General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Friends' divorce + infidelity + lovechild on Facebook

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nikkib:
Ok so one of my close friends announced she and her husband were splitting up about 5 months ago, and my DH and I went to high school with both of them and we have been "couple friends" for years now, so the announcement came as a total shock to everyone including us...especially since she always went over the top acting like their marriage was perfect and they were OMGSOINLOVE!!! She told me privately he had been cheating, and he supposedly told her he didn't ever really love her...so I felt awful for her, and for their 5 year old son and daughter who was only 5 months old at the time (and of whom my DH and I had been asked to be informal godparents to). One thing I was grateful for though was that since we had just moved halfway across the country, we wouldn't have to deal with the awkwardness of their breakup/divorce in person at least. I did have some suspicions for a while before all of this though about her inappropriately close relationship with her "BFF" that happened to be a guy - AND her now-soon-to-be-ex-SIL's ex-BF (crazy complicated I know lol) and she seemed to move on to a relationship with him pretty quickly...well fast forward to just a couple of months ago, and she randomly calls me to interrogate me about "what I know" - to which I responded "About WHAT?!?" and over the course of that conversation she confesses that she too had cheated on her husband, and ***drumroll please*** her daughter wasn't her husband's, but the "BFF"/new boyfriend's. She told me she had known all through her pregnancy it wasn't her husband's, and he supposedly had known also but they were going to try to make their marriage work despite everything and he would raise the baby as his own. I was flabbergasted of course, but tried to tell myself it was her life and she was the only one who was going to have to deal with that nightmare (since thankfully we had moved away lol)

Now, fast forward again to just a couple weeks ago when we went back to our old hometown to visit for spring break, and with her being one of our closest friends naturally I assumed we would be seeing her while we were there...well after my first attempt to make arrangements with her, she asked if it was ok if she brought the new BF along - and after discussing it with my DH, we both agreed it was just too much for us to process and deal with at one time (adjusting to not seeing her with her husband, who my DH had been close with as well, to now seeing the baby and recognizing she has a different father than we originally thought, to now trying to accept her new BF/baby daddy) so I explained that to her as nicely as possible, and rather than being understanding she decided to instead refuse to see us while we were there if we wouldn't let her bring him too. Much drama and ridiculousness ensued, and in the end we left after a week and only saw her - by chance - for about 20 minutes total. I was incredibly hurt by her attitude and unreasonable behavior, and after we got back home she and I exchanged multiple pointless, frustrating FB messages where she basically refused to see where we were coming from and just kept going on and on about how IN LOOOOOVE she is now and how he is "part of her package" and we needed to embrace him. :/

Our visit also brought to light another somewhat related issue though, since various mutual friends and acquaintances I have with her kept asking me (knowing I was closer to her) what was the deal with the new guy who was suddenly present in all of her pics...which made me realize she hadn't actually been very clear that she and her husband were even getting a divorce, MUCH LESS the fact that he was not the father of her baby! She had changed her relationship status from "married" to "separated" for like a week when they first split up, and then to "in a relationship" right around Halloween, but when someone tried to question her about it she laughed it off and said "I mean with candy corn! hehe!" so she really hadn't been very honest about it at all. She has over 700 friends, and I know there is no way she is close with ALL of those 700 people so of course they wouldn't know what is going on with her in real life, and I also realize she has no obligation to most of them to explain anything...but she is also more than open now with pictures of the new BF with the baby, captioned "Daddy" and the like, so clearly she isn't hiding the fact...

Fast forward one more time to just a couple days ago, and she and I had a very heated phone conversation where I was trying to tell her about the confusion our mutual friends & acquaintances had about her marriage/new relationship and how did she plan to handle explaining the situation with her daughter's true paternity? Her answer was that she just figured everyone could "figure it out" on their own, and if they wanted to ask her then she would tell them. I told her that no one is ever going to do that (I know I never would have!) because even if they did suspect her husband wasn't the father they would never come out and ask her out of respect for her privacy and to avoid receiving an awkward denial/confession... I realize that in this day and age with social networking we are in uncharted territory when it comes to handling complex, personal news such as this, but what do you all think she should do? I told her I certainly don't know how I would handle it if it were me, but I sure as heck DO know the way she is going about EVERYTHING is wrong. Our friendship is pretty much hanging by a thread right now, since I've done my best not to judge her based on the mistakes she made (she has no problem admitting the cheating and everything was a mistake and her fault - NOW, though not initially when she tried to blame it on her husband cheating first) My anger at her comes from her behavior and actions since.

Honestly, she is a total drama queen and thrives on situations such as this (which she always creates for herself) so saving our friendship at this point doesn't even matter to me...especially since we moved anyways. SHE however, has taken to begging and pleading and crying for me to not be angry with her, to which I just told her I guess whenever we go out there again for another visit we will see how everyone feels at that time and take it from there. This whole thing is just so ridiculous and annoying :/ After our phone conversation she posted a status talking about how she "had been informed that there might be some confusion out there about her life, and if anyone wants to ask her anything feel free to PM her" but then she started rambling about "And NO, I'm not gay, despite my recent avid support of gay marriage rights! hehe" which I felt completely deflected from the seriousness of the first part of her post and successfully distracted everyone since she and one of her gay friends went back and forth in the comments for a while about how funny it would be if anyone thought she was gay. She did have one friend comment and ask her why doesn't she just come out and say what it is once and be done with it, to which she responded that she would much rather handle it "one-on-one" than post it publicly...

I am just at a total loss trying to figure out what the best course of action would be in this situation, since I definitely cannot imagine what I would do if I were in her shoes (which I seriously doubt I EVER would be) but she has made no secret of her new relationship and seemingly his relation to the baby, but for those who aren't as active on FB or aren't very observant, they would definitely miss all of the "clues" she thinks she is leaving. So my issues with her are of both the standard etiquette and techno-quette type, as follows:

1. How should a divorce announcement be handled on FB? Especially with children involved, a multitude of mutual friends and goal of maintaining amicability? Oh and can't forget about the mutual infidelity too...

2. How soon after such a divorce/separation should mutual friends be expected to accept the new BF/GF? In this case, no divorce or separation papers have even been filed yet nor do they seem to be in a hurry to do so, so it is hard to expect a typical timeframe for being "officially divorced" :/

3. What obligation, if any, could someone be expected to have to explain the true paternity of their child on FB? Especially when they are in a new relationship with the true father, and seem to make no secret of his relation...but haven't come right out and said it.

In my friend's case, I'm pretty sure she is avoiding making it public knowledge what she did because she A. Doesn't want people to think badly of her or for her friend count to go down, and B. She knows she will feel the need to justify her actions by using the excuse that her husband was cheating first, and she claims she does not want to sully his name or embarrass him. She even had the gall to say it was "out of respect for him and his family" (after cheating on him with his sister's ex-BF!) Oh and I forgot to mention she actually facilitated the breakup of the ex-SIL and her BF, since he had "confided in her" that he didn't love the SIL anymore and wanted to break up with her but didn't know how...and then confessed he actually had a "crush" on my MARRIED friend :| But even after all that, they continued to be "BFFs" and obviously ended up screwing each other. *smh*

Ok that is the end of my little novella for now, please HELP! :/

Pen^2:
Gaah wall of text...  :o


--- Quote from: nikkib on March 30, 2013, 12:38:36 PM ---Honestly, she is a total drama queen and thrives on situations such as this (which she always creates for herself) so saving our friendship at this point doesn't even matter to me...especially since we moved anyways.

--- End quote ---

You've solved your own problem right here.

As for your questions...

No-one has any obligation to announce anything publicly, on social media sites or otherwise, which is a personal or family matter. Paternity and divorce both come under this heading. Frankly, it's none of anyone else's business, and if they can't cope with not knowing, then they've been watching far too much trashy daytime television. If your 'friend' does not portray herself consistently on facebook or anywhere else for that matter, she will simply have to deal with it when confusion naturally arises in conversation and the like. But the notion that anyone is obligated to announce such personal things online is absurd at best. Any announcement is made only because one wants one's friends and family to know something, not because one is somehow bound to tell them. If she doesn't want certain things known, that's all there is to it.

With accepting new partners, that depends of course on the people involved. There is no single rule for everyone. Although I would strongly advise against poisoning the well and forming poor opinions of someone unaware and innocent of past drama.

kckgirl:
Pen^2 said what I would have said, only better. Friend has no obligation to announce anything. Everything you discussed here, even though it seems to have you distraught, is actually nobody's business.

Onyx_TKD:

--- Quote from: Pen^2 on March 30, 2013, 12:57:46 PM ---Gaah wall of text...  :o


--- Quote from: nikkib on March 30, 2013, 12:38:36 PM ---Honestly, she is a total drama queen and thrives on situations such as this (which she always creates for herself) so saving our friendship at this point doesn't even matter to me...especially since we moved anyways.

--- End quote ---

You've solved your own problem right here.

As for your questions...

No-one has any obligation to announce anything publicly, on social media sites or otherwise, which is a personal or family matter. Paternity and divorce both come under this heading. Frankly, it's none of anyone else's business, and if they can't cope with not knowing, then they've been watching far too much trashy daytime television. If your 'friend' does not portray herself consistently on facebook or anywhere else for that matter, she will simply have to deal with it when confusion naturally arises in conversation and the like. But the notion that anyone is obligated to announce such personal things online is absurd at best. Any announcement is made only because one wants one's friends and family to know something, not because one is somehow bound to tell them. If she doesn't want certain things known, that's all there is to it.

With accepting new partners, that depends of course on the people involved. There is no single rule for everyone. Although I would strongly advise against poisoning the well and forming poor opinions of someone unaware and innocent of past drama.

--- End quote ---

I would add that people may be obligated not to post/announce information that involves other people's personal and family information. So, posting the fact that you've separated or divorced? Absolutely fine, if you wish. Posting the details of why you're divorcing? Questionable. Posting that you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend after your separation and/or divorce? Fine, if you wish. Posting that you and your ex cheated on one another? Questionable, and you better be confident you won't mind having that information out on the internet in black and white forever. Putting details of your child's paternity online? IMO, probably inappropriate. That's not information that just impacts the mother. That is publicly announcing the child's personal information, which that child may not want to have out there. It's also getting into details of the husband's and biological father's personal relationships, too. However, while those adults might carry some responsibility for the situation and/or give their consent for the announcement, the child is the 100% absolutely innocent party whose privacy would be violated.

OP, you appear to have lost all respect for your friend, due to both the situation itself and her handling of it. Her "'fessing up" on facebook is not the solution to that, especially not if it's due to you pressuring her. If you no longer consider her a friend, then do yourself a favor and walk away. If you still want her as a friend, then you'll have to find a way to let go of this.

MorgnsGrl:
I think you are way more caught up in this than you need to be. It sounds like she's been through a lot if it's true that her husband was cheating on her and telling her that he didn't love her before she started seeing her new BF, and like she could have used some support from you instead of you refusing to see her with her new partner. I'm not saying you don't have the right to do what you need to for your own emotional sanity, I'm just saying it must have been hard for her, too. If you don't want to be friends with her anymore, let it go and move on.

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