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What if your in-laws dump you?

If you are planning a divorce, you know that the entire central theme of the process is separation. Even though you might want to separate from your soon-to-be ex-spouse, other relationships also can fall victim to your divorce. Many people establish strong relationships with their in-laws during their marriages, but they find the relationship flagging after a breakup. What do you do, then, if your in-laws "dump" you?

Many people who have gone through divorce tell the same story: They had strong relationships with their spouse's family members until the divorce happened. Then, even though they might still be Grandma and Grandpa to the children, the in-laws effectively checked out of the family life. No reassuring phone calls arrived, no sympathetic messages were delivered. The family essentially deleted you from their phone books.

Although this may sound tragic, the fact is that your ex's family will likely align themselves with their blood relative. In their eyes, you might even be considered an enemy because of the difficulties you have inflicted on their family member. Stories abound about exes being exiled from their in-laws, even though they may have had close relationships. In one case, a woman was prevented from attending her ex-mother-in-law's funeral, even though the pair was on good terms after the younger woman's divorce.

Experts encourage family members on both sides of the divorce aisle to be more open-minded about relationships with their ex-relatives. The divorcing person is not necessarily evil, and he or she is not always out to ruin your family and lives. Instead, these people are often victims of an unfortunate circumstance; they need love and acceptance, too. If you love someone who is leaving your family because of divorce, continue to love them!

Still, most people going through divorce would be well-served to limit their expectations of their in-laws. Divorce is a difficult time for most families, and the breakup may be permanent not just for you and your spouse, but also for extended family. If you are struggling with the relationship aspects of your breakup, consider speaking to a qualified family attorney or therapist who can help you learn more about your legal and social options.

Source:  www.huffingtonpost.com, "Did your in-laws dump you after divorce?" Jackie Pilossoph, Jun. 03, 2013

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