General Etiquette > Family and Children

A divorce etiquette question

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Jaelle:
This is on behalf of a friend.

A close relative of hers is getting divorced. The relative and her soon-to-be-ex-spouse have three children, all under 10. Because of various issues, the five all still live under the same roof. Friend is uncertain how much longer that is expected to last ... or if the kids even know about the situation. From what she says, it's pretty tense in that house.  :-\

Her relative is expecting everyone in the family to invite the soon-to-be-ex-spouse to all family events that he would normally attend with the family. Tension and all. Those who question this are told it's for the good of the kids. Friend is doubtful of this, and resentful that this is expected. However, she said she also figures it's none of her business how they manage their relationship. So she wonders if she should grin and bear it and invite the guy (and all the underlying drama that involves) or somehow say, well, he's not family now, sorry. (Which sounds awful!)

How would you handle this if you were a family member?

I'll answer any questions I can, though I may have to refer to friend for most details. Thanks.

Sharnita:
I think that if the wife wanted everyone to act as if the couple was still married they probably should have kept the divorce a secret.    I think that maybe if I were a family member I would decrease the number of events any of them were invited to until this phase of the divorce had passed.

sparksals:
They are still a social unit and not officially divorced.  How would the children feel to be excluded?  Until they are no longer a unit, then it is no one's business to judge.

SiotehCat:
My parents did something similar to this, but without the getting divorced part.

When I was a child, my parents decided they no longer wanted to be together. They continued to live together because they never wanted our family to be split up. I didn't find out until I was a teenager.

I don't know how many of our relatives knew. I'm glad that I got to grow up with both of my parents in the same house.

For the family in the OP, I don't see how it would be a big deal to continue to issue them invitations as a family.

Sharnita:

--- Quote from: sparksals on February 05, 2013, 10:20:24 PM ---They are still a social unit and not officially divorced.  How would the children feel to be excluded?  Until they are no longer a unit, then it is no one's business to judge.

--- End quote ---

It sounds like they have been invited to judge but then are asked to continue to pretend that the situation is something that it isn't.  The family has been told all about the divorce, the tension, etc.  To me that sounds like they have been asked to take sides.  Now, in a lot of circumstances I wouldn't be shocked by that.  When you are feeling hurt/sad/angry you share the details with your loved ones and hope they will be on your side.  However, I think it is unfair to share the details and then expect them to act like the situation is somethign that it isn't, that they don't know about the tensions, etc.

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