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When other mamas are single... on Facebook

Is_single
I was idly browsing my Facebook page in between dishwashing jags when I saw the familiar-but-ironic little heart next to one of my relative's status updates. "___ is single," it read. Though I've always considered her a favorite family member, we don't spend much time together outside of Facebook, and I only met her husband once or twice; I had no idea things were rocky between them, and now his absence at more recent family gatherings looms large.

Only the latest in a recent spate of relationship status changes, it seems to be the vogue among friends and family and people I barely know to "like" such declarations of independence. I've seen situations in which the singleness was quickly reversed (a regreted overly-public blowup after a bitter, alcohol-fueled argument perhaps?) and these make the "liking" even more piercing than it is, in the most straightforward of situations. I can't find myself to "like" anyone's singleness, even if the relationship was especially tortured and obviously a bad one from the start. It seems too much schadenfreude, even if the one on the other end of the sudden singleness was terribly unkind to someone you love.

My relative's status was liked by someone else I like and whose judgment I respect, and I think the generally-accepted Facebook subtext for this is, "the marriage was bad for you." But, as with so many Facebook singles recently, little children resulted from this star-crossed entanglement. I know a bit of what it's like to be a single parent (though all my single-ness is temporary); I know what it's like to have a marriage-with-kids that is rocky. As is often the case with my rawly-single Facebook friends, I want to reach out. I want to act in support of this fellow mama, when things are obviously hard.

But: I never know what to say. I don't want to "like" it, I don't know if public comment under the status update is a better or far worse option. (And what, then, if there's a reverse?) It's so easy to get Facebook grant you a permanent separation. It's a lot harder, slower and more tortuous to do so legally; if one wishes to celebrate singleness, I think to myself, the end of that process is the time to do it.

I know lots of mamas who read this blog have gone single on Facebook, and have gone through the months- or years-long legal process following that social media break. I know others who have watched friends go through it, or go through the up-and-down of argument, separation, reunion, separation, divorce. What is the best approach? Speak publicly now, email, phone, pray?  Or simply wait until... what? If you've liked, or been liked, in situations like this: what resulted? What advice do you have, now?

Comments

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I would be the friend that you always have been for that person, and just chose to do that privately instead of commenting on Facebook.

Ugh, I recently saw a family friend celebrate her divorce on Facebook. Her husband was a doof, though no more years into marriage than he was when she chose to marry him. All I could think of was that it couldn't be good for the kids.

I do suspect people 'liking' these things are probably closer to the situation--so they are happy as much for the whole thing to be done as to be caught up in paperwork, etc. But, yeah, I don't see divorce, generally, as a good thing, whether in real life or on Facebook.

I think of the "like" of a break-up announcement as a declaration of support for the person who is going through the it-like saying 'hey, I'm here for you'.

I'm not on FB and frankly, this seems like just one more reason to avoid it and to conduct friendships the old-fashioned way - person to person.

As a Mom who is recently divorced I would agree with the first post. Just be the friend you have always been, let her know you are there for her and keep it off of FB. I know it is hard to know what to say or do when a divorce happens but just letting the person know you are there for them can mean a lot!

A friend separated from her husband about a year ago. She changed her settings on FB to reflect her new Single status, but did not realize that it would be broadcast on her feed! I noticed and thought it was odd because hers seemed like one of the happiest unions in my circle of friends and I thought for sure, it was a fluke. A month or two later, she made the official announcement via email to the rest of us...on one hand I was shocked, but on the other hand, the tip-off from FB made it less of a surprise.

Brevity has never been my strong suit, so I tend to leave comments or send private messages rather than simply clicking the "Like" button.

I don't Fbook. I don't care much about the minutia of my own life.. so I really don't care about the minutia of yours. I like face to face interactions with other women and we put our fancy phones away when we have coffee or tea together.

Purhaps the friend is happy to celebrate her single status, but she should also be aware that others may have differing and possibly offending things to post in response. I agree with some of the other posts. I think if you do care, and want to be a good friend, a private email or conversation is the place for that. While we are on the subject of Single moms, I've noticed a lack of resources in this area. I came to this site looking to mingle with other parents- but honestly not seeing the resources for single parents here I was looking for- the last post in this topic was June 2009. I still appreciate the site and am happy to get ideas. If anyone has recomendations for single parent resouces I would appreciate it.

I'd agree with the above posters, a private message of support is appropriate. I think the liking it is tacky... also, how old are the children? Do they see her facebook and/or family members and friends "liking" the official demise of their unit. The only time I could imagine doing that is if there was abuse involved and I knew there was no chance of the kids ever seeing it.
@SMP, What kinds of resources were you looking for in particular?

Adults using facebook like this makes me sad :(

These are sensitive times. If I have seen a friend gone single on Facebook, I would wait for the right time to talk about it. Perhaps, try to 'accidentally' see her on the street or at the grocery. If she's not ready to talk about it, then I'll wait for the right time.

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