Fell the
Family Tree?

February, 2018

All Things Tami
Divorce Insights

I remember asking my ex-husband if I would still be able to go to all the family gatherings after we were divorced. I don’t know why, but I actually thought I would still be a part of the clan and would attend all the birthdays, Thanksgiving Dinners, Christmas Eves and other family happenings. We’d just take separate cars or something. Yes, I was that naïve.

I was not happy about losing my connection with his family. At the time, I thought his family would support me. After all, he was hurting them, too. Surely, they would understand my perspective and take my side. I had it so wrong. There were indeed sides during my divorce, they just didn’t split up the way I thought they should. The sides were not chosen by right or wrong. They were determined by which side of the church aisle the family was sitting on during the now forgotten wedding.

That made me so angry! He was the one who cheated and lied. Yet I was the one who got shut off from the family and would no longer have contact with those who meant so much to me. My branch of the family tree was getting lopped off, no matter how tightly I hung onto the trunk.

So, how do you maintain relationships with his family after a divorce? How do you keep nurturing the once venerable family tree? It depends on the situation. Having children makes many of those relationships absolutely necessary. Since my ex and I didn’t have kids, the level of importance placed on keeping in touch seem diminished.

The first Christmas after my ex left me, I wrote letters to his parents. I explained how sad I was to be losing contact with them and hoped we could stay in touch even though I knew they needed to support him – as he was still their son. I wrote similar letters to his siblings, as well. I hope they received those letters and cards. I never got any letters in return.

In the years following the divorce, I’ve maintained contact with one of his sisters and with a couple of my nieces and nephews. Granted, it isn’t what it used to be, but we remain in touch. Months can go by without contact, where in the past we’d see each other every couple of weeks. I guess losing closeness with people I loved as much as my own family became the collateral damage of divorce.

“Pruning is good for the overall health of the tree.”

It’s taken a while, but I realize even though I don’t think my ex-husband deserved encouragement from his family; everyone needs a support network when going through a major life event like divorce. And as horrible as what he did was, he still needed to lean on his team. I just hope his team at least tried to talk some sense into him.

The decision on what to do with your shared relationships during and after divorce is entirely up to you. If you want to keep in touch with his family and friends, feel free to do so. Just make sure it is because you value their friendship, not because you want to keep tabs on the man you were married to.

Keeping the family tree growing strong will require patience and constant attention – but don’t be afraid to cut back any unnecessary branches.

As a Garden Warrior, I know a bit of pruning is good for the overall health of the tree.


A Little Tact, Please

Hey, we all disagree from time to time. But since this is my little universe, I reserve the right to remove comments that are mean-spirited or contain verbal violence. Divorce discussion can get passionate and that's okay. But let's keep it classy and help one another instead of hurting one another.  For full details on how things work here, see Rules of the Game.