DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been going through a rough divorce for over a year now and have met a wonderful man who wants to get engaged. My husband is trying to hold out in settling the divorce as long as he can for his own financial reasons.
Is it unethical for me to get engaged while still going through this divorce, when he has moved on with another woman, and I am not dating someone?
GENTLE READER: You're not? And here Miss Manners would have thought that was a necessary prelude to becoming engaged.
Perhaps you anticipate being in marital limbo for some time, during which you hope to resettle yourself. Or perhaps you are dating, but are being discreet about it. Then again, maybe you just meant "now" when you typed "not."
The likelihood is that you have agreed to marry the wonderful gentleman, so what is in question is whether you can go public with the engagement.
Discretion is not a favorite virtue of the selfie generation, even among those who have heard of the concept. But, then, indiscretion is hardly new. In a 1911 short story, "Autres Temps," dear Edith Wharton refers to a character whose husband found out that she meant to divorce him when he saw her wearing a new engagement ring.
For a married lady to declare herself engaged was in bad taste then, and it is in bad taste now.