Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: How do we tell the building we're getting a divorce?

By Teri Karush Rogers | March 31, 2010 - 7:25AM 

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

My DH & I have decided that the thrill is gone… we are divorcing, amicably… I will be staying in the co-op we bought and he is moving.

I am unsure about how to tell the neighbors. Do I grab the bull by the bullhorn and tell everyone I meet? Or is it really no one’s business but mine?

Only, Not Lonely

Dear Not Lonely,

While I am always devastated to hear of the demise of a once-blissful union – I am told  that marriage is the one true path to happiness – it sounds as if you and your dearly departing have made your peace with this new state of affairs.

The answer to your question may depend on the scope of your vertical village.

In a large building, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy employed in political schemes over the last few centuries should suffice. Your intimates, whether in the building or in other aspects of your life, will be all too aware; strangers have no right to invade your privacy.

Unfortunately, this won’t keep Sara Schadenfreude in Apt. 18C from probing into the details of your marital divide. She deserves the same tight smile and a confused shake of the head you would give a child scolding you about your mink coat.

If, however, you reside in a cozier building, you have choices… A divorce announcement, on cream colored paper with a black, charcoal or navy border, saying simply, “Things Have Changed” and listing the new address of your formerly better half, or an email announcing  “with great sadness, Mr. X & Ms. Y have decided to go their separate ways” sent to your contact list.

Never underestimate, however, the effectiveness of the town crier at your building’s front door:  A hushed disclosure to the doorman will spread from the liveried set to nanny to housekeeper to pharmacist in the time it takes to exile your ex’s hair gel to the trash can.

Have a question for Ms. Demeanor?  Send it to her here

Previous Ms. Demeanor columns:

Barbarians in the laundry room

Are hallway time-outs acceptable?


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