After you’ve been married for years, it’s natural to be close with your spouse’s family. When the marriage is over, it can be difficult to know how to handle the relationships you’ve built with your in-laws. If you’re interested in staying in touch with your former spouse’s family or at least want to have a civil relationship, here’s how to navigate the potentially difficult process.
It’s going to be hard to avoid any awkward feelings with your ex’s family during the divorce, at least in the beginning. You might find they want to still see you, but they don’t want to upset your ex, so they might feel like they’re stuck in the middle. You don’t want to put your former in-laws in a tough spot, so communicate with them upfront. Ask them privately if they’d like to continue the relationship after the divorce. They might respond that they can’t because it would upset your ex too much, or they might say they’d appreciate staying in touch. You won’t know until you ask.
Even if your ex’s family members seem hesitant to reach out to you, that might not necessarily last forever. They need time to get used to the change in your relationship, and your ex likely needs time to decide if he or she is okay with you continuing to see the family. Don’t pressure anyone to hang out with you, but feel free to reach out once in a while to check in, such as by sending an email to your former mother-in-law on her birthday.
Speaking of email, this might be the best way to keep in touch if it would be too awkward to hang out in person for now. After all, you can’t blame your former spouse for not liking the idea of you coming to his or her parents’ house for coffee. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to communicate without meeting in person. If email seems too formal for you, you can text, call or simply connect on social media. This way, you can send a message any time you want to talk.
If you have children, you’re probably going to see your former in-laws once in a while, so you need to learn to get along with them. Even if you have reason to dislike them, don’t let your children know that. You don’t want to let your own experiences with your former spouse’s family affect the relationship your children have with them. Understand that it’s not right to put them in a position where they have to listen to you complain about their grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.
Some in-laws just can’t get over it when their child gets divorced, and they never forgive their child’s ex. If it seems like your ex’s family is angry with you or simply wants to cut you off from all communication, all you can do is focus on other details of your life. You can’t change how they handle the situation. Just continue to be polite when you do see them, and know they might come around eventually so you can have a decent relationship with them, assuming that’s what you want.
If you’re considering a divorce or need help with a family law issue in Southern California, it’s time to see a divorce lawyer to get answers to any questions you have. Call the Law Offices of H. William Edgar at (888) 251-9618 today to find out more. Free consultations available.
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