Unfortunately when we divorce, we divorce our in-laws as well. Remaining on good terms with in-laws can prove as challenging as remaining on good terms with your ex.
Once an in-law, now an out-law?
Rejection by the in-laws is unnecessary but all too common. Many of the divorced people I have spoken with have horror stories of how their ex in-laws treated them following the divorce. I’ve heard everything from name calling and starting rumors to assisted asset removal. Especially if you were the “one who left” then certain family members feel they are showing support for their sibling (or relative) by being as cruel as possible to you. Some ex in-laws will not forgive your decision. Be prepared to be cut off.
If you find yourself on the outs with your in-laws, try to be cordial because children will always be a connection to your ex’s family. In my situation, certain in-laws ignore me even at my children’s events. It was as though I was invisible, suddenly non-existent. Ouch!
It doesn’t matter if you are the mother of the very children these people seek to spend time with and claim to love. Yes, I was the “out-law” forbidden to be spoken to. These situations are uncomfortable for everyone. Remember, when you snub the parent, you snub the child too.
If you have a sibling going through divorce remember to look at the situation from the child’s perspective and you will quickly realize that cordial relations are always the best response. Blame and finger pointing are destructive to both the ex and the children. One way to accomplish a more forgiving attitude is to refrain from judgment.
Below are a few tips you will find helpful if you are feeling like an out-law when around your in-laws:
If you are the Divorcee:
Ask yourself “What was my relationship like with his family before the divorce?” A quick evaluation will indicate what to expect.
How can I maintain cordial relations with my children’s relatives? (If you can think of 3 things you’re doing great)
Exercise patience but distance yourself from any damaging behaviors
If you are the former in-law:
Ask yourself these questions; “What am I accomplishing by blaming my ex sister, (brother, daughter or son) in-law?”
“Why am I angry at this person?”
“Is there a better way I can show support to my Brother (sister, daughter, or son)?”
Refrain from judgment; you were not married to your family member
I am not suggesting ex families should be best friends or remain as close as they were during the marriage. Usually a distance will naturally transpire after divorce due to new circumstances. As the former in-laws, in order to continue a healthy relationship with your niece, nephew or grandchild then I recommend putting your resentment aside.
The children and the divorcing couple have enough worries and strain without recriminations from ex in-laws.
As the person going through divorce, try to be patient with former in-laws. Remember, you will be required to see them on some occasions, say a graduation or a wedding.
It helps to look at the big picture rather than focusing on what happened today or yesterday.
Hopefully you won’t feel like an out-law around your in-laws if everyone can be mature and stop the blame game. No one really knows what goes on inside someone’s marriage, so it is unfair to judge those people in either their marriage or their divorce.