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How to keep my STBX in-laws in my children's lives?

(9 Posts)
PoppyField Mon 08-Apr-13 12:37:47

My EA STBXH is alienating just about everyone else in his life - after starting the process with me a few years ago.

He has always been a difficult/er, prickly character and therefore having stand-offs with family members and friends was not that unusual. So it can't have been a complete surprise to his family when our relationship broke down (Usual story, besotted and devoted to me until children came along, then increasingly undermining, controlling, angry and hate-filled).

He has recently told his brother - who I quite like - to fuck off for life. That being the case, I would like to build a happy relationship between us (me and my two young DCs, 6 and 4), and the brother and his family. Up to now I haven't made much in the way of approaches to them as I respected the idea that they might primarily give him some support and see the children through him. That's not going to happen now since he seems to have burnt bridges permanently.

The brother and wife live not too far away, are touchingly diligent with birthday and Christmas presents and I know that they would like to have some sort of role. Trouble is I don't know what. Their children are much older than mine - doing college etc - so there is no joint child-centred activity. I feel a bit awkward suggesting outings which will be kiddy-centred when they've been there/done that etc. I would like the children to have them as 'kindly,interested adults' as they grow up. The naughty part of me considers they could have the children to stay one weekend! Can anyone suggest how we move forward and what kind of things they/we can do to make sure they are meaningfully involved? I am seeing them soon, but want to find a way of making progress without being overbearing. I suppose I should just ask them. It feels odd and strange and I'm feeling abnormally shy about it.

Cailinsalach Mon 08-Apr-13 18:41:25

Well, how about involving them in your childrens' lives, birthday parties etc. Or perhaps invite them round for Sunday lunch?

chocoreturns Mon 08-Apr-13 18:51:08

I invite my ex-SIL's and ex-PIL's around now and then, usually for sunday lunch or similar. They telephone occasionally to ask to come round and see my boys, take them to the park etc. It's fairly informal. You'd be surprised what people like to do and I think simply stating that you hope they will continue to be in your DC's lives is a good starting point, as well as asking how that might be best achieved. I found that just letting them know I was happy to be invited out/asked if they could come round really helped. They hadn't known if I would welcome their involvement, so being given a green light (explicitly) was a good thing to do. Good luck!

NatashaBee Mon 08-Apr-13 18:58:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PoppyField Mon 08-Apr-13 19:15:02

Thanks guys. It sounds simple but it is really good to have your advice as was feeling strangely tentative. Excellent thoughts!

middleeasternpromise Tue 09-Apr-13 12:58:57

It is possible to keep the inlaws in contact whilst still recognising their primary support may be pulled to the ex partner sometimes. I agree with what others have said its about being open and clear but given as you say both families are at different stages to the parenting life, not over expecting - so maybe 3-4 times a year (lunch/birthday or similar). If more opportunities come along thats great but you wont be too hurt if thats all you set it up to be in the first place given recognition of busy lives etc.

downunderdolly Tue 09-Apr-13 13:42:40

Hello. I also have a 'good(ish)' relationship with my ex in laws (partly driven by fact I am in another country and my family are on other side of the world).

There is not structure to it but I email them (with a bit of humour) about DS's 'achievements' eg first parent teacher report / first swimming legnth etc and occassionally suggest - do you want to come and see DS playing soccer/swimming and then go out for pizza etc etc, along with the occassional lunch/dinner invitation, invite to DS party. I think that by having some regular(ish) casual comms with them will help them realise that you want to continue the relationship.

Ex and I had/have very acrimonious split (OW etc) the first year it was hard but now I don't talk about him with them at all and visa versa and it works (they have a good relationship with him and OW, we just don't go there....occassionally spectularly untactful ex MIL will reference something and I have a stock of breezy responses - "I get that you think that but its not something I will probably every agree with, lets agree to disagree, have another glass of wine <change subject>.

I get pleasure from seeing my DS interact wtih his family and my ex SIL and her family are lovely people. Sort of 'put up with' ex MIL/FIL because of DS and enjoying seeing him with grandparents (although could personally take or leave).

Good luck OP, you sound lovely and hope it works out x

Mother2many Tue 09-Apr-13 14:59:31

Just keep the doors open, and make sure they know, they are still welcomed to be part of your children's lives. Invite them to parties, send pictures if you want, say, "if you ever want to take them for a visit, when your able, just let me know"...

My X-in-laws (both) were incredibly hard to deal with.

1st set ~ my partner passed away, I felt it was up to me to keep them in touch with his side of the family. Almost had to force visits. Once my children turned 18, I stopped.

2nd set ~ Nothing. XMIL lives close to me, but never has offered, asked, wanted to take the kids even for supper, and it's been 7 yrs. I can't even call her for help with the kids, as she is the only one close by...

Do you "need" to be around for their visits?? Maybe they don't feel comfortable with you present? Just a question...

Hope it works out for you all!

DotCottonsHairnet Tue 09-Apr-13 15:56:35

Good luck with it all.

When I split with my H at the end of last year, my MIL was all 'oh we mustnt lose touch' etc - well she hasnt contacted us for over a month now. Even when exH has spoken to her she's not asked about her grandchildren. Then just last week exSil defriended myself and the children on facebook - hardly the concerned Auntie she claims to be.

Have spoken with my children and they really are not bothered - they have realised over the years they were never Grannies pets - the other grandchild claimed that spot as the child of Grannies favourite child.

Their loss - luckily my side of the family is big and we are close so my children wont be short of grandparent, auntie, uncle and cousin love.

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