Missing a Sibling-in-Law After Your Sibling’s Divorce? This Advice Columnist Has Something to Say
Sometimes a divorce can impact a person in ways they never expected. Although we may not realize it, the casualties of a couple’s divorce can extend to not only children born of the marriage, but sometimes pets, parents, and even one or more of the ex-spouse’s siblings.
One example of a sibling grieving a sibling-in-law post-divorce popped up on Slate.com this week. “Sad Sister” wrote to the Slate advice column in a state of sadness after her sister’s divorce. She explained that she and her sister had been close their whole lives, and when her sister got married to “Brian”, the three became a trio. “We would travel together, go to events together, have game nights and dinners, etc. Brian was family to me for a decade,” Sad Sister wrote. However, Sad Sister went on, her sister and Brian “suddenly moved out” of the couple’s home and “asked for a divorce.” Feeling shocked and seemingly “in the middle”, Sad Sister inquired, “…I have maintained a friendship with Brian, albeit of a much different shape than before and naturally not as close, and [my sister] has not been as cool with it as her words would have suggested. Now, she’s dating someone new, and I have to admit it has been hard for me to adjust to. I loved the way my family was and I mourn it. And I know it’s [my sister’s] life and [her] decision and I need to be able to move on, but I am struggling. Do you have any guidance to offer?”
Mourn, but Move On, when it Comes to Ex-Siblings-in-Law
In response to Sad Sister, advice columnist “Dear Prudence” advised, “You are absolutely going to need some time to mourn the way you expected your family to look. In some ways you’re almost like a child whose parents have divorced—except your situation is even tougher, because you’re not really going to be able to maintain much of a relationship with Brian the way children can with each of their parents.” Dear Prudence also suggested that Sad Sister take a year to “feel unsettled and sad about this new arrangement, and to gently, gradually shift Brian to his new role of someone to whom you say “happy birthday” on social media.” Finally, Dear Prudence advised Sad Sister to look at the situation with a bird’s-eye-view. “Life has many, many seasons,” she wrote, “You may marry and divorce…Stay close to her. Trust that she broke up with Brian for a good reason—or a reason that seemed good to her at the time.”
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