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Navigating friendships with ex brother and sister-in-law

(5 Posts)
timelord92 Sat 23-May-20 13:48:40

Sorry this is a long post!

Is it possible to remain friendly with your ex brother and sister-in-law when you aren’t amicable with your ex?

This is the scenario that myself and DP are in at the moment. My DP has a group of male friends that he’s known for 20+ years. My DP’s ex girlfriend is also the sister of one of these friends. He’s got two children in their late teens and early twenties with her. This makes his friend (let’s call him ste) and his wife also his children’s aunt and uncle.

My DP split up with his ex 15 years ago but still remained friendly with her brother and they continued to go to the pub, go to birthday parties, nights out, mini holidays abroad, etc. ste actually told him at one point that he hopes he meets someone else as he doesnt want to see him alone. Although the relationship between my DP and his ex were not great they were still amicable enough after the split that they could still be in the same room together. When Ste married his wife a few years ago they were both there together and it didn’t seem to be an issue. His ex also remained friendly with my DP’s family after the split who were also at the wedding.

This is where I come in. I met my DP 9 years after he split up with his ex whilst playing a social sport together. We were friends for a year before we started going out. I also met his friends (2 of them) at this sport as they play it too and I met them all at the same time. The only friend who didnt/doesnt play this sport is Ste. We started being friendly with other people at this sport and before long we were all going on outdoorsy stuff together like camping, hiking,etc. Ste and his wife were invited to these events but they never went. After that we started to organise sporting xmas nights out and going to each other’s houses etc. We never really saw Ste and his wife that much at all and my DP admitted that they had started to drift apart years ago. We did organise a group cinema trip when we first started dating so i could get to know them but after that no one organised anything again.

After I started dating my DP this is where his relationship with his ex changed. She bad -mouthed him to the kids, dictated when he could have them, bad-mouthed him to his family in front of the children, told them that when i inevitably left him that he’d be left with no one. The first few years where particularly tough and I’ve not built up a good relationship with the children because of this and would often be left like I was walking on eggshells as anything that was said however innocent would be relayed back to their mum (my DSD admitted to her dad that her mum questions her for 15 mins every time she got back home from our house). The children also started telling my DP when I could and couldn’t stay and at one point when I was actually living with my DP I was having to go to my parents house at weekends cos they didn’t want me there. Things only improved once we had our daughter together. My DSD stays a lot more often now and she tells us her mother says she and her brother need to have a relationship with their sister. We very rarely hear from her mum these days and everything is a lot better. All the issues we had caused me to suffer badly with anxiety. It also affected how I saw Ste and his wife as they were a constant reminder of my DP’s ex.

After we had our baby Ste confided in one of our other mutual friends that he felt left out because he felt all of his friends were doing stuff together and he was being left out because he didn’t play this sport that had become very social. Our mutual friend then started inviting him and his wife along to more social events. They are now friendly with everyone and are invited to events organised by everyone now. However, when they organise anything we never get an invite to it. We find out on facebook when people put pictures up and we are the only ones that aren’t there. The most recent one was a special birthday party for Ste’s mother in law. Everyone that we know was there. All of my DP’s family and all of our friends were there and not one person even mentioned it to us.

Not long before that they invited everyone to a fundraising event at their house and we only found out about it because one of our friends mentioned organising an upcoming holiday together while we were all at Ste’s. Of course we werent invited so we asked what was happening at Ste’s. Ste was quick to reply to it saying what it was and we were more than welcome to come. However, he also sent a private message to my DP saying that his sister was there and he could let him know when she’d left if he wanted so he could come over.

I’m not sure what to do in this situation as it’s an awkward situation. Should we just let it go and accept that we are not invited because DP’s ex will be there? We have in the past made a point of inviting them to things like our daughters 1st birthday so as not to make them feel left out even if it meant it was a little awkward for us. They did come to that with their children. My DP recently confided in Ste that we felt awkward because of who he’s related to and he replied that he’s sad we feel that way as it was years ago and he thought it was all behind us. He said we are welcome to their home anytime. They moved house a year ago and have never invited us over so don’t even know where they live anymore.

I’m trying to cut negative energy out of my life and I’m thinking about this too much. We aren’t keen to keep the friendship going but are going to find it hard to not be around them when we run in the same social circles now. We are all friendly when we are together but we still find it stressful. We also have the issue now that if we organise anything do we invite them too because everyone else will expect it? Or should we try and meet other people and make new friends?

Cherrysoup Sat 23-May-20 15:12:38

Do you think the ex has said me or them? I can see why it’s awkward, I tend not mix sport and other friends, they’re different groups, so I can understand why it might not happen naturally.

Waveysnail Sat 23-May-20 16:03:12

Going to ex mil birthday would be totally weird so get why you weren't invited to that. Obviously the ex doesnt want to be in the same place as you and your dp. So if shes involved then Ste isn't going to invite you as shes his sister.

timelord92 Sat 23-May-20 16:37:15

Hi cherrysoup yes that is a possibility that the ex has said that.

Hi Waveysnail it wasn't ex mil party it was Ste's mil party who my DP has known longer than Ste has. In the 9 years that they broke up until the time he met me he was invited to these events that his ex was at but only now its a problem as he is with me.

BumpBundle Sat 23-May-20 17:00:06

Are you invited to things that the other friends organise? Say the group is you, your partner, Ste, his partner and five other people. Are you invited when the other five people host events? If so then don't worry. If you're not then ask one of those five people why not.

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