To be sobbing over a Christmas card? Or are they in the right?

(44 Posts)
TheGostOfChristmasCards Tue 11-Dec-12 16:27:58

I am a regular but have namechanged because I don’t want to be recognised in rl.

Me and DH are in the process of splitting up. I don’t want to go into details, but there was fault on both sides, neither of us is perfect, we have both acknowledged our part but the relationship is beyond salvage. We are splitting amicably but at the moment are still living under the same roof.

My family have remained on good terms with DH because firstly he hasn’t done anything to them, and secondly there are children so it is in their interests to all stay on good terms for their sakes too. His family on the other hand have completely cut me dead since DH told them, have refused to speak to me, haven’t said anything to me openly but have maintained a silence. Even though we had a very good relationship before me and h split.

I’ve just opened a Christmas card from one of DH’s aunties. Someone we don’t see often but with whom I’ve always got on really well. It was addressed to h and the dc. They know I am still here as I’m not moving out until after the New Year.

I know it’s just a Christmas card but it has upset me more than I can say. It is such a deliberate and visible snub and will now go on display to everyone who comes into this house. Even my ds asked why I wasn’t named and said that I should have been because I’m still living here.

Me and h are still friends and on speaking terms and yet his family can’t even be civil enough to name me in a Christmas card which also includes my children. And I feel as if they are sending a message to the children that it’s ok to take sides and that it’s ok for them to not want anything to do with their mummy.

I am sitting here in floods of tears and know I need to get a grip but ibu?

Stuffingballs Tue 11-Dec-12 17:23:14

Was in*

Pandemoniaa Tue 11-Dec-12 17:26:50

But actually I don't get this notion that everyone should fall out and that there should be bitterness from people who aren't actually directly involved in the split especially when the parties who are involved are able to do it amicably.

Well I don't get this either but unfortunately, this is easier to achieve if you are the parties involved and it can be very difficult to avoid a certain awkwardness from family members. It may well be that the sender of this card simply didn't know what to write. It may also be that there was no intention of hurting your feelings especially if they've been told everything is amicable. Who knows? But please don't allow yourself to sob over a Christmas card. There's no "right" way of doing these things as others have said.

When ex-dh and I split up my dm made a point of saying that she hadn't fallen out with him and he continued to get Christmas cards. However, my ILs seemed to find the whole idea of us splitting up too difficult to cope with. They weren't unpleasant people but they honestly didn't know how to behave. So they sent me a somewhat passive aggressive letter saying they hoped they could 'continue to be good grandparents in the circumstances ' and then pretty much ignored me for several years. My dcs always got a Christmas card from them but my name was never on it. It didn't actually bother me, tbh but it did seem a pity that people I'd never actually fallen out with could write me out of the family history as if we'd had some sort of enormous, dramatic argument and my dcs weren't overly thrilled on my behalf either.

tisnottheseasonyet Tue 11-Dec-12 17:55:51

To the bin it/burn it brigade, it's not the OP's card to destroy. Is it ok for her husband to intercept and destroy her post?

TheGostOfChristmasCards Tue 11-Dec-12 18:10:41

Pandemoniaa this is exactly how it feels for me with my ILs.

We haven't actually fallen out, but they refuse to engage with me e.g. ringing h on his mobile instead of the house phone in case I answer it, for instance so there is no opportunity for any kind of engagement with them. And yes, like being cut out of the family history without a dramatic exit...

I made the point to h the other day that while they may feel unable to engage with me, if anything were to ever happen to h, their cutting me out of their lives would then also mean that bond with my dc would be cut if H wasn't in the picture. I know that's a morbid thought but is one which I think people don't often consider in such circs...

But I digress.... no I haven't binned the card, but equally now I don't feel it would be appropriate for me too send one either..

cheesesarnie Tue 11-Dec-12 18:14:18

similar happening here.

i'm grinning and bearing it.

it's their loss tbh. i don't want their crappy card if they behave like that.

SledsImOn Tue 11-Dec-12 18:17:59

It sounds like etiquette fail.

She probably just didn't know what to write.

I'd let it go - but yanbu to be so upset in general, sounds a very painful situation for you x

SledsImOn Tue 11-Dec-12 18:19:07

Maybe his entire family just wants to avoid any potential discussion, or confrontation - as in, they're not getting involved. Strange as it is, some people/families do default to this in similar circs.

It's not your fault and probably doesn't mean anything. Just the way they handle stuff.

slambang Tue 11-Dec-12 18:21:19

Are you and xh sending cards separately?

if so, you are over-thinking things if cards are coming separately.

The etiquette of sending cards to newly separated people are a nightmare and as you are still living together it complicates things even further for distant relatives who've heard your apart.

Give it not another thought.

StanleyLambchop Tue 11-Dec-12 18:26:41

TBH I would be confused over who to write on the card in the situation you describe. It is one of those 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' scenarios, so hard to get it right. I would probably have just written 'to all of you' or something neutral to cover myself. If she has always been ok with you in the past then I would give her the benefit of the doubt.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 11-Dec-12 18:32:34

I would give her the benefit of the doubt.

My brother and his wife decided to separate earlier in the year. I now hear from my mum that they are going to give things another go, but this hasn't been communicated to me from my brother so as far as things stand at the moment I have bought him a Christmas present, and his card will be to him only.

There are no kids in the picture and I hate my SIL so perhaps that alters things.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Tue 11-Dec-12 18:35:15

How long ago did you make it known that you were splitting up?

If it is quite recently and you haven't spoken to her since I would send her a card tomorrow, I would include a small note in it to say 'I'm sure you have heard our (sad < if you want) news, that DH and I have decided to separate. It is a mutual decision and there is no animosity on either side. The children are our first priority of course and they are very happy that we are able to continue to be on friendly terms and remain 'a family'. I am so lucky that our friends and my family have been so accepting of our decision. It would be lovely to see you over Christmas/in the New Year/whatever. Much Love, You, DH, DCs x

If you post it tomorrow it will just look like your cards have crossed in the post - next move is hers.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 11-Dec-12 18:36:50

I'm glad to read you haven't binned the card. It's not your card to consider binning, so it would be wrong of you to do that.

I'd guess that the family don't know that truth about what has happened between you and DH. If this Aunt has had information from your in laws, they are likely to have spun the story to be biased in favour of their own son.

I was in a similar situation when I split with my dcs Dad. His Mum and sisters wouldn't talk to me for a long time, and one of his Aunts who I'd previously got on well with blanked me and loudly talked about me at my ex's Dads funeral, despite his Mum being gracious and inviting me. Now that I am married to someone else and I'm still on excellent terms with my ex, I get on really well with his family and have a lovely relationship with his Mum. The way things are for you right now are unlikely to be permanent.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Tue 11-Dec-12 18:38:49

I agree with whoever said to get your children to write your name in the card & discuss it with them - to me it kind of signifies that it's not up to outsiders to define your new family set up, but up to all of you who are in it. No-one can 'unmake' your family unit unless you let them.

Of course, part of it is probably the realisation that your family isn't the same unit as it was before you made this decision and whether that's the right decision or not, it's still sad that it wont be what you had wanted it to be before things changed.

God, I hope some of that makes sense!

musicposy Tue 11-Dec-12 18:51:51

I doubt it was intended to cause deliberate hurt. My Dsis is in a very similar position as you and I have no idea what to do about Christmas this year.
If I include her H in the cards, it looks as though I think everything is still hunkydory and am pretending they are still together. If I exclude him, it looks as though I have a problem with him, which I don't. And as for presents, who knows? If I send him a present, will that upset Dsis? If I don't, that looks mean and horrible - after all he's been my BIL for many years. Should I send him a separate card?

It's very hard for families to know what to do for the best, so don't get upset. Are you sure you're not upset about the split, underneath? Can that be changed?

SilverBaubles33 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:03:26

nobody knows how to behave in these situations - perhaps she thought it would upset the children or some such over-thought thing.

Relatives get in a right old palaver about cards/presents/Easter lunch blah blah.

Everyone is right - chuck it and sod it; it probably wasn't personal and if it was, it's her problem not yours.

The ONLY thing that matters here - and this is crucial - is that you and your husband are behaving in a friendly and civilised fashion; you are giving the children the rare benefit of seeing that sometimes things just don't work out, but it isn't their fault and they are loved by and allowed to love both parents.

Anything else is bollocks.

In a couple of years it won't be so bloody raw and you can send cards to and from whomever the hell you like.

This will be the worst Christmas of all.

You sound like you're a lovely mum and a civilised kind partner.

You're streets ahead of so many other people.

Happy Christmas to all of you.

Atthewelles Thu 13-Dec-12 14:08:13

I agree that she probably just wasn't sure what to write. She should probably have just said something neutral like 'wishing you all a happy Christmas' but I wouldn't take it to heart. I doubt it was meant as a snub and, if it was, she doesn't sound like someone worth worrying about.

upstart68 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:57:46

I don't think it was meant to upset you or cause harm. Maybe she just thought you and dc had moved out? And that she didn't want to write the card to just him on his own.

I've done similar - when some friends split up, admittedly she and the dc had moved out, but we sent both adults a card addressed to the adult plus the dc.

Otherwise it could seem that we're not acknowledging the split or that they're moving on.

I think it's more likely to be something like that rather than her snubbing you.

pigletmania Thu 13-Dec-12 15:07:34

Rip it up and chuck in the bin. Not a nice thing to do

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 15:14:11

It's just a card; a piece of paper that will be binned in the not too distant future.

Why not just add your name to it and take the view that, in the unlikely event the aunt deliberately set out to hurt, it's the season of goodwill to all wo/men and you can rise above her pettymindedness.

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