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staying in touch with ex-SIL

(14 Posts)
pepitoincognito Wed 05-Mar-14 10:57:30

just over a year ago, my BIL, so DH's brother, announced he was leaving his wife of 20+ years. He had fallen out of love with her several years ago, and now he had a new girlfriend he had met at work, decided to throw in his marriage. No children involved. I am civil and polite to him and his new partner but I admit I am not my usual warm can't-do-enough-for-family self. I like my old SIL. We exchange birthday cards and christmas greetings. We, DH and I have been out for dinner once with her since her marriage breakup. I have called her a handful of times. My ex-SIL is suggesting a meet up again. I like her. I want to meet her. I'm pretty sad she won't be godmother to my first child who will be born later this year. But I don't want to cause trouble and ill feeling in DH's family. So far no one has commented to me, i also haven't proactively mentioned it, and DH is up for going out for dinner with ex-SIL again. Should I let the relationship fade out to keep the peace?

Poledra Wed 05-Mar-14 11:01:18

I don't see why you can't keep up a friendship with her. It's not like she treated your BIL badly - he left her. Right enough, I'd probably not invite her to big family gatherings, but if you and DH want to keep up with her as a friend, I can't see why not. The parents of a divorced friend of mine are still friendly with her exhusband - the marriage just fizzled out, rather than someone else being involved - but her father and ex got on very well, so no-one could see a reason why they shouldn't still be friends.

elliebellys Wed 05-Mar-14 11:01:21

No,why should you.if they dont like it,tough luck.she can still be god mother,that is your choice no one elses.

affinia Wed 05-Mar-14 11:12:38

No way. We had a similar situation. You are all adults. Why should she lose people she cares about as well as her DH. She also probably wants to keep some continuity in her life and connection to what was a huge chunk of her life.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 05-Mar-14 11:20:44

So your BIL cheated on her and left her high and dry.
And you want to cut her off???
Wow - that's harsh.
She's done nothing wrong.
Why should she lose friends and family she has known for decades because of her lying cheating husband?
And if you want her to be god-mother then that's fine too.
If you wanted her before, why not now?
Has she changed?
She needs people more than ever right now, not people who are considering cutting her out.
You can have my second biscuit ever on MN

Patilla Wed 05-Mar-14 11:26:50

Surely she still has a relationship to you through her children who will be your child's cousins?

Ask her to be godmother if you want to. It sounds as if she wasn't the party who caused the split particularly.

What better example to your child than a woman dealing with life not gone to plan, but carrying on with grace and dignity.

AddToBasket Wed 05-Mar-14 11:27:20

Hellsbells- that is OTT. I'm going to assume this situation touches a nerve with you.

OP, you sound lovely. Definitely maintain your friendship. Like you, I'd avoid being 'noisy' about it, but your friendships are yours. Maybe don't invite her round on Christmas Day, tho, just for diplomacy!

FrogbyAnotherName Wed 05-Mar-14 11:35:04


If she uses her relationship with you to score points with her ex, then it may cause ill feeling, rifts, or even estrangement between family members.

My exH has remained friends with my parents, even spending his honeymoon visiting them, but neither he, nor my parents, have been able to keep their friendship separate from their relationship with me - exH would justify decisions he was making about DD by telling me that my parents agreed with him, and my parents regularly shared information and details of my life/financesetc with my exH. My parents and I are now completely estranged.

If you, and she, can keep your friendship separate from your relationship with your BILthen great - but be very wary of what you share with whom so those boundaries aren't crossed.

pepitoincognito Wed 05-Mar-14 11:39:55

Thanks addtobasket that's kind. The reason she can't be godmother is because DH is absolutely clear he wants BIL to be godfather (I do not agree with this but there is no arguing it with him, and peaceful relations are more important than the moral highground on this one). It was always clear for us - before BIL made his choice to stop working on his marriage, find someone else and dump his wife - that if we had kids, we would have BIL and SIL as godparents together. If anything happened to us, our child would go to guardians with whom they are familiar. Because I don't want to cause awkwardness at family gatherings, this is no longer possible. It does seem like the advice so far is that I can maintain the level of contact I have now. And maybe ex-SIL can be a special aunty.

pepitoincognito Wed 05-Mar-14 11:46:40

thanks frog that is very good advice. I will be careful to keep things separate. Found this really hard at first, and did say to ex-SIL a couple of times, I understand marriages break up but I don't agree with how BIL has gone about things or how he has made his choices. Manage to not say things any more.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 05-Mar-14 11:49:31

No Addto not at all.
I was very lucky to have all my friends and family and inlaws rally round and be there for me.
I can't imagine if any of them had decided to cut me off and end the relationship which was not of my doing at all.
I would have been miffed and mortified.
I'm just trying to see it from poor SIL side that if OP did let the relationship fade, what had I done wrong to deserve such treatment.
Sounds most unfair to me!
But that is just IMHO.

AddToBasket Wed 05-Mar-14 11:52:04

Ok, but I guessed right that this was about you. The OP is just gently navigating a solution and you gave her a biscuit and accused her of being harsh.

Viviennemary Wed 05-Mar-14 11:52:33

I don't see why you shouldn't keep up the friendship if you like her and she is a nice person. But I agree that things could get difficult if they both start to air their grievances and expect you to take sides.

Spickle Wed 05-Mar-14 13:22:05

Same situation as you, except my DH's brother divorced his wife 15 years ago. I have maintained a relationship with my ex-SIL (both are godparents to my two DCs) ever since. I don't discuss family news with ex-SIL and my BIL was a bit wary at our continuing friendship at first, though he now accepts that we do have contact regularly and will continue to do so. I do try to be diplomatic though - I don't discuss him with her or vice versa. When my DH sadly died, both came to the funeral which was the first time ex-SIL had been in the same room as her exDH plus his family for a few years!

If you value your SIL's friendship and you want to support her when she needs you, then do so. It's early days but hopefully your BIL and family will eventually come to terms with it. Just be mindful of their feelings and keep any news/gossip to yourself.

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