Yesterday I went to visit my ex-mother in law……
She doesn’t live too far away from me. She is called Carol and she is a sprightly 86 year old. She has dodgy knees and can’t walk far, but she doesn’t look her age. In fact, she dresses smartly, has her hair done every week, and wears nice make up. I’ve known her for 40 years. I married her son when I was 20, and we were married for 26 years. She’s always been very nice to me, friendly, polite, interested in my life and what I do. Some people might think there’s no need to keep in touch with her, now I am divorced from her son, but I go to see her every month or so, when I am in the UK. I see no reason why we can’t be friends, and I’m also in touch with two of my three ex-sisters in law, too.
When I married, and ever since I was sixteen, I didn’t have any family around me. My parents were divorced a long time earlier, my mother emigrated to Australia and died there, in 2000. My ex-husband’s family were very close, and tried really hard to make me welcome and be a part of their family. But I’ve always been very independent, I don’t like relying on anyone, and I felt they were intruding on my space.
When my three children were born, the family couldn’t have been more helpful and generous. But I often resented them, I’m sure I was rude to them, I disliked their visits, I complained about them. But my ex-mother in law never retaliated, she never argued with me, she never tried to interfere. She undoubtedly talked about me to the rest of her family, about how moody and disagreeable I was, and I don’t blame her for that at all, I deserved it, I wasn’t a very nice person.
She never took sides when we divorced, and she never lost contact with me. She was still married to my ex-husband’s father at that point, until Bob died of cancer in 2008. When he was in hospital, I sometimes used to give her a lift to see him, as she never drove a car. Gradually we became closer, and whenever I was abroad I would always send her postcards. I’m a very private person, a true Scorpio, very secretive, and never talked to her about the reasons for our divorce, and I rarely open up to people about anything, even now. We are never going to be the best friends ever, but things are good.
My ex-husband and I don’t talk to each other, although I would very much like to be friends. We only have infrequent contact at grandchildren’s birthdays. He is polite to me, but unfriendly. I do wonder if he dislikes me visiting his mum, he probably would prefer it if I didn’t, knowing him. I think he hates me having any contact with his family. Maybe a little part of me, the evil, nasty part, wants to upset my ex-husband and make him exasperated by visiting his mum…..
But Carol is genuinely a really nice lady, and I hope we will continue to be friends.
Do you still keep in contact with any ex-in laws?