We live in a world where divorce has lost most of the social stigma associated with it in the past, a world in which a second or third marriage is about as socially acceptable as a first marriage, and a world in which many of us have friendships and family relationships complicated by the divorce process. When you’re involved in a divorce, your familial ties are suddenly broken and reshaped, and your family tree may get a bit reshaped.read here
However, many Americans find themselves still tied to their in-laws and former spouses after the marriage ends. All divorces are unique, and while many are acrimonious, many others happen under less vitriolic circumstances. Sometimes couples realize they’ve merely drifted apart romantically to the point where they want to seek new mates, but still want to keep their family. Other times, one partner in a couple will come out of the closet and the marriage will end as a result. However, the former spouses still have an emotional investment which they don’t wish to end.
Whatever the reasons, more and more people are finding themselves happy to continue their relationships with their former in-laws and spouses, willing to continue sharing their lives. Sometimes this means spending holidays together. Sometimes it’s a lot more serious, living in the same area and staying in the same social set. Some divorcees prefer to keep their former spouses in their lives for the sake of the children, wanting to provide them with consistency and give their lives a bit of an even keel when it comes to familial relationships.
The important thing to realize is that if you’re both comfortable continuing some form of relationship, there’s no reason in this day and age that you shouldn’t. However, it’s also important to realize that the decision is as much theirs as it is yours. You cannot force a relationship on your ex-wife, just as you can’t insist on continuing your relationship with your ex-husband’s parents and siblings if they don’t want it. It is vital to respect the wishes of your former spouse. If he or she is uncomfortable with you remaining in his or her life, moving on may be the most mature thing to do. Your ex-spouse may find it uncomfortable that you wish to continue spending time with his or her family; if it does, you should respect his or her wishes.