How to Stay Friends with Your Ex’s Awesome Family
Uncontested Divorce Mediation
Posted October 18, 2023
Everyone knows that one of the toughest things about a divorce is splitting your shared social circles. Some friendships survive the transition, some don’t. However, what can really hurt is losing touch with people who you’ve made your family through your marital connection. It’s not uncommon for in-laws to adore each other, even during and after an unpleasant divorce.
The question is: can you stay friends? We’re here to discuss how Denver divorce mediation can save some of those relationships most precious to you by removing some of the pain and conflict from the separation process.
Getting Divorced Doesn’t Have to Be Traumatic
For many people, a divorce is a traumatic experience because it becomes two people fighting for their ability to live without each other. When both are trying to get everything they can from the remnants of a marriage, nobody wins. This is why Denver divorce mediation is a healthier choice than setting two combative divorce attorneys against each other. If you and your ex are capable of coming to the mediation table and seeking mutually beneficial solutions, this is the best way to ensure both people walk away with the ability to thrive on your own.
Denver divorce mediation carefully looks at the most important aspects of divorce like finances, assets, and child custody while seeking the best solution for all parties – including any children you may have. This way, divorce becomes a shared project in which you transition to two separate households without the usual trauma.
When Divorce is Peaceful, Ex-In-Laws Don’t Have to Take Sides
What does divorce trauma have to do with your in-law friendships? It’s about the need to take sides. When divorce is traumatic, families often feel the need to close ranks and defend their child/sibling/cousin who is going through the traumatic experience. This can lead to being forced to become enemies with the ex, even if they were once close.
However, when divorce is not traumatic, family members have the option to see both the marriage and the separation with their own viewpoint. Depending on the reasons for divorce, your ex’s parents/siblings/cousins may be able to understand and even empathize with both parties without the need to sever all ties when the marriage is done.
The Ability to Talk It Out
Divorce mediation can help you talk out the practical factors of divorce, which can also lead to more peaceful discussions about why the marriage ended. If you can planly state that you no longer love each other the same way, that you can’t get over something that’s changed between you or perhaps simply that you’ve grown apart, your in-laws don’t need to have as strong of feelings on the matter.
When couples need to scream it out, everyone winds up drawn into the combat. But when calm conversation is your leading method, you may get the opportunity to talk it out with the in-laws you’ve grown to love without needing to bash on their dearly loved relative who you once married or cause anyone to become defensive about maintaining a close relationship with both parties in a divorce.
Including In-Law Protocols in Your Divorce Agreement
Another interesting factor about Denver divorce mediation is that you can cover issues that would not be included in a court divorce. If you are splitting on amicable terms and your lives may still be intertwined after the divorce, it’s not unreasonable to set terms for how to respect each other’s space without completely breaking ties.
For example, you might ask whether it’s OK to still send your ex’s mother flowers on Mother’s Day because she has become like a mother to you, as well. Or you might admit that you’re fine with your ex and brother continuing to go on their yearly fishing trip even though they are no longer brothers-in-law. This also gives both parties an opportunity to draw the line where they feel space may be needed, like asking their ex not to visit their parents – with whom they will be staying – every weekend like they used to.
Asking Your In-Laws What They Are OK With
While making your plans, don’t forget to include everyone who is involved. Your Ex may give the go-ahead to stay friends with their family – or some guidelines on what they are comfortable with – but you still need to ask the in-laws how they feel about the situation.
One of the best ways to maintain your favorite in-laws as friends is to talk honestly and calmly with them about the situation. Ask how they feel about the divorce and ask for understanding if they have a hard time seeing either side of the issue. Ask if they feel that you could still be friends and what kind of connection they would be comfortable with now that you are no longer connected through the marriage.
It strongly depends on each person and individual relationship as to what their answer may be. Some might feel that you are now free to become better friends, some may want to create a formal distance but will still greet you with a smile when you run into each other around town. Keep an open mind while asking your in-laws to keep an open heart.
Don’t Bash Your Ex
Finally, remember that the most important step in maintaining in-laws as friends is peace. Your in-laws may still adore you, they may even understand your reasons for getting a divorce, but their alliance is most likely strongest with your ex. If you can avoid making your divorce an adversarial experience, then you are much more likely to stay on the good side of people you want to keep as friends after the in-law connection is severed.
Judge each situation individually, but generally consider conversations with in-laws to be similar to conversations with your children: Never badmouth someone they love or make it a “me or them” conversation. This will help keep the peace, no matter what your in-laws may or may not feel.
Keeping Your In-Laws as Friends with Denver Divorce Mediation
Can you keep your in-laws as friends after a divorce? In many cases, the answer is “yes”. If you absolutely love one or more of your in-law family, that’s perfectly normal. They have been your family for years, and often there are a few perfect matches beyond the marriage itself. You may adore their parents, siblings, cousins, or someone else special in your ex’s life that you may not want to lose after the divorce.
The key is to make your divorce as peaceful as possible and never put your in-laws in the middle. You can achieve the best possible divorce outcomes through Denver divorce mediation. With a professional mediator helping you handle the divorce in a practical and positive way, you can often remove the trauma and maintain more friendships as a result.
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