This month on the Divorce Dish Q&A, Abby King tackles the challenges of dealing with your former in-laws after divorce. She has some great recommendations on various encounters …
Smile And Wave
My daughter recently divorced and I don’t know how to act towards her ex-husband. We had a warm relationship when they were together but after they split I found out that he treated my daughter terribly. We live in the same area and see each other often at my grandkids events. Every time I’m near him I’m tempted to let him have it. Help!
Seal your lips, shut your trap, zip it! Let your daughter handle her divorce and her ex. If you can manage some basic niceties towards your former son in law, great. A hello and a handshake are all that’s needed. If you can’t manage that, simply do your own thing and focus on your grandchildren. Do not give side eye or mumble shady comments under your breath. Parents outrank grandparents, so if you’re the source of stress or discomfort, you might not be welcome at recitals, baseball games or birthday parties going forward. Show up, kiss your grandkids and just smile and wave at their dad. Smile and wave.
To Invite or Not Invite
I’m having a graduation party for my son and I’m not sure if I should invite my former in-laws. In the past, they were invited to our kids’ celebrations and the kids loved having their grandparents there. But, that was when my husband and I hosted together. Now, we and I don’t speak and when I see my former father in law, he gives me the cold shoulder. What should I do?
Forget her cold shoulder; remember their relationship with your son. You admit your kids love having them at celebrations, why should that change? Your son and his grandparents didn’t have a change of heart, you and your ex did. Leave the rest of the family out of it and let them celebrate together. Hopefully they will appreciate being included and your former father in law will soften his attitude towards you. But, if he gives you the cold shoulder in the face of your generosity, that’s his problem. Turn towards the sun.
Set The Record Straight
I used to have a good relationship with my in-laws but since our divorce my former mother in law has been very snarky. She is cold as ice and makes snide comments when we’re in the same place. Last month she snapped at me and raised her voice at a larger family gathering. I think my ex told her negative things about me and likely lied about the real circumstances behind our divorce. I haven’t discussed details with any family. I don’t want to cause harm, which would ensue if I spilled the beans on the terrible ways my ex acted when we were married. But now I am thinking of calling my former mother in law to set the record straight. What do you think?
NO!!! Put the phone down, close your laptop, and do not make a move. It’s possible your ex confessed his transgressions to his parents. It’s also possible that if you decide to bear the news you’ll bear the brunt of your former in-laws wrath. Parents want to believe in and protect their kids. While sides don’t need to be taken when a couple splits, if you push your former in-laws to make a choice, they won’t choose you. Part of breaking up is accepting there is another version of you out in the world. Your ex and his mom have their version and no matter how unsettling it seems you can’t change it. It gets easier to accept the more time passes. In the meantime, ignore the snark and go out of your way, when possible, to exert pleasantries and kindness. She might choose to believe the story your ex has told but don’t offer any evidence to back it up.
Abby King writes about parenting, divorce, relationships and…. everything else at AbbyKingWriter.com, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Club Mid, The Good Men Project, and Philly.com. Abby dishes out reality. Abby self-professes that she is “50% together and 100% authentic.” No doubt!