Dealing with in-laws after divorce is part of the package, especially if there are children involved. They say when you marry someone, you marry his/her whole family. Unfortunately, it can be true that when you divorce someone, you are divorcing the whole family. I have heard from so many other women that have gone through a divorce that typically and unfortunately includes a complete shut out from the mother-in-law, and then a mixed bag from the rest of the soon to be ex-in-laws who aren’t sure how to act. The family’s response can be a direct reflection of how your ex feels and is acting, but not always. I have friends who, even though they are amicable with their ex, the former mother-in-law will still cold shoulder them at the kids’ soccer games etc. This can be frustrating no doubt, but more so it can be so hurtful. The person acting like you are the enemy, once embraced you as their own. They don’t know how to separate your issues with your ex from your non-existing issues with them, and now carry a personal grudge against you. If you previously had issues with your in-laws, I imagine it is even worse.
No matter the situation, do your best to remember that you cannot change how other people are responding to you (at least not right now), and how people treat you is not a reflection of how you deserve to be treated. Your former in-laws behavior may change over time, so try your best to remain calm if it is tough while you are going through a divorce or are recently divorced. That’s normal. If you don’t have kids, you probably won’t need to have too much interaction with them. If you do have kids, always remind yourself of who these people are to your kids. It’s your child’s grandmother. It’s your child’s favorite uncle. It’s your kids’ whatever…..and treat the person how your child/children would want to see their mom treating them. If your children see grandma being rude to their mom, that’s on grandma.
Even though your former in-laws are not the ones going through a divorce, they may feel that you are divorcing them too. They are hurt. They may be angry. And very likely they are saddened by the separation and loss they are experiencing. Take each interaction with a grain of salt and over time the hurt feelings will hopefully mend, allowing for continued amicable interactions. Keep in mind, dealing with in-laws after divorce is something you can choose to do for the overall good of the situation and for the love of your children.
For more ways you can help your children through and after divorce, check out this article on Birthdays.