Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

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

Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral
By Teri Karush Rogers  |
March 31, 2010 - 7:25AM
Ms. Demeanor .jpg

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?


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.