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Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law

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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.

Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law

Answered by on -


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

Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Maintaining a Relationship With Ex-Daughter-in-Law. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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