Can You Keep a Relationship with Your In-Laws after Divorce?
Some people really do marry their spouse’s families. Although you may no longer be able to stay married to someone’s son or daughter, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are willing to let go of your relationship with your in-laws, at least not entirely.
Below, our Media divorce lawyer offers tips for how to keep your relationship with “Mom and Dad.” Even if you hope never to share another holiday meal with them, you will still probably be a part of each other’s lives for the foreseeable future, especially if you have children, so you want to at least remain civil.
Be Realistic about Your Relationship
You may want to maintain a relationship with your in-laws. This does not mean your ex wants them to have a relationship with you. You need to realize that their loyalty lies with their child, first and foremost. Don’t be surprised if they initially pull away or limit contact.
As time passes, however, your ex might soon move on with his or her life. At that point, an opportunity could exist to re-establish contact with your former in-laws.
If you do maintain a relationship with your in-laws, you don’t want them to feel as if you are using them to get information about your ex or your children. You should avoid talking about whether your ex is dating or even what he or she is doing.
If your ex has primary custody of the children, also avoid looking like you are digging for dirt to use in a future custody proceeding. You do not want your in-laws to feel threatened, as if anything they say could be used later.
One way to respect boundaries is to engage in hobbies with your in-laws. If your ex’s father loved baseball, go to a game with him. If your ex’s mother loved to cook, take a cooking class with her. This way, you will always have something to talk about other than your ex.
Stay Cordial, even if it Is Hard
This can be hard for those people who did not get along well with their in-laws when married. However, as Divorce Magazine notes, staying on friendly terms with your in-laws can benefit your children, who don’t need any more stress or tension in the years following their parent’s divorce.
Be pragmatic. For example, there is no reason to spend more time with your in-laws than necessary. There is also no need to antagonize them. One safe topic of conversation is their other children. Ask what they are doing in terms of their career and where they are living.
Be careful about sharing information about a new romantic relationship. They might react negatively; also, assume they share everything with your ex. Of course, there might come a time when you are so established in a new relationship that it would be weird not to invite your boyfriend or girlfriend to your child’s soccer game. At that point, you need to bite the bullet, even if it offends them.
Get the Divorce Advice You Need
Barbara Flum Stein & Associates has helped countless men and women navigate divorce in Delaware County. To speak with a lawyer, please contact our law firm today.