Author Topic: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member? More Info #20  (Read 17171 times)

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Aeris

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(Or, what is the etiquette for dealing with your ex on the occasion of your own family member's funeral?)

Does the ex-spouse related to the deceased have any obligation to inform the ex of the relative's death? Invite them to the funeral? Invite them to the 'family events' surrounding the funeral?

Should an ex-spouse simply avoid such a funeral, so as to not cause drama?

Does the answer depend on how long the two were married? The amicability of the break up? Whether or not the deceased and unrelated spouse developed an independent relationship?

Has anyone dealt with this? Are there 'rules'? What have your experiences been? Where is the biggest likelihood for awkwardness and hurt feelings?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 06:42:02 PM by Aeris »

CaffeineKatie

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 10:19:10 PM »
One of the first events I attended with my future in-laws was my husband's grandmother's memorial service.  Several of his cousins' ex-wives were in attendance, because they had a good relationship and great fondness for the grandmother, even if their marriages didn't last.  They didn't sit with the family, and there were no children involved, but they did talk to their exes and ex-mil to express their condolences. 
The most recent in-law event was the funeral of my mother-in-law.  The ex-wife of my DH's brother came; they were married over 20 years and had several children together before the angry, ugly split.  The ex-wife simply ignored the new wife (yes, the cause of the split), supported her children who were grieving for their grandmother, said nice things to her former bil and sil and acted like a lady at the reception after the service.
So, I'd say go if you have a respect/close relationship for the deceased or need to support your kids.  And if it might erupt, just send a card.  I was impressed by everyone's behavior on both of these sad ocassions, so it can be done.


LifeOnPluto

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 12:26:28 AM »
I definitely think it's a case-by-case thing.

If you had a good relationship with your ex-inlaw, and knew them for a reasonably long time, there's nothing rude about going to their funeral.

However, as for the question of whether your ex-spouse is obliged to actually inform you of their passing, I'm less sure. If there are children involved, I'd say absolutely. As a parent, you'd want to know if your children had lost a grandparent/aunt/uncle/etc.

If there are no children involved, I don't think there's any obligation for your ex-spouse to inform you, especially if you didn't continue to have an independent relationship with the deceased after the break-up.

hannahmollysmom

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 02:46:21 AM »
My grandmother had requested my ex-husband be a pall bearer! We were polite to each other as we had an amicable divorce, and our children were there too. I think if you were close to the ex-relative, or they were close to your children, then yes, go and show your respects. Just no drama.

sweetonsno

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 03:47:20 AM »
If your ex and the deceased had a good relationship (or they maintained one after your breakup), you should definitely tell them, especially if you think you'd be the only one to think of it. It would be rather mortifying for anybody to bump into a mutual friend/acquaintance and not know that someone who was important to them had died.

I don't think you need to specifically invite them to the funeral or the events surrounding the funeral, but again, if they had a close relationship, it would be nice, especially if they get along well with the family. (If they or your family is hugely into drama, though, you might want to skip it.)

I don't think the ex-spouse needs to avoid the funeral, but if there is a high risk of drama or conflict, it might be better to send flowers and condolences to the funeral parlor/church and a nice sympathy card to important family members (spouse and children).

I think the answer depends on how close the deceased and the ex were with one another and how well the ex and the surviving family members can be expected to behave. The biggest possibility for hurt feelings would certainly be in neglecting to inform someone that a person who they loved had died.

lovepickles

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 04:17:51 AM »
Out of respect for the deceased it is important to advise all those who had a relationship with the deceased. Even if it is uncomfortable for the living it is important for all to be aware of the death and make the decision on their own to attend or not. So unless there is a restraining order or other matters of personal safety I'd call, or send an expedited card. Something along the lines of:

Dear (EX),

I felt the need to inform you that (insert relative name) has passed. We are holding a service at (insert location and time). You are welcome to attend.

Sincerely,
Aeris

I wouldn't get chatty or emotional and keep your distance. This isn't really about you and the ex but about the passing relative. Just take care of yourself during this time by eating and sleeping properly and steer clear of the ex and any discussion about him/her.

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cicero

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 06:18:35 AM »
i remained close with most of my ex's family (*not* with my ex himself). for the first few years after the divorce, i tried to keep communications open with ex (for DS's sake) but that didn't really work. we used to visit my in laws, go to weddings/bar mitsvas when possible, they came to DS's bar mitsva etc. I call my MIL twice a year before major jewish holidays. when my FIL passed away, we went to both the funeral and the shiva (visited them in their home).

i think it depends on a lot of factors - what kind of relationship you have with the family, was there any animosity, would your coming to a funeral cause discomfort to the mourners, etc.

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O'Dell

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 07:25:51 AM »
I think in most cases there is some obligation for an ex to let former spouses know about a death. In my family that was done, so maybe it's what I'm more comfortable with? That obligation goes up if there are kids involved or the break-up is recent, and goes down the longer the spouses are out of contact. It's a judgment call to some extent. If you know they really won't care either way, then I wouldn't bother informing them.

If you decide to inform the ex, then you can make it known how you want them to attend the funeral or not, and they should respect that. If you suspect they might start drama, then not informing them becomes much more defensible. You can inform them after. If they show up and start drama, ask the funeral director to escort them out.

Say in the case of an ex that has treated the family member badly and the marriage ended on bad terms...it's up to that family member whether the ex should be informed or not. I don't know of any etiquette that dictates that a person has to invite such a person back into their life, death or not.
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Winterlight

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 10:39:58 AM »
I think it depends on the relationship with the ex, and with the family.
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Twik

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2012, 11:22:31 AM »
My grandmother had requested my ex-husband be a pall bearer!

One of my ex-boyfriends did us the honour of being a pallbearer when my father died. But we were amicable, and my father had been fond of him for more than dating his daughter.

On the other hand, I can imaging exes who should not come anywhere near a funeral involving their former partner. It's a situational thing.
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TurtleDove

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2012, 11:33:38 AM »
I echo the posters who say it is entirely case by case.  My ex-husband and his entire family (mom, dad, brother and wife and kids) came to my sister's funeral and my husband's funeral (one year and seven years post divorce).  My ex and father of my child (different person) sat right behind me at my husband's funeral because I wanted him there if I needed him to comfort our daughter and allow me to focus on grieving my husband (she was just over 2 years old).  I attended my ex and father of my child's Grandma's funeral for the exact same reason. 

I don't think any of us even considered that any exes would make the event about them or any bitterness.  But that is my experience, and only you would know whether you have legitimate concerns about the personalities involved for your situation.

sparksals

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2012, 11:40:46 AM »
I would not even consider informing my ex of the passing of one of my relatives.  I do think it depends on how amicable the relationship is.   He had no relationship with my family after we split, he was a psycho and there is no way he would have been invited or welcome  in our home when my dad died.  No way.

DistantStar

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2012, 12:44:19 PM »
Very much a case-by-case situation; my parents had divorced about as amicably as was possible, and when my dad died a few years later she (our mom, the ex) took us (me 17, my brother 9) to the funeral and was made welcome by all.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 01:49:34 PM by DistantStar »

ncgal

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2012, 12:46:06 PM »
Aeris,

If it is your ex, then I say he should stay far far away unless he was extremely close, separate and apart from your relationship, with the deceased.  If he was extremely close, then he should only come to the service if he has changed greatly in the last few months. 

So I say it would depend on the relationship and whether or not drama would be caused by the attendance of the ex.   If drama, the ex should stay away. 

JoyinVirginia

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Re: What is the etiquette of funerals for an ex's family member?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2012, 01:05:22 PM »
Funerals are for the living. So if the mourners would not be uncomfortable with the ex attending, and if the ex gas a fond relationship with the deceased, then yes notification would be nice. On the other hand, when my aunt died, her former son in law did not attend, the children were adults and daughter of the deceased preferred him not to be there.