For many married people, our in-laws are family that we have grown to love just as much as our own relatives. In fact, many spouses feel closer to their in-laws than to their own parents. However, during a divorce, it may be hard to face the reality that things are changing. Whether you hope to keep this relationship intact after your divorce or have plans to sever all ties, there are a few things to consider that may make this transition easier for all involved.

Preparing for Change

Separating from a spouse can be very difficult. The impact of this is often intensified by the thought that the split could mean losing additional relationships outside of the marriage.

However, all divorcing couples should keep in mind that even if you hope to maintain a relationship with your in-laws, the family often feels compelled to choose sides. This choice is not always fair or logical but be prepared to accept that your in-laws may no longer want a relationship with you.

Their decision may have nothing to do with blaming you for the split. However, if your ex-spouse is struggling with the separation, your in-laws may decide that keeping their distance from you is the best way to emotionally shield their son or daughter from further pain.

If children are involved, make sure to keep the lines of communication open between you, your ex-partner, and your in-laws. In-laws should be mindful that cutting off a relationship with the parent awarded full custody may severely limit the time they can spend with their grandchildren. Sit down with your ex-spouse to discuss a plan that will allow in-laws to see their grandkids with or without you present.

Setting Boundaries

If you find yourself struggling to maintain a relationship with your in-laws, be honest about your motives. Wanting to remain in touch with that side of the family with hopes of reconciliation or to keep tabs on your ex-spouse does a disservice to everyone involved. Most couples divorce with the intention of eventually finding another relationship more suited to them. Therefore, even those who have succeeded in maintaining familial ties with their in-laws should keep some distance from their ex-spouse’s family.

Allowing distance between you and your in-laws will allow you to move on when you are ready without a potential critical eye or uncomfortable situation for your new partner. Your in-laws may be hurting, too and it might be hard for them to see you with someone new. Additionally, your ex-spouse may find it difficult to bring someone new to the family if old ties are still there.