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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?

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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".

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.

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

* family time

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.

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

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?

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.

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...

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.

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.

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