Excellent post, jmarvellous. Regarding the grieving of others' relationships, I agree that no one should tell anyone else how to feel (not that it would do any good anyway). I just think we should keep our judgments of others' relationships to ourselves.
I do agree though that the feelings and opinions of the children (especially minor children) of divorcing couples should be taken into account by the divorcing people. I just don't think the divorcing people need to add to their stress by trying to appease all acquaintances who have an opinion based on a tiny skewed version of the facts.
I agree that people shouldn't tell others who to feel. But part of etiquette is about trying to not put others in awkward position. So while the newly dating woman can say "I don't care what others think about my stating I'm in a new relationship" she doesn't have the right to tell others to not feel hurt by her choosing to make a public declaration to a new relationship while still legally married to the father of her dependent children. It's obvious that family and friends knew her ex was hoping for a reconciliation. Now they know something very private about their marriage that they probably didn't want to know and may feel awkward around him.
I guess I don't understand her need for public declaration. If she's happy, share with her family and friends who will celebrate with her. What true value does it bring to post on FB. Doing on FB seems retaliatory to her soon to be ex.
And also, I didn't see anyone saying a word about publicly voicing their opinion to the woman. But posting on a social network is inviting friends to discuss. It's called "social" for a reason.
I don't see how any of this is different to turning up to a social event with a new partner, really. The fact that it's FB is a red herring. Most peoples' FB lists are composed of friends and family, so it's hardly some kind of public declaration like they're taking out an ad in the Sunday Times. Announcing a new relationship on FB is, for most, a shorthand for telling friends and family. It's no more retaliatory than going to a party with a new partner or being seen out shopping with them.
I'm still baffled by this notion that a couple's marriage (or former marriage) is anyone else's business just because they happen to know them socially. You say that now their friends and family know something 'very private' about their marriage and will feel awkward - well it's no more private than knowing about a separation, is it? But that apparently is something a couple should announce?
And yes, for the record (a few posts back, I'm a few days late coming back to this thread): I did mean 'the stage at which one of the couple visits a solicitor to formally get things started' in relation to 'knowing proceedings were under way'. What particular stage a couple's divorce is at and who's done what at the solicitor's is, pure and simple, nobody else's business. I'm completely baffled that anyone might think it was their right to know that.
My experience with relationship status updates is very different from yours. Adults posting they were in a relationship with someone was seen as a public announcement of a committed relationship. Saying you are in a relationship when dating a few times would seem odd. The only ones I remember who felt the need to post early notice were my kids teenage kids.
But why does this make any difference?
In my circle, it's quite serious to refer to a new dating
person as a 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend'. That denotes a great deal more commitment than just 'this guy I'm seeing' would, and the title rather matters. Even so, when a casual friend of mine makes an offhand remark about something she and her boyfriend did last weekend, she's not punching me in the face with her relationship
status, she's just labeling her life the way that it is to her.
There are some circles where you wouldn't bring a new guy or girl around to a friend's birthday party unless they were serious - and so, in doing so, you're signalling to your friends that this person is the real deal. Same issue.
So, how is FB different? Or are you suggesting that someone with a divorce ongoing for however long also shouldn't refer to someone as a 'boyfriend', or bring him to friend's birthday parties (in those circles)?