Ending your marriage should be between you and your spouse but that’s frequently not the case. Other family members often get involved. If you or your STBX is from a tightly-knit family you might be researching how to keep your family out of your divorce.
Lisa Thomson had been married for 18 years when she initiated their divorce. Her husband had worked for their family business for almost 30 years. He left the business and so it was inevitable that their divorce would impact the family. Here’s Lisa:
Things are not great with my family. Among everything else that was happening in the divorce, my ex also sued my family. He sued me as well.
I think that went on for a couple of years and that settled almost a year ago. So, they came to their settlement, but in the meantime, it put a bit of a strain on my dad and I.
I’m at a loss for words actually as far as trying to express where things are at with my family now, whether they have actually fully accepted my divorce or whether they’re angry about it. My father did make a statement to me at one point that, “None of this would have happened if you hadn’t gotten divorced.” So, I really felt that I was being blamed for a lot of things that were going on and I’ve worked so hard to let go of blame, to stop blaming myself for everything.
I got blamed during my marriage for anything that went wrong. Basically, it would be my fault. I’ve tried to let go of that self-blame. If it’s a lifelong ingrained thing, it takes awhile.
To be blamed for the lawsuit, I really felt was out of line. I started to put my foot down about that and said, “No, wait a minute, you’re not going to do that. You hired him. He worked for you many, many years before he and I were ever a couple, so he was your employee that you handpicked. So, don’t just point the finger at me and say, ‘Well, this is all your fault.’ I’m not going to take that. I can’t.” If I listened to all this stuff, I wouldn’t have any self-confidence.
So yeah, the relationship has been strained. It still is and I’m hoping that things will improve. I really do, but we’ll see.
The Divorce Coach Says:
I often have conversations with clients about maintaining friendships with in-laws after divorce and as painful as it can be for your STBX, the reality is that genuine friendships have staying power and they don’t end with divorce.
The same is even more true with your own family but the closer and more integrated you and your SBTX are with both of your families the messier it’s going to be.
In an ideal world there would be no taking sides, no assigning of blame, no judgment – just support and continued friendships. Best of all, children would still get to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and established family traditions would continue.
Few of us live in an ideal world so we do the best we can.
That means working to compartmentalize your divorce to limit the involvement of other family members and explicitly communicating your wishes for continued relationships. It can also mean not over-sharing the details of your divorce negotiations or the reasons why the divorce is happening.
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