this way. So their responses would be otherworldly different from mine.

She doesn't have to mention it, but not mentioning it until after an engagement is bizarre in my world.

I agree. I certainly would expect something like this to come up before an engagement, even if it's a whirlwind type relationship.
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TheVapors

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2012, 12:13:57 PM »
If a person has previously been married (whether it ended through divorce or death of a spouse), how early should he or she disclose it to potential romantic partners? Early. Previous marriages, regardless of how they were ended, are a big deal. I'd think within the first month of dating.

Should he/she list it in his/her profile if on a dating site? Absolutely. No excuses.

Should he/she disclose it on the first date? It would be nice. It doesn't need to be brought up like a big, dark secret, but it can (and probably should) be casually mentioned.

If it was a clean/amicable divorce that was final years ago, is it ever okay to not disclose it until the other person asks? No. It is never OK to not mention it.

Is it ever acceptable to not reveal from the very beginning that you are still legally married? NO. NEVER.

Should a person assume that the other person will search public records and thus assume that he/she does not have to reveal previous marriages because the other person will find out through online searches? No.

All of this is assuming that first marriage did not result in children, and thus there is no concrete evidence of its happening. How late is it too late to disclose a previous marriage without engaging in deceit? Too late? Maybe after the 2nd month. I know that I, personally, would want to know about it within the first date or two, though.

As for Robert and Alice. I have to wonder why Alice wouldn't have brought it up. It's not Robert's responsibility to ask. It's Alice's responsibility to tell. It seems almost sketchy that she wouldn't mention it.

purplemuse

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2012, 12:31:16 PM »
After reading more responses, I have some thoughts on the issue of disclosing a past marriage. I think there are some things that aren't out and out wrong to keep to yourself (as long as you're not directly asked-- I don't think lying is helpful for any of these things), but that if they remain undisclosed for an extended period of time, indicate that there's something wrong with the relationship*:

A past marriage is one of those things, IMO, along with things like "I have a PhD," or "My parents literally disowned me for getting a tattoo."

*Maybe one person is too self-focused to listen to the other's life events; maybe one person is too secretive; maybe one person is keeping a secret because revealing it would reveal a huge incompatibility and wants to hold on to the relationship as long as they can; maybe one person thinks the other is really judgmental and doesn't feel safe sharing some things.

jimithing

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2012, 12:34:27 PM »
For me, dating someone who has a previous marriage is definitely a thing I would want to know. It's not a deal breaker, but it could be, depending on what went down in the marriage. People grow up, and 7 years is a long time, but I would want to know that my future husband takes *our* marriage seriously.

If I found out after a person was engaged, that they had been married before, I would probably see that as a lie of omission, and feel like they were hiding something. It would definitely give me pause.

If Alice doesn't really see it as a big deal, I don't understand why she can just be open and up front about it.

Zilla

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2012, 01:33:03 PM »
I agree, I think if the subject of marriage comes up, then that's the time to disclose it.  I can't imagine being engaged and not disclosing it.


If they popped the question with no discussion of marriage in the past, then accept/decline whatever.  And then within an hour or so say, "I am so happy you asked me and what a surprised but I wanted to let you know though..." 


But if marriage never comes up, in all the scenarios you presented, and you aren't even thinking about it, I wouldn't disclose it.  I am kind of giggling at it actually imagining:


Hey what do you feel like eating tonight? 
Oh I need to tell you, i was once married.


Talking about work issues.  Oh by the way, I was once married.  Or the dreaded, "I need to tell you something..." statement. lol


See how do you bring it up?

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2012, 01:38:51 PM »
Did Robert do anything wrong in not asking? Or was Alice supposed to let Robert know about her divorce early on- especially way before the 6 month mark when they began discussing marriage? Was Robert supposed to ask? Does age make a difference?

I think 6 months is way past the time past relationships should have been talked about. For me it would be somewhat important to know how much "relationship experience" my partner has (and although that includes scrabble and related stuff, it is important for me to know how many relationships and of which length he has had to judge how he deals with relationships, conflict etc.)

TurtleDove

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2012, 01:40:04 PM »
See how do you bring it up?

In my experience, it naturally flows in any number of ways, and is not presented as a negative thing.  Especially once two people start talking seriously, I cannot imagine why it would not be discussed even in the context of "have you always lived alone?" type questions.

AustenFan

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2012, 01:50:41 PM »
Yes, Alice should have voluntarily disclosed it. In a situation where two people love and trust eachother enough to be getting married the onus shouldn't be on one party asking every question under the sun to get the other parties information.

If I were Robert I would seriously be wondering what else wasn't a big enough deal to mention and why my (possible) future brides "don't ask don't tell" policy is more secretive then the military's.

Yvaine

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2012, 01:50:51 PM »
I find that it just comes up (no marriage for me, but a couple of long term past relationships). You'll be telling an anecdote and, for it to make sense, you have to explain the other "character" in the story.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2012, 02:00:42 PM »
Frankly, "You didn't ask" is a patently ridiculous answer. We aren't talking about whether Alice ever owned a pair of red shoes or had been to Hawaii. I'm sure Robert also didn't think to ask whether Alice had a life-threatening condition, a peanut allergy, or children - under the assumption that these are important enough to volunteer.

We can't think of everything to ask - we assume that, over the course of getting to know someone, we will find these things out, particularly if we are discussing marriage.

I would really have to step back and think long and hard if I was in Robert's shoes. Not because Alice was divorced, but because she felt the need to hide it. I would wonder what else she was hiding.

Calypso

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2012, 02:12:08 PM »
It's kind of weird for me to imagine feeling close enough to marry someone but not close enough to tell them about my life before I met them....and I say that as someone whose sweetie moved in with her after knowing each other for about three weeks. We'd extensively talked about one another's lives before that just because we were so interested in each other!

I would never forgive someone who was already married and didn't tell me, because their negligence would have caused me to break my own ethical rules---I don't (didn't) date people who were married or in a relationship. I did have one date with a guy who didn't bother to mention he already had a girlfriend. I met her shortly thereafter at a group event and that was it, he wasn't even potential friend material after that.

I wouldn't feel any need to include previous marriage info on a dating site. I would if the site required it, but I wouldn't mind if I didn't find that out about a person until after we'd gotten to know one another.

How long should that take? I don't have a timeline, but it should be shortly after we've decided that we're not just casually dating, we want a more serious commitment. I think that's the point for disclosures.

I don't think what Alice did is a dealbreaker, but if I was Robert, I'd have to wonder what else she didn't think to tell me. It says more about her communication style than about her as a person, if you see what I mean, but compatible communication styles are crucial for a good marriage.

magician5

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2012, 04:02:36 PM »
Previous marriage? Sure, tell, and then let the matter pass ... it's a dead issue.

Profile? No, dead issue.

Disclose on first date? Sure, right before you say "can we get Chinese food?" - For all of these questions, if it's a fact from your past, early in a possible relationship it's on a par with "I have green eyes." If the guy thinks it's a deal-breaker, get it out on the floor and stop wasting your time.

Still legally married? Now that's a challenge. If you have a written legal separation agreement that stipulates that you're just waiting the mandated waiting period, and if you're truly divorced in all but name only and not trying to save the marriage, I think you're entitled to date. Other people may differ. One of my previous relationships had just such an agreement, that spelled out that each partner was entitled to get on with their life and behave exactly as if they were single.

If you failed to reveal it from the beginning (if we were dating) I'd have a problem with that.

I'd also have a problem with being public-records-searched. At least, if someone did that on me, in anticipation of our becoming seriously involved (call it "due diligence") I'd wish any relationship we had supported an accurate judgement of my character without detective work. It would probably cause me to say "bye".
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WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2012, 04:30:39 PM »
If a person has previously been married (whether it ended through divorce or death of a spouse), how early should he or she disclose it to potential romantic partners?

Pretty gosh darn early.  IMO absolutely before the second date.  If chatting, phone calls or emails is going in before the first date, it should be before the first date.

Should he/she list it in his/her profile if on a dating site?

Absolutely.

If it was a clean/amicable divorce that was final years ago, is it ever okay to not disclose it until the other person asks?

No, that is lying by omission.  Many people would never think to ask.

Is it ever acceptable to not reveal from the very beginning that you are still legally married?

It is never ever acceptable to date while married without making absolutely sure your date knows you are still married.

Should a person assume that the other person will search public records and thus assume that he/she does not have to reveal previous marriages because the other person will find out through online searches?

No you should never assume people are doing such extensive public record searches on your to find out information a potential mate should have disclosed to them openly and honestly.

All of this is assuming that first marriage did not result in children, and thus there is no concrete evidence of its happening. How late is it too late to disclose a previous marriage without engaging in deceit?

Absolutely too late is after sexual intimacy, but I really think this needs to be disclosed before a second date, so I'm standing by that.  You simply don't let someone get attached and interested without presenting an honest truth about who you are.

(All "you" statements are of course general)

Calypso

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Re: Disclosure etiquette
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2012, 04:35:18 PM »
h "I have green eyes." If the guy thinks it's a deal-breaker, get it out on the floor and stop wasting your time.

Still legally married? Now that's a challenge. If you have a written legal separation agreement that stipulates that you're just waiting the mandated waiting period, and if you're truly divorced in all but name only and not trying to save the marriage, I think you're entitled to date. Other people may differ. One of my previous relationships had just such an agreement, that spelled out that each partner was entitled to get on with their life and behave exactly as if they were single.
 

Oh, of course. If the marriage is over in every way but on paper, I've got no problem with that. It's becoming a party in someone's current relationship I object to.