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

PinkleWickers Thu 11-Oct-12 09:19:54

There is no normal or not normal, only what is personally acceptable.

I am still treated as family by ex inlaws as he is by my family. It works for us and most importantly works very well for ds.

If you dont want it then thats fine for you but i really get irritated by attitudes that paint my kind of situation as weird, lke it would be more socially acceptable for ds to live a fractured, double life. And thats not a dig at anyone who is in that kind of set-up but make your own decisions based on your own feelings of whts appropriate, not what you think constitutes 'normal'.

amillionyears Thu 11-Oct-12 09:24:41

Could you split this up in some way.
Yes to they having regular contact with DD.
Yes to you seeing them together with DD.
No to exs family's social events where your ex is going to be too, but your DD can still go.
Up to you re going to ex's family's social events,where ex may not be there,but still send DD if appropriate.

And when you have decided how you want to proceed,to be consistent,make sure they know your decisions,written down if necessary and give to them,so they cant dispute it.

duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 10:07:03

I'm so sorry that people seem to think that I am labelling them as weirdos for maintaining a relationship with ex ILs. I didn't mean that at all, I should have phrased the AIBU as "to think that maintaining family life with ex in-laws is not usual?"

blush

digerd Thu 11-Oct-12 10:42:58

My friend and I were appalled that after her divorce, he had moved in with a woman just down the road and her 2 children, that his side of the family had no more contact with her 2 children. 12 and 14. So, I think it is lovely that his parents want to keep up contact with your child. Also the family gatherings are lovely for your DC too, even if very painful for you. The answer to your question is that it may not be usual , but that does not make it right for the children.

KellyElly Thu 11-Oct-12 10:47:27

Completely weird I agree - my ex's family are like this too. They shouldn't be arranging meet ups with me to see my DD, they should be arranging it when her dad has he. He actually goes over to have family days with his mum, sister, brother, their respective partners and kids and doesn't take his own. I think everyone should be given the chance to move on and get on with their lives afer the break up of a relationship and unless you have a particular bons with ex's family I think the only time you should see them is at your child's birthday partys and maybe if they drop off an Xmas present. All other contact should be pick up and drop off or through the dad imo.

scaevola Thu 11-Oct-12 10:55:33

I think amillionyears is right.

This family is and will remain your DD's relations. The default, absent abuse, is that she should remain in contact with them. The list above of types of event and how far both of you, together or separately, gives a start point of how you might choose to handle different gatherings. Routinely, she can see them with her father. But not everything is going to fall tidily into the diary and it's the right, but difficult, thing to do to facilitate DD being there for key gatherings and until she can go independently, this may involve you too.

digerd Thu 11-Oct-12 11:01:03

To Pinklewickers. There was no implication of the word wierdo, you inferred that, as is so often the case with words, written or spoken. Yours is an ideal situation and well done to all of you concerned, if only all families could be like yours, but they are not, I,m afraid.

Tryharder Thu 11-Oct-12 11:05:27

I think they sound nice and you should keep up the contact. I would tell them that you do not wish to attend events that your XH and his new DP will also be at, I can't imagine for a minute that they would really expect you to. Yes, in the normal scheme of things, your XH should maintain the contact, not you, but they are probably well aware that their son is a twunt!

digerd Thu 11-Oct-12 11:20:03

Please do not feel like an au pair - you are the proud mother who gave birth to his DD, infact, his DP could be feeling inferior to you, knowing this, and your close relationship to his parents also due to your DD. Hope this helps

TheDreadedFoosa Thu 11-Oct-12 11:31:11

Yes, sorry the word 'weirdo' was mine. Touchy subject atm blush

Stand your ground op, there is no point in going along with a situation thst just doesnt sit right with you.

CremeEggThief Thu 11-Oct-12 11:48:40

I don't think this is a YABU or YANBU, as every family is different and what's normal for one family would be weird for another.

It sounds as if they're trying to show you they still consider you and your DD as part of their family, but if this feels a bit too much for you, find a way of letting them down gently.

digerd Thu 11-Oct-12 12:15:32

To DINOSAURS - oh shame you lost the thread - I do that all the time when talking- as found your post most intriguing and was trying so hard to take it all in and work it all out Brain is now bogged down so will try again later !!

TheDreadedFoosa Thu 11-Oct-12 12:26:34

^^ PinkleWickers, btw.

Paradisefound Thu 11-Oct-12 12:33:56

My parents divorced when I was 20. My mum and dad have always been civil with one another. My mum has always had a wonderful relationship with my dads mum. I think it's really important that kids know and love their grandparents. You never know what the future holds, the contact will probably prove beneficial for children.

charlottehere Thu 11-Oct-12 12:38:16

personally, I wouldn't continue any sort of realtionship with my inlaws. I can't stand them. I wold expect DH to enable the realtionship between them and our DCs. Infact I hope I would never see or be in any sort of contact them again.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 11-Oct-12 12:53:42

I think it is lovely if you can all remain on friendly terms or even as friends. If you can all be mature about it then that is great. Its setting a really good example to the children.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 11-Oct-12 13:07:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 13:52:12

I make sure DD sends cards and presents to the inlaws. send copies of her artwork, photos and so on. They are invited to her birthday and she goes with them to weddings etc.

MIL has always thought that I was a poor mother and that my housekeeping failed to meet her standards. They have never been interested in me as an individual. MIL told me that XH left because I was too old and boring for him. If you have had a good relationship with your in-laws I can understand that you would be inclined to carry out and work something out, especially if the split had been amicable.

I do my best to make sure that DD maintains contact with her family but it seems that I am not doing enough and should be forced into attending events with XH. I appreciate that for the big events in DD's life that will have to be the case and I have to just suck it up for her, but I am surprised that so many people think that I should be attending parties, weddings etc even though I wouldn't stop DD from going.

Looks like pain and humilation is here to stay.

katiecubs Thu 11-Oct-12 13:58:30

Gosh i don't! In no way should you be expected to go to such events if you don't even get on with them that well.

It sounds like you are already doing more than would be expected - stick to your guns and tell MIL you have your own life to get on with!

duffybeatmetoit Thu 11-Oct-12 14:18:42

My previous "glorified au pair" reference was due to the fact that at the last party my MIL had planned to seat DD with ILs and put me on my own on a separate table with people I don't really know. I was then expected to take DD home once she was tired. I did succeed in refusing to attend and my DD was the only one who really missed me.

MoomieAndFreddie Thu 11-Oct-12 15:42:23

My exMIL is one of my closest friends

When I split with exH we stayed in contact so she could still see DS, in fact I brought DS round to see her far more than his own dad did. And five years on, I now have a DD from my new marriage. She sees both the DC as her grandchildren, and adores them both and treats them the same, she is a lovely woman. unlike present mil who ignores DS and carries on like she only has one grandchild

But I wouldn't attend actual family events, tbh that would be weird.

gettingeasier Thu 11-Oct-12 15:48:06

I have nothing to do with my ex ILs and xh has nothing to do with my parents

Our DC see both sets GPs exactly as they did before the split

JustSpiro Thu 11-Oct-12 15:54:52

They sound charming hmm.

I would say to them that at the moment (I presume it's still fairly early days since you and ex split?) you don't feel entirely comfortable as things are a bit raw, but of course you're happy for them to maintain a good relationship with DD.

Hopefully things will move on and they'll get over it, but I can't see any reason why you would need or want to keep that level of contact with them, and if necessary it sounds like you may have to be quite firm.

Hope you get it sorted.

rollmeover Thu 11-Oct-12 16:06:31

Wow, no way should you have to attend if your ex is there. I think it sounds like you are being perfectly reasonable by staying in touch the way you are. At the next gathering say that you are off shopping/to the movies and will pick her up afterwards.
Good luck!

alarkaspree Thu 11-Oct-12 16:15:38

It's not that unusual, probably, to maintain a relationship with an xh's family. I probably would because I am fond of all dh's family. But it's certainly not an obligation if they are not nice to you. Just continue to help facilitate their relationship with dd and you're fine.

It sounds like you are used to being controlled a bit by your ex and his family. You don't have to feel the way they want you to feel, or do what they want you to do. They don't have to agree to you not attending an event, you just have to not go.

Wow - I am actually quite envious. STBEXH had an affair last year and I asked him to leave. He said nothing to his parents and it was left to me to keep them in the loop as to logistics. Since then they have snubbed me totally. I'm not surprised but I am sad about it - I held out an olive branch for the lastyear as they are DS family.

ScaryBOOAlot Thu 11-Oct-12 16:21:46

I think you're being unreasonable to be honest. They're still your DDs family even if you no longer want to classify them as yours. Surely reassuring your daughter that she is still loved and cared for / that you can still get on with the other side of her family is important?

I get on wonderfully with my exPs family, but even if I didn't, I would still make the effort to spend time with them for DSs sake.

titchy Thu 11-Oct-12 16:24:00

It's your ex's responsibility to make sure your dd has a relationship with his parents, and you responsibility to make sure she has a relationship with your parents.

Simple.

TiAAAAARGHo Thu 11-Oct-12 16:28:42

Your ILs sound awful and so I wouldn't bother with them. I think it is normal to maintain a relationship where everyone gets on (whether or not the exP can be included in 'everyopne') but not otherwise.

duffybeatmetoit Sun 14-Oct-12 09:25:04

Scary - but it's a two way street though surely? If I turn up to family events and they treat me like the au pair what sort of message is that giving DD? It must be better for DD to see them on her own rather than witness that?

SirBoobAlot Sun 14-Oct-12 09:33:24

Well that comes down to your opinion. You might feel they're treating you like that - what your DD will see is that her mother there.

PeppermintLatte Sun 14-Oct-12 10:00:08

Yanbu

And i certainly don't think it's up to you to maintain contact between your inlaws & DD. surely that's up to your ex? They are his parents.

When my mum & dad split, my mum had no more to do with them, she was very civil whenever she saw them and they still got on, but she didn't visit them socially, and it was my dad who kept us in contact with paternal GM.

If i split with ex, i wouldn't go out of my way to visit inlaws, they would be more than welcome to ring me and ask could they take DD out for the day, but i would expect the majority of it to be arranged by DD's dad.

Runningblue Sun 14-Oct-12 10:40:12

I feel sorry for your dd that your exh isn't maintaining enough contact with her, it would help with these family occasions too, and take pressure off you a bit...

5Foot5 Sun 14-Oct-12 11:59:19

Well I think it is normal that they want to keep DD in their lives and involve her in family occasions so that she still feels part of their family. They probably feel that unless they include you and stay on good terms with you they won't be able to do this.

flow4 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:18:53

The most important thing/person in all this is your DD. She needs to keep her relationship with her grandparents and the other side of her family, and it will definitely help her to know she isn't expected to 'pick sides'. She can mostly do this through her father, I imagine, if you don't want to keep up a relationship with the in-laws... But it'll help you as well as her if you can all keep as friendly and civil as possible. There will be times when 'their' family events (grandpa's 70th birthday or a wedding anniversary party, for instance) happen during 'your time' with DD... And if you have an amicable relationship with them, you'll be happier to be flexible and to change plans so DD can be part of those... Similarly, when it comes to plans and presents for DD's Christmas and birthdays, it's easier to be able to have direct convos with grandparents... If you cut them off now, they won't be able to talk to you directly about things like this, and you won't build mutual trust and respect, and you'll probably feel a bit put-upon and/or sidelined when they 'expect' DD to attend something or they choose her a present without talking to you.

It's likely to be a bit bumpy and uncomfortable as you 're-negotiate' your relationship with them on different terms - as their grand-daughter's mum, not their son's wife - but if you can sort it out, it'll be better for everyone smile

olgaga Sun 14-Oct-12 14:05:33

I think there is far too much emphasis placed on wider family relationships. Some people - like me through emigration, others through family breakdown or just having very small families/very old grandparents don't get this relationship at all.

Frankly, the old saying "what you never have you never miss" is true. My lack of any grandparents, aunts and uncles has never been an issue for me! Nor is it for DD, whose grandads had both died long before she was born and grandmas both died when she was too young to really remember them -she is now 11 but was around your daughter's age when the the last grandma died.

OP, I think if your ex wants his children to have a relationship with his parents, it's up to him. I fully understand your discomfort with this over-enthusiasm for inclusiveness, it sounds to me they look at you and your daughter as a box to be ticked.

You have your own life to live, so does your DD. You are the parent with care and entitled to pick and choose your own and your daughter's social and family activities. They live a long way away, and this means a couple of times a year is plenty if you can do it and want to. If your ex can't be bothered, you shouldn't feel under any pressure to do his job for him and run around doing extra lengthy journeys with the hassle and expense that entails.

Believe me, your DD won't suffer one bit if you decline to cart her around to fulfil other people's self-regarding sense of loyalty and obligation.

Just be busy with your new life.

You might find this book helpful - it's quite old now, but it's the best help with communications and confidence boosting there is:
www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0704334208/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

lovelyladuree Sun 14-Oct-12 15:56:13

I get on better with my ex-ILs now than I did when I was married to their son. I have lunch with them when I am working in their town, and they come up to visit me, my (new?) DP of 10 years and DC. DP is ok with the whole thing. They treat my DD as if she was a grandchild of their own, and spoil her as much as my DS, who is their grandchild. XH doesn't care, and rarely sees them himself. I think sometimes have to let the dust settle and find what is the right thing for you. BTW, XH left me and they were totally disgusted by his behaviour.

Jenny70 Sun 14-Oct-12 18:25:51

My mum kept close to my brothers partner when they split - for the kids sake she knew she wouldn't see the grandkids if they drifted apart.. my brother is hopeless at organising himself let alone others.

But it's up to you. If ex has kids every 2ns weekend and she expects you to see them on "your" weekends that seems bit much. But a weeknight every few weeks might be ok.

DontmindifIdo Sun 14-Oct-12 18:36:20

hmm, if you don't like your MIL, surely the best bit of your DH leaving you is you get to stop being nice to his mother if you don't want to?

So, say no. Then stick to it, after a few times, she'll stop bombarding you. Don't go and be the au pair. Remember, if she wants to have a relationship with your DD and her son won't arrange that, then she'll have to be nice to you. She's raised a son who's left his family and not bothering to see his daughter much, I wouldn't worry that your DD is missing out not seeing this woman all the time...

SirBoobAlot Sun 14-Oct-12 21:03:25

But surely this whole attitude of "its not your responsibility, its her dads" is then just punishment to the children if the dad won't sort it?

And as much as I understand the sentiment of "you don't miss what you never had" - this is different. The OPs DD has known her family, intact, until now. Minimizing the trauma of this for her, and making it as "normal" for her as possible, without ignoring the fact that her parents have split up, has surely got to be the best thing for her.

I also disagree with the idea of you've split with your partner, so you can split with the family. Again, they're still the children's family. And when you have a child, you take on the responsibility of that role. You don't have to like them, you don't have to be best friends. But if you can keep things civil at the very least, then it will reassure the children that the split was simply between the parents, not between the family, and she doesn't have to pick sides.

I always try to keep exPs family as in the loop as I do my own, often forwarding them all the same email or text with updates, because I know that they love him, and he loves them and that's what it comes down to.

My Mum maintained a fabulous relationship with her ILs after she and my Dad divorced and it was BRILLIANT for me and my brother.

Mum used to take us for lunch with my Nana every week, we spent every other Christmas at my Dad's sister's with my cousins, and went for regular visits to them and to other family members who lived closer.

My Mum got on really well with her IL's and that didn't change after my parents divorced. She regularly goes to see my uncle and aunt, they go out for dinner.

My parents have also always been amicable.

It was FANTASTIC for my brother and I. We were very young when our parents divorced (4 and 2) and we saw as much of my Dad's family as we did my Mum's - and that was down to my Mum and them.

That said my family on both sides are lovely people - and at family events my brother and I have both sides chat away to each other merrily.

Divorce can be a messy, nasty business and people can be bastards to each other.....

But maintaining a family life with exILs is not abnormal - for me it was very very normal - and I loved it. I had a wonderful childhood with an amazing extended family. And all because my Mum didn't see maintaining a family life with her exILs as abnormal. And my Mum loved it as well. It was my Dad she divorced - not his family.

If you like them - then why not maintain a relationship with them?

Fishwife1949 Sun 14-Oct-12 21:27:53

I think you are correct op i did this i was very young and silly ex did a bunk and i kept a close to close in my view relationship with his family
All was well because i was single and there was nill chance of me getting with somone one

Fast forward a few years i meet my now oh the first issue started when they wanted to come to my wedding no more like demanded when i had to turn then down it all kicked off then they wanted to take my ds oh hoilday for 8 weeks keep in mind the anutie who wanted to take him my son hadnt spent even a overnight with her.

Then things just got worse from there ex came back on the secen and despite him being absent for years with no conatct they expected me just to allow him contact my oh now has PR for my son none of them talk to me and the grandad that use to see ds all the time sees him a couple of times a year

Ps i found out they were feeding info about me back to ex so he could use against me

Wolfs in sheeps clothing STAY AWAY only your children need have a relationship

KellyElly Mon 15-Oct-12 19:16:45

But surely this whole attitude of "its not your responsibility, its her dads" is then just punishment to the children if the dad won't sort it? Isn't that just a bit of a cop out on behalf of the father thought. It's his responsibility. He should be having family child with his child and his family. I don't see why the OP should be put in situations she's not comfortable with and at the same time making it harder for her to have a clean break with her ex and move on with her life. There's no reason the inlaws can't see the child on their own with the OP just doing a pick up and drop off if that makes her more comfortable. Her feelings also have to be taken into account as well as everyone elses.

KellyElly Mon 15-Oct-12 19:21:10

* family time

ScarahStratton Mon 15-Oct-12 19:30:19

I love my XPILs, they are my family. My XMIL has been far more of a mother to me than my own mother, and my XFIL is a darling. I still see plenty of them, spend Christmas on them, and do the birthday, Easter, etc thing. I love them, and I would hate to no longer have a relationship with them.

And it's lovely for the DDS. They have grown up seeing that divorce doesn't always have to be acrimonious, that it's perfectly possible to be civilised and friends with ex partners and their family. If at all possible, that is how it should be after divorce. I have never, ever used my DDs as pawns, I split everything 50/50 and accepted far less than I could have gone for. Purely because I didn't want to spoil the relationship I had with them, because they meant so much to me.

My solicitor hated me. She got bugger all work out of the divorce, just the absoulte bare minimum, as I refused to play. I was very lucky though, that my XH was very, very reasonable, and also didn't want things to become acrimonious.

ontheedgeofwhatever Mon 15-Oct-12 19:31:04

Sorry not got time to read all the above but

My dad left my mum when I was 5, my brother 3 and my sister 1.

My mum maintainted good relations with my gran until she died 15 years later even having her for Christmas some years. My fathers sister also kept in touch and did a lot to support my mum through difficult times.

Years later I talked to my mum about it and she said "I divorced your father not his family".

2rebecca Mon 15-Oct-12 21:30:55

I think that once you separate then how much you see of your ex's extended family depends on how much you like them. Although they are your daughter's family they aren't yours any more and so are "friends". It doesn't sound as though they are friends or people you would choose to spend time with. It sounds as though you dislike them.
In that case I would be polite but keep my distance. Enable them to see your daughter but make it clear that if they want your daughter to attend their family events they have to put pressure on their son to take her.
My kids attend my ex's family events with him. No way would I go along with them, especially if my ex is there.
It is nice for them to invite you to things, but not nice of them to forcibly insist you go to things. They have to pressurise your ex, not you.
You going to things with your ex's parents may upset your ex. I wouldn't be happy if my family invited my ex to stuff my husband and I went to.
It is more important to your daughter that you and her dad get on than you and her grandparents.

notmyproblem Mon 15-Oct-12 22:14:59

All of you saying YABU, have you not read the OP's other posts where she talks of how her ILs treat her like hired help, not to mention expect her to bow to their will with repeated calls and texts til she gives in? FFS her XH left her, her MIL blames OP for the breakup for being "too old and boring", can't you all see this is a form of bullying, undermining and intimidation?

OP YANBU and you should stand up for yourself. Block their texts if you need to, do as much or as little as you feel like with regard to your DD. By all means, allow her to see them but don't feel like you need to suffer the "pain and humiliation" anymore.

If your MIL wants to see DD, tell her to kick her boot up the arse of her useless son to get it sorted. Shouldn't be your responsibility and you certainly shouldn't feel the need to play happy families with them as if nothing hurtful has ever happened.

olgaga has written a great post above. "Believe me, your DD won't suffer one bit if you decline to cart her around to fulfil other people's self-regarding sense of loyalty and obligation. Just be busy with your new life."

Exactly. Hold your head up high, OP, you're not the one who's weird or in the wrong here.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 15-Oct-12 22:50:25

My fathers parents used to come and visit even after my Mum had remarried - and they always bought pressies for my stepdad's kids
BECAUSE the family ties predated the balls up that was my parents marriage
and they out lasted it
BUT playing it by ear is the main thing

BlueSkySinking Mon 15-Oct-12 23:19:36

It depends, if you genuinely like and enjoy being with the IL's then that set up would suit.

ScarahStratton Tue 16-Oct-12 00:13:56

Yes, but I also read the question in the title, and answered it. It should be the norm to maintain a family life that includes your XP's family. Unless there are good reasons not to. OP didn't ask what to do in her particular situation, she stated that she felt it was abnormal to do so.

KellyElly Tue 16-Oct-12 11:14:15

ScarahStratton but why should it? Yes maintain a civil freindly relationship and invite them to childs birthday party, come over to drop off xmas presents etc but beyond I don't understand your reasoning. Her father wouldn't be expected to take his DD to events at the mother's parents and extended family so why should the mother be expected to do this.

When a relationship breaks up whether you have children or not you are entitled to have a clean break and move on with your life. Yes, you have to have contact with your child's father and family to a point but you shouldn't be expected to attend family gatherings on their side with your child if you don't get along.

KellyElly Tue 16-Oct-12 11:39:47

TalkinPeace2 they were visiting your mum in her house though. The OP is being asked to attend events with her inlaws where she is on their territory and is made to feel unwelcome. It's a different situation to you mums.

ImaginateMum Tue 16-Oct-12 13:56:21

It might not work for you, but it is certainly not abnormal - and I would say in many cases the ideal, if it can be managed.

I have seen many examples where it has worked, including in my own family. My children had seven grandparents in attendance at my brother's wedding. most of them at the same table, and they LOVED it!!

I was upset when my ex-SIL dropped my kids when she left their uncle. In my mind, she is their aunt and I don't see why that should have changed. I am still the aunt to her children, so it seems slightly odd to me.

We're from a small town, so it is not as though I can avoid her when I go back - we're always tripping over each other at parks, shops, cafes. It would be much easier if she'd allowed us to maintain an infrequent but civil relationship - now it is the awkward nod and smile and hope our kids don't choose the same playground equipment so we're in the same proximity for too long, but of course they do because they are cousins and want to play together!!

duffybeatmetoit Tue 16-Oct-12 19:55:49

Thanks notmyproblem that sums up how I feel. My MIL has always been domineering, one SIL greeted the news of my pregnancy with a demand to know how her inheritance would be affected and another SIL (happily married) will not attend any of her DHs family events.

DD will continue to have a relationship with them, I just don't think I need to be more than civil to them. Their treatment of me is not what I want my DD to see. She is very perceptive and it will probably end up with her not wanting to see them as they are not nice to mummy. That surely can't be good.

ScarahStratton Tue 16-Oct-12 20:22:33

My reasoning is that they are still family. Simple as that.

deleted203 Tue 16-Oct-12 21:42:34

I'm with Scarah on this one. I think it's perfectly 'normal' to maintain family life with the in-laws. After all - it's the exH you fell out with, not all his relatives. My ex MIL has been fabulous to me for the 14 years since my divorce - I couldn't have managed without her. And my SIL (married to ex's DB) is now one of my closest friends. However - I had a good relationship with them before the divorce. I think if you don't get on with them when you are married then it is perfectly ok to simply remain civil and allow them to remain in your dcs lives. Certainly wouldn't advocate cutting all contact - they are still your children's grandparents/aunties, etc.

duffybeatmetoit Tue 16-Oct-12 21:45:20

Scarah - I did say further up the thread that I should have said that it was unusual rather than abnormal. You are very lucky that you have always had such a good relationship with your ILs.

Are there any circumstances in which you would think a relationship between xDIL and ILs shouldn't be maintained? If I read you right even if the ILs are constantly undermining and abusive and are not demonstrating that relationships post divorce can be harmonious, you should continue the relationship because they are family?

I guess that would teach children that not all relationships are great but you just have to suck it up and live with it.

ScarahStratton Tue 16-Oct-12 21:50:02

I missed that duffy, my apologies if I've upset you.

No, I don't think it's right to maintain a relationship when the other party is abusive and/or undermining. I have no relationship with my parents or my sister, precisely because of this. Neither do my children, out of their choice (they are quite a lot older than yours). In your instance, I think you are doing the right thing, I can't see that your children will benefit from your XILs at all. In my instance, they are the only family that my children have, apart from me.

duffybeatmetoit Tue 16-Oct-12 22:02:45

Not upset just thought you were saying that there were no reasons NOT to maintain the relationship and wanted to understand why. It is sad that you don't enjoy the same relationship with your own parents.

ScarahStratton Tue 16-Oct-12 22:28:09

Ah but I do have my lovely XPILs to make up for it. I've had more mothering from my XMIL in the time that I've known her, than I ever had from my real mum.

No, nobody needs human dementors in their lives, people are only worth having a relationship with if it's a good relationship.

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