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I've maintained a positive and close relationship with my ex-inlaws since my EXW and I divorced 3 years ago. However, my GF feels this is weird and is struggling with where she fits in this dynamic.

The in-laws I speak of is my kids' grandfather and Uncle. The two of them are an extremely positive influence on my kids' lives. Their grandfather helps me take my son to school in the morning and the kids go over his place 1-2x a week after school to hang out and have dinner.
My GF doesn't have a problem with this regarding the kids. She is struggling with the fact that I spend time with my ex -inlaws more than just a simple hello. When I go pick my kids up from their grandfather's house, I may spend a couple hrs with the in-laws, have dinner and having a good time. This had occurred 1-2x a week since I pick up my kids from their house anyways. And this has gone on before my relationship with my GF by the way.

This weekend was my last with the kids before they spend the summer with their mom (who lives in Minnesota). The kids and I have been spending a lot of time with my GF and her kids over the last few weeks. But then on Saturday night, the kids and I spent time with their grandfather and Uncle. It was a bit last minute and left my GF scrambling to find something to do since she assumed we were going to do something. I apologized for the last minute plan with the in-laws because I definitely felt it was unfair to her that I left her hanging (even though there were no definite plans).

However, she was equally upset that I went along with the kids and spent Saturday night with the ex-in-laws instead of her.

I explained to her that I wanted to spend as much time with the kids as I could since they would be gone for the next two months. And that I don't consider my in-laws more important than her. I just wanted what I thought was a good balance and best for my kids. And I wanted to be a part of that.

But she was still upset that I would choose the in-laws over her. At one point, I started to feel like she was making me feel ashamed for having this type of relationship with my ex-inlaws. I know it's not your normal/avg relationship with an ex-inlaw, but I don't feel I should cut off a good relationship just because I divorced their daughter (who is barely a part of my ex-inlaws lives anyways).

I wanted to tell my GF that she is acting this way because she is insecure. But I didn't since I know that would be a hellish thing to say. But am I right about her and her insecurities? If so, how do I help her understand better?
Or am I out of line with my friendship with my in-laws?
 

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She is insecure; she might feel that you will always choose them over her. It's sort of understandable.

However, this is not about HER, it's about what is best for your kids. Right now, what is best for the kids is that they see you successfully maintaining a variety of happy, healthy relationships that don't involve drama or cutting anyone off.

You're walking a fine line here. If you are really into your girlfriend, and want to make a life with her, then you should consider introducing her to your former in-laws. She doesn't have to accompany you every time, all the time, but gradually so everyone has a chance to get to know each other.

If your former FIL won't go for it, accept that you will have to keep the relationships separate. That would be sad and stressful. I hope your former ILs have the same generosity of spirit as they did when they made you a regular part of their lives.
 

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There is nothing wrong with what is going on with you, your children and your ex-in-laws. They are your children's relatives. Additionally there help you quite a bit when your wife pulled her shenanigans. They are truly care about you and your children.

These folks will be in your life and your children's lives forever. This is how it should be.

This is your gf's issue.

Where does she fit in? She has a choice. Either she choses to be friendly with them and respect the relationships, or she just respects the relationship and stays out of it.

How does she treat your children? Does she give you any hassle with other aspects of your relationship with your children?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
She has met my ex-in-laws a several times (birthday parties and YMCA games). My Ex-In-laws are a bit eccentric/outside the box thinkers. And they're non-judgemental and cool as hell too. They actually like my GF and ask how my relationship with her is going from time to time.

Since I was going to be at the FILs house, I felt she would be uncomfortable being there. So I didn't invite her. And after we had the talk regarding this, she admitted that she would have felt a bit uncomfortable.

As for my GF, she is amazing with my kids. She treats them with respect, is a good listener and is very caring. She's done more for them than their own mother (I'll save that for another thread someday :)) And she's extremely loving and caring towards me as well. She's never given me any hastle regarding the kids. She's acknowledged that my kids will always come first for me.

Unless my perspective on this topic is delusional when it comes to former in-laws, I really feel she's insecure about this. She said last night she now knows where she stands in the scheme of things and feels stupid for assuming things about her and I. She wouldn't elaborate more, but I took it as she was hurt that I chose my ex-in-laws over her that night.
Putting myself in her shoes, I would come away from it thinking my BF's finds his ex-inlaws more important than I. Insecure? I guess she'll have to figure that out herself.
But I definitely should keep the door open for her to get to know my FILs better and at least offer the opportunity, even if she'll might say "no".

I just wish she could step back and see how much time my kids and I spend with her and her kids. It's more than with my FILs.
And I wish she would question herself if it's her insecurities that are getting in the way.

Good to hear from you EleGirl. Long time,eh? Hope things are well on your end. :)
 

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Hi HD! When I separated I made a deliberate effort to not continue a close relationship with the in-laws for precisely this reason - not because I didn't love them or thought they would mistreat me but just because it was too complex of a relationship for me to want to put effort into. When I pick my son up from my ex-FIL's place (not very often but once in awhile) I usually turn down any offers to stay for coffee or supper, but I do thank them and remain amicable. Of course in my situation there is often a chance that spending any time at my ex in-laws that my ex would be there or show up, and I just don't really want to entertain that (even though I know my son would be thrilled to have both of us there).

But your life is what you want to make it, and if you value your relationship with them then who is anybody else to try to make you feel otherwise? Your GF is the one insecure - and while you can help her feel more secure in your relationship, she's the one that is going to have to come around to accepting your reality. I think most women in her situation would also act that way too, because you were part on an entire other world that she was not part of, and a large part of you is still in that world.

Not an easy spot you are in, it seems she may be close to asking you to choose her or them, are you going to entertain ultimatums from her? Doesn't sound too appealing to me...
 

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Houston Dad, let me give you your gf's side of this issue, because that was me and in some ways still is me. Except now I'm the wife, but it goes back to when I was the girlfriend.

My husband had extremely poor boundaries with both his ex wife and ex in laws, really her entire family. He had to attend every gathering they ever put together, he has season tickets to the same college football team and had to tailgate every single weekend with them ( I'm not invited because they tickets actually belong to his best buddy so they go together, which I'm ok with by itself), he seemed to know a lot about his ex wife's personal life as well as the personal lives of her entire family, knew all of their birthdays and had to call everyone. Hmm, what else? Well ex wife's sister and her hubby are quite wealthy and like to put on huge Christmas celebrations.....when I met him he was still going there with the ex wife. He didn't go the first Christmas we were dating, if he had I was going to dump him right there, but he made that decision himself because he knew it wasn't right.

When his mom died ex wife and her mother showed up at our house (I'm the wife now remember) with food. He was embarrassed because he knew it was out of line, but that's what happens when you have crap boundaries. Like your in laws they are very nice people but I never quite feel at home there because it's one big happy family who likes to talk about the good 'ole days that I know nothing about and somehow I always end up feeling like I don't really belong. There were times I felt like that was his actual family and I was the one he went home to have sex with. I wasn't going to live like that.

I get that they are his daughter's family and I respect that, but I'm telling you that if he stayed the night with any of them we wouldn't be together right now. We actually had a huge blowup about this last year where I told him that I don't expect him to be an ahole to anyone but he needed to put some boundaries in place or it was going to damage our marriage. He has done pretty well with that.

The fact that you're quick so dismiss your girlfriend as insecure suggests you really haven't considered this from her point of view. Are you going to be ok with her visiting and staying the night with her ex in laws? Socializing with them? Perhaps if you aren't ready to lay down some reasonable boundaries you aren't ready to be involved with someone.

It's just my POV from the other side, do what you want with it. But I came very close to ending things with husband several times over this and through hearing comments here and there I also think this was a big factor in ending at least one serious relationship before me so it's not just me.

Just think about it. It's dismissive to write off a partner's concerns are simply "insecure".
 

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Hi HD! When I separated I made a deliberate effort to not continue a close relationship with the in-laws for precisely this reason - not because I didn't love them or thought they would mistreat me but just because it was too complex of a relationship for me to want to put effort into. When I pick my son up from my ex-FIL's place (not very often but once in awhile) I usually turn down any offers to stay for coffee or supper, but I do thank them and remain amicable. Of course in my situation there is often a chance that spending any time at my ex in-laws that my ex would be there or show up, and I just don't really want to entertain that (even though I know my son would be thrilled to have both of us there).

But your life is what you want to make it, and if you value your relationship with them then who is anybody else to try to make you feel otherwise? Your GF is the one insecure - and while you can help her feel more secure in your relationship, she's the one that is going to have to come around to accepting your reality. I think most women in her situation would also act that way too, because you were part on an entire other world that she was not part of, and a large part of you is still in that world.

Not an easy spot you are in, it seems she may be close to asking you to choose her or them, are you going to entertain ultimatums from her? Doesn't sound too appealing to me...
Kudos to you for handling this well and with grace :smile2:

But I propose that gf isn't necessarily insecure, perhaps she recognizes poor boundaries. That was and is me, and I'll tell you that I'm not particularly insecure, but I did recognize crap boundaries.
 

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It seems to be a common thought that when we divorce we divorce everyone related to our ex partner. I don't subscribe to this thinking unless those people are toxic. It seems shallow to cut off in laws and extended family due to divorce, they were good enough to be part of our lives one day, but not the next?

When ex and I divorced the IL and extended family contact dropped a lot in the first year but as we settled down into an amicable post divorce relationship then the contact with each others families balanced back out. We have kids together, 20 years of history and a very good network of family and extended family. He has since lost both his parents and I have lost one, we attended each others parents funerals to support our kids and each other. I don't care that some people thought that was odd (I got some interesting looks at his Mums funeral) but we showed a united front for our kids and we will always care about the others well being.

My ex still goes out for dinner occasionally with my Dad, they had a great relationship before our divorce, why should it change afterwards? I have my ex SIL on FB and when she is in this country or I am in hers we spend time together.

OP you are doing nothing wrong by having ex IL's in your life but I understand your GF's feelings as it doesn't seem the norm for people to carry on post divorce relationships with IL's. More power to you for not being bitter and twisted post divorce and seeing these people for who they are, good people. Maybe next time give your GF the option of going along so she can decide for herself if she wants to partiipate, this may lessen her feelings of being left out.
 

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Good to hear from you EleGirl. Long time,eh? Hope things are well on your end. :)
HI, yes it is a long time. You seem to be doing well these days. Good for you!

Do you and your gf live together now? If not how many days a week do you see each other?
 

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It seems to be a common thought that when we divorce we divorce everyone related to our ex partner. I don't subscribe to this thinking unless those people are toxic. It seems shallow to cut off in laws and extended family due to divorce, they were good enough to be part of our lives one day, but not the next?

When ex and I divorced the IL and extended family contact dropped a lot in the first year but as we settled down into an amicable post divorce relationship then the contact with each others families balanced back out. We have kids together, 20 years of history and a very good network of family and extended family. He has since lost both his parents and I have lost one, we attended each others parents funerals to support our kids and each other. I don't care that some people thought that was odd (I got some interesting looks at his Mums funeral) but we showed a united front for our kids and we will always care about the others well being.

My ex still goes out for dinner occasionally with my Dad, they had a great relationship before our divorce, why should it change afterwards? I have my ex SIL on FB and when she is in this country or I am in hers we spend time together.

OP you are doing nothing wrong by having ex IL's in your life but I understand your GF's feelings as it doesn't seem the norm for people to carry on post divorce relationships with IL's. More power to you for not being bitter and twisted post divorce and seeing these people for who they are, good people. Maybe next time give your GF the option of going along so she can decide for herself if she wants to partiipate, this may lessen her feelings of being left out.

Do good boundaries equal bitterness and anger? I don't think so.

But those boundaries will differ from person to person.

I don't think it's helpful for him to label her insecure and brush off what bothers her without further understand it, and sometimes we have to compromise precisely because we all have different ideas of what good boundaries are.

Perhaps it is worth considering why she might feel left out instead of just labeling her insecure. He doesn't seem to understand why.
 

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You have kids. They are not optional and neither are their grandparents and other existing family members. You may choose to have or not have a girlfriend and a girlfriend may choose to stick around or not. A woman's decision to have a long-term relationship with you is a decision to have a relationship with your kids and to enter into an existing family. If that's not an arrangement she accepts she can hit the road and find a more agreeable situation. A woman who throws a hissy fit about you choosing to spend precious time with your kids is a woman you don't need. I would especially be wary about such a woman if she already had kids. I suspect that if you marry this woman you are going to get endless drama about your kids vs her kids and she will expect the bulk of the gravy to go on her kids' biscuits while your kids get crumbs. You didn't go over to your ex in-law's house to talk about your feelings and paint each other's toenails. That's where your kids were and you were spending time with them while you were able to do so.
 

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This is what I thought of as I read this post. Maybe show this to gf...explain that you didn't divorce the family and that they are still important in your life. Explain that you'd like to include her in this, and that maybe she'd be able to see what you see in them. Plus, they are present and important to your children...and the world needs more of that!

Your ex was in your life "for a season".... and that is over, for whatever reason. And these in-laws, well either their "season" isn't over (which it obviously isn't) orrrrrrrrrrr....they'll be around for a life time. When you find good, positive people that enrich your life, and your family..... they are keepers.

There must be a way to get her to understand. BUT... part of dating is to see if you lives can and will blend together and grow. It won't blend and grow if you start cutting out the positive parts!


"A Reason, A Season or a LIfetime"

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
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I've maintained a positive and close relationship with my ex-inlaws since my EXW and I divorced 3 years ago. However, my GF feels this is weird and is struggling with where she fits in this dynamic.
Yea I'm there with you HD. Friendships don't go away just because we're not legally related any more. I still see my oldest sister's EX as a big brother and my EX's dad as a father figure.

So ask your GF this. If she'd grown up with a step sister or brother and built a bond then would she drop them if her parent split from her step sibling's parents? I feel like my step brother is still my step brother even though our parents didn't stay together.
 

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I agree with those how say that after a divorce, you don’t just drop good relationships because the people are related to your ex. I’ve seen this happen so many times. It’s sad.

Though I also get lifeistooshort's situation was different in that her husband was way too involved with his ex inlaws. There has to be a balance.

HoustonDad, are there other people and things that she has pressured you to give up or spend less time with?
 

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Second marriage here for both H and I. He has introduced me to some of his ex in-laws. We've been out to dinner a few times with some of them, and had some others over to our house at different times. Of course we do funerals, etc.... They are nice people. He's known them and associated with them for about 30 years. And really, I trust his judgement in keeping these people in his life..... to me, they are no different than associating with friends that he's known since childhood. I can't dismiss them just because he knew them before me.

His ex is the only one who gets a bit pissy about it now and then.... but her pistivity does not affect our relationships with other people.

Long loving relationships/friendships are to be treasured. Life is too short to cut out the good people.
 

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They actually like my GF and ask how my relationship with her is going from time to time.

Since I was going to be at the FILs house, I felt she would be uncomfortable being there. So I didn't invite her. And after we had the talk regarding this, she admitted that she would have felt a bit uncomfortable.
Ok. However, you made that choice for her, which was a bit presumptuous. Even if she declines out of discomfort, frequent invites may help relieve her concerns. If nothing else, you respect her enough to let her choose instead of doing it for her.

Just think about it. It's dismissive to write off a partner's concerns are simply "insecure".
But I propose that gf isn't necessarily insecure, perhaps she recognizes poor boundaries. That was and is me, and I'll tell you that I'm not particularly insecure, but I did recognize crap boundaries.
It sounds like this was a trigger for you.

Do good boundaries equal bitterness and anger? I don't think so.
And here again

But those boundaries will differ from person to person.
Yes, they will.

I don't think it's helpful for him to label her insecure and brush off what bothers her...
Perhaps it is worth considering why she might feel left out instead of just labeling her insecure. He doesn't seem to understand why.
Your husband's boundaries WERE poor. Houstondad's situation may be somewhat similar, but is not the same. As he said, his relationship with the ILs does not include his EX, like your husband's did.

But am I right about her and her insecurities?
I don't think he is labeling her as insecure. It sounds like that was his gut reaction, and he's questioning it, to be sure. Good on him!! He is not dismissing his GF, he is trying to understand, and help her understand, to improve the situation. Likely steps that your H did not take on his own.

And it does sound like she may be a bit insecure (which is not always a flaw). And if she is, that does not say anything about you, LITS. As the situation is not identical.
 

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Second marriage here for both H and I. He has introduced me to some of his ex in-laws. We've been out to dinner a few times with some of them, and had some others over to our house at different times. Of course we do funerals, etc.... They are nice people. He's known them and associated with them for about 30 years. And really, I trust his judgement in keeping these people in his life..... to me, they are no different than associating with friends that he's known since childhood. I can't dismiss them just because he knew them before me.

His ex is the only one who gets a bit pissy about it now and then.... but her pistivity does not affect our relationships with other people.

Long loving relationships/friendships are to be treasured. Life is too short to cut out the good people.
Do you own this word or can I use it as well? Love it.
 

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Kudos to you for handling this well and with grace :smile2:

But I propose that gf isn't necessarily insecure, perhaps she recognizes poor boundaries. That was and is me, and I'll tell you that I'm not particularly insecure, but I did recognize crap boundaries.
To be brutally honest though, it still rips my heart out every time I think of a gathering at their place, they were my FAMILY, they were going to be in my life forever, and neither of us did wrong to each other to cause end of the relationship. I can't tell if it feels more like that relation was stolen from my or if I gave up on it. If it's important for HD to maintain that relation I can fully understand his reasons and support that choice. It is a lose lose situation and if they choose to mitigate that loss they are all capable adults and choose who to include in their lives. If HDs GF respected HD and believed he was a quality person, she'd realize that it's largely about those we surround ourselves with, if he chooses to allow them in his life then there is a good reason.
 

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Do good boundaries equal bitterness and anger? I don't think so.

But those boundaries will differ from person to person.

I don't think it's helpful for him to label her insecure and brush off what bothers her without further understand it, and sometimes we have to compromise precisely because we all have different ideas of what good boundaries are.

Perhaps it is worth considering why she might feel left out instead of just labeling her insecure. He doesn't seem to understand why.
Perhaps you are superimposing something in your own life into my words. Of course good boundaries are important but the OP said his extended family are good people. Why cut good people out of your life just because of divorce?

People that remain in contact/friends with their ex's family do not have poor boundaries unless of course those people are toxic as I said in my post.

Keeping relationships going post divorce is highly possible and does not mean we have poor boundaries, it means we are able to maintain healthy boundaries with good people.
 
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