Monday, November 2, 2009

Divorce, the In-laws and Facebook

If you are my in-real-life friend on Facebook, you will know that Gentleman Jack and I are very obviously in love. We try not to get too mushy but yeah, we get pretty mushy. Give us a break! We're still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. We've heard plenty of the "I just threw up a little in my mouth"  comments from our friends.

But what if those Facebook friends are your ex-in-laws?

My ex-husband's brother, sister, aunt, nieces and nephews are all friends of mine on Facebook. I was in that family for 20 years! We all stay in touch when we can. I never thought much about the interactions with Jack until my ex-sister-in-law commented on something related to him.

Eesh. Awkward!

She didn't say anything mean or directed at us, she simply joined the conversation. I felt so weird about it that I sent her an email.

I reminded her that I love all of them so much. I knew she was witnessing me moving forward with someone else. I didn't want her to feel awkward about it being so in-your-face. I didn't want her or any of his family to feel hurt. Its been 3 1/2 years already!

Her response surprised me:

She said she had no idea that her brother and I were divorced!


Then again, I remember last year around this time, I was on the phone with my ex-mother-in-law discussing what the girls wanted for Christmas. She came right out and asked me if our divorce was final. At that point, we'd been divorced for 6 months already. She said that my ex never mentioned it and they never asked him.


It reminds me now why I was such a big deal in that family. Because yeah, I was a big deal.

That family does not communicate. They never talk about feelings. They never say 'I love you'. They never stop to ask what's *really* going on with anyone. It's all surface.

And I am WAY deeper than surface.

At first it was a struggle. No one knew what to do with me. Then they all leaned on me. They all began saying 'I love you'... not to each other, mind you, but they said it to me. They all grew to love and respect my input and view of life. Even his patriarchal father who rarely speaks unless he has something of importance to say. And when he speaks, everyone stops to listen.

After the ex and I separated, my ex-sister-in-law sent me a card that I still have to this day. In the card, she told me that I was the rock of the family. Me. The rock in someone else's family.

In her email today, she reiterated how devastated they all are that our marriage didn't survive. Then she went on to tell me that she was happy to see the love between me and Gentleman Jack.

"You need that. You are so blessed!"

I'm glad she thinks so. I hope that even though my love life is changing, I can still keep that family. Is that selfish of me? I do love them so... deeper than surface.

Divorce is hard.

"I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them better when they're right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together."
~ Marilyn Monroe


  1. OMG they don't know yet? Now that's awkward, having to inform them. With your original question it maybe a little awkward for them, but if they have your best interest to heart then it won't matter.

  2. I agree! I already knew that you were the informant in that family...either way, if they truly love you then they should love that you're in love (that's a lot of love in one statement ;)).

    ...and, no, it's not selfish to want to keep them in your life. You love them, and they are family to you.

    I know one thing for sure - I LOVE that your in love!

  3. That's so great that you're still so close to your ex's family. I was never close to my ex's family from the beginning, so the fact that we're not in touch at all anymore is pretty much par for the course.

    You're right, though - divorce *IS* hard.

  4. T - your posts these past couple days have been very interesting for me. You paint such vivid pictures of living with an alcoholic, and being a ray of light in a stiff, guarded family. I'm glad you're with someone who reflects your energy back to you and is transparent about his feelings. These posts seem so graphic to me since I can put a face on the ex. I hope things continue to be happy between you and Rascal, and yes, I do see some of the Facebook mush!

  5. Well, what a way to find out! But thank goodness she reacted the way she did. I also had a not dissimilar situation with the family of an ex. Both her parents are dead now. I still miss them.

  6. I think the MM quote says it all so very well. I am going to steal it from you. :)

  7. My ex's family barely talks to me, and they live 10 miles away. I can't imagine being facebook friends. Sounds like your ex's family is fine with you moving forward. They'll miss you, but you don't owe them anything in the facebook etiquette department. Live your life. Show them how life is meant to be lived.

  8. You're very fortunate to still have the closeness with your ex's family. Treasure it - for yourself as well as your kids. Many of us lose the in-laws in the divorce, and for some of us, that's at least as hard as losing the marriage and everything else. My ex's family was MY family, and while with some effort they've stayed in my sons' lives, they've been gone from mine, despite my best efforts for 8+ years. I finally had to accept things for what they were, and grieve that loss.

    You're doing well! Keep going!

  9. Another great MM quote!

    Your situation with the ex-in laws in rare for sure. Unfortunatley my exes are a product of their upbringing; the bad apple did not fall far from the enabling tree. Lol.

    Lots to be thankful for T! :)

  10. If there's one thing I've learned about you, T, it's that you're one of those human beings who truly cares about others. You seem to see people for who they are, in the most positive light. It sounds like your ex's family did NOT want to believe that the divorce was final. They still consider you as family. Who wouldn't want that with you?

  11. You have had a major impact on your ex's family! This is a testament to who you are. Interesting quote, thanks for sharing.

  12. How can you not know your brother is divorced? Guess they really don't communicate! Your sister-in-law obviously misses the communication you brought to the family.


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