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Author Topic: Posting In A Relation-Ship on FB when still married  (Read 54534 times)

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Posting In A Relation-Ship on FB when still married
« on: May 12, 2014, 10:17:03 AM »
OK, this isn't about me, it's about my daughter's BFF. She and her DH separated right after Christmas (they are in their early 30's). She has lost a ton of weight after weight loss surgery, started a new job, started hanging around guys that apparently complimented her; anyway, they are separated by just 5 months (not a legal separation AFAIK). Her husband suspected all along that there was another guy and apparently he was right - she's now posted that she's in a relationship on FB and is posting pictures of her and this new guy.

I don't have a dog in this fight (except that she and my daughter were BFF's and she kept a lot of secrets from my DD and now they're not as close) but anyway, my etiquette question is - if you're going through a divorce, shouldn't you, I don't know, LAY LOW and not publicize your romantic pursuits??!! Especially since there are small children involved.

Her DH still goes to my church, and she has left the church (she used to be the church secretary). No one from our church has "liked" her status re: the new relation-ship, so either she's de-friended them, or they feel the same way I do.

Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy and haven't caught up with these modern times. If so, please let me know!
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:05:22 PM by Foxy Lady »


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Re: Posting In A Relation-Ship on FB when still married
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 10:20:08 AM »
And someone please tell me how to fix the title!

Edit-thanks for the help!
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 12:05:58 PM by Foxy Lady »


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Well, hopefully the small children aren't on Facebook :)  I don't think there is any etiquette rule to Facebook relationship designations - I know people who are happily married who don't have a declared status.  I also don't tend to "like" or otherwise comment on people's relationship statuses so my (hypothetical) not "liking" would not be a sign of anything about what I felt about the relationship. You seem not to approve of this girl so I'd suggest de-friending her yourself to remove the issue from your newsfeed.


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If she is going through a divorce and not "trying to work it out", the relationship is already dead and they are just sorting out financial and legal business. In that case, I don't care what she does from then on. Taking time after a relationship is wise but there isn't a mandatory relationship mourning period where it is shameful for her to be with someone else.


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I don't think this is an etiquette issue.

It's her relationship and her Facebook. I'm not sure why people outside of her relationship would care about her status.


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Advertising you are committing adultery was, until modern times, considered tacky, because it was generally considered immoral. Since this woman apparently doesn't think she's doing anything morally wrong, she probably doesn't see the harm in proclaiming to the world "well, you should all be glad I've found someone to make me happy!"

If you don't agree with her on this, I advise defriending her (both online and in real life). It'll be easier on your blood pressure, and it's the only polite way to make a point that you don't really approve.
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If nothing else, it's probably a bad idea. Stuff like this can (fairly or not) affect the outcome of the divorce in court, I think.


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I don't think the etiquette dilemma here is whether or not she's right to post about a new relationship before the old one ends, but whether or not she has the right to.  Separations are complicated and no two are alike, so I'm not sure that we can say there is a set of rules for how to behave.  This depends strongly on morals vs. etiquette.  And the woman in the middle, while maybe having every right to start and publicize a new relationship during her separation (and I'm guessing impending divorce), pretty much has to face the social consequences of her actions.  That is on her.

 So, for your daughter, this is more a question of how or if she can maintain the friendship not agreeing with the behavior.  And that is up to her.  She can choose to hide her friend from FB and just ignore the situation while trying to maintain the friendship in other ways (this will be difficult). She can accept the behavior and not criticize her friend, regardless of her feelings, end the friendship completely, or she can choose to speak to her friend, find out what she's thinking and wanting to do, and help guide her through it...encouraging her to not to make hasty decisions based on emotion and to consider the potential feelings of her children. I'd go with the lastif it were least in the beginning. She doesn't have to condone the behavior to help her friend through this.

ETA: I re-read the OP and realize that the daughter and woman are not friends anymore.  In this case, the best thing for everyone to do is to ignore her.  Her life. Her consequences.  If the FB postings are bothersome, I suggest unfriend.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 11:02:12 AM by bah12 »


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It depends on the nature of the divorce--if things are nasty, maybe laying low is better.

If it's an amiable divorce, I don't see what the big deal is. I know people who have remained friends with their ex-spouses even years after a split.

Either way, the marriage is over.  Everything else is just a technicality.


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As a retired teacher, I had seen a lot of what children go through during a divorce, and it can be heart wrenching. I do think that it would be wise for the mom to keep things on the down low for a while so that the children can get used to the idea that the parents are splitting up. Their lives are being turned upside down. The young children won't see the photos on Facebook, but if she is being this public about it, they are more likely to find out due to over-hearing others talking.

I can specifically remember a few instances where children in my classroom had parents splitting up because one parent was having an affair, and ALL of their classmates knew. It was a nightmare for the kids.

Unfortunately it doesn't sound like there is much you or your DD can do to help this situation, other than to hope that someone close to her can get her to understand that it would be a good thing for her to ease her children into these changes in their lives. From an etiquette point of view, unless you are very close to her, I believe that you need to stay out of it, other than unfriending her.


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We have the right to do a lot of things that are not approved by etiquette.

I think the problem here is that while traditional etiquette knew that people had relationship problems, they were not made public. This eliminated a lot of drama. You might meet Mary, and ask her how Frank was, and she'd smile and say he was fine. You knew, and she knew you knew, that she and Frank hadn't exchanged two words in the past year, but the illusion was continued up to the judge's decision.

In this case, I think a lot of the problem is that the OP likes this woman's husband, and is not at all happy with the way he has been treated. In the past, etiquette would have required her to ignore the problem, because it wasn't in her face. Now, while the wife here has a right to proclaim her new relationship, by putting in the public eye she has forfeited the right in traditional etiquette of having her friends assume a public face that they are entirely unaware of the issue.

And some of us consider "technicalities" important.
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If nothing else, it's probably a bad idea. Stuff like this can (fairly or not) affect the outcome of the divorce in court, I think.

When I got divorced last year I was told that dating before everything is final doesn't matter to the process anymore. I am not sure if that changes when children are involved but it isn't as much of a detriment as it used to be.

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From the etiquette viewpoint, who are you thinking that your daughter's friend is being rude to? It may be imprudent for her to post that--if many of her friends think she is "flaunting" a relationship that she shouldn't be, it may hurt her socially, but her kids know that she and their father are separated, and they're not likely to be seeing the Facebook status or pictures. If the kids know she's dating this guy, it's from other sources, either she told them or someone else did.

As Twik says, current etiquette doesn't expect people to pretend that everything is fine in a relationship until the divorce is final. Legal separation or no, this couple are no longer living together, and that's been made public. (There are people who choose to keep saying "Oh, she's fine" when asked about the people they're divorcing, and that's okay too, but it's not expected.)

Being public about her new boyfriend on Facebook might be a way of signaling (to her ex, or his parents, or some of her relatives) that no, she's not going to be getting back together with him, so they should stop trying to persuade her to do so. It's not subtle, but neither is having to keep saying "Mom/Dad/Cousin So-and-so, Bob and I are finished. He's still the father of my kids, and we're going to work together on that, but I'm not going back to him, so stop trying to convince me."
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The etiquette used to be that you didn't put other people in a difficult spot by making them confront the fact that you are violating your marriage vows.
   Cultural support of marriage vows is one of the huge forces that makes the institution work (because marriage is not just about the couple; they could have a private commitment for that; marriage is about society's relationship with the couple and vice verse).

And so in the past, you didn't put other people in the position of having to either speak against your violation of cultural norms or risk being seen as condoning what was viewed as incredibly reprehensible and damaging behavior (damaging to your spouse, but also to the culture as a whole, because it was not good to make marriage vows seem so casually discarded).

That's who you were rude to, when you paraded your new sweetheart around before the divorce was final.

But our culture is farther along the continuum than it used to be.

However, etiquette does still care about "good form," and I think being public about your new relationship when your old one still technically exists is very bad form.

Sure, nobody can stop you. Doesn't mean you did the polite thing to other people, or to your spouse. Doesn't mean you did the "good form" thing/


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So, the couple has been separated for 5 months. You (OP) apparently don't know when this "new" relationship started. She could have just become involved with this person in the last month or two. It's not necessarily a fact that she "cheated" on someone she hasn't been with in almost half a year. That being said, if she is  in a relationship chances are that her children have already become acquainted with this person. I don't see what's wrong with any of what she's doing.

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