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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?

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.


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


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:

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.

CoolaSchmoola Sun 14-Oct-12 21:20:21

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.

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