Monique in Philadelphia writes:
My husband and I broke up 5 years ago after he cheated. A few months later he left the country to live with his girlfriend in Southern Spain, though he never gave me a divorce. They now have a child together. I retained an excellent relationship with my in-laws, seeing them every week either by myself or with whichever of my (grown) children was with me that week. A few months ago I forced the issue and divorced him. Now my in-laws no longer want to speak to me and I am no longer welcome in their home. Do you see the situation changing? Forget missing them (which I do after 33 years), it sure makes holidays awkward! I’d appreciate your input.
You’ve got a long, hard road to endure before your ex in-laws will fully understand the loss they have created by this estrangement. While you were still legally married to their son, you were still family. Now that you are the ex-wife, everything has changed for them. It doesn’t matter what their son has done, it all boils down to: you divorced him.
Your ex in-laws believe they are honoring their son. Even though the two of you haven’t been together as man and wife for a long time, divorce in that family is a bit taboo. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to fix the situation, so I would advise you to just let it be… at least for now.
Any efforts you extend to try and reconnect with them are likely to be painful to you, because your efforts will be ignored or brushed aside with disdain. So, don’t put yourself in that position. The holidays are going to be awkward, so it would be wise of you to scrap old traditions and make other plans.
There is still a passive link through your children to your ex in-laws, and time will work its magic and they will develop a relationship with you once again. However, your kids are becoming more focused on their own lives, so this is a situation that could take a couple of years to heal.
It may help, (even though it hurts) to know that even though your ex in-laws aren’t talking to you, they miss you, too. Eventually, they will embrace you back into their lives once again.