Author Topic: Post-separation invitation etiquette  (Read 5414 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2012, 07:02:46 PM »
Bill and Betty are still MARRIED.  Therefore it is impossible for him to be part of a social unit with anyone else.  Invite Betty.  Ask her if its okay to invite Bill by himself.  Do not invite the girlfriend of a married man to the same party as his wife.

I don't think the two of them can really be called a social unit anymore. Yes they are a legal unit, since legally they are still married. But we are talking social units, and they have broken up. I think Bill is free to be in a social unit with someone else, since he is no longer in one with Betty.

The question isn't whether Bill and Betty are still a social unit, it is whether Bill, still married can form a social unit with a new partner while still married.  He cannot legally or socially.  Until he is divorced he can date, have a girlfriend, even live with her, but polite society does not recognize them as  "social unit" until Bill is divorced.

I agree with this (except the polite society comment as i think the term can be inflammatory). A legally married individual is not free to start a new social unit in my opinion.  They can wait until their marriage is legally dissolved.  This is my personal beliefs and I don't believe I should be forced to change them.  The only exception I can think of is in the case of dissection when it could take years for a marriage to be dissolved.

The OP says she has not met Carol so their is no reason to invite her as a separate individual.

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2012, 07:04:28 PM »
Who determines what is polite society? Some etiquette rules are from traditions that are very old, and may not be applicable to real situations anymore.

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2012, 07:05:56 PM »
Bill and Betty are still MARRIED.  Therefore it is impossible for him to be part of a social unit with anyone else.  Invite Betty.  Ask her if its okay to invite Bill by himself.  Do not invite the girlfriend of a married man to the same party as his wife.

I don't think the two of them can really be called a social unit anymore. Yes they are a legal unit, since legally they are still married. But we are talking social units, and they have broken up. I think Bill is free to be in a social unit with someone else, since he is no longer in one with Betty.

The question isn't whether Bill and Betty are still a social unit, it is whether Bill, still married can form a social unit with a new partner while still married.  He cannot legally or socially.  Until he is divorced he can date, have a girlfriend, even live with her, but polite society does not recognize them as  "social unit" until Bill is divorced.

I agree with this (except the polite society comment as i think the term can be inflammatory). A legally married individual is not free to start a new social unit in my opinion.  They can wait until their marriage is legally dissolved.  This is my personal beliefs and I don't believe I should be forced to change them.  The only exception I can think of is in the case of dissection when it could take years for a marriage to be dissolved.

The OP says she has not met Carol so their is no reason to invite her as a separate individual.

I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2012, 07:10:33 PM »
Bill and Betty are still MARRIED.  Therefore it is impossible for him to be part of a social unit with anyone else.  Invite Betty.  Ask her if its okay to invite Bill by himself.  Do not invite the girlfriend of a married man to the same party as his wife.

I don't think the two of them can really be called a social unit anymore. Yes they are a legal unit, since legally they are still married. But we are talking social units, and they have broken up. I think Bill is free to be in a social unit with someone else, since he is no longer in one with Betty.

The question isn't whether Bill and Betty are still a social unit, it is whether Bill, still married can form a social unit with a new partner while still married.  He cannot legally or socially.  Until he is divorced he can date, have a girlfriend, even live with her, but polite society does not recognize them as  "social unit" until Bill is divorced.

I agree with this (except the polite society comment as i think the term can be inflammatory). A legally married individual is not free to start a new social unit in my opinion.  They can wait until their marriage is legally dissolved.  This is my personal beliefs and I don't believe I should be forced to change them.  The only exception I can think of is in the case of dissection when it could take years for a marriage to be dissolved.

The OP says she has not met Carol so their is no reason to invite her as a separate individual.

I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Because as an engaged coule they have stated their intention to become a legally binded unit.  Sort of like a company stating their intention to buy another company.  Although legality shouldnt be the only factor, such as the case were gay marriage is not recognized, once the legal/civil/religious unit has been instituted, I personally do not believe it should be ignored.

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2012, 07:20:08 PM »
polite society does not recognize them as  "social unit" until Bill is divorced.

Real people do, however, especially in situations like this where they are separated and the divorce is in the works.  I don't think it is polite to actively show judgment toward Bill, Betty and Carol by pretending Bill and Betty are still happily married, or to actively show judgment about divorce by pretending that Bill has not found companionship/love again.  To me, since the divorce is amicable especially, I would want Bill and Betty to both be happy, and it seems they are....and Carol is a part of that.

Real people and polite society are not mutually exclusive among my friends. 

You are setting up a false construct where you are pretending that I said Bill and Betty are a social unit when that is not true at all.  I have specifically stated that Betty's BFF should put her wishes first.  If Betty cannot be consulted, Ann should not invite Carol becasue that would be assuming that Betty was okay with the relationship. "Amicable divorce" and watching your STBX hang out with his girlfriend at your BFF's house are not necessarily the same thing.

I do not think that anyone is saying that you believe that Bill and Betty are not a social unit. I am saying that because Bill is no longer in one, there doesn't seem to be any reason why he can't be part of a new one.

He is free to form a new relationship, but "social unit" means a bit more than "relationship".  Social unit used to only apply to those who were married or engaged.  It has expanded to include couples that are not married but living together.  It means that it would actually be rude to invite only one part of a "social unit".  To be a "social unit" means that they are to be treated as one entity.  You really can do this when one part is still legally married. 

Also the Op has specifically stated that Bill and Carol are specifically not a social unit.

Miss Manners states:
 "You do not invite one member of a socially recognized couple to a purely social function such as a wedding, without inviting the other." Those who qualify are "spouses, fiancÚs and, (like it or not) people who have set up housekeeping together, declaring themselves to be a social unit."

"Social Unit" come into play because it is impolite to only invite one half of a social unit.  The hosts are obligated to invite one of they invite the other.  If one half is still married, hosts are not obligated to invite their friend, becasue no matter how great the affection between them they are not yet a "social unit"

« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 07:28:55 PM by Anthera »

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2012, 07:44:30 PM »
Bill and Betty are still MARRIED.  Therefore it is impossible for him to be part of a social unit with anyone else.  Invite Betty.  Ask her if its okay to invite Bill by himself.  Do not invite the girlfriend of a married man to the same party as his wife.

I don't think the two of them can really be called a social unit anymore. Yes they are a legal unit, since legally they are still married. But we are talking social units, and they have broken up. I think Bill is free to be in a social unit with someone else, since he is no longer in one with Betty.

The question isn't whether Bill and Betty are still a social unit, it is whether Bill, still married can form a social unit with a new partner while still married.  He cannot legally or socially.  Until he is divorced he can date, have a girlfriend, even live with her, but polite society does not recognize them as  "social unit" until Bill is divorced.

I agree with this (except the polite society comment as i think the term can be inflammatory). A legally married individual is not free to start a new social unit in my opinion.  They can wait until their marriage is legally dissolved.  This is my personal beliefs and I don't believe I should be forced to change them.  The only exception I can think of is in the case of dissection when it could take years for a marriage to be dissolved.

The OP says she has not met Carol so their is no reason to invite her as a separate individual.

I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Because as an engaged coule they have stated their intention to become a legally binded unit.  Sort of like a company stating their intention to buy another company.  Although legality shouldnt be the only factor, such as the case were gay marriage is not recognized, once the legal/civil/religious unit has been instituted, I personally do not believe it should be ignored.

But the married couple have stated their intention to become an unbinded unit. I don't care too much about the state of someone else's paperwork very much, as long as everyone is being honest.

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2012, 07:49:12 PM »
*trimming the quote tree*

I don't really think Bill and Carol specifically are a social unit yet because they do not live together, but if they did move in together before Bill was divorced, which status would override the other? Are Bill and Carol a social unit? I would say yes. I think that by going through the divorce process, Bill is no longer in a social unit with Betty and is free to make a new social unit with Carol.

katycoo

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #37 on: December 26, 2012, 07:55:31 PM »
I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Because as an engaged coule they have stated their intention to become a legally binded unit.  Sort of like a company stating their intention to buy another company.  Although legality shouldnt be the only factor, such as the case were gay marriage is not recognized, once the legal/civil/religious unit has been instituted, I personally do not believe it should be ignored.

So here's a Q then - you can get engaged while you are still technically married.  How does one treat the new couple then?  Social unit or not?

It just seems so old fashioned to me.  Bill and Betty have separeted.  We haven't actually been told it was at Bill's instigation - that's been assumed.  We haven't been told that Betty hasn't dated anyone at all since the spli - only that she's currently single.  Yet there's a lot of assumption that she might be heartbroken.

I think that it the special event is one that the OP feels it might be inappropriate to be introducing people to Carol as Bill's new GF, then perhpas the polite thing to do would be to invite just Bill, but explain to him that you'd like to get an opportuniy to meet Carol one on one rather than dump her in the middle of a big family affair and invite them to dinner shortly after.  Hopefully he'll be understanding and Carol won't feel excluded.

Hazelthyme

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #38 on: December 26, 2012, 08:13:15 PM »
OP, a/k/a Ann, here. A few points of clarification:
 1) How do Ann and Al know that Bill and Carol seem to be fairly serious? In a word (OK, 2 words), social media. By this, I don't merely mean Bill has updated his Facebook status to "in a relationship with Carol," but regularly posts updates, pictures, etc. about the things they do together.
 2) As there's been some question about how much contact the children have with Bill, Betty, and Carol, Al and Ann's kids (including the daughter whose milestone event is being celebrated) have never met Carol. Bill and Betty's kids have spent LOTS of time with Carol and her son, and seem to like them. (I personally think Bill and Carol should have waited a bit and dated each other one on one without the kids for a while first, rather than immediately rushing to make so many dates/ activities "family" outings with all the kids, but that's neither here nor there.) Likewise, Betty and Carol have seen each other (e.g., at B & B's kids' sporting events) and exchanged hellos, but haven't really spoken much beyond that.

As to why I haven't just asked Betty what she'd prefer, I already know. She'd prefer not to see Bill and Carol together at this particular event, but she's also been trying very hard to be a mature adult about the whole thing, and would never ask me not to invite Carol, because she wouldn't want to ask me to choose sides or potentially cause tension for Bill and their kids.

Sooo ... what I'm leaning towards after reading all your feedback (thanks!) is inviting Bill and Betty separately, along with their kids, but not inviting Carol. If Bill asks whether he can bring her along, I'll tell him Al and I would love to spend some time with them and get to know Carol, but that a good-sized party with our extended families and his S2BX probably isn't the best venue for that, and we'll understand if he doesn't feel like he can attend without her. Obviously, if he doesn't ask and just shows up with Carol, I'll welcome them both and extend the best hospitality I can (even if I have to complain a blue streak to Al about it once the party is over).

Thanks, people!

-HB

Hmmmmm

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #39 on: December 26, 2012, 08:35:37 PM »
I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Because as an engaged coule they have stated their intention to become a legally binded unit.  Sort of like a company stating their intention to buy another company.  Although legality shouldnt be the only factor, such as the case were gay marriage is not recognized, once the legal/civil/religious unit has been instituted, I personally do not believe it should be ignored.

So here's a Q then - you can get engaged while you are still technically married.  How does one treat the new couple then?  Social unit or not?

It just seems so old fashioned to me.  Bill and Betty have separeted.  We haven't actually been told it was at Bill's instigation - that's been assumed.  We haven't been told that Betty hasn't dated anyone at all since the spli - only that she's currently single.  Yet there's a lot of assumption that she might be heartbroken.

I think that it the special event is one that the OP feels it might be inappropriate to be introducing people to Carol as Bill's new GF, then perhpas the polite thing to do would be to invite just Bill, but explain to him that you'd like to get an opportuniy to meet Carol one on one rather than dump her in the middle of a big family affair and invite them to dinner shortly after.  Hopefully he'll be understanding and Carol won't feel excluded.

Old fashioned or not, I do not believe a person still legally married should become engaged to someone else.  Honestly, I'm pretty set in my feelings about this, and if a friend did decide to become engaged while still married to someone else, or decided to become engaged to some one who is still married, it would probably effect my opinion of them and my willingness to socialize with them.  So I should probably bow out of this discussion because I'm pretty sure my stance is not a popular one with what is considered to be more modern standards.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #40 on: December 26, 2012, 08:44:34 PM »
Bill and Betty are still MARRIED.  Therefore it is impossible for him to be part of a social unit with anyone else.  Invite Betty.  Ask her if its okay to invite Bill by himself.  Do not invite the girlfriend of a married man to the same party as his wife.
I agree with this. Plus as prior posters pointed out, hosting couple have never met Carol and she had no relationship to their child, the guest of honor.
Edited to add, I just caught up reading all responses and see OP will be inviting bill and Betty separately. I think this is best course. I have a cousin I am very fond of, but he also got into doing family activities with new gf and her kids soon after he and his wife broke up. It was quite messy and hurtful to the kids when he and new gf broke up as well. I understand just what you mean, op.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 08:56:46 PM by JoyinVirginia »

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2012, 08:50:48 PM »
I just don't think legality should matter when determining a social unit. Otherwise, why do we include engaged couples as social units, when legally they are strangers?

Because as an engaged coule they have stated their intention to become a legally binded unit.  Sort of like a company stating their intention to buy another company.  Although legality shouldnt be the only factor, such as the case were gay marriage is not recognized, once the legal/civil/religious unit has been instituted, I personally do not believe it should be ignored.

So here's a Q then - you can get engaged while you are still technically married.  How does one treat the new couple then?  Social unit or not?

It just seems so old fashioned to me.  Bill and Betty have separeted.  We haven't actually been told it was at Bill's instigation - that's been assumed.  We haven't been told that Betty hasn't dated anyone at all since the spli - only that she's currently single.  Yet there's a lot of assumption that she might be heartbroken.

I think that it the special event is one that the OP feels it might be inappropriate to be introducing people to Carol as Bill's new GF, then perhpas the polite thing to do would be to invite just Bill, but explain to him that you'd like to get an opportuniy to meet Carol one on one rather than dump her in the middle of a big family affair and invite them to dinner shortly after.  Hopefully he'll be understanding and Carol won't feel excluded.

Old fashioned or not, I do not believe a person still legally married should become engaged to someone else.  Honestly, I'm pretty set in my feelings about this, and if a friend did decide to become engaged while still married to someone else, or decided to become engaged to some one who is still married, it would probably effect my opinion of them and my willingness to socialize with them.  So I should probably bow out of this discussion because I'm pretty sure my stance is not a popular one with what is considered to be more modern standards.

You are correct.  Etiquette does not recognized an "engaged but married to someone else"
 status as "engaged".  Legally, you couldn't win a "breech of contract" or palimony suit against someone who is already married.

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #42 on: December 26, 2012, 08:56:09 PM »
Who gets to decide what etiquette says?

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2012, 09:23:11 PM »
Who gets to decide what etiquette says?

Etiquette experts such as Emily Post, Miss Manners, etc

Etiquette boards too:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=57478.0
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 09:27:55 PM by Anthera »

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2012, 09:35:52 PM »
Who gets to decide what etiquette says?

Etiquette experts such as Emily Post, Miss Manners, etc

Etiquette boards too:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=57478.0

I think it is clear though that there is at least a decent amount of controversy on this subject. Therefore I don't think it is right to say "polite society says___" or "etiquette says_________" when there isn't even a clear consensus. Emily Post and Miss Manners are ultimately no better than any body else with an opinion. We can give opinions and advice on what we think is right, but I don't think an ehell or Emily Post or Miss Manners has the authority to declare that something is socially unacceptable and expect it to actually be applied in real life.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 09:44:35 PM by AllTheThings »