In our world today, complex family relationships are common with the number of individuals who divorce or die after marrying or separate after living together without marriage or remarry multiple times. All of this makes for step relationships as well as divided families. When I divorced 35 years ago, it was awkward to know how to treat my in-laws. Loyalty issues arose. Some family members strained to know how to relate to the divorced partner of their son or daughter. It certainly is a new situation that calls for forgiveness, understanding and time to repair/heal the disappointments involved. The children of divorce are the ones who need the most help in adjusting to the new situation whatever kind of estrangement or change takes place as the ex-spouses move on in their individual paths.
Grandparents though now the former in-laws (or outlaws as I jokingly called mine) are still family and want to have a place in their grandchildren’s lives. Flexibility on the part of all involved is important in going forth and stabilizing life after any traumatic change. Family reunions and holidays become a tricky situation to navigate. Who gets the kids to celebrate, etc.? Sister and brother in-laws feel awkward relating to the former spouse of their sibling and vice versa. What a mess. Although we’d like to think that adults can be unconditionally acceptant of all involved, it rarely happens and the children of divorce watch and wonder why. The same could be true of those who separate without marriage or divorce, relationships have been developed which are suddenly changed create instability in the lives of any family.