For the first four years of our marriage my husband was a Marine. At times his battalion was on call to deploy. One night he got the call to go. I wanted to know where he would be going. He didn’t know. I thought that was crazy. I was in a panic and felt completely helpless and out of control. He told me that he wouldn’t be safe if he knew where he was going.
Think about it. If he had told me then I might have told my mom. My mom might have told her neighbor or my sister or anyone. Multiply all that by the by 750 Marines in his battalion. You get the picture. In minutes we could have changed the color of the Homeland Security alert chart. As they say loose lips sink ships. This became our rule. Not just with his military assignments but with our personal life. What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.
It always bothers me when I tell someone something and they repeat it to someone else. It might be the truth but it wasn’t their story to tell. It isn’t technically gossip but it still hurts. I feel that we shouldn’t have to start every conversation with please don’t tell anyone else this. So, I have made it a practice not to share much of anything because I don’t want the entire world to know my business.
When I told my parents that we were getting divorced my mom told me that I was a great actress. I sure put on a great face for whatever audience I’d been in front of. My mother-in-law told me that I had done my best. I had gotten very close to her over the years. It broke my heart to no longer be a part of their family. I truly loved them but in the end letting them go was the right thing to do. I had plenty to say about my ex but around family I kept it to myself. I never badmouthed him to my family, his family and most of all to our kids.
If I needed to vent I vented to a friend who would never have the opportunity to pass my story on to my family.
As time went on he found a new (step) mom for our kids. She had every right to be part of his family. There were times when I could have gone to a family event but declined. It would have been awkward and it would have put the spotlight on me and the new me.
Taking the gentleman’s way out (or in my case the ladies way out) was the moral high road. Years have gone by now and I can honestly say that I could pick up a phone and say hi or run into a member of his family and not feel awkward because it never got ugly.
From the beginning of our separation I separated myself. I released myself from my duties to his family. I let my ex know that keeping the kids close to them was going to be his responsibility. I cut my ties. He was their son, their brother and their blood. He deserved to remain their family. I had my own family to concentrate on and later a new family of in-laws.
When I got my new family of in-laws I did not receive the same respect that I had given my ex. They were polite to me and to my children but they are a large family and they live for get togethers and they love, love, love to gossip. What’s worse is that the ex-wife stayed close with their family and she even brought her new husband into their fold.
Worse though were their gossiping children. She badmouthed him and they badmouthed him and it was sickening and saddening. Over the years my husband, who is part of that family, their son, their brother, their cousin, and their blood gave up. He stopped caring. He checked out.
I can’t say that it caused our break up because there were so many factors other then that but it certainly did drive a huge wedge. I was the cause of him losing contact with his family. I didn’t fight for my place. I didn’t want to engage in a gossiping tit for tat. I didn’t want to waste my time. I didn’t want to lose my self-respect. I don’t take all the blame but I do feel great remorse over this and I hope that in time he finds his way back to his family.
So how should divorce change your relationship with your in-laws? The answer is completely. Unless of course you are a super shallow person that loves gossiping with idle minds and motor mouths. So what do you do? Take the high road. If the child that you share has a huge life event and you all will be in attendance then don’t let the spotlight shine on you. Stay classy. It’s your child’s day. Otherwise, stay away from your ex in-laws. Keep your affairs private. Be the director of your own homeland security.