Yesterday, we received a divorce announcement from a long-time colleague. It was printed in calligraphy on heavy vellum stationery and placed inside a gold-lined envelope. A small square of beige tissue paper separated the announcement from the envelope. It was indeed very elegant. At first—and second— glance we thought it was a formal wedding invitation and had to look at it a few times to let the words sink in:
It is with the greatest relief and pleasure that
Announces her divorce from
Finally free at last, she will hereafter be known as
And thanks you in advance for your well wishes and patience
It was quite a two-fer: she announced her divorce and slammed her ex both at the same time! We were left to wonder about the logic and intelligence of sending out the announcement. One sends out wedding announcements; why not send out missives that you are no longer wedded? If you send out announcements that you happy to marry, why not send out the same that you are happy to be un-married?
To each his or her own, of course, but also remember what you want to convey. Do you simply want to let those close to you know that you are no longer married, that you’ve gone back to your maiden name, that you’ve changed your address? What is the intent behind the announcement? Will it come off as snarky and mean-spirited and slightly mentally off-balance? Why do you feel the need to make it look like a wedding announcement?
Keep your children in mind, if you have them. You may be relieved and happy to be divorced but your children may be hurt and confused. Essentially saying, “Good riddance to bad rubbish” about your children’s father can be very hurtful to them and may strain your relationship for years to come as well as damage them emotionally. Family members may be humiliated or embarrassed by the display. It may reflect poorly upon you at work.
Be mindful of potential land mines when you announce your divorce, be it a formal announcement or on social media. There is more than just you involved.