to think that maintaining family life with ex in-laws is not normal?

(86 Posts)
duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 00:00:45

XH's family expect me to continue to attend all family events despite him leaving me (and having minimal contact with DD). They also think that I should see them separately from my ex?

I can't see there is scope for an ongoing relationship over and above handover meetings. For a start I think it would be confusing for DD, giving her false hope of a reconciliation. Then I think it isn't realistic for XH's new partner to be excluded from events if I am there, and I don't want to be there if he is with his new partner. I would feel like a glorified au pair attending with DD.

I don't know of anyone who has this kind of relationship with their ex in-laws - are they BU to expect me to continue as if nothing has happened?

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Oct-12 00:07:54

I doubt they want to continue as though nothing's happened.

I remained very close to my inlaws when I split from my ex and got invited to everything.

Over the years I gradually stopped attending functions and certainly wouldn't have attended if my ex brought a new girlfriend along as I would have felt awful for her.

But my ex MIL still phones almost weekly, despite the fact I very rarely speak to my ex unless I absolutely have to.

I think you should do whatever makes you comfortable...it's nice really as it sounds as though they're trying to support you.

WilsonFrickett Thu 11-Oct-12 00:08:41

Not BU, maybe naieve? I can see that they're not taking your feelings into account, but isnt it good that they want to have a close relationship with your DD?

One of the absolute best things about getting divorced was never having to see my in-laws again. However, I didn't have children with my Ex-H so I am not the best one to advise. <skips around the room remembering FIL's misogyny and racism that I never have to hear again>

duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 00:19:05

I think it is much more that they don't want to lose contact with DD. They have said a lot about wanting to support me but if they say they are coming to see me and then find that DD isn't going to be around for whatever reason they always cancel the visit.

I have no intention of stopping them from seeing DD and have made sure she goes to things. I would just be an object of pity as the wider family knows that he dumped me and most of them knew that he was going to do it long before I was told.

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 11-Oct-12 00:24:34

I would attempt to maintain my relationship with my ILs if DH and I separated, only because our link is now more through the children than DH IYKWIM

My dad remained "family" as far as my mums family were concerned after they separated, it was much more "normal" IMO than his side who ditched my mum as if she never existed even though she was my mother and I was family IYKWIM

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Oct-12 00:33:03

In that case OP you need to only accept/maintain a level of involvement that you're happy with.

It's great you've no intention of stopping them from seeing your DD...but when it comes to them seeing you, you get to call the shots now.

MiniMonty Thu 11-Oct-12 01:44:07

When you say Ex's family do you mean his parents or other family members? (aunts / cousins etc) ??

If it's his parents then it sounds like they are just decent people.
They want to be good grandparents and maybe they feel they should "do right by you" if they can.

It's your call and it's yours to get the best out of it (there must be some hidden benefits in keeping that relationship alive) plus you do have some responsibility (I think) to maintain a relationship for your DD with her grandparents / aunts / uncles / cousins/ etc etc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 07:13:55

YANBU. Politely decline invitations to family gatherings but allow the one-on-one visits with your DD.

mutny Thu 11-Oct-12 07:22:02

I think it is much more that they don't want to lose contact with DD. I would assume thats right. by having a good relationship with you, having a relationship with dd will be easier and better.
I think its sensible tbh. I also think its sensible to visit only when dd is there.

You need to come up with a solution that works. They want to support you be involved away from your ex. Which is good, imo. But you need to be happy as well.

I k ow quite a few people who are very close to ex pils.

RobynRidingHood Thu 11-Oct-12 07:24:39

Why would you want to isolate your childrens grandparents?

HiHowAreYou Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:09

I would have thought it was quite normal actually. If you have children.

Hopeforever Thu 11-Oct-12 07:35:42

Every family is different, but I've seen mums have a fantastic relationship with their exPILs that have enabled much better contact between the kids and their grandparents. So YABU to think its not normal

In the end though its up to you so YANBU to not want to have this level of friendship if you not want to as long as your dd still sees her grandparents

EmmaNemms Thu 11-Oct-12 07:42:51

It's very difficult - my inlaws consider me dead, which is fine, I didn't like them anyway. My ex has a pleasant relationship with my parents as they all live quite close and will pop round for a coffee occasionally if the kids are with him. My parents are kind people and always felt a bit guilty as it was me that instigated the split, and invited him round after Christmas one year to a family do, which my new partner and I were at. It was hideous. I told them firmly that whilst I didn't mind them seeing him, never to invite him to anything they were expecting me to come to. They have respected that.

He also went through an odd phase at the beginning of starting to send Christmas cards to my distant cousins and my old school friends which everyone was bemused by, but that seems to have passed off now.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:10:33

I would have thought it perfectly normal. You make relationships in your own right with all these people so I can't see why you would cut it off because you have divorced. The only reason would be if you didn't like them in the first place and saw them on sufferance.
It isn't confusing for the DC- it is lovely to think that everyone can still get on.
We just mixed and matched and the DCs had extra grandparents.

olgaga Thu 11-Oct-12 08:12:33

The problem is here that the XH has minimal contact with the DD. In normal circumstances, XH would be taking his child to his family occasions, visit the GC when he had contact time with DD etc.

The ILs know that isn't going to happen, so OP is expected to fulfil that role. On her own. Which is pretty onerous I think.

I just wonder, OP - do you have a new partner? Is he also invited to these family occasions? what happens if you meet a new partner?

I understand how it must be confusing for DD to be attending her dad's family occasions without him. How old is she?

I don't think it's fair to imply that OP is isolating the GPs - it's the EXH who is doing that!

I'd stop accepting invites to family occasions, but encourage the occasional visit.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 11-Oct-12 08:21:28

It's nice that they are trying to maintain contact with your dd, and they probably aren't sure of the best way of doing this either. I doubt they have been in this situation before, so it's new for all of you.

Are you sure they expect you to attend, rather than just inviting you to attend? They may well respect your feelings if you tell them how you feel.

I would make as much effort with them as you can, they sound like loving and supportive GPs who will be a good part of yours and dds lives.

BillComptonstrousers Thu 11-Oct-12 08:22:35

I see my ex in-laws about 4 times a year, I live up north, them down south. I never fell out with them, I'm still friends with my ex, and they want to see the children, so I don't see why not, I still like them! His sisters also came to my wedding, and also my baby's christening last month. I should probably say that ex husband has fallen out with his family, so that's why he doesn't do any contact visits.
But they come up to see me, or I go down to see them, my new in laws live fairly close, so there have been times when the children have been brought back to their house, and everyone has had a cup of tea together before the have gone back home (new in laws and ex in laws) if everyone gets on I really don't seethe problem, we are all civilised adults, obviously if there had been a horrible divorce or whatever, I could see why it would be weird.

adrastea Thu 11-Oct-12 08:43:51

My ex and I don't socialise a lot with each other's families but we do a little. Like his family came to the funeral of one of my relatives, he'll sometimes come to lunch with me at my parents, if he picks my son up from them he'll go inside and maybe eat. If his mum comes to stay with him, I'll normally go have coffee with her once. It's pretty low key and I am very happy my son sees this.

YANBU to not want to do it yourself.
YABU to label it as 'not normal' though. If it works and is a good thing for other people, then g

adrastea Thu 11-Oct-12 08:45:18

Silly phone posted to soon. I was saying: YABU to label it as 'not normal' though. If it works and is a good thing for other people, then good for them.

duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 08:47:03

I want DD (5) to maintain her relationship with them. The GPs and BILs and SILs want to continue as if nothing has changed. MIL has made it very clear that I expected at events but she is very controlling. Attempts not to attend on my part are met with endless calls and messages trying to get me to change my mind even though DD is going.

We don't live anywhere near them so going out socially isn't an option and they can't give any practical support.

I don't have a new partner and given my experience with xh I doubt I would get involved again.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Thu 11-Oct-12 08:48:34

My ex husband was an abusive monster, ordered by the court to have no contact with me or my daughter. He's had no contact with her for nearly 20 years. She has however maintained a relationship with all the rest of his family and she really values that. So YABU.

DinosaursOnASpaceship Thu 11-Oct-12 09:08:35

My exH and I have been divorced for about 7 years now and he still gets on with my family, he goes out for dinner with my grandmother once a month or so and goes round on a weekend with the dc sometimes. She loves it, they had a day out to Lego land in the summer with the dc and they will be going to the pantomime nearer Christmas. Even when I've had new partners it's continued, but then exH has always made an effort to get on with my partners and never made it an issue at family events. A few years ago we went to a new years meal with my family and both exH and my partner at the time where there and it was fine. ExH gets on well with my mother too and although they don't meet up or anything, she will call him or vice versa to arrange lifts for dc and stuff like that. I'm not overly close to his family, but I know if I needed anything for the dc they would (and have) help. They all came to my ds3s christening etc. The only thing that irritates me is that my grandad sends Christmas and birthday cards to exHs address instead of mine.

My current ex and father to ds3/4 doesn't have anything to do with my family (although my nan, bless her, still asks after him) but I am always included by his extended family (not so much his immediate family) to birthday parties, meals etc as I am still classed as family being the mother of ds3/4. I am only included by his immediate family when it's an evening thing that they think ds3 is to young to stay up late for and will need bringing home early. Which is seen as my job - im invited, they get to see and show off ds3, I bring him home when he's tired and they can then stay at the event. I won't be comfortable doing that when he has a new partner though.

I think it's nice when it works, but I do feel awkward and uncomfortable around exes family at times and I can't see things continuing the way they are. They see a lot of ds3 with ex so wouldn't miss out if they were to forget I existed. They don't really have anytime for me, it's always stilted and I don't think it benefits anyone. I've been trying to keep things nice as I'm pregnant and as ex won't be going anywhere with a newborn baby they will have to come here to visit - if we survive Christmas! Ex is expecting ds3 and I to go their Christmas eve and stay until Christmas night (my boys are at their dads this year) and I've said no as I don't want to feel stressed and like an outcast over Christmas - I can see problems coming as they want to spend the entire time with ds3.

I've totally lost the point of what I was saying sorry blush

birdofthenorth Thu 11-Oct-12 09:10:25

Just had a similar conversation with my friend last week. She separated from her DH a year ago -although there was hope of a reunion in the months that followed. When this failed to transpire (his position not her's at the time) she began seeing someone new. No children involved. Her ex-MIL still wants to see her for lunch regularly and maintain a relationship (despite friend and her STBEx being clear that a reconciliation is not on the cards). Friend enjoys this contact, loves her ILs, sees no issue with it. Her new BF, however, finds it totally uncomfortable, which I sympathise with. He sees it as holding out hope for a reconciliation. I don't think it is this, I think it is that they were family and when do you draw a line under that?

My DH had a child from a previous relationship and when we met my now ILs still contacted his ex seperately from matters relating to their grandchild. I found it tough, and a bit odd, although I would be more understanding these days as a mum myself, and as someone who sees her ILs as her own family rather than just her DH's. Later they fell out with her entirely, which has now been the case for years, and they spent an enormous amount of time and energy slagging her off, which I also found hard (some of it was for her housekeeping skills ffs... Not an area I am skilled in either!).

I think you are right that when XP wants to bring a new partner to family events you need to not be there. But I think your ILs probably love you and want you to know they do not blame you for the demise of your relationship and that they are sad that it happened. They won't want to ostracise you straight away. Plus they will want their granddaughter to see them being kind to you. I would politely withdraw on your own timescale. If you're no longer comfortable seeing them, gently withdraw.

OwlLady Thu 11-Oct-12 09:13:30

my mum kept in touch with my grandparents when her and my father divorced, i think it's pretty normal really but it's up to you what you want to do, but I don't think they are necssarily being malicious. I imagine they are frightened that they will lose contact with their grandaughter, especially if you ex is a bit useless

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