Divorce press release: How do you gracefully announce a break up on social media?

March 9 2015 | offbeatbride
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announcing your divorce on facebook

After several years of marriage, my husband and I have decided to divorce. After a lengthy but quiet separation, the divorce paperwork has been submitted. It's heartbreaking, but I've made peace with it as best I can. Now we're left with the "breaking the news" part of the story.

Most of our closest family and friends know that the separation has been smooth and we're planning to remain in contact — but we've hit the point where we may need to announce this to coworkers, friends, and the dreaded Facebook, to reach the people we don't keep in contact with as frequently.

He and I both agreed we should post something on social media, but we're not sure how to go about it or what to say. I just want people to know we still care about each other, and it's not a nasty split so our friends don't try to go open season on us in a public forum.

I was hoping to find some advice on how to announce a divorce on social media as gracefully as possible. Any advice you can provide would be amazing. -Amand

Ah yes, the divorce press release — it's a thing now. I've (sadly) seen a lot of them over the years. Some press releases better than others. I recently saw the divorce announcement of a couple, and I thought it was a pitch perfect announcement:

_______ and I have separated. Relationships are complicated. This doesn't make one of us a bad guy and the other a good guy. Still treat us both with kindness.

It was succinct, graceful, true as hell, and reminded people to play nice. That's my favorite example, but we have lots of others from our Offbeat Home readers.

Here's how one reader did it:

I changed my status to single, hid it so that it wasn't splashed everywhere, changed my picture to one by myself, and sent a short, sweet message, similar to the one above, to those I knew would care the most or would publicly post something asking what was up. From there, I let people ask if they felt it necessary or to draw their own conclusions. On the date our divorce was finalized, I simply posted "Bittersweet, defined."

Here's an example of divorce announcement wording, for folks with kids:

Dear friends and family, it's with a very heavy heart that I am announcing this. [Spouse] and I will be getting a divorce. We aren't sure what that looks like right now, but we do know that we are going to be the most epic divorced parents ever — book-worthy. [Child] will remain our top priority. We aren't interested in being ugly about any of the details that go along with this kind of thing. Please: we ask for your kindness, prayers, and love as we walk this out together. Also, if you have something to say, please let it be out of love and words of encouragement. This is a very tough time. We aren't interested in trying to bash each other and we ask the same from you. You don't have to pick sides. Thank you.

Here's an option that doesn't mention children:

To my dear friends and family,
As some of you are already aware, ___ and I have decided to divorce. We came to this decision after a lot of discussion, and we are both convinced it is the right thing to do for both of us. Unfortunately, there are just some very big incompatibilities between us, we want different things, and in the long run we can not make each other happy.

We love each other very much, and we both love all of you. We do not have any anger at each other, and though we wish things had gone differently, we are not blaming each other. We are trying to support each other through this very difficult time, and we would like to ask that you do the same.

One strategy is to have both you and your former partner post the same thing:

The good was both parties posted an identical "publicity statement" announcing their break-up, expressed well-wishes for the other party, and asked for privacy and respect. It was oddly formal for facebook, but incredibly dignified.

If the divorce means a move, you could rework this example:

Dear friends,
In the coming month and a half, I will be moving. This time will be just me and my animals. I will be moving back to X. [Name] has decided to go his own direction and be solo again. I know I will surely need the support of my friends and family in the coming months, as I am sure he will also. I do not want any "I'm sorry's" posted on my wall, please. Only words of encouragement and strength for the process of moving on with life.

For an amicable divorce, there's this option:

Everyone close to us already knew, so we put up a message (and tagged the other one in it) saying that most people knew but yes we're getting divorced. We also asked for no sad comments please (you know, 'oh it's such a shame, you were so good together' etc) because we were both very happy with the outcome and still friends.

How would you guys announce a divorce on social media while keeping it classy, and reminding others to play nice?

  1. Having been through this, I can relate to the struggle. I have never been one to post much about my inner feelings or relationships on Facebook, so to announce it felt awkward and uncouth for me. However, it is the primary way in which I stay in contact with older friends, so something had to be said/done. Eventually I took the somewhat cowardly way out – I changed my status to single, hid it so that it wasn't splashed everywhere, changed my picture to one by myself, and sent a short, sweet message, similar to the one above, to those I knew would care the most or would publicly post something asking what was up. From there, I let people ask if they felt it necessary or to draw their own conclusions. On the date our divorce was finalized, I simply posted "Bittersweet, defined." Those who knew sent messages of support but did not post publicly, those who knew and chose not to ask or who did not know were gracious enough to not comment. It's a tricky situation and I feel for you! My solution may not have been best for everyone, but it worked for me/us. Good luck!

    6 agree
    • I don't think that was cowardly. If you don't normally post every single thought you have on FB, changing it quietly is in keeping with your FB habits.

      17 agree
  2. One cousin on my side and one cousin on my husband's side got divorced. They just stated it on Facebook. But the time they said anything, pretty much everyone who was close to them already knew. So it was not a big deal for them. They did not sugar coat it. They just said (not their real names), "Joe and I have decided to divorce." People in the know knew why. If others who did not know why probably messaged them privately and asked. It was similar situations for both cousins in my case why they divorced and without putting too much info out there, it was not due to cheating or drifting apart.
    Now for people who have been keeping things personal, then I unfortunately don't have anything productive to say.

    1 agrees
  3. Acquaintances recently posted the best announcement of this type that I've seen:

    "Dear friends and family, it's with a very heavy heart that I am announcing this. [spouse] and I will be getting a divorce. We aren't sure what that looks like right now but we do know that we are going to be the most epic divorced parents ever, book worthy. [child] will remain our top priority. We aren't interested in being ugly about any of the details that go along with this kind of thing. Please we ask for your kindness, prayers and love as we walk this out together. Also if you have something to say let it be out of love and words of encouragement. This is a very tough time. We aren't interested in trying to bash each other and we ask the same from you. You don't have to pick sides. Thank you."

    46 agree
  4. In my case, I didn't post anything about my divorce on any social media during the process. No mentions on twitter, nothing on facebook. By that point I had eliminated relationship status and other points of info from my profile anyway, just for clutter reasons. My standpoint is that is any person who needed to know about our relationship should/would be told in other means, and the acquaintances did not need to have anything to rubberneck over. (I was in a very gossip-full workplace at the time, did not want to add to the fodder).

    We had a 6 month separation, and one stepdaughter (the one I never got along with anyway) unfriended me immediately and made her husband do the same. About 3 months in, I got tired of one of the other one's inane chatter and unfriended her (we lived in a different state and were not close – long story, partly a factor in the split). He unfriended me around then as well. I'm still friends with the last stepdaughter (tho she is very restricted as to what she can see on my feed), his brother and brother's gf.

    The first indication on social media that anything was other than typical was when I posted that I was moving out of our area (posted after the move was complete – a "goodbye [insert town here]" thing).

    The day the paperwork was final (1 month later), I posted that if someone felt like they needed to take sides and unfriend me, I would understand and to go in peace. No one did, even the ones that I thought would have.

    I got a few private messages after the move, but for the most part, it went quietly, which is perfect with me. I might subtweet trivial shit, but I DO NOT Drama-book and will always encourage others to adopt that mindset.

    4 agree
  5. I hid my relationship status, and then changed it. I didn't want to field a whole load of questions I was emotionally too hurt to deal with. This isn't exactly what the question is asking for though, so I don't have a good way to make an announcement I guess. My thinking is, if there are people close enough to you, they will know. The people who aren't as close to you don't need to know immediately anyway. They can find out by going through your feed and seeing you posting single pictures, or pictures with a new partner.

    10 agree
  6. Here is the note that both my ex husband and I posted at the same time along with the relationship status change:
    "To my dear friends and family,
    As some of you are already aware, ___ and I have decided to divorce. We came to this decision after a lot of discussion, and we are both convinced it is the right thing to do for both of us. Unfortunately, there are just some very big incompatibilities between us, we want different things, and in the long run we can not make each other happy.
    Perhaps we should not have gotten married, but we cannot change the past and focusing on that is neither helpful nor productive. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we want them to.
    We love each other very much, and we both love all of you. We do not have any anger at each other, and though we wish things had gone differently, we are not blaming each other. We are trying to support each other through this very difficult time, and we would like to ask that you do the same."

    7 agree
  7. I didn't announce my divorce on social media. I did ask about places to live and listed my budget, and I think that combined with my relationship status disappearing was enough that everyone was clued in.

    4 agree
    • When I broke my engagement, this was my strategy.
      For me, it came down to knowing the nature of Facebook, especially among my "friends". First, it's that the "press release" will definitely get comments, and that a lot of them will be uncomfortable, even if well-intentioned. Second, three quarters of contacts will miss the post entirely, so people are still going to be confused.
      If your partner isn't a big part of your social media presence, I think it would surprise you how many people don't know or think about the fact that you're in a relationship. On the flip side, if your partner is a big part of your social media life, their absence may tell the whole story for you.

      8 agree
  8. I had some friends who split amicably after a couple of years of dating, and they made their break-up a facebook event.

    2 agree
  9. I agree with those who have said that the people close to you, who need to know, will (or already have) heard it from you. I personally don't think something like this is necessary to announce on social media, but everyone's situation is different. Plus, a name change or a move will probably bring questions. I never announced my divorce on Facebook, but I changed my last name and that got some attention that I was not anticipating.

    I think the message in the original post is a great example. It's short, and, in a nice way, closes the door to opinions/comments/questions that aren't out of love or care. Only you and your former partner really know what's best. Do what feels right, but you don't owe an explanation to anyone who is just looking for gossip.

    2 agree
  10. I have seen the break-up post done well, and done badly.

    The good was both parties posted an identical "publicity statement" announcing their break-up, expressed well-wishes for the other party, and asked for privacy and respect. It was oddly formal for facebook, but incredibly dignified.

    The bad/ugly was when I saw a work-friend tagged in a post in which his wife announced that they were divorcing because she had found evidence that he had been cheating on her during his overseas trip. Reading this was intensely uncomfortable, especially as I had no idea if my work-friend even knew that this post was on his facebook page for all to see.

    3 agree
  11. Personally, I really like the wording in your original question, and would probably edit that down to be the social media post. Something like:
    "After a lengthy separation, my husband and I have decided to divorce. It's heartbreaking, but I've made peace with it as best I can. I just want all of you to know we still care about each other."

    The overall tone of your words seem to come from the heart and that's the most important thing.

    11 agree
  12. Here's what a friend of mine posted, and it struck me as completely and utterly mature:
    Dear friends,
    In the coming month and a half I will be moving again. This time will be just me and my animals. I will be moving back to Carney near where my parents live. [Name] has decided to go his own direction and be solo again. Yes this hurts. No this is not what I want but it is what he wants and I will not hold him back for my own desires. I know I will surely need the support of my friends and family in the coming months as I am sure he will also.
    I do not want any "I'm sorry's" posted on my wall please. Only words of encouragement and strength for the process of moving on with life.

    4 agree
  13. I have this tendency to just not put a lot of stuff on social media unless I am totally 100% ok with talking about it. It's meant that a majority of people who "know" me haven't realized when I've been going through things like one of my parents battling cancer, or when I've lost my job, or when I had to put my teenaged dog down because she was going through massive organ failure. For me, this was easier because the people who needed to know about those things knew about them, and the rest didn't – and I didn't get constant reminders in the form of well meaning condolences from people who I barely talk to but who suddenly feel obligated because sad stories are sad. On the flip side, a friend of mine broke with her partner recently after 10 years and she did a light hearted announcement infused with a few jokes that basically said it's over, we had a good time, I'm ok, just wanted to let you all know what's up. I think it's really important to do what you feel comfortable with, if you don't want to say – don't. If you do want to say, say it in a way that you feel good about.

    2 agree
  14. I know a couple who got moved across the country together, got married, and had two kids before the husband's entertainment career got in the way of his home life. They separated with a VERY pleasant facebook post stating that they were separating, she was moving across the country with the kids, and that they both supported each other in their new lives. They continued to vacation together, posting pictures on facebook constantly and even when a new boyfriend/girlfriend was in the picture they were publicly supportive. Three years of separation later, they got back together, and the facebook comments were happy and encouraging. Nobody wondered why they would get back together when they made it clear through photos and status updates that they were still a family.

    2 agree
  15. When my ex-hubster and I did it, it was the same deal. Everyone close to us already knew, so we put up a message (and tagged the other one in it) saying that most people knew but yes we're getting divorced. We also asked for no sad comments please (you know, 'oh it's such a shame, you were so good together' etc) because we were both very happy with the outcome and still best friends.

    And then, when we got the divorce paper through we put up a selfie of us and one of the cats with it, pulling faces. It sounds flippant but it was our way, and we really are still great friends 😀

    3 agree
  16. I was the one who was responsible in making the "announcement" on FB. It was a bit longer than I had originally anticipated, but it went something like this:
    "It is with a heavy heart that I announce my separation from my wife and devoted partner, Christine.
    This split is amicable, albiet difficult. I have grown and shared many moments with Chris – she has been there for me through the good times, the terrible times, the extremely shitty times, and vice versa. To say that this is a complete blow is an understatement. But we have both discussed this several times and the idea of us finally parting ways is just now coming to fruition.
    *insert drivel here*
    I will forever and always love my wife for all she has done for me. She is still (and will continue to be) my best friend; any bashing or statements to the contrary will be met with deletion. But I need to tend to myself, and she needs to do the same."
    Something along those lines. Chris and I are still (to this day) best friends… I tried not to go into personal reasons as to why we split. We still hang out so much…even though I have a boyfriend (we divorced in 2013), some friends forget that we're not still together, haha.
    Anyway – just keep it to the point, don't delve into too much detail and it should be fine.

  17. I was in a bit of a different situation, but hopefully sharing my announcement will be helpful to others. We had a very open and public online presence, so I felt it important to share information about this life-altering change with the people with whom I had already shared 1000s of wedding, vacation, and family photos, stories of adventures, and other anecdotes from my day-to-day life.

    "This is one of the hardest things I've had to write, but I feel like I owe it to you all to explain the situation. ______ and I have separated. I don't know for sure what the future holds, but most likely divorce.

    If it seems sudden, that's because it kind of is. I've been battling mental health issues for a long time now, for which I know I sought treatment too late. My anxiety, depression, and panic disorders are fairly well managed now thanks to a combination of medications and a wonderful therapist. Throughout the time that I was untreated, I'm sure _____ felt some loss of connection to me; I was pretty disconnected from the world, barely making it through work, coming home to nap for an hour or two, then staying up all night with insomnia and anxiety. It wasn't a pretty picture.

    She met someone over the summer with whom she feels intensely connected. I have done my very best to support their friendship and find ways to rekindle the love and connection that we once shared. _____ has made the decision that she would not like to work on that right now and I know I can't do it alone.

    For now, I am being buoyed by the love and support of my friends and family, looking for a new place to live in _____, and excited to be spending the holidays with my best friends.

    Please know that this is only my side of the story and my sharing it is not meant to change anyone's feelings about either _____ or me, but I would rather have my truth shared than have people take guesses about what might be happening."

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