15 Dec
Can I be Friends with My Ex Brother-In-Law?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband’s sister is recently divorced (within the past year). She didn’t want the marriage to end and is having a very tough time moving on. During their marriage, I was really good friends with her ex, my brother-in-law. We often commiserated about being the “out-laws” and counseled each other on handling some of the less than favorable family traits that our spouses each inherited. We got along well.

So while their marriage didn’t work (he ultimately ended it and moved on to someone new a bit too soon, if you know what I mean), I really miss talking with and hanging out with him.   I haven’t had any contact with him since the divorce was finalized.   Do I need to sever my ties with him because she did? Did I mention I was matron of honor at their wedding?


Family Ties


Dear Family Ties (AKA Alex P. Keaton),

So just to clarify, you were the matron of honor in this woman’s wedding and you want to know if it’s ok to hang out with her ex? And the answer is….

No. It’s totally not ok. Not even a smidgen.


Let me explain why.

1. She’s still your sister-in-law.

2. He’s no longer part of the family.

3. He’s now hanging with Miss young hottie and your sister-in-law is having a rough time.

4. Finally, let’s say you do reconnect. What are you going to do with the guy? Get together for a coffee? A spirited game of Scrabble? Watch “The Bachelor”? It’s all sort of pointless. And if word gets back to your husband’s family, it will mean all kinds of hurt feelings and awkwardness.

I understand your intentions are good. I think my mother used to like one of my ex-boyfriends more than me. They talked gardening, needle point, interior decorating. You know, I’m starting to understand why it didn’t work out with this guy. Sure, my mom was sad we didn’t end up together but they did one last shopping spree for throw cushions and then she knew it was time to let go.

Because I know from watching too many Olive Garden commercials, when you’re here, you’re family. So when you’re not here, you’re out.

Now I’m craving bread sticks.

Good luck to you,

Kelcey, TMH


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17 Responses to “Can I be Friends with My Ex Brother-In-Law?”


Comment by rojopaul.

Change brother-in-law to sister-in-law and this is my story too (down to her moving on a bit early). Both sides are now remarried but it doesn’t make it any easier.

In the beginning, I tried to stay in touch because, heck, we were close friends and married to twins made us with each other all the time. However, I would inevitably say too much to my BIL about his ex, or vice versa, and that was tough. The family does not understand that we were friends before they were a couple and I think it’s different with women. However, for the sake of keeping the peace, my relationship with my ex-SIL amounts to occasional e-mails about what’s new and a once a year (if that) dinner or movie night. It’s just too hard trying to get to know, love and share with the new wife when I’m still friends with the ex wife. It’s sad, but at the end of the day, family is still family, and we have to live with them.


Comment by calliope.

“We often … counseled each other on handling some of the less than favorable family traits that our spouses each inherited.”

Which seems to have led to him having an affair and leaving your sister-in-law (the less favorable traits, not your conversations about it). And you want to continue doing that?

Bad idea. Really bad idea.


Comment by christy.

Yep, your advice is spot-on. He’s off limits now!


Comment by hokgardner.

I think you should send him a box of CHOCOLATE and a note wishing him well in his future life and then end any further contact.


Comment by Susan.

This is one of those things where you have to ask ‘what would i want my sister-in-law to do?’ leave my ex alone is the right answer – even if he worked for a chocolate company.


Comment by Plano Mom.

“having a very tough time moving on”

“he ultimately ended it and moved on to someone new a bit too soon, if you know what I mean”

He left his wife for another woman and lied to everyone including you. Would you have commiserated with him about getting along with your spouse if you knew his answer was to check out of the marriage altogether?

I think the most interesting question is why are you even considering a continued relationship with him? He’s not the person you knew, but he seems to be a person you want to know. Why is that?

Bean Reply:

Yeah, I had that thought too. Boy-girl friendships that can’t include the spouse are questionable at best.


Comment by skchord.

Unfortunately I think the MH are right. There are those creepy ex relationships that plague families across America…trust me…my husband’s ex-wife REFUSES to let go of his family to the extent of friending them all on Facebook and inviting herself to their parties. Seriously.

However, I can understand your sadness over losing such a treasured relationship, so buy yourself a box of CHOCOLATE and a box of wine and mourn it appropriately. If anyone asks you’re just so sad that your SIL’s marraige didn’t work out. Happy drinking!


Comment by Karen at French Skinny.

I hate to be the one to bring up the Chocolate Elephant in the room but “shhhhh… You have a little secret crush on him that was legal because you were related but it’s not now.”
A couple of chick flicks, more chocolate and some Doritos should do for awhile. Or maybe some indoor cardio with your husband.
Just a thought.


chickimamma Reply:

I’m seeing that too! Anything contact with him now will end in regret!!! Don’t do it!


Comment by Masha.

Say good bye to bad news boy. And then buy yourself a box of chocolate and celebrate that you did the right thing.


Comment by Lisa.

Why is everyone talking about chocolate?

I get she wants to stay friends with him – he was the one who understood the whacked out in-laws, who knows the whole history, etc. I’d hate to lose a friend/venting partner like that, too, someone who just gets it.

However, the pain that relationship would cause outweighs any good of it. Mourn the loss and move on.


Comment by joanne.

My ex Mother in law tried to stay friends with my mother after her son dumped me for a younger version. They had many a hot CHOCOLATE together until MIL told Mom that it was MY FAULT he left. OKAY that is done!


Comment by Mom again.

Now that you don’t share in-laws you don’t have any reason to hang out. Besides he lied to you in a major way. He betrayed the family you are still a part of.

Share a humongous box of chocolates with your sister in law and work on building that relationship.


Comment by Cheryl.

My first response was, “Holy shiitake! I’ll have whatever you’re smoking.” Then I rethought my position. I don’t want what you’re smoking because if it’s like it used to be, I always craved CHOCOLATE afterwards.

I’m really whoring myself over on twitter for the book: http://bit.ly/gmvL1e

No, I don’t cook.


Comment by Lisa Adams.

I’ll do almost anything for chocolate.


Comment by thepsychobabble.

Share one last cup of hot chocolate or Starbucks confection together, and then move on. I suppose if a divorce ends amicably enough everyone could in theory still be friends. But this one didn’t. So that’s not going to work out to well.

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