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Maintaining a relationship with your ex-in-laws

After receiving her master’s degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Lois Tarter worked as a Mediator for the City Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. She noticed how anger and hostility were major stumbling blocks in the completion of d...

Staying in with the ex-in-laws

Once your “divorce day” occurs, it’s best not to contact your ex. Since you have severed ties, there is really no reason or need to see each other, especially if you don’t have children together. In fact, it’s an important time for individual healing. Creating space is one of the best ways to move on and start a new life. However, what do you do when you don’t want to be divorced from your in-laws?

Family members talking over coffee

Maintain a relationship with your ex-in-laws

Some people actually do get along and are friendly with their in-laws. When a divorce occurs, it's truly sad for many who lose contact and the friendship that they have established with them over the years. Depending on how long you have been married, it can be even more difficult to lose your extended family. Your mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling-in-law or even cousin in-laws have probably become close friends. Is it possible to maintain this friendship after your spouse becomes your ex-spouse?

I have seen many instances where people remain friends with their in-laws after the divorce. While all parents love their children, your ex's parents may know all too well how impossible their own son or daughter can be to deal with. It's not healthy to dwell on your ex's faults, but it may just be understood by everyone -- his or her parents included -- that moving on was the only option for you. If there are children involved, it is healthy to have their grandparents involved in their lives as much as possible. This will create a normalcy and a feeling of continuity. See it can all work!

Here are some tips on maintaining healthy relations with your ex-in-laws:

  • Call them on holidays, especially their birthdays.
  • When you speak to them, don't talk about your ex and try your hardest not to bring him up in the conversation.
  • Even if life is a bit difficult for you after the divorce, keep things positive when you speak with your ex-in-laws. Nobody likes a downer.
  • If you get re-married or have an important event happening in your life, make sure you include them on the guest list. They will feel special that you thought of them and appreciate that you're finally happy.
  • If you've had kids with your ex, make sure to keep the grandparents in their lives by planning events and special days for all of them to be together.
  • Drop your ex-in-laws an email or a card once in a while to see how they are doing and let them know you were thinking of them. Consistency in any relationship is key.

When the time is right, learn how to be friends with your ex >>

Check out our guide to life after divorce >>

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