Carolyn Hax: Take son to see ex’s family

October 26, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: About a month ago, my husband, out of nowhere, informed me that he no longer wanted to be with me, and we are now separating. I am extremely hurt and frustrated, but we are keeping things as civil as possible.

My husband travels frequently for his job — usually two to three weeks total each month — and I’m wondering if you can provide me with some guidance as to the best way to uphold my son’s relationship with my husband’s parents through the separation and divorce.

Should I still take my son to family events when my husband is not here to take him, or is there a way to bow out gracefully?

DIVORCE, GRANDPARENTS AND VISITATION

I think that, as much as it will feel like punching yourself in the face, bringing your son to your husband’s family’s events will set an awesome example for your son.

Re: Visitation: My sister-in-law had a similar situation and kept bringing the kids to the major events alone. Occasionally, one of her ex’s siblings would offer to bring the kids to give her a break, but the kids were always there. The general consensus is she looked like the bigger person in the divorce, her kids never heard a bad thing about their mother from their father’s family, and her ex didn’t look good … at all. When her ex remarried, she offered his new wife the option of bringing the kids, and now we all miss her!

ANONYMOUS

Nice validation, thanks.

Re: Visitation: I get that it would be nice to take your son to your in-laws even if your ex isn’t there, however it is your ex’s responsibility to use his available visitation to maintain this relationship as well.

ANONYMOUS 2

True. However, it’s each parent’s responsibility to do right by the child, and the reality of everyone’s circumstances decides what “right” requires — not abstract delegating.

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