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Ex in-laws okay to have in my life or not?

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Dadtryingtocope posted 5/27/2014 08:34 AM

So a lot of discussion/help from this group last week with somethings that have come up on my schedule and availability and how the woman I am dating has indicated she wasn't so sure that was best for her. She has revised her statements to now say that she has no problem with my schedule, she does have issue with the relationship I have with my ex in-laws.

So some quick background. When my in-laws found out about the A they were completely appalled with their daughter. My ex MIL was in her face and told her she better find GOD quickly because the devil has her. They have deep faith and did not approve. (They are close to the Menonite community). Their daughter would not of course listen to anything they said and it resulted in a lot of fighting. I made myself available so they (her parents) could see the kids. My ex then of course went and got engaged following the D and then married within a year of everyone finding out about the A. During that year I had a lot of discussions with her Mom. It hurt her Mom a lot and while maybe that was not my concern, they always treated me like family. I spent a number of holidays with them so they could spend time with the kids. I always said that anytime they wanted to reconcile with their daughter they could do so and I would certainly step aside. Her brother completely swore her off. He wants nothing to do with her. He contacts me to see the kids and I am happy to let him see them. There is some old bad blood with them that came to the surface again with all this. Recently family interaction has improved. I'm sure it is very uncomfortable for them having to see her with her new husband. That I can do nothing about. I rely on her parents for help with childcare during the year so I do need to maintain some contact with them. But the last few holidays we have not spent together so there is some separation occuring. I should also note that my asperger son spends a lot of time with her dad who he just adores. He really gets along great with his pappy and I want him to have that time when he can. My parents are not close so it is much harder for them to have that time.

My current GF doesn't like my relationsip with them. She says aside from the child care issue there should be little contact. She especially thinks the relationship I have with her brother is odd. I agree that everyone takes sides in a divorce. I agree that most times blood is thicker than water. But I also feel people have a right to their feelings and their choices. If any of these people don't like what she has done to her family and her kids that is right. I want the kids to be able to see their uncle when he comes to town. Her family has done a lot for me and I just don't feel it's right for me to push them out because of their daughter's actions and the D. But I am being told that with the D comes a full D from her family and that this is no longer my problem.

Am I really wrong in my thinking? I can maintain a relationship with them for the good of the kids. I will gladly step aside from family functions (for the most part I have) so they can repair their relationship with their daughter. I just can't believe I should be throwing them out of my life because a D dictates that to be what is necessary. I certainly don't want my past life to negatively impact my current/future life. I don't want to hurt anyones feelings. As always I rely on this groups input.

thyme2go posted 5/27/2014 08:42 AM

I for one, find your relationship with ex-IL's to be out of the norm. IMHO you should be moving forward and that would be taking your SO's feelings on the matter to heart.

I have no contact with ex-IL's.

Can Not Believe posted 5/27/2014 09:12 AM

IN MY OPINION ONLY - I feel that you have to put your kids best interest and welfare first. If your children have a good relationship with their grandparents and aunts and uncles - then that should be maintained. Especially if you depend on them for childcare.

With families so fractured these days - I feel that you should not sacrifice the family that knows them - loves them - and have that family connection that is vital to them being well-rounded individuals. They are still a part of that family and should remain as such.

Your new girlfriend has to be made to realize that these people are your kids FAMILY and that NO ONE is going to love them and look out for them like family. Especially your Asperger's son. It is hard for kids with that condition to bond to people. I would NOT take that away for him. In MY opinion - that would be a travesty.

Can Not Believe

BeingNaive posted 5/27/2014 09:44 AM

The relationship you described with your ex-inlaws sounds pretty normal to me, but then my family doesn't cut people out of our family due to a divorce. (Not meant to be snarky!) My aunt and uncle divorced when I was a teen and I still saw her all the time. It made things nice for us, my cousin, and it meant a lot to her.

While most people takes sides in a divorce, my family honestly didn't. We loved both of them and continued to have both of them in our lives.

My opinion, it's best for your children to have their family in their life and that would be more important to me than having my SO worried about my relationship with my ex-inlaws. Especially since I don't see your ex-inlaws trying to overstep any of your boundaries.

This is just my opinion, based on my experiences.

ETA: Not to say that I think your SO is right or wrong for feeling how she does. I'm just saying that I believe your children's interest should trump hers in this matter and what someone might consider the "norm" might not work for everyone.

[This message edited by BeingNaive at 9:49 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

cayc posted 5/27/2014 09:49 AM

She has revised her statements to now say that she has no problem with my schedule, she does have issue with the relationship I have with my ex in-laws.

I cannot wrap my head around this statement. How did she go from her problem with you is you're too busy, to the problem with you is you make sure your kids have a good relationship with their grandparents?

As for questioning yourself on the fact that your children spend time with their grandparents and uncles? Really? You're having doubts about this?

Idk what's really going on with you and this GF of yours, but whatever it is, it's not your schedule or the kids hanging with grandpops.

cayc posted 5/27/2014 09:49 AM

oops, double post.

[This message edited by cayc at 9:50 AM, May 27th, 2014 (Tuesday)]

StrongerOne posted 5/27/2014 09:58 AM


It seems that your relationship with your XILs is pleasant but that you are not really family with them any more, whereas your kids are still family with them. It sounds to me like both you and the XILs have navigated this really well, and that you should continue to facilitate the relationship between your kids and them.

I dunno about the GF, though. She seems to have a problem with all sorts of things about your life, and wants you to change your life a LOT for her. The schedule was a big big deal to her -- and now it's not? Now she has a problem with your relationship with the XILs. I can understand that she might feel uncomfortable with it, and if you were using it as a way of keeping in contact with your XW, then she'd have a point. But the relationship is for your *kids*, and it is also the right thing for you to do for your XILs -- seems like they were friends of your marriage, and they are doing their best to deal with the crappy hand your XW has given them.

All that to say, I think your GF needs to understand that your kids come first. If the relationship with the XILs gets in the way of your relationship with her, then reconsider. But at this point, I think she's making an unreasonable demand. Especially for a GF of just a few months, right?

IMHO, of course!

Dadtryingtocope posted 5/27/2014 09:59 AM

T2G - I have talked to many that have gone no contact with their Ex inlaws. Certainly if I had no kids that would be a possible result. But with my kids in the mix that makes it much more difficult. Especially with a kid on the spectrum.

CNB - thank you. The biggest thing with my post was just having someone say this is not that crazy of an idea. The way you look at it is exactly how I have looked at it. Sometimes I feel like I am told this is a black and white issue when it feels like shades of grey. Maybe for her and others there is a definitive line. I just have to respect and understand that those are her feelings. If it becomes a deal breaker, its a deal breaker. It would be sad and unfortunate. I would love to find a way to make everyone happy, but sometimes it doesn't work that way (don't we all know that). Time will tell.

lieshurt posted 5/27/2014 10:03 AM

Seems like your gf has control issues. Maintaining a good relationship with the in-laws shouldn't be an issue at all. They are still family and your children reap the rewards from this.

Instead of having an issue with it, your gf should appreciate that you are the type of man who is capable of maintaining a relationship with them. Just because you divorced their daughter doesn't mean your relationship with them need be acrimonious.

I still have a good relationship with my in-laws. As my late mother-in-law said, "you divorced my son, not us". I know my in-laws have appreciated that I have made sure we have maintained a relationship for my son. Don't let your gf interfere.

LearningToRun posted 5/27/2014 10:07 AM

I work for my ex In-laws. It has NEVER been an issue with anyone. Not my friends, not my boy friends.

Dadtryingtocope posted 5/27/2014 10:10 AM

Cyac - this threw me off too. But I took it as part of the whole communication thing. We need to make sure we understand each other and what is important, make sure we really understand what the other is saying and just talk things out when we don't agree. This particular discussion got sticky when I found out my ex MIL was going in for treatments for depression. I stated that I would probably call them to see how she is doing. Why - because school ends in 2 weeks, they are helping with the kids. I want to make sure they are alright to do that. And I do care for God's sake. I'm not an asshole or insensitive. I want to know she is okay. I had/have a close relationship with them. My girlfriend said just as I had stated that having a close relationship with them is not letting go of my past and allowing my future to start.

Stronger - thanks. Yes 4 months now. Might not get to 5.

wontdefineme posted 5/27/2014 10:32 AM

Yep, girlfriend has issues. She comes first, above you and your kids needs. Trying to change someone is not good. Next!

7yrsflushed posted 5/27/2014 10:37 AM

My current GF doesn't like my relationsip with them. She says aside from the child care issue there should be little contact.
IMO, your GF has issues.

These are your childrens relatives. Regardless of your relationship with your XW, they are your kids family. I don't deal with any of my X-inlaws but my XW still take them aroudn ehr family. My parents still interact with many of them. The x-inlaws still love and adore my children so I won't deny them the ability to see them.

Even if you choose to step aside so they can repair the relationship with their daughter they are still your kids family. Your choice of course but I believe this isn't so much about the relationship your inlaws have with their daughter but more so your relationship with your GF. You can D your WW and not associate with her family but they are still your kids family.

What does your gut say? From your description your inlaws have always done right by you and your children. Your post reads as if the only reason you are questioning things now is because of your girlfriend. Just my 2 cents, but it sounds like she is the one with insecurity issues to me.

[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 10:39 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

million pieces posted 5/27/2014 11:57 AM

My fiance has a similar relationship with his ex ILs. It is a little odd, especially as my ILs cut me out of their life the second they found out about the A. Literally wouldn't returns emails or calls. Anyway, it is a bit odd, but really works well for him and his son. His son is their only grandchild and they provide a lot of child care for him. And they really like him and respect him. They don't have a bad relationship with their dd (they were pretty horrified with what she did in the beginning) but know that he is the more organized, reliable person to get communication. It does seem to bother his ex's SO a bit to see his girlfriend's parents get along so well with him, but as far as we know, he does not know the whole story (as in he doesn't know his girlfriend was the WW in their marriage). When my fiance's parents were alive, they treated his ex very nicely but were very clear with me how they truly felt.

[This message edited by million pieces at 3:02 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

Kajem posted 5/27/2014 12:15 PM


My XH's new wife told my XH that he couldn't talk to HIS sister because she and I talk once a week. She is my BFF, has been since 1983. She would not allow our 4 children to visit HIS parents if she knew In Laws and I had a conversation! My kids and InLaws are very, very close. I did not live near my grandparents growing up and I was still close to them. I will not get in the way of something as special as a grandparent/child relationship.

Sooo, since the kids were missing Gma and Poppy, I started to take them to visit the inlaws. I would drop the kids off and go to the mall and hang out for the day. I would come back be invited to dinner and eat. There were plenty of times I did that will my SO(at the time). In laws liked him, loved that he treated me and my kids so well.

SO thought it was odd, but made peace with it, once he became friends with them. They are nice people.

I tried to keep a low profile as NW was keeping their son from them. They are older (85) and they do have health issues, I did not want my presence to keep their son away. That changed 2 years ago, due to NW's attitude, XH championing her attitude and the truth about some things coming to light. The inlaws and XH/NW no longer have a relationship.

I have a granddaughter - Their great granddaughter! They can no longer make the drive to see her, and they adore her! DD (mommy) is very busy with single mom, working full time and finishing school full time. I take the baby once a month and we visit Gma & Poppy.. spend the day take pics/video and watch the miracle that is this baby.

XH hasn't seen his granddaughter in over a year. She's 2! NW will not let him.

These people are a HUGE part of my kids memories growing up. When the marriage imploded they took in XH, and picked me up off the floor, and took care of the kids. My kids feel so much love from them - How could I deny them that? How can your GF deny your kids that feeling?

My aunt summed it up pretty well when her son divorced the mother of his children " I like XW, she's not related anymore, but she is still a friend. The kids need a family now more than ever, they need to know that family is there to support them good and bad. I'm not turning my back on them." THAT was 35 years ago. XW still comes to family reunions, she brings her H. Heck my mom still gets wedding invitations from my dad's family, up until a few years ago was still traveling with his sister. My parents divorced in 1984.

My feeling, you arent' holding on to inlaws for any other reasons than they are your kids family, and they are your friends.

If XH had done the right thing by his kids and his parents, I would never have stepped in to help facilitate their grands relationship. I think you feel the same about your XW.

I think your GF needs to grow up and stop feeling so insecure in your relationship.

Don't change whats working for you. it doesn't need to be changed. Her attitude does.

Good luck

[This message edited by Kajem at 12:18 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

better4me posted 5/27/2014 12:35 PM

She's expressed a request, "change your relationship with your former in laws"

You've thought about the request, you've asked others for advice on the request, you have made (or will make) a decision based on what is best for you and your children. You tell girlfriend of your decision.

She then gets to decide what she will do if her request is not met.

Request asked.
Request answered.
The next step is her's.

Sometimes the answer is "no" and that is okay.

[This message edited by better4me at 12:36 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]

nowiknow23 posted 5/27/2014 12:43 PM

Sounds to me like she's trying to establish her place and priority in your life, and it's coming from a very insecure place.
You're too busy = you don't have enough time for me.
You shouldn't be friendly with your XILs = I'm threatened by your past.

It seems that your schedule, your xILs - YOUR LIFE is not working for her. That's her problem.

cayc posted 5/27/2014 12:58 PM

I just came back to say what NIK did. She's expressing how she's feeling and giving you examples to illustrate the feeling, and you are only hearing the examples and completely overlooking the feelings she's trying to share with you.

[This message edited by cayc at 1:00 PM, May 27th, 2014 (Tuesday)]

Charity411 posted 5/27/2014 15:39 PM

I find it interesting that she thinks that by keeping in contact with your in-laws you are being prevented from starting your new life. Where exactly does that end? Should you stop seeing your kids too? After all, you had them with your ex.

BrokenPieces posted 5/28/2014 00:41 AM

I'll chime in...
My XH has nixed his whole family out of his life. We were together almost 20 years and I love them all.
I have a very close relationship with my XMIL. I talk on the phone with her weekly, I go out with her to dinner, alone and with the grandkids. I am now remarried with another child and she has come to our house (with my new H here) and has had dinner, etc. I helped take care of her when she was dealing with cancer, and since I'm in the medical field, I was consulted in her treatment plan and surgical decision making.

My XSIL and XBIL not only take their niece and nephew overnight and out and about, they take my son (who I have with my new husband) too.

My new family is invited to their family functions, holidays, etc. We talk, exchange gifts, and are integral in each others' lives.

I love these people. They aren't responsible for the choices that their son/brother made, just like I am not to be punished because their family member turned out to be a cheating cretin.

My XMIL gushes about how happy she is that I have found my H, and what an amazing role model and addition he is to the kids lives. He IS their dad.. he coaches their sports teams, takes them on trips, pays all of their expenses, everything.

My H is not at all threatened by my relationship with them and is so happy that they are a part of mine and the kids lives.

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