lisabel (lisabel) wrote in little_details,
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Proper relationship etiquette circa 1803

Though I've reread my writers' guides about daily life in Regency England and conducted a google search using such terms as "male etiquette regency england" and "relationship etiquette regency england", I have been unable to find a definitive answer to my question.

Would a man be allowed to honourably call off an engagement if he a) had caught his fiancee being indiscreet with another man or b) her indiscretion had come to public attention? Or, would he be honor-bound to marry her regardless of her behavior once the proposal had been made and accepted?

My sources are very vague about the politics of relationships at the time and only tell me that a woman had the option of calling off an engagement but would suffer some loss of reputation if she did so, but a man could not call off an engagement without having to endure a reputation as a cad thereafter. Yet, common sense seems to allow him to keep his reputation intact (though I'm sure he'd be rather humiliated) in the above situation if only because it could foreshadow future behavior in the woman's case, and as female adultery was considered suitable groundsd for divorce...

So, any thoughts? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Tags: 1800-1809, uk: history: regency period
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