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The Etiquette of Separation Hero Label

The Etiquette of Separation

Overhead view of man and woman sitting at a coffee table, uneasily holding their coffee cups

The following etiquette issues frequently arise during a separation.

Telling Others

A separation is not publicly announced. A couple should explain the situation to family and close friends, and word will spread. If the couple reunites, there is no public announcement.

Names and Rings

The wife continues to use her husband's name (if she has taken it), and both spouses usually continue to wear their wedding rings.

Change of Address

If the separation is lengthy, the spouse who moves out of the home should give his or her new address and phone number to anyone who needs to know, such as an employer.

Social Invitations

The couple usually refuses any invitations addressed to "Mr. and Mrs." If they do attend the same social or business functions, they should behave as normally as possible and not draw others into their problems. Most adults make accommodations for separated couples by not inviting them both to the same social events. So don't get upset if mutual friends fail to include you at a party to which your spouse has been invited. Chances are, the friends are not choosing sides but are trying to avoid a difficult situation for everyone. Your time will probably come.