Author Topic: Post-separation invitation etiquette  (Read 4840 times)

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Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #45 on: December 26, 2012, 09:49:51 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.

I disagree.  Are you trying to say there are no rules?

Of course different groups of people follow different rules.  In some groups a "dollar dance" is a cultural tradition.  In others it would be considered rude & tacky.  It is possible that  in the cultural group you live with it is perfectly acceptable to become engaged to someone when you are still legally married to someone else.  In the society I belong to it would be considered very trashy to do so.  It would lower my opinion of someone considerably. I don't even see the point.  If you don't value the institution of marriage enough to wait until you are divorced to announce that you are engaged, why bother getting married?

While I don't always agree with every etiquette expert, I think that Miss Manners is certainly better than any random with an opinion, having studied and writtern about it for over 30 years.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 09:51:30 PM by Anthera »

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #46 on: December 26, 2012, 10:05:07 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.

I disagree.  Are you trying to say there are no rules?

Of course different groups of people follow different rules.  In some groups a "dollar dance" is a cultural tradition.  In others it would be considered rude & tacky.  It is possible that  in the cultural group you live with it is perfectly acceptable to become engaged to someone when you are still legally married to someone else.  In the society I belong to it would be considered very trashy to do so.  It would lower my opinion of someone considerably. I don't even see the point. If you don't value the institution of marriage enough to wait until you are divorced to announce that you are engaged, why bother getting married?

While I don't always agree with every etiquette expert, I think that Miss Manners is certainly better than any random with an opinion, having studied and writtern about it for over 30 years.

I'm not saying there are no rules. You just said yourself there are different rules. Therefore I don't think that anyone, even if they are Miss Manners, can claim that any rule is meant to apply all the time. Miss Manners doesn't get to make the rules, if she is doing her job, she should be writing about what is actually going on and what people are considering to be acceptable. I appreciate that she has been at this for a really long time, but how often does she go out and research what people are actually doing? I imagine she must sometimes, since she has expanded the definition of social unit to include couples that live together, as that was becoming increasingly acceptable. But that still wasn't her making the rules, she was writing on what was going on with actual people. I think that the rule about not being able to be in a new social unit while still legally married was made for a time when divorce was much less acceptable and common than it is now. Today, with so many people getting divorced and often taking years for it to resolve, it seems very unfair to declare that they can't be in a new social unit due to legal issues.

Also, your statement that I bolded strikes me as a very unkind generalization.

katycoo

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2012, 10:09:09 PM »
If you don't value the institution of marriage enough to wait until you are divorced to announce that you are engaged, why bother getting married?

I think that sweeping statements like this are not appropriate to apply to all marriages.   I very strongly believe in the institution of marriage but not to the point where both parties are miserable.  That is not what marriage is about.

I don't know what its like where you live, but in Australia you must be separated for 12 months before you can even apply for a divorce.  Then there's the time the application takes to get processed.  So a lot can happen in that time, assuming that at the time of separation there was no interest between the couple in reconciliation. 

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #48 on: December 26, 2012, 10:54:30 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.

I disagree.  Are you trying to say there are no rules?

Of course different groups of people follow different rules.  In some groups a "dollar dance" is a cultural tradition.  In others it would be considered rude & tacky.  It is possible that  in the cultural group you live with it is perfectly acceptable to become engaged to someone when you are still legally married to someone else.  In the society I belong to it would be considered very trashy to do so.  It would lower my opinion of someone considerably. I don't even see the point. If you don't value the institution of marriage enough to wait until you are divorced to announce that you are engaged, why bother getting married?

While I don't always agree with every etiquette expert, I think that Miss Manners is certainly better than any random with an opinion, having studied and writtern about it for over 30 years.

I'm not saying there are no rules. You just said yourself there are different rules. Therefore I don't think that anyone, even if they are Miss Manners, can claim that any rule is meant to apply all the time. Miss Manners doesn't get to make the rules, if she is doing her job, she should be writing about what is actually going on and what people are considering to be acceptable. I appreciate that she has been at this for a really long time, but how often does she go out and research what people are actually doing? I imagine she must sometimes, since she has expanded the definition of social unit to include couples that live together, as that was becoming increasingly acceptable. But that still wasn't her making the rules, she was writing on what was going on with actual people. I think that the rule about not being able to be in a new social unit while still legally married was made for a time when divorce was much less acceptable and common than it is now. Today, with so many people getting divorced and often taking years for it to resolve, it seems very unfair to declare that they can't be in a new social unit due to legal issues.

Also, your statement that I bolded strikes me as a very unkind generalization.

Nope, not unkind, just practical.  If you are getting divorced and then meet someone else and before the ink is even dry on your decree, are saying "WE'RE ENGAGED!!!!" I'm going to be pretty lukewarm about it.  Maybe there isn't a spouse with hurt feelings, maybe there aren't kids that are still adjusting to the new status quo, maybe all the friends are sorted out evenly.  I'm still going to wonder just how serious you are about this new marriage and whether it will last if you've jumped into a relationship so fast that you cannot wait to get engaged.

I'm going to guess that you aren't old enough to have seem the marriages of your peers break up.  It very different than a couple of college kids breaking up with longtime boyfriends.  If you've spent years of your life with someone it is hard to see them with a new partner. 

But this thread is getting way off track.  Bill and Carol aren't a social unit.  The OP said so herself.  They haven't even changed their facebook status.  Betty does not want Carol at the party.  The OP will not invite her because it would make it hard for Betty.  The OP is doing the right thing.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 11:05:38 PM by Anthera »

AllTheThings

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #49 on: December 26, 2012, 11:25:11 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

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.

I disagree.  Are you trying to say there are no rules?

Of course different groups of people follow different rules.  In some groups a "dollar dance" is a cultural tradition.  In others it would be considered rude & tacky.  It is possible that  in the cultural group you live with it is perfectly acceptable to become engaged to someone when you are still legally married to someone else.  In the society I belong to it would be considered very trashy to do so.  It would lower my opinion of someone considerably. I don't even see the point. If you don't value the institution of marriage enough to wait until you are divorced to announce that you are engaged, why bother getting married?

While I don't always agree with every etiquette expert, I think that Miss Manners is certainly better than any random with an opinion, having studied and writtern about it for over 30 years.

I'm not saying there are no rules. You just said yourself there are different rules. Therefore I don't think that anyone, even if they are Miss Manners, can claim that any rule is meant to apply all the time. Miss Manners doesn't get to make the rules, if she is doing her job, she should be writing about what is actually going on and what people are considering to be acceptable. I appreciate that she has been at this for a really long time, but how often does she go out and research what people are actually doing? I imagine she must sometimes, since she has expanded the definition of social unit to include couples that live together, as that was becoming increasingly acceptable. But that still wasn't her making the rules, she was writing on what was going on with actual people. I think that the rule about not being able to be in a new social unit while still legally married was made for a time when divorce was much less acceptable and common than it is now. Today, with so many people getting divorced and often taking years for it to resolve, it seems very unfair to declare that they can't be in a new social unit due to legal issues.

Also, your statement that I bolded strikes me as a very unkind generalization.

Nope, not unkind, just practical.  If you are getting divorced and then meet someone else and before the ink is even dry on your decree, are saying "WE'RE ENGAGED!!!!" I'm going to be pretty lukewarm about it.  Maybe there isn't a spouse with hurt feelings, maybe there aren't kids that are still adjusting to the new status quo, maybe all the friends are sorted out evenly.  I'm still going to wonder just how serious you are about this new marriage and whether it will last if you've jumped into a relationship so fast that you cannot wait to get engaged.

I'm going to guess that you aren't old enough to have seem the marriages of your peers break up.  It very different than a couple of college kids breaking up with longtime boyfriends.  If you've spent years of your life with someone it is hard to see them with a new partner. 

But this thread is getting way off track.  Bill and Carol aren't a social unit.  The OP said so herself.  They haven't even changed their facebook status.  Betty does not want Carol at the party.  The OP will not invite her because it would make it hard for Betty.  The OP is doing the right thing.

You are acting as if divorce is such a quick process that anyone who gets engaged during it is rushing into something else. Sure that happens sometimes, but there are plenty of cases where that is not happening. That's what makes what you said a generalization. Separations and divorces can drag on for awhile, and that's still assuming that the two people are being mature and not deliberately trying to screw up the process. An angry spouse can drag the process on further. So in many cases, the person may have been with the new partner for a reasonable amount of time before getting engaged again.

You did not need to inform me that marriages are different than college "kids" breaking up. I'm well aware of that. I do not appreciate your implication that being young means that I have no idea what I am talking about. You do not know who I know or what my experiences are. Please refrain from making such statements in the future, it is not appropriate.

Yes, I agree that the OP is doing the best thing in this situation, and that Bill and Carol do not yet qualify as a social unit. But I think they would be one if they moved in together, and that at that point it would be rude to exclude Carol, regardless of Bill's marital status.

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2012, 12:17:43 AM »
"Yes, I agree that the OP is doing the best thing in this situation, and that Bill and Carol do not yet qualify as a social unit. But I think they would be one if they moved in together, and that at that point it would be rude to exclude Carol, regardless of Bill's marital status."

No you would be very wrong in this case.  The most important part of the OP's post is that Betty's BFF is the hostess.  Betty's feelings are what matters, not Bill or Carol.  As long as Betty cares the OP should not invite Bill's girlfriend.  And since filing the divorce is very recent as per the OP Carol and Bill do not become a social unit just by shacking up as long as Bill and Betty are still married. 

It is never rude to exclude a married man's mistress from an event that his legal wife will be attending.  Especially if it will make the wife uncomfortable.




katycoo

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #51 on: December 27, 2012, 12:25:49 AM »
"Yes, I agree that the OP is doing the best thing in this situation, and that Bill and Carol do not yet qualify as a social unit. But I think they would be one if they moved in together, and that at that point it would be rude to exclude Carol, regardless of Bill's marital status."

No you would be very wrong in this case.  The most important part of the OP's post is that Betty's BFF is the hostess.  Betty's feelings are what matters, not Bill or Carol.  As long as Betty cares the OP should not invite Bill's girlfriend.  And since filing the divorce is very recent as per the OP Carol and Bill do not become a social unit just by shacking up as long as Bill and Betty are still married. 

It is never rude to exclude a married man's mistress from an event that his legal wife will be attending.  Especially if it will make the wife uncomfortable.

I completely disagree that being in a relationship with a separated man makes you his mistress.  The relationship with his wife is concluded.

While I agree that since the hostess is Betty's BFF that she should take Betty's feelings into primary consideration, if Bill and Carol were engaged or living together, it would be incrediably rude to invite Bill and not Carol to an event.  If Betty cannot handle Carol's presence, then neither Bill nor Carol should be invited.  Betty doesn't get to dictate that only half of a couple are welcome.

wolfie

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #52 on: December 27, 2012, 12:26:09 AM »
"Yes, I agree that the OP is doing the best thing in this situation, and that Bill and Carol do not yet qualify as a social unit. But I think they would be one if they moved in together, and that at that point it would be rude to exclude Carol, regardless of Bill's marital status."

No you would be very wrong in this case.  The most important part of the OP's post is that Betty's BFF is the hostess.  Betty's feelings are what matters, not Bill or Carol.  As long as Betty cares the OP should not invite Bill's girlfriend.  And since filing the divorce is very recent as per the OP Carol and Bill do not become a social unit just by shacking up as long as Bill and Betty are still married. 

It is never rude to exclude a married man's mistress from an event that his legal wife will be attending.  Especially if it will make the wife uncomfortable.

My husband got a sex change operation and now we are divorcing. I hope none of my friends are looking down their noses at me because I am moving on and dating before the divorce is final.

Poppea

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #53 on: December 27, 2012, 12:38:24 AM »
"Yes, I agree that the OP is doing the best thing in this situation, and that Bill and Carol do not yet qualify as a social unit. But I think they would be one if they moved in together, and that at that point it would be rude to exclude Carol, regardless of Bill's marital status."

No you would be very wrong in this case.  The most important part of the OP's post is that Betty's BFF is the hostess.  Betty's feelings are what matters, not Bill or Carol.  As long as Betty cares the OP should not invite Bill's girlfriend.  And since filing the divorce is very recent as per the OP Carol and Bill do not become a social unit just by shacking up as long as Bill and Betty are still married. 

It is never rude to exclude a married man's mistress from an event that his legal wife will be attending.  Especially if it will make the wife uncomfortable.

My husband got a sex change operation and now we are divorcing. I hope none of my friends are looking down their noses at me because I am moving on and dating before the divorce is final.

I think that your circumstances are very different.  Your situation is similar to that of a widow.  But if you were my friend and immediately became engaged or moved in with someone I would be concerned that you jumping into a relationship on the rebound.

EnoughAlready22

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #54 on: December 27, 2012, 09:15:05 AM »
My husband and I have been separated for 7 years now.  There are many issues that have held up being able to finalize the divorce.  He's been living with his girlfriend for the last 4 years.  In no way would I consider her his mistress.  Our marriage is over.  I see no problem with him moving on, and I consider them a social unit.

WillyNilly

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #55 on: December 27, 2012, 09:16:50 AM »
OP I think you are doing the right thing, you seem to truly care about Betty's feelings and still want to be welcoming and polite.  I hope Bill is reasonable and thoughtful in noticing that A) Carol isn't invited and B) it would be wholly inappropriate to bring his new girlfriend to his STBX-wife's best friend's child's party, especially if she hasn't specifically been invited.  Its disrespectful to Betty, but it also puts Ann & Al in an awkward position in explaining to their own children who Carol is and why she's there.

As for the whole debate of social units, I come down very firmly on the side that carol most certainly is a mistress and most certainly is not a social unit with a married man.  In my state a couple must be separated for 12 months before they can divorce too, and I don't think its unreasonable to say a person must wait that year+ to be in a new social unit - marriage after all is supposed to be lifelong commitment.  To be able to divorce at all is a huge thing, to not have the maturity to wait it out at year or 3, as you break the lifetime legal and social (and possibly religious) commitment you made, to me is not something society should embrace.  One should not rush into marriage, and once one is one, one needs to realize it is a serious and long term thing that can't just end in a moment's notice.  If it takes 20 years to divorce, well so be it, be happy you don't have to wait for death and only have to wait those 20 years.  And if you don't like that, don't make a lifelong commitment to begin with.

Wordgeek

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Re: Post-separation invitation etiquette
« Reply #56 on: December 27, 2012, 10:00:57 AM »
It looks like the various facets have been adequately explored.  The best response, IMO, is still the first one.

Allthethings, if you are hesitant about the opinions of experts such as Emily Post and Judith Martin, this board may not be the place for you.