Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My son divorced his wife almost two years ago. The divorce occurred due to infidelity on his part. I was extremely close to his wife. They had three small children. I have been very distant with her since the divorce , but now want to be able to talk to her. My son has forbidden me to have anything to do with her. I want to maintain a relationship with her for the sake of the Grandkids. I refused to allow him to dictate to me who I could talk to and now he won’t speak to me. He is with the woman with whom he cheated. I feel sure I will lose my son, but I know if I cut all contact with ex the Grandkids will suffer. Since the divorce he has gradually restricted the time I have with Grands and constantly criticizes everything I do. We have always been a very close family and this is really hurting everyone involved. If I maintain a relationship with his ex I alienate him and his new live in and if I don’t I won’t get to see the Grandkids as much. I am lost.

A: You have a right to talk with your grandchildren and to your ex-daughter-in-law. Your son needs to understand that there are other people whose lives his decisions have affected – and that he does not have the right to dictate how these relationships are managed.

I highly recommend a session with a family therapist with you and your son to make your needs known in a more regulated environment. You may also want to get some legal advice about your rights as a grandmother. I believe it is worth getting both a legal and psychological consult in this situation.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/14/maintaining-a-relationship-with-ex-daughter-in-law/