How does family loyalty play into the dynamics of a relationship with in-laws when a marriage ends?
I believe a marriage is between 2 people. Yes, you build relationships with the in-laws, but the marriage is between the husband and wife. But, what happens when you build a relationship and that marriage ends, are you supposed to end the relationship because the marriage ended? Are you disloyal to your family member if you don’t shut the ex out? What about when there are children involved? Are you still supposed to shut the person out even though they are the mother/father of your niece/nephew?
Of course we are all supposed to be adults, but let’s be honest, when breakups occur people don’t act like adults nor do they behave rationally.
I’m fortunate because I’m the black sheep, the one who does my own thing, lives in another state, and doesn’t follow the crowd. If I like you, I like you. If I don’t, I don’t. So, now that I am in the situation where there is a divorce in the family and I’ve been told through the grapevine that I’m supposed to choose sides…I have…I’ve chosen my side. It goes back to, if I like you then I like you.
I’ve been told that when we have family get-togethers that my brother-in-law is no longer welcome and that if he is invited then my sister won’t come. Well, I guess she will miss out because he’s still invited and very welcome. Am I being disloyal? I personally don’t think so because the marriage between those two ended. I didn’t have a contract with him so why should he no longer be a part of the family? He is the father of my nieces and nephews, he has been a brother to me, and he’s a good person. After 25 years in my family I don’t think it’s fair to say oh well, your marriage is over so you don’t exist. We have to think about the kids, too. Yes they are older, but he’s still their father. What type of message is that sending if we say he’s no longer part of the family? Not one that I will be a part of sending.
There was a moment of drama when I invited him to a function at my house. There was a question as to why he was invited. My response? He is invited because it’s my house, I wanted to invite him, and he’s always welcome just as he was last year, the year before, and the 20+ years before that. Her response? Silence. Yes, good answer. His response? Thank you sister for saying I’m still a part of the family. My thoughts? I was heartbroken that he felt that he had to thank me, heartbroken that he thought there was any chance he would no longer be family. He’s my brother, yes initially by marriage, but now by love. I talk to him more than I speak to one of my biological brothers. As far as I’m concerned the issue is closed because there should never have been an issue.
So, back to my initial question, how does family loyalty play into the dynamics of a relationship with in-laws when a marriage ends? Are we supposed to be loyal to the biological family member and abide by their wishes? I guess I would if their wishes were reasonable, rational, and resembled an adult decision.
At the end of the day, we are adults and have to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. In this case, excluding him would result in excluding him from my own children’s lives. It would make my nieces and nephews feel like they have to choose. The marriage between two people ended and that’s ok because it’s their business and their decision. The relationships that evolved from that marriage don’t simply disappear.
So he’s always welcome and will always be included. They are both welcome, it’s an open door policy to family gatherings and homes. Just like it always have been. If she chooses to miss out then she’s making that decision. But she can’t make that decision for me and my family.
God bless, and be blessed.