When Families are Unsupportive Part 1
Families can be particular unsupportive in one of two ways – the first when they truly care for your spouse and are having a difficult time letting them go as part of their family, and second they may not be supportive to your grief if the ex-spouse was never well liked anyhow or if the marriage was difficult in terms of fighting or abuse. We will showcase these two extremes in a two part blog series.
We’ve all heard the family jokes about taking so-and-so instead of their own son/daughter/sister/brother/etc. if they ever were to divorce, but what happens when that becomes a reality? Nearly 50% of marriages today don’t last, so the odds are good when saying those I do’s and harvesting the relationships that comes with them, that at some point down the road you will be saying goodbye to half of that marriage. Maybe you grew up in a family where divorce was taboo, with parents who believe that for better or for worse you don’t leave a marriage, and now you are struggling with family supporting your decision and suddenly you are the outcast.
Perhaps your dad is losing his best fishing buddy and is finding it difficult to understand why your marriage didn’t work out. Sit down with him and explain that while your ex may be a great person, that doesn’t make you great people together. Set boundaries. Be clear with both your ex, as well as your family, what your relationship expectations are. Maybe you and your family are comfortable with the modern blended family concept, or perhaps if you do not have children with your ex, it may be best to sever all ties to family sooner rather than later. Think – bringing your new boyfriend to your family Thanksgiving with your ex sitting at the same table, elbows deep in mash potatoes. If you have children together, the lines blur and it’s not as black and white as that. Other factors like living in a small town, and the length of the relationship, can make things more complicated, so it’s important to not only communicate your expectations, but for them to be realistic as well. Did you marry your brother’s childhood best friend? – then it’s probably not realistic to expect them to stop talking, in fact if that is your expectation it will likely harm your relationship with your brother.
At the end of the day you need to do what is best for YOU. Yes, a marriage affects more than just the two people in it, but you need to put your best interests first, not those of how your family will handle your divorce. Also, remember to, “Love your whole story, even if it hasn’t been the perfect fairy tale.”-Melanie Moushigian Koulours.
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