If you've ever been in a serious relationship, chances are you ended up spending some time with your partner's family. Depending on how close to their family you lived or if they were particularly tight-knit, you may have ended up bonding with them pretty hardcore. If things go south, could keeping in touch with your ex's family ever be OK? Does dating decorum require you to cut the cord on them if you and your partner decide to go your separate ways?
Well, it depends.
When pondering the appropriate steps to take post breakup in regards to your ex's family, it's important to examine your motives for doing so.
If you and your ex grew up together in the same small town and their mom was like a second mom to you, then this is a situation where there is obviously a personal connection that would still be there regardless of if you and had broke things off with your boo.
Elite Daily spoke with Fran Greene, LCSW, author of Dating Again with Courage and Confidence to get her perspective on when, if ever, it's OK to maintain contact with an exes family.
Yes, If You Had An Existing Relationship Prior To Dating Your Ex
In my opinion, if, for example, you were good friends with your ex's sibling long before you starting dating them — assuming you didn't cheat or treat them badly — then tis is another situation where it's totally acceptable to remain in contact.
Greene agrees, with a tiny caveat: "If you had a relationship with your ex’s family member prior to your relationship, then it’s OK to keep in touch unless it prevents you from moving on or you think that it will help get your ex back."
No, If You're Trying To Win Your Ex Back
If your main motive for staying in touch with an ex's family would essentially be your way of keeping tabs on their relationship status and waiting for the perfect moment to strike — or worse, trying to get their family on your side in terms of getting back together — don't.
"It’s manipulative and dishonest. Getting back together is between you and your ex," says Greene. In fact, trying to get at your ex from the inside could end up pushing them away even more. After all...their family is theirs.
No, If You're Struggling To Move On
"[Do you] want to maintain contact because it keeps you connected to your ex and you can’t bear the pain of the breakup? If the answer is yes, cut the cord," urges Greene.
Not only could trying to continue a relationship with them that isn't mutually felt be force, it could also come off as a bit creepy, honestly. Plus, it would just give you another reason to keep pining after your ex when you could have been spending that time and energy on other things.
Now, if by some stroke of amazing luck, their parents absolutely adore you, then in my opinion, reaching out on major holidays or birthdays is OK, but regular contact could still be iffy.
It's natural for breakups to make you want to cling to anything that was once a facet of your relationship, and family is definitely a part of that. There's no shame in looking back on those memories with fondness, but there's no need to keep hanging on when it's time to let go.
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