While divorce can be a coming together, not just separation, it can also be very isolating while you’re going through it, especially in the period before it becomes public knowledge. During this time, your parents and siblings can be an important source of support. I asked Vivianne to talk about her family and here’s what said:
My parents and family have always been there for me but during my marriage my relationships were somewhat strained because my ex didn’t care for certain members of my family. He didn’t cared for my sister. They didn’t like what they saw was going on and it distanced them from me. It made it difficult for them to come to my home so there was tension then, not necessarily between them and me but it was there. I always knew they loved me and they always showed me love.
After I had to leave, everyone rallied around me in such a way that it was unbelievable. I’m so grateful. I tell them this all the time. They gave me strength when I needed it. I just can’t imagine how difficult it would to get divorced without your family’s support.
My ex’s father died when my ex was very young and his mother, my children’s grandmother, lives in another country so it’s difficult for my kids to see her. They have seen her during a visitation with their dad back when he was seeing them and I have called her during the Holidays so the children could talk to her. If she was closer, if she lived in the States, it would be a lot easier for me to maintain that relationship.
I do have contact with my ex’s sister. She has always been supportive in that she understood what I was going through and was sympathetic. As far as the rest of the family, I don’t have much contact with them. But I am close with my sister-in-law. She’s come to visit me at my home, we talk often, the children talk to her and I’m hoping to take them on a trip to see her.
I don’t want my children to lose contact with their father’s side of the family even though he doesn’t want to see his children. Family is very important to me and I want them to always feel that they have family around them. I wish their father wanted to see them. I would prefer it to have been different. I would have preferred to have a co-parenting arrangement but unfortunately it’s not that way. But I would never keep them from any members of his family. They are their family.
I’ve always found it difficult to stay friends or develop a friendship with someone when I don’t care for their spouse. I can see how that would hold true for family members and where that would create a strain. I’m lucky, I love all my in-laws. I’m glad that Vivianne’s parent’s and siblings rallied to support her – it doesn’t always happen that way and the former in-laws can easily disappear if they feel they have to choose sides.
When your children’s father decides he doesn’t want to see them, then there’s a real possibility your children will lose touch with half of their heritage and I know, for me, that would leave a hole, something I’d always be curious about. I like that Vivianne is doing what she can to stay in touch with her husband’s family. They will be an important connection as the children grow older and possibly want to know more about their dad.
Both my ex and I have few immediate family members. Mine are all overseas in England and South Africa. He just has his brother and his family in the Boston area. When my husband and I moved to Colorado in 2001, we agreed with his brother that we would go on vacation each year together around July 4 and that’s an arrangement that’s still going on. I no longer go and that does mean I’ve had very limited contact with my former in-laws but the children do still get to vacation with them and I’m glad for that. They will always be family.
Do you still see members of your ex’s family? Is it just at the holidays or other occasions too? Are your in-laws able to be friends with you without passing judgment on your divorce?
I have two more posts in Vivianne’s story: one about her perspective on divorce and the other about a happy ending .. I’ll give you clue … she’s married However, I’m off on vacation next week so I have a couple of guests posts for you and then I’ll resume Vivianne’s story.
Me? I’m headed to Oregon and Washington taking my daughter on some campus visits. We’ll be doing a lot of driving but since I’ve not visited that part of our country before so I’m looking forward to the adventure and to spending some one-on-one time with my daughter.
Photo Credit: Wolfiewolf at Flickr