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Friend wants advice RE DH and inlaws

(10 Posts)
EverySongbirdSays Fri 08-Apr-16 05:24:40

So my friend has approached me for advice regarding her inlaws behaviour but I know that my judgement is slightly impaired because I'm a lifelong friend of her DH and I know all the parties concerned so my judgement is impaired by what I know of them as people and also because I have no inlaws I'm not sure if my opinion is "fair" so I thought I'd write it up in a neutral way and see what others thought.

My friend and DH have been married less than a year, but together for 5 and have a 3 year old DD. Inlaws have behaved in an indifferent way to new DIL not hostile, but "polite" yet lacking enthusiasm.

She is not DH's first wife. His first marriage was to his uni sweetheart and collapsed shortly after their DS was born. He cheated. My friend, incidentally was not the OW and only met him about 2 years after the breakdown of his marriage.

When news of his cheating broke the female members of his family rallied round his XW. In particular his sister and 2 of his cousins. The cousins hitherto had shown not much interest in her but all of a sudden were arranging meet ups and get togethers so that all their children could stay in touch with DH's son rather than seeing him via DH.

DH went through a real period of isolation and went from being Goldenballs to the Black Sheep. No-one condones what he did but as an outsider I'm aware of other issues also. XW can be very sly.

The thing is, we are now years and year post split, almost a decade. They have both remarried. Yet DHs family still persist in having days were they meet up with his XW and not his DW. Friend now has DD and they have shown zero interest in meeting up with them. Friend thinks that now she is the SIL she should be the one to meet up and take both her DD and DSD and it's awful to have them all meet up without her behind her back like she isn't the "real" wife. DH is like a beaten dog when it comes to them and is just grateful that his DS sees them. DH was off work when his X met up with his own cousins, his cousins children and his son but wasn't invited to be there or take DD.

Is this way harsh on friend or is she overreacting?

icklekid Fri 08-Apr-16 05:34:48

It's tough because I can see how your friend is upset but I don't think dh family are doing anything wrong by meeting up with his ex and ds. They are still part of the family and want cousins to have a relationship. They may also get in well as adults and have good relationship . It would be nice if they also met up with your friend and dd because they are also family however forced relationships aren't always possible. I suggest she try not to worry /be involved when it comes to ex wife relationship with them and encourage dh to make plans for their dd to be able to spend time with family and cousins etc

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 08-Apr-16 05:40:06

Was going to say exactly what ickle said. DH's family have known his XW for years and have a good relationship. They were probably grateful that she didn't make it difficult to see DS.

It doesn't have to be either/or. Your friend can put effort into building her own relationship with her inlaws without trying to stop them seeing XW.

Atenco Fri 08-Apr-16 05:44:30

It is cruel that they are not interested in the dd, but otherwise they have a long established relationship with the son and his mother. It wouldn't be right to alter that because of the presence of a second wife.

WannaBe Fri 08-Apr-16 05:54:54

I wonder if the responses would be the same here if the DH hadn't had an affair. Somehow I don't think they would.

Generally the MN consensus is that once an ex is an ex it is not fair for the dh's extended family to favour her over any new partner.

Now, I don't think that the family are in the wrong for maintaining a relationship with the ex. I don't necessarily think that a divorce needs to end up with everyone cutting off the ex, those relationships are independent after all. But I do think the family are in the wrong for favouring the ex over the OP's friend to the extent they don't have a relationship with her dd who is related to them in exactly the same way as the DH's other child.

But IMO all this depends on the relationship they have with the DH. Does he still have a relationship with them? Because if not then their hostility is understandable on the basis they obviously still hold him responsible for his actions even though those actions did not involve your friend? However if the DH's relationship with his family has since recovered then I would say they are in fact unreasonable for excluding your friend in the way they are, but that her DH needs to have words with them. Your friend has done nothing wrong. She's not the ow, they've been married for years and have a child together.

EverySongbirdSays Fri 08-Apr-16 06:12:51

WannaBe - having known the family for years - the cousins etc became very dramallama over the cheating and it just i think wanted to be in on it "Well I'm not speaking to him now and I'm going to ring X now and make sure she knows that the family don't approve" so he was "on the outs' for a very long time. He does still see his own side of the family but lives at a distance. I think being treated like a leper has really damaged his relationship with his sister and these cousins.

I've known him since childhood, for complicated reasons I never thought the marriage would last and lo! it didn't.

They don't know him as well as I do, really, his infidelity was a real shock to them and couldn't have been less of a shock to me and to most of the people who really know him.

I really think that if the goal is to make sure all the cousins have a relationship having DW bring DD and DSD makes more sense than XW bringing DS.

Atenco Fri 08-Apr-16 06:24:02

Except that the ex-wife is their friend who they enjoy spending time with. My poor ex-in-laws made a right hash of trying to juggle their friendship with me and my exes future wives. I could take it, but it was hard for my dd. At one point I think they hid me in a closet because the current wife was arriving. My dd was very small, but that was nearly the end of our relationship. Then when dd was a teenager, suddenly again I wasn't allowed to go there house, because yet another wife felt that it was insulting to her. My dd felt extremely awkward and I'm sure she would not have appreciated being shepherded by the current wife instead of by her mum.

EverySongbirdSays Fri 08-Apr-16 06:37:25

I don't think anyone would expect or want a hidden relationship - the bond that they have with XW didnt really exist before split and only really came about through slagging off her XH as a group.

Like I say he was Golden Child so I think a bit of a kick was got out of how the mighty had fallen.

No-one's saying they can't be her friend but surely "a cousins meet up" should be "ALL the cousins" available. Would they have the XW bringing her XH's DD??

It's tight. DD too little now but one day she will ask her brother what he's been up to and he'll tell her about these cousins and she'll know she was left out.

TheProvincialLady Fri 08-Apr-16 06:39:49

His family sound horrible. Keeping a relationship with the ex is absolutely fine but excluding the new child tells you everything you need to know about them. It's interesting you describe your friend as having been 'goldenballs' before the affair. Sounds like there was probably jealousy in the air and when he was knocked off the pedestal they couldn't wait to put the boot in. To continue behaving like this a decade on suggests that they enjoy the power. It's not a very healthy family dynamic is it? I would be trying to keep out of it for my own sake and for the sake of my child - who needs families who behave like this? Polite but distant would be plenty for me thanks and I would be encouraging my DH not to behave like a kicked puppy.

EverySongbirdSays Fri 08-Apr-16 07:10:12

I think polite but distant is enough for her but not for DD to miss out on this large extended family. It's harsh as well, because DW is such a nice person compared to XW but because DH was in the wrong, everything she's done such as stunts she's pulled over contact, comments over his DDs name, and attempts to pass off her DH as DS's real Dad all get overlooked.

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