Internet slang is part of our daily life. Everything we do and say online usually results in the use of one of these terms: a simple LOL for a funny picture, a ROFL for a really hilarious thing, or a WTF! when something really goes wrong.  Even in the business world, you might send your boss a quick OMW to indicate you’re going to show for the afternoon meeting.

Internet slang has even permeated the world of divorce. Go to any divorce, relationship, or advice forum and you’ll see abbreviations like STBX (soon to be ex), DWM (divorced white male), or DBF (divorced black female). Of course, they vary in terms of a person’s ethnicity and gender, but they’re certainly present in communication.

This article will discuss the abbreviation known as STBX: soon to be ex. It will provide an overview including the definition of STBX, its use, and good ways to protect yourself while talking and sharing your experience with others online. It can certainly be therapeutic to speak with others like you, but safety and good impulse control should be your first priority.

Definition

STBX is an acronym that refers to the person you’ll soon be divorcing. It identifies the person to whom you are legally married. Bear in mind that this is different from STVX, which is the acronym for people who are still married but will be legally separated as the divorce proceedings take place.

Other Popular Terms

As you undergo the process of divorce, it’s likely you’ll seek help from the Internet in finding other people you can talk to about your situation. Divorce leaves many of us feeling alone, vulnerable, and afraid.

As humans, we want to seek others out. The anonymity of the Internet is beneficial in many ways. You can freely express yourself without fear of judgment, as some things are easier to explain in words rather than speaking. Other times, the thought of talking may bring you to an emotional state, so typing it out is easier.

All in all, it’s a cathartic exercise in most cases that can relieve bottled-up tension. Plus, the recipients of your message have a better understanding than some people you may know.

Following is a list of the most common abbreviations you might see if you seek some companionship online.

  • Wasband – a former husband
  • DH – Dear husband
  • OW/OM – other woman/other man
  • Man-Child – a husband you have to take care of like a mother would a child
  • GF – girlfriend
  • Himbo – a sort of man you take care of, but more responsible than a Man Child
  • FB – Facebook
  • X-hale – breathing a sigh of relief after a difficult divorce moment
  • DW – divorced wife
  • EOM – end of message
  • DV – domestic violence
  • MSA – marital settlement agreement
  • PF – paternity fraud

These are just a few of the acronyms you might find on the Internet as you seek others in your situation. You can find many forum topics on the Internet devoted to helping newcomers understand the lingo for an easier time.  Some acronyms are certainly easier than others to figure out. Be warned that some may be considered offensive or off-color.

Staying Safe Online

It can be very tempting to go online and think about bashing your STBX. After a particularly long day of dealing with divorce issues or having to negotiate something difficult, you may leave feeling frustrated or sad, or a combination of both. Your next instinct might be to turn on the computer and rant to all your online friends, which is understandable. However, you must proceed with caution.

Be very, very careful about what you say online. The Internet is forever, and screenshots are easy to take and copy. Combine that with sites like the Wayback Machine, and you can end up in some hot water if you’re not careful.

What you say online can be used against you in court. If the rant you make becomes part of the divorce proceedings, you will not be making a positive impression on the judge. He or she will be evaluating how others feel upon reading statements like that later on, especially your children. Dr. Eva Buechel, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of South Carolina, states that, “People who are emotionally unstable are more likely to use [social media].” How you act on impulse and deal with your anger or frustration is very important.

Furthermore, be mindful of how your ex can act. Some people become very emotional when a divorce is announced, threatening self-harm to sometimes the highest degree (suicide). Be mindful of this as you make posts on your social media accounts or online forums.

It doesn’t have to be just online rants, either. If you recently bought a new car or are going on an expensive vacation, your argument that you don’t have the money for child support or alimony may not hold any weight. And, worst of all, don’t make up lies or post them about your soon to be ex. You may end up getting sued for libel, adding to the already stressful and often expensive divorce process.

While the Internet can be a wonderful tool to connect, recognize that it’s also a risky place for rants and raves. Your best bet is to think before you type. Even if you delete what you posted, remember that people often take screenshots and word spreads quickly. Do not give in to a quick opportunity for revenge or “getting even” – it may come back to haunt you when it matters most.

If you’ve already posted some material you find questionable, the best thing to do is apologize. It can be hard to swallow your pride and say you’re sorry, but a small step like this can be effective.

If you feel the urge to post, imagine what the judge might say when he or she reads it out loud. Sometimes, the embarrassment of things we say when angry are enough to keep us from posting them.

If writing is your preferred coping method, consider writing on a blank word-processor document and deleting it without saving it or sending it to anyone. Sometimes, just getting it out can be a relief.

Other Things to Avoid

Joking around online with other divorcees is another way to deal with the trauma. It can be relieving to laugh about the same situations together. There are some topics to avoid altogether, however. Don’t make threats, insult the other party, or talk about sleeping with your ex. Don’t bring up old events from the past.

Your ex could absolutely find it and use it against you. The best thing to do is assume that everything you post online will be reviewed by the judge.  Even photos that are completely innocent can be turned against you; for example, a photo of you having a drink can look like you are a partier who isn’t watching their kids. Even mutual friends on Facebook can take sides and pass information to other parties that might work against you.

Furthermore, don’t make thinly-veiled statements designed to insult your spouse. For example, “I took the kids to the movies because they don’t get to when they are with other people.” It’s obvious what’s going on and it’s best not to risk it.

Lastly, be mindful of what you “like” online, and do not attempt to delete old posts. It may be considered destroying evidence.

Conclusion

It’s completely okay and healthy to go online in search of other people who are in your same situation. Talking with others is a cathartic, healthy way of venting out negative feelings and gives you a chance to hear others’ perspectives.

You can get ideas about how to approach your own situation or just be a friend for someone in need. Posting on social media means you can get supportive messages or “likes” from your family and friends, which can be validating during this time.

The main thing to remember is that politeness and civility are tantamount to having a safe online experience. The Internet is forever, and your information can and will be found. It may also be read or observed by the judge.

The technology to dig up old posts, pictures, and blog entries from long ago can easily be used to find things you or your spouse have written. It’s best to take the high road when telling stories or talking to other people online – or simply avoid it altogether.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away is that you must never ever reveal real names, locations, or personal information to your online friends. This will ensure privacy for everyone, especially spouses who are victims of domestic violence.

If at all possible, seek other ways to deal with stress. Go walking, exercise, or watch an interesting television show. Don’t let a few moments of satisfaction take you away from what you want to get out of your divorce.